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Submit to Me (1985)

Unrated | | Short
A No-Wave erotic horror exploring the aesthetics of kink, sadism, mutilation and suicide.


Richard Kern


Richard Kern

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Adrienne Altenhaus Adrienne Altenhaus
Magot Damian Magot Damian ... (as Margot Day)
Cruella De Ville Cruella De Ville
Richard Kern Richard Kern ... (as R. Kern)
Phil Forrest Phil Forrest
Lung Leg Lung Leg ... (as Lung)
Lydia Lunch
Brian Moran Brian Moran
Marjie Marjie
Chris Richins Chris Richins
Robin Renzi Robin Renzi
J.G. Thirlwell J.G. Thirlwell ... (as Clint Ruin)
Audrey Rose Audrey Rose
Sonic Youth ... (credit only)
Tom Turner Tom Turner


A No-Wave erotic horror exploring the aesthetics of kink, sadism, mutilation and suicide.

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


A still frame from this film was used as the cover of Sonic Youth's album 'Evol'. See more »


Featured in SexTV: Warzone/Richard Kern/Breastfeeding (1998) See more »


Performed by Butthole Surfers
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User Reviews

First you kill me, then I'll kill you

'Submit to Me', directed and (supposedly) written by Richard Kern, is a compendium of the obsessive themes which turn up constantly in his films: transgressive sex, fetishism, violence. I say that this film was 'supposedly' written by Kern, because his performers appear to be improvising their scenes. Kern had a talent for surrounding himself with people who shared his own interests and obsessions, and who were willing to exhibit their obsessions for his camera. It's joyously clear that the cast members in 'Submit to Me' are well and truly enjoying the activities which they enact here, not merely acting out roles for some script.

In a rapid and noisy montage, we see a lesbian couple dancing, a Tom-of-Finland sort of biker (wearing a black leather jacket but otherwise naked) masturbating himself, whilst another man shaves his own pubic area. It would be easy to describe all of this as healthy sexuality, except that all of these people seem to be a bit more obsessed than perhaps they should be. It looks and feels rather improvised.

The action rapidly escalates and becomes more violent. What we saw before now appears to be the foreplay for what Kern wanted all along: violence, bloodshed and butchery, as if he's been urging his performers to 'get to the good stuff'. Now the performers seem to be doing less improvising for their own pleasure, and more of what Kern wants them to do for his own arousal.

'Submit to Me' attempts to be disturbing, and succeeds. Kern was a unique and distinctive voice in underground filmmaking. By the standards and goals of that genre, I'll rate this movie 8 points out of 10.

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