Watch David Bowie’s First Film, a Horror Short that Screened at a Porn Theatre

By
Share:

Film wasn’t David Bowie’s main artistic mode, but throughout his career, he made quite the cinematic impact. Plenty of people have seen The Man Who Fell to Earth or Labyrinth, but not many have seen Bowie’s first film appearance, in 1967’s The Image, a 14-minute horror flick in which he plays the titular, uh, image.

Well, it’s not so much the image as a physical manifestation of an image that is painted. The film, which co-stars Michael Byrne as the main who paints said image, was written and directed by Michael Armstrong, who has made an effort to keep the film off of YouTube. Luckily, the David Bowie Archive gave the rights to the Wall Street Journal to post the clip, so that’s why we’ve got it below.

Prior to this clip being made available by WSJ, the film was only seen at the Jacey Cinema in Piccadilly, where it ran for several weeks between two adult films, which, as would be expected, seemed to confuse some unwitting porn-seeking customers. The Image was also, according to Armstrong, “the first short that got an X-certificate. For its violence, which in itself was extraordinary.”

Watch the clip below. The violence is, indeed, extraordinary, though edited in such a way so as to not be explicit. The same can’t be said of Armstrong’s 1970 film Mark of the Devil, which caused vomiting at some screenings.