Over the years, the cult film legend Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case trilogy, Brain Damage, Bad Biology) has also acted as an enthusiastic historian of the rougher sidelines of popular culture. His third feature length documentary Boiled Angels: The Trial of Mike Diana is a fascinating proof of the filmmaker maestro’s sharp perception and social awareness, the latter of which also frequently manifests itself in the undercurrents of his fictional work.
The story of the comic book artist Mike Diana’s conviction on obscenity charges in Florida of the 90s is shocking beyond belief. The modern witch hunt emerging from Diana’s fanzine Boiled Angel reaches levels of Orwellian absurdity at a very early stage – and it only gets worse from there.
In addition to Diana and his family, Henenlotter interviews a number of acclaimed comic book artists (Neil Gaiman, Peter Bagge, Jay Lynch, Stephen Bissette) on the case and freedom of speech in general. The icing on the cake of a very strong punk sensibility is provided by the narrator or the story, Mr. Dead Kennedys Jello Biafra.
“[Henenlotter’s] third documentary is not only his best, but also his most vital. — serves as a defining portrait of one of the most important artists in the history of underground comics.”
– Cinedelphia Film Festival