Huncke Burning Ghat

A light load this week; the real world is proving unusually needy. Forgive.

I mentioned back in January that there was a new biography expected of Herbert Huncke, one of the least known but most interesting of the Beats. Originally scheduled for spring, it’s been pushed back to autumn, but discovering that did at least jog my memory about the filmic curio I attach below.

The Burning Ghat is a short film made in 1990, the same year that Huncke’s autobiography Guilty of Everything appeared. The film features Huncke in his sole acting role, appearing alongside his real-life partner Louis Cartwright. Neither was an actor by either training or instinct, but this miniature is still a rare and wonderful thing with the gamey savour of lived reality. It was shot in Huncke’s Brooklyn apartment, with a doorless fridge and a cloak of muffled doom. But rather than paraphrase I will leave you to watch it and direct you, by clicking through to YouTube, to read the unusually informative description included there.

Both men would be dead within a few years; Cartwright murdered, Huncke finally overtaken by a life of drug usage already catching up with him here. Twenty years later, director James Rasin would make a moving documentary about Warhol superstar Candy Darling (out on DVD and highly recommended).



  1. Well that was… bleak. There’s a full-length documentary about these two floating around out there. I hope there’s a repeat of the “Let’s make love among the sheep” line.

  2. Guilty of Everything is now my new favorite title ever.

  3. Pingback: Happy hundredth Herbert Huncke | Strange Flowers

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