I got the itch, the burnin’ sensation, the midnight twitch and the pelvic gyration. I got a hunch and I’m going back, all the way back to Memphis and the Cathedral of the Celluloid Geeks. I’m doing my devotions, all the way round the Stations of the White Trash Cross, listening to the whang-whang hymns and the croaking toad-man’s self-loading prayers.
Just like the first Quasi gibbered: “Me - want - Esmerelda! We want googoo sly gypsy girl bang-bang.”
Hear me now! Hear this song. Maximum deformo all night long.
After making Clambake, A Change of Habit, and Charro!, where could the King go but straight to Hugo? And so, behold: the great lost cinematic atrocity. Just like the never-seen posters proclaim: “Elvis IS the Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Forget the frug. Away with the waltz and the watusi. Electric slide? Let it glide. Funky chicken and mash potato? They’ve both gone to Zero. Peace be upon Polka’s name, but it doesn’t have the same slam-weight as the all night festal freak-out. The minuet and boogaloo are naught and nil when The Human Gargoyle comes roaring out of his jungle room and takes over the dance floor.
Hail, hail, rack and rule! Long live the Lord of Graceland and the Pope of Fools. Breaker, breaker - Sieg heil for Der Elvis, the once and future genetically-pure Spaz-fuehrer, laid out on a platter of crowder peas, corn bread and dixie-fried bacon.
In Paris, they had the Quasi-modo. In Vegas we’ve got the Total-modo: the full-fledged, flat-out, fire-breathing modo dragon in a white astronaut jump suit and a helmet of crow-black hair. We’ve got the Croaking Gizzard and the Wizard of Bloat. We’ve got the Blue Light special at the K-Mart cathedral, where celestial sky-shine haloes our Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Voodoobator.
He reaches apotheosis only three weeks before he dies, wIth his three minutes of solo star-turn “Unchained Melody.” If anyone is the real American H.B. of N.D., it’s Elvis at the lip of the Vegas nightclub grave. Draw back the curtain and see the Big E, almost dead, yet still sexy, bloated like a whale gasping out his last breath on some empty beach. His face, encased in a mask of suet, is beyond confidence, beyond charisma. Here and now, Elvis has reached the point of egomaniac no return.
He takes possession of the piano and a minion grovels close, holding up a mike. The King bangs out the first chord and he’s pure sound and fury, a bulging funk-fuel, a 55 gallon drum of pure monster energy. Gaze upon the fullness of Master E, the vastness beyond good and evil, beyond thought. Behemoth, titan, monstrosity, Elvisaurous Rex with his tiny arms and massive hams spread on the piano bench, he sings the gospel squat-thrust, poisoned tongue lolling out, listening to the tolling bells inside his head.
At the end of this “Unchained Melody” he groans and shakes the sweat off his face, he grunts and twists, utterly possessed. He is the Savior of falsetto sleaze and the Christ of corpulence, crucified before a thousand oozing fans. The song reaches its wild keening climax, the chains break, and he’s free, free, God-almighty free at last.
Blame Th. Metzger Labels: Universal Monsters