“I hate everyone.”
Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies is a 1993 documentary film directed by Todd Phillips (Joker; The Hangover and sequels; Starsky & Hutch). The film is about the life of GG Allin, a punk rock musician who was infamous for extreme behaviour (violence, obscenity, drug abuse) and his stage shows becoming confrontational events. Performing naked was one of Allin’s most common traits. Dee Dee Ramone joined the Murder Junkies for about a week before leaving once he realised what he’d gotten into.
Documentary filmmaker Todd Phillips attempts to profile extreme-transgressive American rock star GG Allin, although the most heartfelt communication he takes away from the performer is when Allin phones from prison asking to be bailed out.
In its initial VHS debut Hated was one of a handful of offbeat, boundary-pushing or just-plain unmarketable films released on a small video label originated by the seminal magazine of cult cinema, Film Threat.
Long before his success in the comics-to-motion-pictures translation Joker (2019), Todd Phillips was a co-coordinator of the New York Underground Film Festival and gave the world another character study – well, attempted character study is more like it – of a very underground show-business personality, extremist punk rock vocalist Kevin Michael ‘GG’ Allin.
Leading a variety of bands but earning his greatest notoriety fronting the Murder Junkies, the Vermont-born Allin screamed foul lyrics (many about serial killers) while committing obscene and loathsome acts onstage and off – eating his own faeces was one such attention-getter. He spent time in jail for assaulting audience members and he promised to kill himself in a concert on Halloween night, 1992. Phillips gets slightly more introspection into GG from his brother Merle (who cultivates a Hitler-style moustache); they grew up in a working-class household under a father who was abusive and possibly mentally ill. It is claimed GG had a personality change after Merle slipped him some LSD at a fast-food restaurant.
In any case, his outrageous, deliberately offensive personality and semi-nude performances lure in thrillseekers who thought they’d seen it all and it was not uncommon for GG to finish a show bloody and bruised. “My mind is a machine gun! My a bullet! The audience is a target” he roars. But Allin reneges on the pledge to commit suicide onstage, dying privately instead of a drug overdose the following year.
Phillips manages to speak to one of Allin’s old schoolteachers (“My first impression of Mr Allin was that he would be pretty easy to get along with”) and there is a melancholy sense of sadness that any boy could go so grotesquely wrong, even if he appeared at some point fully intended to, in some sort of self-mythologizing death wish. The film’s obviously low-budget and uncooperative subject leave the presentation a little sloppy and less than fully satisfying – but can you prove that GG Allin would not have wanted it that way? At the very least?
Even GG’s ‘music’ is hardly listenable; the most well-known Murder Junkies tune (we will not print the title on a reputable website like this) was, in fact, a profane parody of someone else’ song entirely, the anthemic “Longhaired Redneck” by country-and-western “outlaw” music trailblazer David Allen Coe – all around, a far more interesting music figure, by the way.
Still, if one had to make a measure of how much a low-water mark rock could possibly have met in seeking the ultimate in nihilistic degradation and utter human slime and filth, one could argue that GG Allin could even have taught the Sex Pistols a thing or two. Does that make him an artist of note in any conceivable sense? One might argue that Joker, with its madman hero, has at least some of its conceptual DNA in Hated as well as Batman’s comic-book Gotham City.
Charles Cassady Jr., MOVIES and MANIA
“If you think you’ve seen everything, definitely seek this out. You’ll be glad you’re in the safety of your own home and that Allin is no longer able to knock on your door.” Combustible Celluloid
“Hated is a powerful and messed up movie about a total anomaly of a man. Philips does a good job of remaining impartial to his subject, neither judging him or praising him in his film, merely letting the man and his actions speak for themselves. Love him or hate him, there was only one GG Allin, and that’s probably a good thing.” Rock! Shock! Pop!