Travis Mathews: “Cruising” Was A Snapshot Of A Gay Subculture “On The Eve Of HIV’s Arrival”

Cruising 1980 Al Pacino pic 4I keep pointing out that the bar scenes really amount to well-shot documentary footage with real patrons, in real bars, doing real drugs, real sex, real drinking… If you edit these scenes alone it’s an important document of this gay subculture on the eve of HIV’s arrival. What’s chilling is that HIV is probably all around them as they’re filming and no one knew it.”

Travis Mathews, on the bar scenes in William Friedkin’s 1980 gay thriller Cruising—which inspired his latest work, Interior. Leather. Bar—to

 CORRECTION: This post has been updated to clarify Mathews was speaking about the bar scenes in the original Cruising, not in Interior. Leather. Bar.

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  • MikeE

    the film wasn’t a “gay thriller”.
    it was a horror story to titillate the heterosexual masses with just how evil and debauched the homosexuals were.

    I was at the Montreal premiere of the film, and half the audience were making comments like “who the hell TALKS like that?”. Dreadful film, never understood why some people want to hold it up as some sort of shining example of film-making.

  • Allen D.

    At least “Cruising” had a great soundtrack. Interior: Leather Bar was one of the stupidest, most self-indulgent things I have ever seen. Bunch of people talking about how cool it is to meet JAMES FRANCO! It was obnoxious.

  • Vinaregglia

    I heard that someone working on Cruising was later charged & imprisoned for being a serial killer who preyed on guys from gay Leater bars.

    How wild NYC must have been back then, Studio 54 & all that gay nightlife.

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