Bonus Feature/Main Feature is an ongoing post series designed to express appreciation for noteworthy extras included on the DVD’s and blu-rays of films aimed at Schlockmania readers.
Al Goldstein’s greatest weapon was his sharp tongue. Whether expressed via print in Screw Magazine or over the television with his long-running NYC public access fave Midnight Blue, Goldstein’s gift of gab was the engine that drove his empire of smut.
It was also his biggest enemy. Goldstein had to deal with a lot of law enforcement and government overreach as a defender of the First Amendment but he also suffered just as many unforced and unnecessary battles because he could never hold back on an insult. He just had to get the last word – and in many ways, that was what reduced him from adult biz kingpin to pauper before his untimely death.
You can see this happen in “The Last Days Of Midnight Blue,” a featurette included as a bonus on the Blue Underground DVD of Porn King. This is a 45 minute collection of Goldstein rants from the show that were telecast during the last year of the show. Several of them are taken from the “F**k You” segment of the show, a recurring Midnight Blue feature that acted as Goldstein’s soapbox atop which he would lambast anyone or anything that got his nerves.
Like Porn King itself, this collection of venomous musings is hilarious and terrifying by turns. In the early moments, Goldstein is an arrogant but amusing trash-talker. You’ll be laughing yet wide-eyed as he lays waste to the district attorney, a couple of judges, the case’s plaintiff and the lawyer opposing him. He invites New Yorkers to attend the trial, brags about the character witnesses he plans to bring in and even devotes a segment to the highlights of his coverage in the newspapers, along with critiques of the reporters involved.
As the piece progresses, Goldstein comes unglued. The turning point is a sotto voce, terrifying state-of-the-union address that he delivers after doing a 9 day stint at Riker’s Island for contempt of court charges. His hair is disheveled, his eyes are faraway and he is uncharacteristically subdued as he explains the terrors he suffered, including forced changes in medication that he claims led to a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt.
This would put the fear of god into most people but Al Goldstein was not “most people.” He proceeds to lay waste to what was left of his relationships with his son and ex-wife by subjecting them to blistering tirades that include insulting images of them created for Screw Magazine, torrents of profanity and insults so personal and severe they’ll make you wince in sympathetic pain for their targets. From there, he doubles down on his attacks on the prosecutors and the judges. We see his physical health deteriorate as he develops a bone disease that makes his teeth fall out. In the final, haunting images, he is mumbling through mouthfuls of dental gauze.
At one point near the end, he says “I am surrounded by asses and assassins but I won’t be silent.” He was true to his word – and it cost him everything: his career, his relationships, his health.
The overall experience veers from guttersnipe hilarity to cringe-inducing verbal brutality, sometimes swinging its pendulum from one extreme to the other within seconds. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and essentially doubles the value of the Porn King DVD.
To read Schlockmania’s review of Porn King, click here.