This gutter Renaissance man, whose filmography includes such titles as The Bloodthirsty Butchers and Fleshpot on 42nd Street, was a misogynist, a racist, and a sadist whose films reflect an unhinged but apparently charismatic personality. He was also a noted dress designer and an innovator of gritty realism in off-off-Broadway plays. His productions, which included Genet's The Maids, became notorious for introducing actual sex and violence onto the stage, a strategy that also filigrees his films. The Milligan mantra? "Show the world your scars ... and for God's sake, charge admission!"
This weekend, Milligan, who died of AIDS in 1991, is celebrated in "The Ghastly One: Andy Milligan Remembered." Torture Dungeon (1970) is oddly compelling dime-store Shakespeare, a tale of royal treachery shot on the beaches of Staten Island with Milligan's much-abused stock company and some Italian locals. Disturbing touches include a beheading in close range, a pitchfork in the chest, a horny hunchback, and such typical medieval patois as "dese, dem, and dose." The 32-minute Vapors (1965) is a Warhol-esque, pre-Stonewall look at New York's gay bathhouse scene, censored for a too-daring close-up of a penis. Milligan's friend Jimmy McDonough, whose The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan brilliantly limns every gruesome facet of an appalling life and career, will be on hand to answer questions and sign books.