John Aes-Nihil By Mike Z. Charlie Manson. Why does he fascinate so many people, thirty years after being convicted for murder? The tabloids and shock TV shows use him as a bogey man to scare the law-abiding, and most people put him on a moral scale close to Hitler...

Charlie Manson. Why does he fascinate so many people, thirty years after being convicted for murder? The tabloids and shock TV shows use him as a bogey man to scare the law-abiding, and most people put him on a moral scale close to Hitler. Chances are, you’ve only heard about him secondhand, from reading Vincent Bugliosi’s book Helter Skelter. But did you know that there are unedited, uncensored prison interviews that reveal his thought and true personality; full of angry rants against society that would never be broadcast on corporate owned big media outlets? Want to see the tapes?

Where would you go to get a copy of the infamous suppressed film Cocksucker Blues? Interested in Serial Killers, Satanists, Andy Warhol, Alejandro Jodorowsky or Leni Riefenstal? Well, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. There’s a guy in L.A. who is willing to share his personal collection of obscure, forbidden materials with you. And this is stuff that you won’t get to see any other way.

Movies die. Most of them are deservedly forgotten, many never seen by an audience. And some movies are simply discarded by their studios before they have a chance to be seen. You might read about these films, and think you have no chance of ever seeing them. Unless you are a collector of obscure film, able to track down and recognize the lost gems of the cinema.

I’m not talking about films that are merely hard to get or out of print. I’m talking about many films that have never been made available on video. If a dub exists, then it is often a unique tape that was made without the permission of the owners, if they can even be identified. I don’t care that much about copyright law, and with all the legal machinations surrounding Napster the fundamental principles of intellectual ownership are being challenged and tested. I just don’t see any harm in distributing material if no attempt is being made by the owners to release it. This is one of the gray areas of copyright, where a work is made available to the public despite the reluctance of the film’s owners. That said, let me introduce you to John Aes-Nihil.

John is a filmmaker with a unique vision. He is an expert on certain celebrated killers and cult leaders. Most importantly, he is a discerning collector who has deigned to share his lost treasures with the public. He calls it the Archives of Aesthetic Nihilism. You can see the list of materials that he is offering at

There is material here that you will not find anywhere else. Material that has been suppressed by the Law or by the self-appointed protectors of Public Morality. This is the stuff that you are not supposed to see. John Aes-Nihil believes that you should be able to make up your own mind about controversial ideas and images.

Not all of his tapes are high quality. Sometimes they are barely watchable. There are no video technicians and engineers checking levels on professional grade duplication equipment. The fact that these films exist at all is testament to John’s perseverance and dedication.

Perhaps you are aware that the troubled junkie actor Robert Downey Jr. has an accomplished director for a father. Robert Downey Sr. directed Putney Swope and Greaser’s Palace, among many others. Here’s John talking about one of the films available from his archive:

“The ultimate film I got from collecting is Pound by Robert Downey Sr. I saw it once at the UC Theatre in Berkeley around when it came out and never heard of it again. The first time I met Downey I asked him about it and he said there is only one print in existence and the studio that owns it hates it and will never show it or put it on video. Several years later someone contacted me and gave me a copy on video. Robert Downey Jr. has one line in it when he was about 4. Some TV show was doing something on Downey Jr. so the film was pulled out and put onto video and a friend of this person worked there and got a copy and gave it to him and he gave it to me and I gave Robert Sr a copy because he never had one. Robert said when he gave the finished film to the studio they were shocked because they thought all along that it was animated. Its about humans playing dogs and vice versa. It’s extremely funny and oppressive at the same time. Downey Sr was one of the greatest American Film makers of the ’60s and early ’70s.”

If you want to experience the outer limits of culture, art and society I recommend that you check out the wares offered by John Aes-Nihil and his Archives of Aesthetic Nihilism. Tell him Mike Z sent you.

Back to Issue 13