The Destroying Angel

The Destroying Angel | Peter de Rome | US 1976 | 63 Min | DCP

A seminary student takes some time off to indulge in sexual and drug-induced excesses. In The Destroying Angel, exceptional British pornographer Peter de Rome uses the basic structure of Edgar Allan Poe’s autobiographically tinged doppelgänger story William Wilson as the departure point for the mental and spiritual splintering of his main character. Told through a series of increasingly menacing and surreally explicit scenes, the blend of horror topoi and gay pornography is as hot as it is unsettling, and always a unique experience.

Peter de Rome
(* 1924, † 2014) was, according to the title of a 2014 documentary, the “Grandfather of Gay Porn.” Growing up in Kent, UK, and serving in the RAF in WW2, he later moved to New York and worked at Tiffany’s for most of the 1960s. A cinephile since childhood, the purchase of a home-movie camera led him to shooting explicit pornography, which back then was still illegal in the US. Unlike the bleak portrayals of the time, de Rome’s vision of gay life was playful. Lacking commercial success, he usually screened his films to groups of friends or at parties. After shorts like The Fire Island Kids, Encounter or Hot Pants, he made his long-form debut, Adam & Yves, in 1974, which features the last ever movie appearance of Greta Garbo, albeit without her knowledge. The Destroying Angel was his second feature. He published his autobiography The Erotic World of Peter de Rome in 1984, having stopped making films by then. His work received further recognition in the 2000s, when the BFI acquired most of his 8mm original films and launched a DVD compilation.
Language eOV
Cast Tim Kent, Philip Darden, Bill Young
Writer Peter de Rome (based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe)
Editing Robert Alvarez
Cinematography Jack Deveau