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Cinema Abattoir On Nick Zedd

By Mike Everleth ⋅ March 18, 2008

Last week I posted up a story about how underground filmmaker Nick Zedd had been deported from Canada while on a trip to present some of his films at a 2-night Cinema Abattoir event. I linked to a blog entry by Zedd in which he stated he had been ejected from the country because his 1992 film War Is Menstrual Envy, which he was carrying on him, contains “borderline criminal material.” Zedd was on a train from NYC to Montreal when he unceremoniously got the boot.

Below is a lengthy response from Pierre-Luc Vaillancourt who runs Cinema Abattoir and who arranged to have Zedd screen his films. Pierre-Luc sent me this via email and he has given me permission to reprint it in it’s entirety here. Everything in the comment box below is Pierre-Luc’s own words. He maintains that Zedd was deported because of a 2001 arrest record, not because of the film. So, here is Pierre-Luc’s comment, a description of their Transgressive screening, plus an official statement from Cinema Abattoir regarding their position “Nick Zedd Is Dead”:

Nick Zedd didn’t manage to get in Canada because he has a criminal record from 2001 that has nothing to do with cinema (fighting in a bar or something like this). So Wednesday night, as I was waiting for him at the train station and that about fifty persons finaly got off the train from NY… no Nick Zedd! I go check my messages on my answering machine from a local pay-phone, and here’s a message from Zedd:”Hello Pierre, this is Nick Zedd… I’m at the borders right now… they stopped me because of my film… they are illegal… also because I’ve been arrested in 2001… I don’t know I’ve to be threated like a criminal just because I’m a filmmaker…”

(I opened the screening’s nights with this message on the loud speaker, just after the regular Cinema Abattoir opening. The public was delected.)

I finally managed to get Zedd on the phone on Wednesday night, when he quit the borders. It was clear, even speaking with him, that his films had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t manage to come into Canada. (I even sent him before a couple of times the Regie du Cinema Quebecois documents stating that his films got a legal screening License, including War is Menstrual Envy and Whoregasm). But for him it was a good deal (since I was paying the train anyway) to blame the whole situation on the films. If at least he would have played a fair game, I could have gotten him a license from the Canadian consulate to show his work in Montreal. But this defeatist attitude (the government is always responsible, always posing the blame elsewhere) is in my opinion less and less relevant for an agent of Subversion.

Canadian and Quebec government censor board proving Zedd’s films being legal:
http://www.rcq.qc.ca/index.asp (type in War is Menstrual Envy, Whoregasm or simply Nick Zedd)

The Cinema Abattoir presentation had to happen anyway, but under the re-naming of NICK ZEDD IS DEAD. There was press in local papers the Montreal Mirror by Rick Trembles, so I had to advertise on the Cinema Abattoir’s website that Zedd wasn’t going to be there, and that the screening was going to be free (instead of 7$) not to piss of the audience.

The first night: LLIK YOUR IDOLS + some Zedd and Richard Kern films. An intimate public (about 25 people showed up), perfect to get into a feature length documentary and to create a nice and intimate ambiance for the night (cheap beer and all). Second night: Quebec transgressive short films + Zedd and Richard Kern second program: more people showed up (around 35-40), also younger and more metal-gothic oriented, perfect for short films that were more ephemeral, in your face and abrasive (as the Quebec short films program was). Then, Kern’s Fingered created a really nice malaise atmosphere in the audience. It was a real pleasure.

So, that’s it for the story in parts, there is definitely parts missing (this whole 2 days screenings cost me something like 400$, the audience really got their face destroyed by the films – what they exactly expected!, Zedd leaving fucked up message on my answering machine…), but in the films’ domain, two night that really were a blast.

And a little threat…


As the subversive state implies, the underground cinema must constantly look for new ways to become an agent whose mission is to Obliterate – to infiltrate/act against the imposed mass broadcasts.

Nick Zedd, on the contrary, has already succumbed, voluntarily prescribing his own death. Denying the iconoclastic state, preferring to limit himself to the star system dialectic, he failed to articulate a decent and sufficiently decadent offensive structure – consequently establishing what he is on the acquired myths (the shadow of idea). He accepted his own Icon instead of blasting it, crystallizing his own inaction toward new structures of fascistic imposition (new classicism).

By entrenching himself as an Icon of the past, he becomes by himself a form of microfascism (the paralysation of thought) instead of trashing it, the role of subversion (the movement of thought).

This Cinema Abattoir program celebrates, instead of mourning, the death of Nick Zedd: by invoking the agitation of 20 years ago – and the new subversive spirits blooming through the ashes of Nick Zedd.

– Nick Zedd Is Dead – Cinema Abattoir. 2008