Brides of Sodom Star Domiziano Arcangeli Brings Homoeroticism To Horror
He partied with Elizabeth Taylor at 5. He posed semi-nude for Helmut Newton at 12. And he inspired legendary filmmaker Federico Fellini. Oh, and he's made 150 films. What hasn't Domiziano Arcangeli done?
Sex. Vampires. A cast of gay porn stars. The Brides of Sodom, the new film about a post-apocalyptic world overrun by supernatural predators (out tomorrow on VOD, DVD, and in select theaters), has enough homoerotic thrills to cast a twilight on True Blood. In the steamy trailer, washboard abs flash between scenes of blood and gore, which set the scene for forbidden, same-sex love between a human and a vampire.
“Porn stars—a lot of gay porn stars—and me,” joked leading man Domiziano Arcangeli, who locked lips with co-star — and adult entertainer — David Taylor, in the trailer. It's his second film this month to make gay waves. His other, Scenes from a Gay Marriage, is a gay romantic comedy that was the top pre-ordered DVD in the U.S. last week at TLAVideo.com.
Arcangeli is no stranger to film, especially horror. The Italian-born actor, writer, and producer has appeared in 145 films, including such gruesome titles as Orgy of Blood, House of Flesh Mannequins, and Silent Night, Zombie Night. He is also no stranger to portraying gay characters, including his turn as a flamboyant stylist in the sexy 2002 Showtime series ChromiumBlue.com.
And Arcangeli's fans—nearly 100,000 on Twitter—are no strangers to the star's chiseled form. "I never had a problem with nudity," he confirmed.
He is a bit reserved about one thing, though. His sexual orientation. “I don’t identify as gay. I don’t identify as straight, either,” said Arcangeli, a single father. “It’s somewhat very personal. I can tell you that I have loved. I can be very fond of women, and I can be very fond of men, too, in different ways.”
Arcangeli’s sizable oeuvre, which also boasts a role in a Fellini production, was fostered by his unique upbringing. The child of an Italian man and an "underage" American art student, Domiziano Arcangeli was raised by his grandmother in a house on Venice’s Grand Canal.
“It’s not so easy to live there,” Arcangeli recalled about the sinking city, which is detached from the mainland of Italy. “Its foundations are crumbling… but it’s magic, at the same time.”
He credits much of this magic to his grandmother, who kindled a love of the arts within her young charge. A proximity to culture assisted her cause. The pair often socialized with artists at the home of their neighbor, art collector Peggy Guggenheim.
“My grandmother knew all of these incredible people. She knew Elizabeth Taylor,” he says. In fact, at one fundraiser organized by the late, violet-eyed star, a 5-year-old Arcangeli posed for the Associated Press, sporting an ensemble by Pierre Cardin and a wig inspired by 18th century fashion. He was the only child at the party.
Ultimately, another camera would spur Arcangeli’s unconventional rise to fame. At the age of 12, he posed for a “very interesting” series of photo shoots taken by famed photographer Helmut Newton. In these photographs, Arcangeli appeared unclothed and wearing makeup.
“It was misinterpreted, and it created a huge controversy,” said the actor, who defended Newton's artistic intentions. “I ended up being all over the newspaper covers... Ironically, it was the most media attention I ever got in 30 years of work.”
His notoriety drew the eye of director Federico Fellini, who auditioned Arcangeli for his first screen test. Although the production, based on Franz Kafka’s novel Amerika, failed to attract funding, Fellini would later cast Arcangeli in another movie: Intervista (Interview).
“I played myself, basically — a young actor being screen-tested to no end for a movie that had never been made,” said Arcangeli. “It was one of his last films.”
When asked how he liked working with the now-legendary director, Arcangeli laughed. “I always saw him as an older man who tried to torment me,” he responded. “I don’t think we have directors like that anymore. We were very disciplined. It was really hard, but I’m grateful.”
Fellini’s interest galvanized Arcangeli to pursue an acting career at an early age. Moreover, the circumstances surrounding his rise to fame attracted the attention of a very specific genre. “I had this very unusual face, [which was] also linked to a scandal,” said Arcangeli. “So I was offered all these horror films.”
Fluent in five languages, Arcangeli toured the world to act in films and theatrical productions for over a decade. At the age of 30, he settled in Los Angeles, California. He felt as if he had come home.
“My best friends were here,” said Arcangeli, who visited his American mother in Malibu throughout his youth. “I knew where to go. I knew everything.”
However, Hollywood’s fast-paced, frenetic lifestyle took its toll on the foreign actor. “I really got distracted here in L.A. You party all the time… but there is a point when you crash. It’s hard. You realize, this must change.”
In some instances, he expressed concerns that even his fictional villains were crossing moral lines he was uncomfortable with. “They see me as a bad, evil person,” he said, of the casting and production teams. “I’ve done some scenes that are really so terrible. [In one film] I killed this girl who was 6 years old. It was really hard to do. I wasn’t a parent yet then.”
After this intense scene, the 6-year-old actress asked Arcangeli if they might one day get married. “Let’s make a deal,” he told the starlet. “When you’re 25, if you still interested, you can marry me then.”
In 2011, Arcangeli welcomed two sons, Skyler and Thor, into the world. He stated that the mother, who remains anonymous, “made them for me. All my life, I missed a center, a family.
He praises the journey of fatherhood. "In order to become a father, I had to go back to being myself and listen to myself inside, and who I was."
In this light, a film about a post-apocalyptic vampire romance may not seem so outrageous.