Monday, October 28, 2013


(For the Hugo Stiglitz Italian Horror Blogathon)

If STAGEFRIGHT wasn't also the name of a 1950 Hitchcock film, a 2013 Minnie Driver horror musical, a 1980 slasher film also known (as the equally mundane) NIGHTMARES, I believe STAGEFRIGHT aka STAGEFRIGHT: AQUARIUS (1987) would be a renowned horror classic, instead of a just a secret juicy bit of self-reflexivity (i.e. EYES OF LAURA MARS). It was originally called DELIRIA but that's a girl's name. Call it NITE OWL WITH CHAINSAW and we'd all be on the lookout for it, making sure it ascended to the level of the pantheon it deserves. That would dampen its uncanniness, though. And for 70s Italian horror enthusiasts finding a gem like this hiding in plain sight is positively ripping!

Directed by Michel Soavi (the Argento mentee behind the ingenious DELLAMORE DELLAMORTE, aka CEMETERY MAN), with post-production foley and lip sync recording so good as to be invisible, this HALLOWEEN meets 42ND STREET 80s slasher film is riveting, scary, funny, catty, and post-modern without ever being tedious, dry or sexually sadistic. See it alone in the dead of night, with big headphones and all the lights off. Tune body and soul to the "tick-tock momentum" (as discussed in PHANTASM, and HOUSE OF THE DEVIL) and thrill to one of the best initial WTF moments of metatextuality since the first Jet fell out of clenched jawed rank and into modern dance. His name was Action. This dancer's name? Nite Owl.

So it's a dark and rainy night: a fire in a trash can on the street casts flickering shadows; graffiti adorns the alleyway walls; a prostitute in a weird feathered hat walks down the street and is suddenly grabbed from behind around the neck. The second floor windows hold agape witnesses and then... a crazy killer dressed in a giant owl head comes diving out in a swirl of jazz blown by a Marilyn look-alike's second floor fire escape saxophone. Turns out we're in an old theater, way outside of the city, wherever that is, preparing a sleazy pre-Giuliani Times Square-style dance-tacular (there were plenty of them in the 70s-80s) and it's a dark and stormy night.

The director, Peter (David Brandon), gets angry because--while he's confident the public will swill it up--star Alicia (Barbara Cupisti--in Argento's OPERA the same year) doesn't quite get it. The fat little producer meanwhile worries they'll get closed down by the cops (Italy has a long history of 'regional' censorship). Alicia sprains her ankle and wants to leave to go to the hospital. How cliche, notes Peter, which is so cliche of him to note. Permission denied!

The oversize theatricality of it all helps amp the suspense and post-modern refraction: in addition to the lecher producer there's the bitchy but nurturing gay dancer (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), the catty slut-and-comer (Mary Sellers), a suddenly pregnant young couple determined to make it work and not "get another abortion" and a black cat (Lucifer) crossing the superstitious wardrobe mistress's path.  Turns out Peter was right not wanting to let her leave, as the hospital she goes to turns out to be a mental institution, and a notorious axe murderer has just been admitted, tied to a stretcher... and he and Alicia share one of those uncanny 'see you soon, Clarice' glances as she passes his cell in the hallway, like they get a weird glimmer of their own killer-final girl pair bonding to come. And meanwhile that rain pounds down, turning everything dark and atmospheric, so thick and heavy someone could be getting killed ten yards away and you wouldn't see or hear them.

This all may smack of ROTM slasher antics, but as soon as the escaped killer first appears in the giant owl's head, walks nervously on stage and actually strangles and stabs the hot girl twirling around on cue, his designated victim, while Peter yells encouragement, oblivious, you know you're in for an experience that would please both Argento and Antonioni. The cops have already been there, a cop car waiting outside in the pouring rain may as well be a mile away; Peter knows headlines are inevitable so use the publicity and bite the bullet on moral conscience and try to get the show up and running in three days (he even lies and says the wardrobe mistress was an actress, to make it more meta for the papers). He knows there's no such thing as bad publicity. Man, it's so meta I can imagine seeing this in a theater at night in Times Square and being afraid to turn around in my seat lest I be slashed across the eyes. It feels way more real of a threat, as in you're actually scared watching than, say, worrying demons are going to run out of the screen in Lamberto Bava's Demons 2. When what's on stage is so close to what's going on around you that you can't tell if you're seeing a movie, or are just an extra acting like a spectator in a theater and about to get strangled from behind, then you know it's going to be a bumpy ride and there's no seat belt left to fasten. It's been sliced off by the grindhouse slasher, or a junky sitting behind you cutting your pockets out of your jacket with a razor blade, as I've heard was the style of the time.

And I know the feeling: years ago I was studying to be a drug and alcohol counselor and was interning at Bellevue when one evening I dislocated my kneecap playing a Jim Morrison-esque drunk rock star in an extended improv on the crumbling Bellevue theater stage. None of the fellow actors--all residents-- thought I was really hurt,  just acting up a storm, spooking the pigeons in the rafters as I screamed and heard it as from a distance, realizing now I understood the concept behind torture, and the meaning of the phrase 'white hot pain' - because my vision was going white the pain was so intense - I've never felt anything remotely like it before or since, thank god. Still, even with my knee cap shifted all the way to the side, my fibula and tibia no longer connected, still the Bellevue Drama Therapy Dept. patients onstage with me in the improv only feigned calling an ambulance in feigned concern, and soon one of them jumped onstage to be the doctor. The pain was so bad I had to laugh at how inauthentic my screams sounded to me, like John Barrymore cackling at the irony that he couldn't act 'real' pain when it finally struck him.

There should always be a safe word, even in death.

Soavi gets that, the safe word element as a level of sophistication that allows for a Hithcockian depth of enjoyment without the bad vibes and downer tawdriness of 90% of films like his; he wants to bring in the Godard metatexuality, using every opportunity to fuck with the fourth wall, to collapse the safe word boundary in ways not seen since the musical numbers of Busby Berkeley spilled off the stage and off the roof screaming to the ground below. The only door key out of the NITE OWL rehearsal building begins to loom like a giant sculpture mirage; running killer POVs follow electrical cord paths through the theater as if on wings of a dream; weird mannequins gawk idly in the foreground stage right, and you don't put it past Soavi to substitute real actresses in mannequin poses in some shots and not even call attention to it, or having someone below camera level slowly moving them side to side, too slow for the human eye to register; when Barbara Cuispi's shirt is the exact same light green as the backstage dressing room hallway, like; a big no-no in non-camouflage wardrobe that its broken rule aspect is both funny, reassuring and gently tension alleviating, maybe in ways I can't explain; Peter toots blow but does it on the sly so we barely notice if we don't know what doing blow on the sly looks. Soavi buries gems all over; a reel-to-reel tape of the Bernard Herrmann-ish musical score blasted (by the killer) at inopportune times makes Peter's determined vengeance seem like a Roman opera; a broken bottle of stage blood crashes to the ground right when a guy gets drilled through the door, so the two red run together. We don't just see the cops oblivious in the rain but Soavi plays with trying to get us to care or be scared for them as they delve merrily into cop cliche; Soavi himself one of the cops - looking at the cover of a book on James Dean and preening his hair like him 'don't you think I look a little like James Dean"

The initial effect of all this is giddy confusion, with actors and designers scurrying all over the place and the genres and layers of meta-textuality muddled in ways that are genuinely scary, bleeding off the screen into our dark living rooms, the same way all the slasher references made SCREAM scary, because horror movie trivia and overlapping confusion was such an integral part of our shared film heritage that we felt vulnerable watching. Our safe zone, the couch, was being directly threatened. Where did the VCR playing HALLOWEEN in SCREAM's climactic party end and ours playing SCREAM begin? If we said we knew for sure, we were just whistling Moby in the dark.

This is certainly true of the original HALLOWEEN as well, where the kids watch THE THING, and FORBIDDEN PLANET (see my analysis here) on TV while Michael skulks. Both THING and PLANET are relatively comfortable and unscary, 'comfort films' for me and I'm sure Carpenter as well, so the effect of seeing them be seen by unwitting kids (like us) in such an imperiled setting is chilling --the realization that we're most vulnerable to attack when watching a movie we feel protects us.

That kind of intertextual realism is still underused in horror cinema, as if its so obvious it slips their minds. Soavi doesn't name check other films -- e's way too subtle for that, so subtle I'm not even sure some of the post-modern brilliance I glean in his films is intentional, and that only adds to the luster.

The only way it could be better is if it ended at dawn (like THE WARRIORS, OVER THE EDGE and SCREAM), but other than that there's little fault to find, especially not in the amazing performance of Barbara Cupisti. We can read her thoughts as they flicker across her face as easily as if it they're in an old lady font, yet she's never overacting. She's a frickin' genius.

Then... Just when you think it can't get any weirder or cooler, the killer, thinking everyone is dead, takes the stage. Man, oh man. I like that he treats Lucifer the Cat nicely, and the cat rewards him by... well I wouldn't spoil the tale but anyone who likes their mind screen rich in bright reds, purples and dark grays, and doesn't mind their soul becoming temporarily stained and bent out of shape like the first time they saw DEEP RED, then Soavi's StageFrigh(the title's actual spelling) is the girl for you. There's even a great little wink trick ending that's just enough weird to blow your mind figuratively, diegetically, and metatextually, leaving you with shaky hands eager to applaud... even though you're all alone and it's three AM and you don't want to arouse the attention of whatever's flapping outside your chamber door... maybe it'll just go away if you don't turn on the lights or make a sound... but you know how night owls love a captive audience.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Remembering Lou Reed + A Spotify Mix, GET CRAZY, and Links

Lou died today. He was 71, the same age my dad would be (had he not died two years ago this very week). Hearing about my dad's death made feel a crack in my heart for the first time ever, a thunderous splintering snap. I still haven't recovered. I then lost my dog Inga a few months ago, that brought some tears, but losing Lou isn't a cry-worthy thing. But it is like losing the smooth relaxed but dangerous bass line that's been underwriting my soul since I first heard it as a teenager. Lou's deadpan serpentine bass vibration held me suspended above the dismal American abyss for so long I forgot I was still being lifted by it; now that it's gone, the silence is deafening, and it's a long way to fall.

When I first started hunting down his canon in local used punk rock record shops as a snotty 17 year-old I didn't even know we had the same birthday (March 2nd), we both wear glasses and we both majored in English Lit at Syracuse University. He supposedly stayed in my same dorm (Flint Hall), and like him I moved off campus soon after and formed a band. It was before the internet, or any bio on him, so one couldn't just know all these things. All I knew is, I had been adrift in a myopic solipsistic teenage alienation for years, and Lou came along and said, "hey kid, don't settle for walking." He didn't lead me out of the abyss, but he helped me contextualize the pain into a grand artistic persona, a blue mask to reflect the glare of a hostile world back into its own eyes. He wasn't singing about love me do / you know I love you, he was singing about the agonizing pain of coming home from a dark and dirty fun party and instantly feeling paralyzingly lonely.

I saw him play, twice, at the Ritz, in '85, at the start of, and end of, his tour supporting Mistrial. Disappointing, since Robert Quine wasn't there, but Fernando Saunders was on fretless bass and I knew then I had to become a bassist. I finally joined a band sophomore year, when I was already on my way to becoming an acid rock hippie freak, but I still sang "Sweet Jane" and "I'm Waiting for My Man" and sometimes "Heroin" during the third set, and I was already making token struggles against my burgeoning alcoholism, again not knowing Lou was a drunk, too, and wrote "The Power of Positive Drinking," the sweetest justification for not getting sober when you know you need to, and then "Underneath the Bottle" an album or so later when he realized hey, sooner or later you're going to have terrible DTs, so don't settle for walking, slowing your pace. Embrace the shakes.

In my late 20s living in a midtown loft with my lead guitarist, I would spent hours and hours hyperventilating over the toilet from 2-6 AM, nonstop, trying to keep down enough vodka to stop dry heaving. I was so sick from alcohol poisoning I couldn't hold down the liquor I needed to not suffer the horrors of alcoholic convulsions. I was caught in a vicious circle. My only company was Lou Reed in everything and Nic Cage in LEAVING LAS VEGAS. Sometimes I had a stolen-from-my-girlfriend Librium to help me come down but more often than not I'd drop it and be crawling around for hours in panicked desperation. Lou had a song for that too: "Waves of fear, squat on the floor looking for some pill, the liquor is gone... " My decision to be so open about all my drug and alcohol use, to be blunt about my divorce, band difficulties, emotional rises and falls, losses and regrets, and ambivalence, the courage to let it all hang the stuff most people hide come out in the open, crafting art (or art criticism) from the medium of my own guts, it all comes from him.

None of that means I knew him personally, but I felt like I did. A lot of us did, it was a personal thing. We didn't even mind he could be a total shit some of the time, to his fans, to his world. He never tried to hide his venom, if he had he wouldn't have been him anymore. "Give me an issue, I'll give you a tissue," Lou snarls on Take No Prisoners. "And you can wipe my ass with it."

Sometimes, like after I read one of his unauthorized bios, I began to hate him, but I always came back, because he never sold out or got repetitive. Suddenly after a slump or two there was New York, a new classic, and one of my favorites, the Warhol eulogy record with John Cale Songs for Drella -so perfect and simple with Lou's guitar and Cale's viola never sounding clearer or better together, as if Warhol's spirit buried the hatchet and brought out a playful reverence that they never seemed to share before even on the first album.

But he could be a shit. Maybe it was because he let us all feel like we knew him, and that level of broad openness in one's art is always going to have drawbacks, like finding out the most fun and awesome guy you ever dated is a thief and junkie, and so what, are you going to walk out on him? Lou never stole from us, and he gave so so much of himself that a lot of us freaks, who have never felt this way about any other artist before or since, could forgive his insecure lash-outs at others. He was the cool older brother who brought us to all the dangerous places most young suburban kids never see. He didn't leave us at home with mom, afraid we'd cramp his style. He didn't abandon us.

So I'm not going to cry this time. I'm just going to make a Spotify mix and take a look back at the 30 odd years I've been a Lou Reed disciple, and realize if I'm anything, or anyone, or have any sense of belonging to the gritty New York streets I haunted for the past 20 years (before moving to goddamned Brooklyn) it's because of Lou.

"When Lou sang of the “whiplash girl-child in the dark” who said things like “taste the whip, / now bleed for me,” suddenly I could take the violent reproach of my aching hormones and twist it like a sword until I disemboweled the old me. The result was like dropping nitroglycerin on an oil fire, an alchemical reaction that set me free. I knew that I was, at heart, a sadomasochist."

"Death has brought you close to art as we know it today," says Lou in GET CRAZY, to Max Wolf, ailing manager of the film's equivalent of Bill Graham's Fillmore East. The film starts rough but develops a sweaty-palmed rock intensity that might recall the best rock movies and rock shows and flashbacks of any drug-fueled moments of transcendental pagan abandon, the wild fury of the mosh pit, and onwards. Makes sense: the genius director Allan Arkush worked at the Fillmore for a stretch, and clearly loved it -- as both this film and his ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL capture the heady feeling of rock concert community way better than anything ever before or since... and are hilarious at the same time.

King Blues sings "Mannish Boy!" Malcolm McDowell plays a T. Rex / Mick Jagger hybrid. There's a great Iggy Pop-ish animal man; a scabby punk rock poetess ala Patti Smith; a flooded bathroom with a shark swimming around it; a giant hypo; Daniel Stern pausing to inhale some smoke from a $1 hookah hit-sellin' Rastafarian in one of the stalls; Iggy prompting people to jump off the balcony, including Paul Bartel; a Satanic pimp alien coke dealer; magical LSD in the water cooler; a crowd-surfing refrigerator; acid rock hippy freaks; a twitchy fire inspector, and that's just the tip of Malcolm's talking penis. It's the beginning / of a new age.
Here's my Lou Reed Spotify Mix, adjusted to reflect a tribute / eulogy / farewell / ode. He loved assembling new CDs from his old catalog, and he made a flock of cool Spotify mixes of other musicians he liked. My Lou Mix has no "Sweet Jane" or "Walk on the Wild Side." Too easy. This is the stuff I loved at the time, me alone, in my room, with headphones, blotting out the parents and the world outside the New York Streets.

And lastly, his Warhol "Screen Test." Goodnight, ladies

POSTSCRIPT: Please also read my piece on Slant, The Lou Reed Discobiography.

PS: 9/19: Continuing the weird interpersonal coincidence machine. A girl who was like the Jeanne Moreau in a college freshman Jules et Jim style manic artsy threesome -running amok in the dorm, skipping around on the quad, and listening obsessively to our boom-box playing Eno, Velvet Underground, Ziggy Stardust and Peter Gabriel's '3' album: anyway, she dated me after the Jules (or the Jim) most of my sophomore year. either/or now she got married and now has a kid old enough to be in college and what was he assigned to study in his freshman English class? You guessed it, my McSweeny's piece on "Venus in Furs," to especially note the way it mixes the personal and the interpersonal (i.e. descriptions of the music): "Writing about a Cultureal Object fro a Personal Point of View")

Yet another weird synchronicitous circuit is in place.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Satanic Blondes of '66: INCUBUS, EYE OF THE DEVIL

Ah 1966, what an excellent year for an animal or human sacrifice, what with any worry about an EXORCIST still eight years away. Hell, even two years off from ROSEMARY'S BABY and the sudden hipster clout it engendered, '66's twin devil offerings, INCUBUS and EYE OF THE DEVIL are polar opposite heralds to Polanski's influential hit: one co-stars Polanski's then-wife (he helped get her the gig) and mirrors Rosemary's feeling of being a wife shut out of some grand conspiracy; the other is off on some crazy hipster dream in a language all its own (literally, since it's the only film ever made in that forgotten 'experimental' language, Esperanto, at least the only one that anyone's ever seen). Soon the fangs would be properly installed in the balls of horror cinema, but for now it was all just rumors and poetry and urban legend. There are those in insider circles who say it was Roman's getting wife Sharon Tate the EYE role that caused the devil to stir from his liquid slumber and languorously stretch through time to snatch her at the prime two-souls-in-one moment via his extra-dimensional Manson hook.

In case you are not up on your Hollywood Satanic conspiracy theories, some say the strange accidents and macabre coincidences during ROSEMARY's production originate in producer William Castle's imagination. Some say he took his gimmickry to a whole new level, way way past his usual chair buzzers and skeletons on strings, instead he went psychologically nefarious, going for the paranoia seed-planting that can spread like wildfire from a single cocktail party to infect the collective unconscious in ways deeper than any normal 'fiction' ever can. As Sutter Kane might say, when everyone believes the legend, the truth warps to accommodate. 

Reality is as susceptible to insanity as anyone. 

We know it's relatively unlikely a real skeleton is going to come flying through the screen during a revival showing of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, that's why we love Emergo! so much. It's not really scary-scary, it's Boo! Ahahah scary. The devil doesn't need skeletons to be scary. An old lady neighbor who baked you cookies for some reason and keeps wanting to be invited in - that's genuinely scary.

Besides, maybe there's a reason superstitions began that does have scientific validity. Maybe not walking under a ladder prevents paint can concussion, and people made shitty ladders back when that superstition began, so they just told everyone not to walk underneath them (the guy making ladders was really mean so they didn't want to suggest he tighten the screws); maybe salt thrown over the shoulder absorbs negative ions; maybe Castle didn't mean to create a real curse by starting the rumor going, but rumors do tend to zero back in, like a curved sacrificial karmic arrow, on the one who started them, even if he himself didn't believe it.. at first. (1)

Cinema's pagan devil culture can't quite capture the ephemeral chain of cause-and-effect karma ouroboros-boomeranging to the point just watching a film creates bad luck, but it can generate a feeling of unease through depiction of the most sophisticated or banal of circumstances if it but tweaks them with little uncanny ripples of fatalistic coincidence that benefit or harm as befits 'the bargain.' With Satan there's usually a gruesome payoff after the subject sells his soul for a drink, where he learns he's "always been the caretaker," and so forth. Ask not whom is sacrificed on the ancient altar because, if you don't know yet, I'm afraid it's going to be... you. You're doing both the killing and the being killed. Two ends of a scroll slowly rolling towards each other, when they meet, your text has disappeared.

So is there free will in a Satanic model of reality? Maybe the one who has 'always been the caretaker' can play Christian the way a closeted gay guy can play straight i.e. stunting his own potential and becoming far less than he was meant to be, or he can let go of the handrails and let Satan's vacuum suction pull him towards the full realization of his unholy destiny. If your Christian family would rather have you as a stunted straight than a fully blossomed gay person then they are the cursed, not you. Thus the devil exists only in advocate position: where there is hypocrisy he brings truth; where there is repression he brings exultation. Only those who revere repression need fear him. And they're likely the ones bound to be caught up in a sex scandal sooner or later. Sexual repression is the devil's distillery. And its release in an evil act is the devil's drunk tank. He gets them going up and gets them going down.

If we apply that logic to the actual making of these films, wife Sharon Tate is doomed the moment husband Roman Polanski helps her get the part in EYE (just how did he get it for her?); Polanski is doomed to exile the moment he shoots a scene wherein a woman is drugged and date raped by Satan. It all connects, from the devil's murky fatalistic machinations within the story--recreating itself through helping Guy get the part in that play (by blinding the EYEs of rival Tony Curtis)--to the reality of its makers (Castle's kidney stones, etc). The devil's happy to crib off your paper, so to speak, to make reality out of the image you made of him. It's as if film was little more than a halfway point, the equivalent of a pie cooling on the windowsill before its opened up and devoured, except the windowsill is a mirror, and the pie sliced open is a young and lovely actress. And the devourer is always... Moloch.

On the other hand, even if for the moment we believe all this fateful 'nonsense,' it's mighty fuzzy logic. Impossible to confirm by any one set of truths, its also impossible to deny--and thus like all fiction that explores this realm, dangerous. The best way to approach it is as a true skeptic, which means you don't scoff at either side, because unlike the pragmatist, you know your own eyes and ears are easily fooled. Thus, a Satanist who believes in an actual physical devil is as rigidly dogmatic as the rationalist who denies the devil's existence, even as a metaphysical concept. When corporeal reality tries to limit itself to expression within either set of parameters, there's always nightmare overflow. Satan never singles out the open-minded for his mischief. It's always the sure and pious ones who draw him, their unsullied souls sticking out like bleached whites in a soiled soul sea, and the ones who are so sure he's a living being succeed in--as far as their own direct experience is concerned--making him one. Eventually every conception of good and evil comes 'literally' true. Especially if you do lots of drugs, are schizophrenic, or have a really bad fever.

I mention all this to eat up the time because when Sharon Tate's not onscreen, EYE OF THE DEVIL is a grand bore. And she's not on an awful lot. The tale of some grand ancient sacrificial rite that ensures good grape harvest at a sprawling South of France winery, it draws us in as outsiders through the eyes of a prim and overbearing wife played by Deborah Kerr. She spends the whole movie trying to get her half-asleep nonentity husband, the marquis (David Niven) of the area to come back to London so she can resume boring him to death with dreary classical music salons. Here in France he's being prepared for some even worse fate (she thinks); it's some some kind of diabolical ceremony and he's being prepared to participate somehow, but how? She must know, so she can stop it, like a nanny no one invited, still chasing after old charges, trying to make them go to bed at nine and drink their milk,long after they've grown up and filed restraining orders.

Tate and David Hemming are sublime, meanwhile, as a pair of magical blonde twins doing all sorts of macabre arcane prepwork, but they're barely in the film at all. Even Niven's angry flogging of a sexy black turtlenecked Tate makes it onto the poster and opens new chamber doors in our telltale hearts but it's just another joyless punitive measure. The film would rather focus in on Kerr's prim outrage over David Hemmings shooting down a white dove with his little bow and arrow. After she first spies him and his equally strange blonde sister, Odille (Tate) as they bring said dove on a pillow into a weird looking Satanic ceremony, Kerr orders them off the property. Like who put this dame in charge? Intentional or not, Kerr is as irritating a nosey parker as Dustin Hoffman in STRAW DOGS or Jessica Biel in the 2003 remake of TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (see my op here). Inviting herself in to take charge of a situation she doesn't understand, she's a mutton-headed missionary enforcing a hypocritically "Christian" concept of law and order wherever she goes, never thinking to examine her own mess or to just go home and resume micro-managing her servants. As her colonialist animus-dominated sense of superiority clouds her awareness of what's actually going on, we begin to understand both Niven's passivity and his eagerness to complete the ceremony to come Every husband in the world stuck with a wife this much of a buzzkill would gladly cut off his own arm to escape her. Soon we're rooting for Niven to pursue the one avenue of escape she leaves open... the one avenue even she dares not follow.

I don't mean to slight Kerr - or this kind of weird set-up. As a kind of unwittingly dosed quasi-pedophile Mary Poppins in THE INNOCENTS (right), Kerr was amazing in a similar role. Destroying the lives of two children through wicked hallucinations of a groundskeeper animus, or else trying to save them from incestuous possession --either way she was invited, hired for the job; she was assigned the position and expected to take full charge. DEVIL is different; if those two weird kids in INNOCENTS grew up to be blonde Satanists, stalking their ample mansion grounds like Warhol superstars able to turn doves into lizards, then Kerr's meddling would just seem petty and aggravating but still it would be nowhere near as depressingy mundane as in EYE. In INNOCENTS, the three of them--or four with the maid--are so cut off from the rest of the world, we sympathize with how lack of connection to the social order can allow things to spin way way out of control.

The animus-incubus-like Peter Quint was the corrupting voluptuary shadow to Kerr's 'proud, white governess, driving her like a flaming hearse into the heart of their young charge's budding darkness. In EYE there can be no psychosexual kinks because all she wants to do is rescue her full-grown husband and bring him back to her tedious London social orbit. We just want to ride with the twins on their weird evil errands, but instead our camera follows Kerr everywhere, like a priest trying to score a fat donation: she lopes after Niven as he lurches hither and yon, as stricken by his impending doom as a bones-tossed Queequeg. She judges and condemns the wicked, wicked twins as they loiter in black turtlenecks; they drive poor Flora Robson to tears because... oh no, the nightmare--it's all happening again... Sign, Robson's always great, and if we can't run amok with the twins we'd be happy hanging around her for awhile, but noooo, on this endless bucolic French vacation we're stuck with the most boring character in a 60-km radius, and meanwhile all this cool stuff is going on behind our backs. She's like my mom used to be, forcing me to hide all my insidious soul-killing vices from her over the holidays because she doesn't understand why anyone would do anything bad for their health. And then wondering why I need to just sleep the day away and then stay up all night.. where she can't get me. 

Luckily, the weird devil 'becoming'-ness I mentioned earlier is all over EYE: the music played during the local festival sounds eerily similar to Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" --we'd think it a homage or even rip-off had it not come first--and after that just imagine the film as a vision of what ROSEMARY'S BABY 2 might be like if Rosemary had twins and 18 years later she's still in denial about who their father was, chasing after them with mittens and rubbers as they burn churches and slaughter priests.

All that said, if not for Tate's real life fate lending EYE even more of the eerie black magic ballyhoo synchronicity that plagued ROSEMARY and THE EXORCIST, it would be worthless. But in its eerie prescience it's Tate's equivalent to James Dean's Highway Safety promo film. She's the bizarro super sexy Satanic Virgin Mary that would beget Rosemary Woodhouse and Regan MacNeil, as they in turn would beget a period of widespread Ouija abuse. And that black outfit with the hypnotic pendant or whatever is damn sexy, especially with her bright blonde hair as contrast. It shows us just how far ahead of us England was at celebrating the eerie self-confidence of badass babes in black (Mrs. Peel, we're needed) rather than ever trying to shoehorn them into pretty dresses and tie their hair back in a cruel mirthless bun.

Working our way back out of the EYE, it should be clear now that the devil is alive and well in any representation of his evil influence. His name is a kind of interactive tarot deck wherein having the cards read is what kills you. Believing precedes seeing; the moment your focus settles on a shadow, that shadow begins to spring to life, the way William Castle's rumor mill ballyhoo about mysterious accidents on set could be said to have indirectly led to the Manson murders.

But... even then, man oh man -- there any more boring sacrificial murder weapon than a bow and arrow? Do British schoolchildren stay up at night listening to tales of the haunted archer? Nein! It's too impersonal. It lacks the fears we harbor for the knife. And another thing: if there's anything a drunk like me hates, it's a buzzkill. Everyone else wants whatever is going to happen to Niven to happen, including us. We didn't start watching a movie called EYE OF THE DEVIL so we could see Deborah Kerr scold us for our curiosity about such things. We're going to root for Sharon Tate, no matter what, evil or not, because she's gorgeous, young, and confident. And it doesn't take long before we're fully invested in whatever evil is going on, hoping the devil gets the job done before Kerr comes barging in like mom tromping down to the basement to complain about the noise you kids are making and what's that smell? Smoke? Let me see your eyes!

Mom, go back to bed!

If the devil's eye offends thee, Kerr, pluck it from its hottie roost!
It's hard to believe that EYE, this weird little Satan's Little Helper edition of BONJOUR TRISTESSE came out two years before the relatively old school DEVIL RIDE'S OUT (AKA BRIDE OF THE DEVIL), a rousing, full-blooded Hammer film that seems decades younger in spirit if not in form than the new wave-y EYE. There's no occult real life ballyhoo associated with RIDES, and it doesn't needy any, because it has at least two characters with ample wit and sparkle: Charles Gray as Mataxa and Christopher Lee as the Van Helsing / Quatermass / Sherlock Holmes- type Devil hunter. Dennis Wheatley's original novel was set in the South of France, too, I think -- another connection and proof the area's rife with possibility! Is it some secret knowledge that the south of France is devil cult country?).

RIDE understands--the way few devil movies do--that the trick to defeating pure evil is not to confront it with pure good, but with balance, and a sense of humor to help you roll with the absurdity of it all, but not to the point you kill the atmosphere. That would be truly uncharitable.

Onwards then to the other Satanic offering of 1966 -- INCUBUS.

INCUBUS.... the only film ever shot in Esperanto.... the language of the Satanic mass! Invented by the UN coven to bedevil the globe!

Put your feet up
Wondrously pretentious, like a beatnik open mic jazz dance performance if it was shot by Dennis Hopper as an ONIBABA-style psychosexual folk tale for Roger Corman over a single Big Sur weekend, INCBUS would make a good double bill with THE TERROR and/or THE SEVENTH SEAL (as it no doubt intends). The Esperanto angle adds just the right dash of weirdness to the already weird story of a succubus hanging around a healing spring, corrupting infirm male travelers and then hastening their deaths so big daddy Satan can devour their souls. She longs to corrupt a good pure soul instead of just offing the already stained, but her older sister advises against it. Sis is right (I tried it once and look at me - I lost the fight and now am pure as snow.) Then William Shatner shows up, and he's not there for the waters, baby, but to play a variation of Jack Nicholson's lost Napoleonic solider in THE TERROR: sick of war, wandering the Big Sur coast, so noble he can't be beat. Luckily the sisters have a back-up plan when things go south: unleash the Incubus (their brother) on the good soul's equally good (i.e. virginal) sister!

Second thought, scratch the other two, this would actually make a good double bill with the 1961 Liz-and-Dick semi-camp classic, THE SANDPIPER. Both concern a mythic 'impossible love' story between a paragon of virtue and a slutty mankiller who loves lolling in the Big Sur surf and spouting beatnik profundities. One is a studio-backed Vincente Minnelli opus, the other a low-budget concoction from Leslie "Ed Wood on a dime bag of Bergman" Stevens, but both love the Big Sur surf as much as we all do, if we've been there. And if we haven't been, what are we waiting for?

Sure, I know what your saying, man: INCUBUS sounds over-baked... but a succubus feeling sexually violated because Kirk brought her into a church to get out of the sun while she was asleep? Senpreza!  

In conclusion, INCUBUS and EYE OF THE DEVIL share a lot more than their date. They're burdened by similar faults: EYE is way too dry and disdainful of its subject; INCUBUS is way too singleminded and didactic. Yet, they share a strength, too: a unique ambiguity about which 'side' they're on, as films. There's an association of good with boring and safe in both. In ROSEMARY'S BABY and THE EXORCIST, the heroines--Chris (Ellen Burstyn) and Rosemary (Mia Farrow) are hip enough that we don't wince at their every word, and the evil spirits--Pazuzu, Guy--vile enough that we don't want to go party with them. But in both these 1966 films, the 'average' voice, the establishment figure, so to speak, is an unshakable bore. He or She is as a fruit tree ripe for shaking. Every second of screen time they are not being shaken to the core is nigh unbearable to us, the hip post-67 viewer. Maybe it was still dangerous in 1966 to feel ourselves rooting for Tate and Hemmings in EYE. That we feared for their plan to be interrupted because of Kerr's imperialist meddling must have felt transgressive in that more innocent, staid era; and in INCUBUS not to spoil the ending, but did we really need to see some old church / patriarchy win out for 665th time against the feminine darkness? No one goes to a devil movie to root for the very thing they went to the movies to escape from, mom! Satano, liberigu miajn malbonajn junajn knabinojn!

1. William Castle got painful kidney stones right as the film was released - didn't you hear? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Your Clowns Bid You Goodbye: THIS IS THE END, IT'S A DISASTER

A cohesive, 'tight' film, funny even into the maw of Hell, THIS IS THE END (2013) comes long after 12/21/12, late to the apocalypse party, which is of course in character considering the cast of stoner royalty --James Franco and Seth Rogen, still soaring on PINEAPPLE EXPRESS fumes, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Jay Baruchel, Emma Watson, Channing Tatum, and so on--all playing themselves. Unlike 95% of its ilk, END skips the zombies and instead goes full literal-biblical, mixing heavenly ascension, childhood buddy friendships stressed by fame and distance, growth and kindness as essential to survival, an actual bible, LA vs. NYC rivalry, raping demons, ethical dilemmas, and lots of weed. The genius touch is to have them all play themselves (only more so) and they bring a lot of brutal self honesty: Jonah Hill acts like Oscar's A-list sycophant, bandying the word "tight" around and treating resentful New Yorker Jay Baruchel like a special needs child. Jay instead blames his own paralyzing social shyness on LA; Michael Cera snorts coke and bullies groupies in fits of drunken Reptillian overlordsmanship; Daniel McBride ramps up his dirtbag townie craziness; James Franco is a vain but guarded host with a weird bi-curious vibe; Rhianna, Aziz Anzari, and countless others disappear down a giant blast furnace hole in the ground. Being a star guarantees nothing as the flame pit widens and the stars are revealed to be tough and resourceful only via movie magic. While the demons howl outside and devour those unlucky stragglers, these dudes duct tape the cracks in the concrete of Franco's party fortress, pool their booze, and wait for the cable to come back on.

When I was counting days inside the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I used to like to imagine Armageddon as a great excuse to relapse on whiskey, and hoped one day I would get the chance, for whiskey is so so good. But if an alcoholic vows to drink again only when hell froze over, sooner or later he'd drive down into the flames on a stolen Zamboni. That's in the bible... if you know which bible I mean. Still, for some of us, the apocalypse is our last chance to reunite with our deranged lover in all her brown... intoxicating....  proof.

In other words, I would be the first to volunteer to leave the compound and forage, because maybe... maybe somewhere in the hellish mist of the Hollywood Hills... there might be unbroken bottles of sweet sweet booze. That's the comfort for a recovering alcoholic in the apocalypse. No demon can compare with that one, no scare or threat can stay that eternal thirst. Without that carrot lure I can't see ever stirring from my bunker. But I am the alcoholic thing in the black crib with the upside cross baby mobile ROSEMARY'S BABY dashboard. I am the third heat, the eternal thirst carved large as Asmodeus' initials into the EQUINOX oak tree soul. I guess we all have our reasons for wanting this damned parade to finally end, in a blaze of glory. That's one of mine.

But these guys--Seth Rogen, Franco, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, all playing themselves-- are more grounded than I am... which is odd, considering they don't seem to have girlfriends and the first thing they wish for (outside of weed) is a Back Street Boys reunion (nope, nothing gay here). Perhaps that's the secret to success: girls always Yoko up a band sooner or one of you goes to college, or leaves it. I can only imagine what would happen if I never moved to NJ or my buddy's parents didn't get divorced and turn him militant, or if I never became a hippy punk rock boozer. All these things killed our comic book making, super 8mm filming, dungeon and dragons module creating, and selling, and marketing company. Girls were but the coup de grace. 

If I had known nerds would conquer the world, that the "Comic Con" would one day be a prestigious event, I might have never have choked down that first pilfered warm beer at my punk rocker friend's graduation party. I'm funny, too, man. Can't you tell? Why did I give it all up for a life of hipness, boozy abandon, and relationship-attempting? None of the dudes who wind up at Franco's seem to have any long term relationships, or kids, to worry about, and it's damned refreshing. At no point does any character say, "I can't leave without my children!" or "If Kathy's back there, I'm going to get her!" These guys don't give a shit!

The main star of THIS IS THE END though is the raw kinetic energy and flow of weird ideas that doesn't stop, just snakes forward from LAX to chillin' with buds to a party at James Franco's house all the way to....  The big budget CGI in the film isn't used for guns and nonsense. There's only one gun in the whole damned movie. Instead there's great towering demons to rival The Night on Bald Mountain sequence in FANTASIA, and Jonah Hell spewing green bile like a portly homoerotic Linda Blair, but no monster is quite as scary as Emma Watson with an axe. Or more balls-out-gonzo than McBride gone cannibal --the role of the year in the movie of the year.  Like many Piscean artists and writers, I've always admired--from a distance--the McBride type. We Pisces never invite them to parties but they always show up, draining our bar but bringing us awful weird new drugs like angel dust, jimson weed, and crank and introducing us to carnivorous whores. You can't get rid of them, so you may as well enjoy their ferocity, use it before it destroys you. When the world ends and the savage monsters reign, we could use a man like Frank Booth again.

Didn't need no welfare state
I don't want to spoil what may be my favorite movie so far this year, but if you haven't seen it yet, you can still take a page from its bible and start to be nicer to people; even if there is no one true God it couldn't hurt your chances for ascension. I've written extensively on my arcane beliefs regarding soul density, in that the more self-centered and hateful you are, the more dense your soul gets, allowing demons to capture it when you try to ascend; it follows then that the more positive and selfless you are, the lighter and more expanded your soul gets, so demons can't catch it anymore than one can catch smoke in a butterfly net. Hence demons are all about convincing you goodness and lightness is for suckers. It's just a theory, based on a mix of Thaddeus Golas, Egyptian mythology, and David Icke, but it's a solid way to structure it.

If only life were just buds and booze, how simple and joyous! But instead how complicated and downer-ish it is to watch dudes from your crew marry and--unless you join their creepy 'we have kids' cult--never be seen from or heard through again. Maybe that's the real fantasy, that the world will end before maturity's inevitable bro-pocalypse wipes out your network. I hear it's just like falling asleep. Push... push... and then, I hear, lots of worry about the right schools. Dragged to recitals... pretending to give a shit about Little League. Oh the smell. Pass. I'll stay awake.

And that brings me to the stifled world of the couple's brunch where--if they had girlfriends with bourgeois hipster tastes--the dudes in END would be going on Sunday afternoon (after a nice early bedtime) instead of to Franco's on Saturday night (or if I was there and it was the 90s, both). I'm of course referring to the 2012 'couples' comedy IT'S A DISASTER.

David Cross is the stranger being vetted by his internet-met steady Julia Stiles' posse. He moseys around the nice house, drinks some Scotch with the boys, hears how they got problems of their own, blah blah. Suddenly, a neighbor comes in decked out in a hazmat suit. A dirty bomb has gone off downtown, poison gasses everywhere. Commence duct taping! And then the couple who are always super late try to come in, coughing and hacking and begging to be let it in. But the duct tape is on. What do you do?

Damn right you don't.

That kind of satiric moral querying is welcome when the less humanist decision is pre-empted, and the swinger couple (Rachel Boston and Kevin Brennan) slipping a subtle menage a trois come-on to Cross are hilarious; America Ferrara mixing all the drugs in the house together to create some homemade ecstasy--determined to get super high to face the end--she is my hero. While her beau seems to think ranting about conspiracies will turn the deadly real situation abstract enough to deal with, i.e. what you can deconstruct can't kill you, she's doing the right thing, the thing the old black jazz pianist on the cruise ship or Woody Harrelson does in the movie 2012, get lit bright as a Lincoln Center Xmas Tree.

Overall it's some good ensemble work, giving off the impression these people all know each other and respect one another's comedic rhythms, and if it all seems over before there's any special effects fire and brimstone to run up the tab, well, it makes up with in the kind of inner-hell only the relationship-anchored truly know.

So what, in the end, is the right scenario for you? A lot of us were hoping the world would end last December 21st, so we could skip that much-needed root canal, or get out from under our credit card debt. Now here it is a year later and we know we're saddled with seemingly immortal life. So pick your poison and live to die another day: going out with the bros is of course the more fun option than meeting the new girl's posse at a petit-bourgeois couples brunch, because the deeper you look the more you see how hard it is to grow when you can just blame your significant other for holding you back.

Unfortunately real personal growth only seems to come with pain, fear, and trauma. With the boys up in the Hills of THIS IS THE END, though, there's no one else to blame, no one to take the bottle out of one's hands and wag her finger, and so, convexly, no escape from the awfulness of one's own true self and one's own addictions. If that's not a reason to relapse I don't know what is, 'hic'.

Oh how time flies / with crystal clear eyes

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Make up Your Mind Control: 33.3 Ways to Read EYES WIDE SHUT

"In regards to the title of this film, Eyes Wide Shut is said to be a code phrase used by members of high society that translates roughly into --- you have not seen any of my misdeeds, because your eyes are wide shut. This allows such people to run amok above and beyond all laws, and without the threat of ever being caught. We see this happen time and time again in our lives, where if one of us broke the law, we would be dealt with in a prompt manner. However, we see on the news and read in the newspapers and news magazines, where globalist figures are constantly walking away from serious crimes without so much as a slap on the wrist. - The Kentroversy Papers 
"At the opening party at Victor Ziegler’s house, Alice Harford meets up with and dances with a Hungarian man. The name of this character is Sandor Szavost. This character shares his name with the creator of the Church of Satan, Anton Sandor LaVey. This would be an accurate analogy, as members of the global elite are all dedicated to either Lucifer or Satan. Their religion has them believe that both Lucifer and Satan are good, and the God of the Christians has forsaken these so-called fallen angels, and is therefore, an enemy God. This type of thinking is extremely twisted, and represents what some have called a Satanic Reversal --- evil is good, lies are truth, death is life, and darkness is light." --The Kentroversy Papers
"It may also be significant that the film's director Stanley Kubrick died suddenly. Mozart, a mason, died soon after revealing masonic mysteries in his opera, The Magic Flute. Author Stephen Knight, whose book, Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1975) revealed Victorian London's Whitechapel Murders as the work of ritual masonic killers, also died mysteriously. And William Morgan, author of Freemasonry Exposed (1836) was kidnapped and allegedly murdered by masons. -- Uri Dowbenko (Steamshovel Press) 
"During his dark night of the soul, Dr. Bill travels through the seamy underworld of his disturbed psyche, searching for sexual release, haunted by some insatiable hunger driving him toward unknown ends, along the way encountering a woman he hardly knows, who swears she's madly in love with him. Add to this collection an HIV positive prostitute, as well as the daughter of the aforementioned costume shop owner--who's apparently being pimped out by papa--and what we have is a trinity of lost souls, caught up in the grinding wheels of a powerful machine that eats people up, then spits them out in tiny, fragmented pieces. All of these woman could easily be Monarch victims, and even if they aren't, each is a prisoner of a system of control prevalent in our society; a system which exists on many levels, and in all strata of society, both seen and unseen."--The Konformist
"According to "Treee," a young Las Vegas woman who claims to have contacts inside the secretive club [The Bohemian Grove], a ritual sacrifice of Mary Magdalene takes place Tuesday July 21; and the ritual sacrifice of Jesus Christ takes place Wednesday, July 22. A human body or effigy is burned in front of an large owl symbolizing Moloch, the pagan Canaanite God...
If having our world leaders belong to a satanic cult weren't bad enough, the Las Vegas woman says the Illuminati are actually an alien reptilian species that occupies human bodies and feeds off our energy....
She says: This reptilian species is called "Sangerians;" they are a "fourth dimension race" and make up 3% of the world's population. She claims to have met "more than one, more than once." They have three-hearts, shift shapes, are cold blooded, but are developing human feelings from devouring human flesh and blood. -- Henry Makow
"The reptilian-illuminati hybrids are obsessed with sexual aggression and domination, which is evidenced by their sex magic rituals. Humans are routinely taken and programmed to serve them as familiars and sex slaves; more evidence of their desire to control and "own" others. 
Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut is probably an accurate representation of what takes place in one of these rituals. He was certainly involved with some of their circles and must have been exposed to things like this on more than a few occasions.

As a side note, he was apparently killed because he refused to cut a scene which contained subliminal triggers that were intended to break the mind-control programs of the people in the audience. Following his death, the scene was cut and never made it to the final film." -Carleee (Prison Planet Forum)

And so it goes, ever deeper and more perverse... I was going to just keep quoting for this whole post, let the paranoia mine its own irony, but the sinking feeling in my poor stomach was too much. Because, you see, I am easily traumatized, and this shit gets disturbing... Trauma-based conditioning? Yeech!

I believe the above craziness is true without necessarily being real. Keeping my sanity and peace of mind requires me to dismiss most of it as collective subconscious complexes, but the way my lower chakras spin like frightened tops when reading it means there's more going on than just schizophrenic hallucinating.

On the other hand, just because it gets me so worked up and upset it slips my sanity from its moorings, a horrible feeling of sinking helplessness overwhelming me, doesn't mean it's 'true' - it just means whatever it is, or isn't, it is certainly 'myth' in the most vivid of senses. Myth being stories that line up with archetypal forces in the psyche with the precision of an overhead mylar slide atop another, so that fiction feels realer than truth, and truth suddenly seems open to interpretation. No single event is ever just one thing, RASHOMON-style!

So how can a memory of Satanic abuse recovered in hypnosis be one and not the other, you ask, real but not true, or vice versa? Pay attention to my ambiguous wording. There will be a quiz. In fact this is it:


33.3.. Answer the following hypothesis / questions in 1-2 paragraphs, w/set-up + concluding sentence

HYPOTHESIS: You drop a jam jar on the linoleum floor of your kitchen. It breaks. Jam flies all over the floor. You sweep up the glass, scrub the floor but the jam is still there. You wind up cleaning the whole house, scrubbing top to bottom.

The jam, though hazier, is still there floating like a ghost imprint over the sparkling floor.

QUESTION: Is the jam 'really' there?

ANSWER: The ghost jam 'vision' is an ephemeral after-image, fluttering its Rorschach butterfly way across the linoleum lining of the subject's subconscious' ceiling. The ceiling of the (subconscious) basement is the same as the conscious (kitchen) floor. The jam was spilled on the floor but also in the mind that saw the spill, therefore leaked to the floor of the basement subconscious. The jam was therefore spilled on the subconscious ceiling as well as consciousness' floor. 

But the error is in the idea that the 'spill' created the spot on the subconscious ceiling, rather than the image of the splotch on the ceiling manifesting through a moment's kitchen conscious clumsiness (the unconscious firing a distracting volley at the right time to manifest the moment's clumsiness that creates it). The conscious floor spill is only a reflection made to order. Something 'below' compelled the above 'accident' to manifest.

The only jam that 'is' is the jam unseen. The 'there' in the 'real' physical stain of the kitchen is a projection. The truth is the act of the spill. And no amount of cleaning can undo the act.

It has always been spilling, Mr. Torrance.

You're the only jam in town.
We can apply this same answer to our tendency to believe in Satanic conspiracies. The 'recovered memories' of drugged ritual abuse are like the ghost jam, or the tell-tale heart, pointing to a zone that horror authors have been parking in for centuries, but which Freud and Jung never compared enough notes to find on the map --the collective subconscious. Freud had his personal subconscious (the repository of forbidden libidinal desires and traumatic memories) and Jung had his collective unconscious (connected to all living things and all ancestors outside and beyond linear time and space, dreams assuming the same mythic archetypal recurring patterns; the descendent of a viking is compelled to sail the oceans the same way a seed finds itself, without trying, to become a fully grown tree).

Because its pattern seemed to validate (or at least parallel) mysticism, astrology, numerology, tarot, Freud didn't approve of the collective unconscious, and Jung didn't go in for the sordid limits of the personal subconscious being the be-all and end all. Neither thought there could be a collective subconscious. Why would there be? How could there be a mass repository for all the dark repressed Oedipal fantasies of the individual, all coalesced into a collective projected non-space/time bound parallel 'real' - where one might see people they know, from the neighborhood, dressed in robes and doing very dirty incestuous things? And then those same people would see you on the street the next day but pretend not to have met you in that mystic ceremony, because to admit you were there breaks the code, or maybe you had a mask on in their version the way they had one on in yours. And anyway, it was just a dream, right?

 Kids though, have a weird subconscious that can't easily distinguish the collective unconscious / dream from reality--too much of the 'adult' is still unformed-- hence, under hypnosis, a full litany of the collective subconscious' atrocities, neighborhood-wide, comes out. The hazy nebula of adult sexuality and the primal scene floats over the paradigm of childhood, so that these giants looming over you at the breakfast table take on grotesque, totemic significance. No longer your parents, friends and neighbors, in dreams they presume the phantom proportions of graven image fertility deities. These images are then locked away in the basement until the hypnotist, rummaging around down there like a greedy Pawn Star, digs up some juicy tribal masks and thinks surely these must be repressed memories rather than repressed fantasies. Once they've gathered enough dust, is there even a difference?

I believe all paranormal recollections under hypnosis tend to be true but not real at least not in the limited way we currently define reality. I believe in a collective subconscious, which as far as I know, makes me a whole new kind of Freud/Jung paradigm. I believe there is a fourth libidinal third eye dream dimension, a crawlspace between pre-genital sexual impulse repression and collective Jungian myth, and it's there these 'ceremonies' occur. They're one chakra up from dreams/memories of trying to find a bathroom and winding up knee-deep in overflow from some crowded public restroom, before waking up from full-to-bursting bladder (the echoes of that early potty training anxiety, that 'holding it in' won't work once we're asleep) and one chakra down from actual crushes on babysitters or pop idols.

I am learning how to be a good adept in navigating this fourth dimension; does that just mean I sleep a lot? To me it's like the collective multiverse is a phone book of infinite thickness and our world at this moment in time is one page but sometimes other worlds find their way in, laying atop or below us like layers of a Photoshop file. Most of the time it's all pretty copacetic -- the personal subconscious is a vile basement of repressed and banned emotions and thoughts, but at least it's our own basement -- no one else sees it. The collective unconscious is more about symbols, sages, shadows and initiations, the shared myths and codes, the father who's gone on ahead in the No Country for Old Men darkness.

But the collective subconscious is completely different, as you might imagine:  personal basement tunneling into other basements in the neighborhood- meaning ogres from other people's repressed personal dark desires can crawl through your neighbor's cracks and come lumbering up the stairs to abduct you while your dreaming psyche while you sleep. The recovered memories of Satanic rituals in hypnotized children or victims of ritual abuse are recollected via hypnosis through through the third eye, the same eye we dream with, but the mind cannot distinguish between the real and the vividly imagined and neither can the analyst. Maybe we don't remember our dreams for the same reason we repress painful memories, and we need to externalize this mechanism, hence the idea of pervasive CIA mind control experiments as being responsible for our amnesia. It's not that I don't believe such experiments happened, they are on record, it's just that I believe the results were too uneven to count as a success so they gave it up. I could be wrong, but what's the point of being right? I can't do anything about it. And it makes my skin crawl. In fact it makes me so upset I have to question its validity just to not succumb to heartbreak and panic attack.

The conspiracy theory behind MK Ultra-Illuminati started long before Kubrick, the CIA, the Masons, or the Annunaki. And it reached a 20th century full flower in the Satanic panic of the early 1980s, where, like we did back in Salem, we ignored lack of physical evidence and let a bunch of disoriented children to incriminate their parents, nannies, teachers, daycare workers, and neighbors via their memories of witchy ritual. Until the time it became obvious that there was no logical way some of this stuff could have actually happened, the fear and mob mentality and (my guess) deep-seated sexual repression all cauldroned up to activate the collective subconscious. After all, these kids (in both Salem and the 80's) had no visible marks or scars and--according to their hypnotic regression testimony--they'd had limbs removed, given birth to hundreds of tiny babies, swallowed serpents, grown wings, and spent a longer time in the coven then they'd been alive, and so forth:
Recovered memories of early sexual trauma, satanic ritual reconstructions, and the development of multiple personalities satisfy the wish of both patient and therapist to understand a bewildering array of symptoms that plead cautious study. Until the 1970s, multiple personalities were considered extremely rare. Although almost entirely absent from the European and Japanese literature, more cases of multiple personality have been described in the past five years than collectively in the past hundreds of years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has not found one single case of satanic cult ritual burial remains, although tens of thousands of individuals every year are purported to have been victims. - JAMA (1995 abstract, Making Monsters: False Memory, Psychotherapy and Sexual Hysteria)
My theory is that the hypnotists and children were getting at a truth but it was a truth unrelated to any physical reality. It was a truth related to the subconscious of a developing (pre-empathic) child's mind, where everything dirty and only half-understood from adult coded conversations and stray X-rated imagery is translated into ornate fantasies of dominance and subjugation built up larger and more terrifyingly bizarre with every session. Some of the less grisly of these reports of abuse resembled my own prepubescent fantasies in the early 70s. I remember them well for they caused me no end of torture, it being years before I'd have my first orgasm (thanks to my own irrational fear via Judy Blume books). These fantasies involved girls from my first grade-class and some of the cast of CHARLIE'S ANGELS, but were focused on spanking and leashes and nudity and humiliations. Details of anything further were scrambled. But maybe there's times all America's most twisted suppressed dark desires from childhood are loosened from the individual psyche and start floating around in the ether, ready to be received like radio stations direct through the subconscious of hypnosis patients into the headline-grabbing hypnotist's tape recorder. Eventually most of us develop compassion and empathy and stop torturing insects and start helping our fellow man and woman rather than dreaming of owning them as naked slaves, but those dark twisted infantile pre-ejaculatory pre-empathic sex fantasies remain... in the basement... forever....

I didn't really understand it until I read Patrick Harpur's Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld which points out the science vs. religion vs. occult arguments are all failing to encompass the way our perceptions themselves shape the perceived:
As with all anomalous entities, the very act of observing the particles disturbs them. Observer and observed, subject and object, cannot finally be distinguished. Particles whose existence is predicted obligingly turn up. If we didn't know better, we might almost say that they had been imagined into existence. The so-called New Physicists smelled a rat long ago. They began to compare the whole enterprise to oriental religion or to suspect that its reality is primarily metaphorical, not literal and factual. This is not to say that daimons cannot manifest concretely, as we have seen. In fact, the smaller they are, the more powerful they can be, viz. the atom bomb. (more)

Harpur also points out the similarity of Satanic child abduction to the indigenous tribal initiation practices through the centuries, practices we would consider barbaric and illegal today. But these ancient tribes understood the importance of trauma in enabling the symbolic death of the child and his rebirth as an adult (as in hazing or military indoctrination). Note the astonishing similarities in the tribal ceremonies Harpur describes below and the recovered memories of children that led to the Satanic panic (as well as the Salem trials):
"They are snatched from the safety of their homes in the dead of night by tall entities with extraordinary faces --slit mouths and noses, large eyes, for example -- and carried off to a dark place, sometimes narrow and subterranean like a grave, where they are left for days at a time. Deprived of food, exhausted, they are periodically visited by the entities, who torture them, slashing their penises and scarring their faces. At the same time they are given amazing knowledge --secrets they must not reveal -- before being returned to their villages in a blaze of lights where their families no longer recognize them. (231)
Harpur writes that the children kind of know what's going on -- that this is all an initiation -- but are still terrified beyond all measure, not only of death but of the suspicion that their parents and relatives have been transformed into demons:  "The children themselves are painted to look like ghosts... for their former childish selves have to die through the initiation before they can be reborn into new adult selves." (231)

It would explain a lot if we took this into account alongside the sole non-PG remnant of the tribal initiation rite in our modern age--the losing of one's virginity -- to explain the sordid sexual nature of the Satanic panic and mind control sex slave EYES WIDE SHUT mythos.

It might seem like I'm saying this stuff doesn't exist.  The tribal initiation, the paranoid schizophrenic fantasy, the Salem Sabbath, and the the Illuminati mind control conspiracy are, in my proposed theory, all part of the same collective subconscious. Please understand that at the same time I don't think it's 'bunk' or 'made up' entirely. There is a vast wilderness beyond what our ego and mainstream liner science allows as 'reality' (a term the ego doesn't even like to examine, as like HAL 9000, it refuses to see itself as it truly is --an illusory construct).  If you saw the screen you're reading this on 'as it really is' for example, solid matter would just be low frequency light-energy emanating from closely interwoven buzzing atoms. And that's no way to go through life. Our ego is our blinders that lets us avoid distraction from all the pretty sparks, but we shouldn't kid ourselves which side of the blinders holds the 'hallucination'.

Seeing ROOM 237 last week (review here) is what set me off on this tangent. If you see that film you naturally have to see THE SHINING right afterwards, and then keep going, applying the paranoid deconstructions from 237 to Kubrick's other films. But I warn you, keep out of EYES WIDE SHUT with your ray of paranoid layer uncovering! Just stay out! A few luridly detailed 'recovered memories' of trauma-based ritual programming and--whether they're true or just paranoid fantasies-- you might be wishing you could put those blinders back on and get back to your relatively Edenic pasture.

I don't know why I'm so shocked by all that SRA (Satanic Ritual Abduction) theory I've been reading. Reproduction is a nasty brutish business, even without the Illuminati stealing all the hot women, and the idea that mind control frequencies in TV broadcasts turn girls super slutty if you give the right code word ("Tiffany's! Cartier!") is the kind of unlaid juvenile fantasy that perhaps leads to latent guilt once you're old enough to be their father.

Such stuff, I'm sure, has happened in some horrid flea pit of reality here or there over the centuries, and it might be a comfort to the broke, lazy slob in his easy chair, seething with resentment that his wife isn't a Victoria's Secret model, to imagine he may yet stumble on a magic book of code that will tell him three easy steps how to make one his slave. Me, I poison myself with straight white male liberal hatred against my darker self until I feel literally sick but it doesn't do a bit of good. Women don't think misandry is sexy, and no matter how cleanly feminist I think I am, I know there's another layer of self-awareness under that wherein I realize maybe it's all an act, dating back to my virgin middle school days, wherein I deludedly believed my sensitive new age guy routine would enable me to get girls into bed rather than just have them label me probably gay and just a friend. I didn't want to understand the truth, for the truth is vile, as any pack animal mating ritual seen on TV evinces. Failure after failure with girls while I was trying to be a saint made my soul begin to itch for the balls to let Mr. Hyde free. By the time I unearthed that layer and was able to lay foundation for a deeper level of sensitive self-awareness and wise up to my six foot-deep playa tricks ("the best agent is the one who doesn't even know he's an agent," said Bill's insectoid typewriter), the girl I was trying to woo was off having children with a stable husband. Always just a beat too late, Erich.

Naturally I think she did so just to spite me. And that kind of solipsistic paranoia seems to me at the heart of some of this Satanic recall. An unresolved Elektra complexes + bi-polar tendencies and/or schizophrenic delusion = a terrible mix. Just go read a ton of stuff on the Monarch MK-Ultra conspiracies out there and then watch TV, any TV show or movie, and you can feel the truth of it. You can feel yourself starting to crazy --it's like it's tuned to the frequency that jars your mental fault lines and creates tremors. Synchronicity and random coincidence coalesce in odd ways so that you know longer wonder whether you're 'awakened' or delusional, for you at last know that by the time you realize which is which, you're wrong. "Snap."

For example, as I'm writing this, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is on TCM in the background: an audience of power elite have assembled to watch a demonstration: an automaton girl is standing before a series of mirrors (which I've just learned they use in Monarch mind control programming), singing that she's under a spell and delivering an almost exact description of sexually subjugating mind control techniques (including having the demonstration occur before an assembled audience, which mirrors our standard dreams of being exposed naked at a school exam). Coincidence?

Maybe nyoets for if there was a blueprint for mind control, it would work towards reproducing the iconography of normal subconscious dreaming, allowing the programmers tap into the control state, programming their automaton women, the "standard pleasure model" ala BLADE RUNNER, DR. GOLDFOOT, etc. (see CinemArchetype #16 - the Automaton) to fall in love with whatever billionaire diplomat is breezing through town for a weekend and/or kill them.

I don't believe this was what CHITTY was trying to achieve (then again, Walt Disney was a 33-degree Mason) but it shows you that once you let this paranoid stuff into your mind, it mutates and transforms even dishwater dull children's movies into rabbit holes of horrifyingly vast circumference.

Staged (with audience) Programming (note raised hands), from top: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 
Clockwork Orange, Manchurian Candidate

And it's a rabbit hole we're hardwired as children to be attracted to... scared to go in, yet unable to look away, dragged down into it by the gravity of our pelvic chakra. Part of this is our secret masochistic projection as per Freud's "a child is being beaten" rubric or modern thriller cinema's latent obsession with sexual abuse and abducted children: the proxy agony of the hypothetical abductee is mixed with the proxy agony of the parent screaming in the parking lot for their missing child. The rationale for drinking and moping over the missing or dead child's photo or old home videos (as Cruise himself does in several films, including Spielberg's MINORITY REPORT) equates approximately with the recurring mental image of Kidman being ravished by the naval officer in EYES --an image to something which her character admits up front is only a fantasy. And yet, even knowing it's a fantasy doesn't help it allay its function as a trigger for paroxysms of masochistic acting-out. This mental picture Cruise's doctor holds onto so perversely would make even Josef Von Sternberg go "whoa, bro. Get a grip."

The naval officer theme is no accident, either, appearing as it does in the dream 'cover memory' in ROSEMARY'S BABY and in the process equating the ocean with the military industrial complex; the devil and the deep blue sea; the dream captain, the "master" of the oceanic subconscious; the animus imp authority figure; the Sea Wolf. Cruise's doctor might explore the chthonic feminine depth via physical exams and so forth, but always with a glum matron present, always with sterile gloves. The navy man goes in deep because he is master of the ocean! He needs no matron present (except naked, in the shadows, chanting); his lust is equated with the father, the non du pere (the military requires discipline).

Row, Row, Row! (from top: Eyes Wide Shut, Rosemary's Baby - dream sequences)

True or not, imagining all the hotties in the world are mind-controlled sex zombie toys for the rich and powerful serves as an ingeniously masochistic tool to explain why they are so unavailable to you, the average schmuck on the street who falls to pieces when one walks by, but never grasps fully the extent to which every other guy does too, making her life a constant series of unpleasant male harassments. Maybe your wife is ugly because you're good and true! Be grateful--no one wants to steal her --if she was hot, you'd get surly and antisocial as everywhere you go, metaphorically and literally, men want to steal her. Enjoy your sole dominion, you don't have to spend your life fending off aggressive rogue male interlopers like, say, a bull sea lion.

For these and other reasons it makes no difference if this paranoid vision is real or just the subconscious id's favorite childhood bondage scenario remembered as real through hypnosis. In other words, even if true it is still a paranoid fantasy!

As per Lacan (as analyzed by Zizek):
"Even if what a jealous husband claims about his wife (that she sleeps around with other men) is all true, his jealousy is still pathological. Along the same lines, one could say that, even if most of the Nazi claims about the Jews were true (they exploit Germans, they seduce German girls), their anti-Semitism would still be (and was) pathological - because it represses the true reason the Nazis needed anti-Semitism in order to sustain their ideological position. So, in the case of anti-Semitism, knowledge about what the Jews "really are" is a fake, irrelevant, while the only knowledge at the place of truth is the knowledge about why a Nazi needs a figure of the Jew to sustain his ideological edifice." (Looking Awry, p. 71)
Translated to the Illuminati codexing of EYES WIDE SHUT, the only truth is that we need to project our latent masochistic perversity onto shadowy authority figures who practice lewd sociopathic rites what we won't even allow ourselves to fantasize about (The "Jewish Conspiracy" running along the same line--as per the casting of Sidney Pollack as the loathsome, loaded Jewish illuminati pater horribilis). If these projections turn out to be real it is only because these dark fantasies tap so exactly into our latent Oedipal frustrations that they structure the fantasmatic dimension of our social order. In other words, if the rich and shadowy act out the role of our primal father it's only because our collectively repressed fantasies and desires have to be put somewhere. They take the job as if political office. At the same time, they serve a valuable function, and are in turn are denied the fruits of that function (like Moses shut out of Canaan or the Wayne shut out at the end of The Searchers) - they are denied the illusion that the expression of these lurid acts brings some kind of secret libidinal enjoyment denied the common man. They bring only emptiness of the worst kind - the horror of having no libidinal id fantasy to sustain them. Their personal subconscious is an empty, barren basement.

If we could prove these evil secret networks did exist outside of our paranoia, with names named and figures arrested and under-duress confessions taken down by sweaty monks in judges robes, secret mass infant skeleton burial pits, et al it would merely be a hum-drum scandal. A secret society that's no longer secret is just another dumb 'club'--and the worlds of paranoid schizophrenia and acute narcissism would be without their dark support structures, their dark lord center. If you have friends with these conditions (as I do) maybe you have heard them talk about ex-boyfriends breaking into their apartments and moving objects around and planting cameras and microphones the size of pinheads inside their TVs or radios (or teeth). They can sound very very sane and convincing, these friends, and you may even believe them, for a few minutes anyway, but eventually you need to get away from them, to roll your eyes at their lunacy (when they're not looking) for your own sanity. Because in the end, even if these things are really happening to them, you're better off not believing it. This is not the same as denying its possible truth, for the more we try to scoff at or downgrade these experiences the more we drift into the role of spokesperson for scientific rationalist dogma. We have to realize that, the more we believe them, the truer their story becomes and the more in danger we are of having people move stuff around in our own apartments (for now they know we know about them).

Missing the Orgy

Part of the paranoia of all this, which I really resonate with, is the feeling of being left out of life's grand bacchanal.  Somewhere, somehow we know we've missed or are missing the orgy--life at its fullest and most rewarding --the decadence we're denied and so demonize. It's going on right now, somewhere, and we're not invited!

I remember the brutal (even-for-Syracuse) winter night 1989 when I was with my then-gorgeous girlfriend, being super sick with the flu, sleeping over at her little one-bedroom apartment (she lived alone, so went over there to convalesce). A fine arts major, she was working on a painting in the living room; I was right down the small hallway in her bedroom, with the door slightly open. All windows shut, of course. As I lay there in my delirium I began to realize I could hear conspiratorial voices: my girlfriend and some sneering man were laughing and talking about me in the living room, both keeping their voice low but barely hiding their contempt for me. Delirious with fever, I forced myself out of bed and staggered down the hall into the other room to confront her, but she was alone. focused on her painting, not even on the phone, not even the stereo on. Then I would go back to bed and once again begin to hear them, and to 'know' deep in my gut that the guy was there. It took me only a few seconds to search the closets and under the one bed, so I knew, consciously, I was just delirious, but it didn't help. I would 'feel' deep in my heart that this guy was hiding under the bed. I looked under and checked--nothing. So I became sure he was in the closet. I checked. Nothing. I checked under the bed again. I was sure he was there. Then I heard his voice in the other room again, laughing under his breath, with my girlfriend once more, about me. And so it went...

It didn't matter I found no man (the apartment was very small and easily searched; no windows were open - it was below zero and snowed-in outside), I knew he was there. I was ready to start a massive fight with her over it; I was sure he, or they, were hiding, mocking me, from every shadow. The moment I closed the door I heard my girlfriend begin to laugh quietly and him whispering. I whipped open the door, nothing, over and over. Even knowing I was just having feverish delusions didn't help allay the actual hallucination of their voices.

Luckily, years of LSD and mushroom use had prepared me to doubt my own senses automatically or lord knows what an ass I would have made of myself. I mean, more than usual.

But when I later saw RAGING BULL later that same year I knew why Jake was so psychotically suspicious of his wife: head trauma from all those punches!

Then I learned of a condition of chronic alcoholism called 'alcoholic hallucinosis" -- the voices are always talking about us, mocking and laughing, but never addressing us directly.

We can see the end result of this paranoid trauma fantasy in regards to the SRA issue via one good samaritan named Richard McCaslin, who "planned a heavily armed assault on the exclusive (and alleged site of sadistic Illuminati-reptilian Satanic abuses and human sacrifices) Bohemian Grove men's club for more than a year," believing "it would take something dramatic" to draw attention to human sacrifices he feared were being held there":
In a jailhouse interview Monday night, the well-spoken, lucid and clean-shaven man said he "wanted to make a point" and was prepared to kill people at the Monte Rio resort if necessary. 
McCaslin said he thinks he is sane. 
"They might beg to differ," he said with a laugh, pointing his thumb behind him into the mental health ward. --- The Press Democrat (1-22-02)
Was Kubrick, the filmmaker version of McCaslin, confused by the mix of suppressed subconscious fantasizing, exclusion anxiety, and "somewhere a child is being sacrificed" or "Somewhere my love lies sleeping (with a male chorus)" neurosis?

OR was Kubrick initiated into the weird world of mind control and sex ritual due to his being hired to fake the moon landings - thus giving him an 'in'? Did this dark secret prove such a burden to him, not being able to tell anyone, that he finally snapped and made this film, mirroring Bill's late inning confession to Alice? And that's why they killed him, the way they did Mozart over THE MAGIC FLUE? Or did Kubrick just read a lot about the subject in those 'recalled repressed childhood Satanic abuse trauma' and MK-ULTRA conspiracy books and eventually it warped his mind, so that he became a recluse who only shot on closed sets and was afraid 'they' were moving his stuff around while he was asleep, and planting tiny microphones in his teeth?

OR is EYES all just an isolated out-of-touch overly-intellectual neurotic's conception of how rich oversexed people behave at parties? In other words, was Kubrick himself a victim of paranoia and delusion spurred on by libidinal repression, or an 'actual' Illuminati tourist?

The case of McCaslin should illustrate by now that there is no real difference.

Part 33.3: Antahkarana Kadabra!

The weird irrational behavior of the two models in the opening party, for example, can be explained through the maze of the mind control theory, as they want to take him "over the rainbow," presumably a well-known code for the world that is shown to subjects of the practice, leaving them a way to explain all the bizarre things that seem to happening to them, THE WIZARD OF OZ being one of the source texts for this kind of conditioning:
"The Rainbow--with its seven colors has long had an occult significance of being a great spiritual hypnotic device. Constance Cumbey, in her book The Hidden Dangers of the Rainbow, which exposes the New Age Occult Movement, correctly writes, "The Rainbow (also called the Antahkarana [left] or Rainbow Bridge) (...) is used as a hypnotic device (p.261). 
"The Supreme Council of the 33rd" of Freemasonry has used the rainbow on the cover of their magazine. In a book teaching Druidism (as in Illuminati Druidism), The 21 Lessons of Meryln, the Rainbow is described as "A true sign of exists in both worlds at once!" Elvira Gulch is a woman who owns 1/2 of the county where Dorothy lives in Kansas. She is shown later in the Land of Oz transformed as a witch.
Many of the Illuminati elite are rich and lead double lives. People who meet them at a ritual will see the dark side of these rich people. At the rituals, people are tranced from drugs, chanting, and mind control; they are "over the rainbow." - Fort Refuge
On the other hand, the two girls may be there to just set up the future problem between Bill and Alice, whose mutual attractiveness has surely caught them the attention of interested parties before, but like the single night of misadventure that opens A CLOCKWORK ORANGE and subsequently comes back in karmic haunting, their marriage seems to begin at this party. (No one from Alex's violent misdeeds prior to the home invasion night gets their own karmic revenge, for example, though there are presumably many.)

The figure who separates Bill and Alice originally, Nick Nightingale, has a name that symbolizes sleep (we always fall asleep alone no matter who is in our bed), and immediately after Bill is called away, Alice is hit on by her animus-representation, the Anton La Vey, and soon thereafter Bill gets drawn into a menage a trois any man would melt in his bones for, maybe to the point of skeeved panic.

Now, in my experience, any good looking young couple is going to want to mingle and flirt and bask in the adoration of others at a party, and then they go home together and no harm done. What, are they supposed to just canoodle all night? Why even go to the party if not to strut? So why are they so cowed and confused by this attention they're receiving? Why does Alice seem to change into a different person, very coy, tranced out, and strange, the minute Anton approaches? Why are these girls so bizarre? Is that illuminated star by the door some psychic trigger to release their inhibitions, or is this just what really really good expensive champagne does?

In the end there's a weird symbiosis between the masked orgy Bill crashes and Alice's dream and the idea that Alice is actually the girl who dies (or 'has her brains fucked out' to use Sidney Pollack's vile terminology), begging the question: what is worse, a sex-saturated dream where you lose control and are violated every which way but which you are enjoying (she's the center of attention -- she 'belongs' there) or a sexual reality in which you are out of your depth and know it?

As someone whose had a panic attack after being hit on by two spooky hot models at a 2006 Halloween party, I no longer envy and hate Dr. Bill the way I did when I first saw the film in 1999. I hadn't read Lacan then, and couldn't stand the fact that Bill's uncertain fog lets these two hotties slip away, or that he even got them in the first place, or was so easily picked up the West Village streetwalker. I mean this isn't Atlantic City! But now I'm beaten down, broken on the wheel of time, like a scarecrow. If I had another encounter with those two spooky models I would still run away but wouldn't hate myself so much later. Why? Because now I've read up on EYES WIDE conspiracy mind control theorems!

Here's a detail I remember about those two girls who tried to pick me up but gave me a whopping panic attack instead (and this after I 'tested' my psychic powers by requesting in my deep meditation to pick up not one but two girls for a menage a trois that night!)-- the shorter one was dressed as a dominatrix, the other wore a black bikini, had a perfect body, AND REPTILE EYES, though they were presumably contacts for her 'costume.' OR we were meant to assume so, just as we are meant to assume that all of the masks at the orgy in EYES hide human faces. Are reptile contact lenses on Halloween the perfect cover, allowing reptilian-human hybrids to show their real selves?

Now that we're talking about it, I'm remembering a run in or two with another pair of spooky girls, hippie chicks (and one guy) up in Syracuse in 1987. They were gorgeous and way too sexually open for my (in hindsight) prudish tastes, to the point I found myself backing up away from them and was not sure why, as I was hardly a virgin, or sober. I can barely remember what any of these two sets of girls looks like now, except that they were very sexy, and seemed possessed with eerie calm. If I did hook up with either set, would I even be alive today? And are all my subsequent peccadilloes just my long night of the soul trying to get revenge on womankind for making me feel all itchy and strange for my chickening out of these encounters? Were these girls even human? Was their whole mission just to seduce men and steal their DNA, and/or leave us with a lifetime of sexual anxiety that they could siphon off with their orgone harvesting matrixes?

My roommate Eric did sleep with one of those hippie chicks and was super weirded out afterwards. He told me that something about her vagina didn't look right, though he couldn't explain exactly what was so wrong about it....then again he's not a writer. One of them came onto me at an outdoor concert while I was tweaking out on way too much LSD and my dog acted all afraid of her and her beauty carved into me like talons; I could feel the emanating waves of open sexuality calling to me but I could see my mortal death as well. I heard myself muttering an incoherent apology and felt my legs carrying me away even as a part of me tried to take up her offer.

Plus, Bill getting called away before he can go 'over the rainbow' to deal with the OD seems to be implying those two girls meant shooting him up as well as whatever sexual stuff... and he may have wound up as comatose as she is. Even metaphorically it means he is spared the problems that plague a man beset upon by two hot women, a kind of all-encompassing panic-inducing mix of dread and desire that confound his ability to walk or think clearly (the awkward nervous banalities of their conversation reflects this kind of flushed disorientation). It is like a drug in and of itself, draining normal humdrum reality, the way, for example the music dies down and changes and the rest of the world becomes a blur when Maria and Tony's first spot one another in WEST SIDE STORY.

What's in that champagne?

Another way I can and have read EYES is as a metaphor for addiction and recovery. The name Dr. Bill is even a hybrid of Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson, the founders of AA. And that 'program' as they call it can get very cult-like, despite the founders' best attempts. The drug downstairs at the party is champagne but they all act like they're on heavy duty opiates, or maybe expensive champagne is just so expensively good it acts as a moral inhibition quasher.

Even so, I've never seen anyone act as bizarrely as they do at that EYES opening party, except at gatherings of sexy friends where everyone was drunk and super high on ecstasy and/or roofies (that they took intentionally and at proper dosage). Did someone tell Kubrick that people at parties talk super close (because of loud music) and act weird on ecstasy, so this is what he was going for? Maybe he should have actually gone to a few parties. That's the problem with all these cultish mind control readings: maybe they're true but their behavior is also very close to the ideas of what a person who has already missed all the orgies would imagine orgies are like, someone like a doctor, who always has to keep his mind relatively clear in case there's an emergency call.

To get back to Lacan, there doesn't even need to be an orgy going on to feel you're missing the orgy. But miss it too much and you might come crashing in armed to the teeth like our poor friend McCaslin, shocked to fine an empty grove instead of the full-swing Sodom that was causing so much unbearable Freudian anxiety!

Awake, sleeper, from the dream of Cruiselessness

But, even if that's what he desires to depict, Kubrick messes up again because upstairs the comatose hooker Mandy looks nowhere near pale or blue enough to be believably OD-ed. Her skin glows. Bill does a good job of 'reaching' her through her blank eyes in a way that might mirror deprogramming, though: "Mandy, Mandy, are you in there. Can you hear me? Move your head if you can hear me..." Shining a light in her eye, you can feel almost what it's like to be lying down hearing him far above you as you die, and maybe that is a parallel with Scientology's work with addicts, but when he says, "you can't keep doing this... you're gonna need some rehab" it's a joke. How does he know? She could easily be just dozing off from too much of that roofie champagne. Probably she won't need rehab for the very reason that her tolerance is way way down otherwise she wouldn't have passed out so early in the evening. Maybe she got the good stuff at this party and it's usually cut with B-12 so she overdid it and passed out for a hot second. She should just tone it down, stay the hell away from Ziegler and has super-potent supply. He's like that producer whose underage girlfriends keep OD-ing in BOOGIE NIGHTS. Ding!

The next scene, their post-party clinch to "Baby did a bad bad thing" by Chris Isaak, seems a little shady, too.. The joint rolling is cool but then Alice goes back to talking in that close druggy whisper and you're like damn girl, you ever talk normal, like a normal person? Did Stanley make you take roofies all during the shoot? Was Rohypnol your cough drop? Did he stress you guys out so much that roofies were your only escape? I've done my share of Rohypnol and let me tell you, on the right dose you don't pass out (if only you take a half like you're supposed to), rather you float around on winged angel Roombas and talk real close to people, in a whirl of abandonment and inhibition-free jouissance.

But to take the paranoid conspiracy theories quoted at the top to their inevitable conclusion, all sexual openness and ecstasy is a product of hypnotic mind control, or Rohypnol-spiked champagne. And that's sad. I believe there is mind control behind desire, but it's not Satanists or the CIA or the Illuminati at work. Power is enough of an aphrodesiac, they don't need to get all drastic to have chicks swoon for them, No, the culprit behind all this is far more evil than any inner circle of hooded power brokers, and more serpentine and twisted than any 4th dimensional reptoid.

Of course I'm referring to DNA.

Call it alien programming, if you like.... why not? Our DNA after all wouldn't have survived this long had it not liked to inspire us to throw condoms to the wind. The genes that survive through millennia are ruthless in their goals. They can make you think not using condoms just this once is going to make it sexier, and keeping the baby is nobler, and that your lover is "the one" you should raise a family with forever, and ever, and ever. But that's before you climax and plant the seed. Once you've dropped off the goods, that drive now tells you to split. Hahaha that voice wants you to be a tomcat whore; ten minutes ago it was preaching at you like the mufhuggin' Bishop of Canterbury. Now it wants you to move on and inseminate the neighbors.

Or worse, our genes are the result of love and family sure, but also sexual violence, dominance. History's most insatiable rapists (like Genghis Kahn) and the women who can Stockholm syndrome their way into loving them--these are our deep, truest most archaic ancestors. This genetic con job is the oldest trick in the book. We're like the tip of the iceberg thinking it's moving of its own free will when all the while the bulk of it is below the surface being drawn hither and yon on murky currents. Thinking you can really ever know how deep below the waves you go is, in the end, the very definition of 'fucking' madness..

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