Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception since 2006, or earlater

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer of my Netflix Streaming I: A Psychedelic Odyssey

It's the time of year when people come to me and say "Dude, how can you just sit there watching movies when it's so nice out??" Splayed upon the couch, I retort "duuuude, I'm going to get up any minute." They wait, but I do not. "OK, guess I'll go home," they finally say, "but I need some good Netflix recommendations." To this, I lurch forward in a great beverage-toppling spasm. "Welcome, then," I say, "to part three of a one part series: Summer of my Netflix Streaming."

First Up:  Do you believe in death after life? Well, I have. Buddha on the head of a pin dancing with Jerry Berry.Whatever, man. Roll the clip, Roach.

To remove your anxiety about what to watch in what order and when, I suggest all six of these, in the order listed... all at once. Empty your cue.... empty.... your....cue:


DMT: THE SPIRIT MOLECULE
(2012) Hosted by Joe Rogan

Go Rick Strassman go-ooo--ohm! In case you were born in some inane, counterintuitive dimension where all they keys to enlightenment through brain chemistry have been made into felonies, you should know Dr. Rick Strassman actually got clearance to do DMT studies by the government. The results? Mind-blowing of course, but inconclusive, equally of course. See this and answer the question: is there a difference between hallucination and reality? If what you experience in the DMT-verse feels a hundred times more real than our waking, consensual reality, then doesn't that mean--as quantum physics and bioverse theorists contend--it's realer?

The only answer is.

Even so, enough bad trips happened under the banner Strassman's experiments that he now feels a little guilty for messing in all those minds. So is he a Pandora's box cutter, a modern messiah, or an apex predator Albert Hoffman?  Only the machine elves know for sure, and they only tell the silver spiders that spin together crystal cities out of our universal thought matrix. Heads talking include my boy Daniel Pinchbeck and the 'other'-other McKenna... Dennis; there's lots of groovy Alex Grey art and deep hallucinogen-ready kaleidoscope eyefuls, their labels tampered with by Joe Rogan, narrating while standing in front of a blackboard... for extra validity. (more from Tripumentaries)

See also: Ayuhuasca Vine of the Soul


(2009) Dir. Gasper Noe

Drifting around Tokyo's pinku parlors, orbiting the copulations and floating into light bulbs like Hitchcock's camera might have if it didn't find its way out of the black tunnel connecting the drain with Janet Leigh's pupil in PSYCHO, we never know what the late Oscar's free-floating POV is thinking. We just see what he (or rather his third eye) sees. Drawn to the gravity of the flaming sexual heat bardo, he drifts towards any old giant sun egg in which to be reborn, looking for the white light to absorb him, and finding only the respite of 60 watt bulb lamps left on, then winding up floating off to the ceiling again, the way we used to walk around outside the Dead shows when we didn't have that miracle ticket, looking for that unlocked fence, that lax security guard... that one shot, the ripped condom, the missed pill. Doses... doses. (from: Die Like an Eagle) 




(1940) Start at the 7:32 mark (and avoid the 2000 version)

(From Acid Sound Symphony:) Walt Disney was determined to not just blow minds and thrill art lovers with his 1940 epic animated classical music film FANTASIA, but to bring what critic James Agee referred to as "middlebrow highbrow" culture to an America on the edge of war. It didn't... but yet, when re-released in 1969, it caught on with a new kind of American at the edge of war, the stoned draft dodger. As Wikipedia notes:
Fantasia did not make a profit until its 1969 re-release. By then, Fantasia had become immensely popular among teenagers and college students, some of whom would reportedly take drugs such as marijuana and LSD to "better experience" the film. Disney promoted the film using a psychedelic-styled poster. The re-release was a major success, especially with the psychedelic young adult crowd, many of whom would come lie down in the front row of the theater and experience the film from there.  

 METROPOLIS 
(1927) Dir. Fritz Lang (Giorgio Moroder version - 1984)

With wild color tinting, sci fi sound effects, and Giorgio Moroder's great 80s rock soundtrack (w/ Pat Benatar and Queen among others) comes this FANTASIA style protean music video narrative. I like this version way better than the digitally restored original cut (also on Streaming) that got a theatrical rerlease back in '05, with a new classical score, because, frankly, I think Lang would have roared in approval to see his 1927 sci fi parable turned into a stoner rock musical. The great moments of rock synergy include the workers' FLASHDANCE-style steel mill-style pop anthem, and the upper class brothel debut of the robot Maria, which is given growling rock authority via Bonnie Tyler's "Sweet Jane"-chorded "Here She Comes." If Lang could see the genius in Jess Franco's SUCCUBUS, he could see Moroder's grandiloquent disco cocaine-shiver synth 80s synth grandeur is the perfect fit for his cast's Weimar era's rabid frothing-at-the-mouth acting style and the sped-up herky-jerk of Karl Freund's silent 'crank' camera. If only all silent sci fi films were given such loving attention from synthesizer-twiddling Italian disco composers! You'll be wondering where lurketh thy holy copy of 1980's FLASH GORDON after this, for the two would be a great double bill. Some detractors say the story's harder to follow this way, I say those people are just not high enough, and neither is their stereo volume. 

CHARIOTS OF THE GODS
(1970) based on the book by Erich von Däniken 

The History Channel has been laden now for years with ancient alien-related programming, and Erich von Däniken is there, but so is repetitive narration and whiplash editing and catheter commercials to give you mad panic attacks. But this is the original, the groundbreaker. True or not is irrelevant - one merely looks at the facts - and these wild locations, long since traveled over and over by ancient alien truth seekers; here they're still overgrown, half-forgotten, under-explored, still surrounded by indigenous tribespeople. Shot on 16mm film with that earthy vibe of the day, the few talking heads are translated / dubbed (from German and Russian) giving a nice weird alienation affect. An illuminating highlight: some valuable footage of cargo cults in the Pacific help us understand the root of all of our religious thought. These natives keep watching the skies, praying for the return of the white brothers in their big silver birds and their cans of delicious peaches. Is Christianity really so different?



THE SOURCE FAMILY
(2012) Starring: YaHoWa & The Source Family

At one point does a divinely inspired lysergic-macrobiotic sage remember that, way down deep, he's a lusty huckster?  Yaweh-O or whatever Papa Bear's name is here was a Gilgamesh-esque mountain man messiah who, like the greatest of modern gurus, was able to waken people's kundalini with just a touch or a glance, but he was deluding even himself if he thought he could hang glide. That's why my own spirituality will always stop short of wearing long flowing robes and divesting my worldly possessions to my new family. But that's just me, it's a curse as well as a blessing to be so wary and spiritual at the same time. Watching this crazy documentary and hearing these crazy beautiful starry-eyed people proves to be a solid trip that can tingle your kundalini right there in the room, sparking off your third eye like an Olympic torch. (see also CinemArchetype Senex: The Sage)

And now... two episodes of STAR TREK 
(1968-70)
"This Side of Paradise" (season 1, ep. 25) finds Kirk the only member of the crew not bewitched by space poppies. Everyone who beams down on this certain Edenic planet becomes too happy and content to do anything but loll around in the sun and love one another. Kirk tries to convince them they need goals and challenges to evolve as people, but they're too busy digging the flowers; it's not until he stirs their more violent emotions that they snap out of it.

And though you can argue both sides, which is to the script's credit, it's one of the earliest examples of Kirk seeming a killjoy, especially when Spock gets the closing line: "For the first time in my life, I was happy."

"The Way to Eden" (season 3, ep. 20) finds a group of itinerant space hippies work various scams to convince the Enterprise crew to take them through the forbidden zone to an allegedly pristine planet named Eden. The hippies include Charles Napier on space guitar inviting Spock to sit in and jam with the flower people! ("He is not Herbert! We reach!") Vulcans consider their goal of these groovy brothers to be the highest form of sanity. We reach! But just as the Source Family found disaster following Father Yod to Hawaii in the last film, so this Eden planet carries its own tricky backhand bitch slap for their bucolic naiveté. (Sex, Drugs and Quantum Existentialism: The Acidemic STAR TREK Short Guide)


MICROCOSMOS
(1996) - Starring: insects (bugs)

With all the machine elf aliens dancing and the dangerous space microbes and cosmic mind-altering spores on your mind, let's, as Steve says, get small. Without any music or narration, the film provides the kind of 'close reading' nature's been waiting for all this time, the chance to really show just how bizarre insect interactions are... on a single leaf: Ants milking droplets of water from clingy flea-style bugs, kicking ladybugs off, gently... etc. Their weird 'right under our nose but we never notice' kind of insight is what head trips are, the utterly strange fractal aliveness of our world, what our mind usually screens out, made suddenly front and center. Only as small kids ourselves were we attuned to the crazy scariness and odd joys of the insect community. Well, when you tune into the 'other' realms you get all that kid's eye view back, so let the bug show begin.

On the other hand if this gets too boring or gives you a minor dose of delirium tremens, skip ahead!


(2012) Dir. Don Coscarelli

What if those weird bugs from Microcosmos were also hallucinogens that let their user see through time and space and transmute dimensions? And other bugs were constantly taking over human hosts and killing them while preparing for an sixth-dimensional Lovecraftian tentacle crossover? What? Slow down, man. Think about what you're saying... Then plunge into the coolness. Unlike Gilliam's Loathing, this is truly a film where the weird turn pro.


HENDRIX: HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN'
(2013) Dir Bob Smeaton

There's one thing that never gets old on psychedelics and that's the crunchy delicious sexually far out sounds of Hendrix's guitar. On good psychedelics Hendrix's guitar is a warm, trippy electrical current that zaps your saliva glands like patchouli lemons and makes all other music seem pointless (aside from Ravi Shankar's). Let it take your mind wild places, and wonder what new sounds we missed thanks to the always bad idea of mixing Valium and alcohol.

In fact, I actually tried to go back in time to prevent Hendrix's death, as a kind of Reverse Terminator, but instead just aged into oblivion (see: Hippy in a Hell Basket)

From here of course you can go in for The Other One, the Bob Weir Story (but I never liked Bobby, no offense); or the occasionally not pretentious Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or you could go to bed. I mean, the sun's coming up. Too bad W.C. Fields isn't on here, because what you really need now is Never Give a Sucker an Even Break or International House, Mississippi or The Fatal Glass of Beer

IF AT ANY POINT YOU WIG OUT:

TELETUBBIES

If the walls start closing in, switch to this televisual equivalent of a Wavy Gravy chill-out tent immediately. This is way better than Bruce Dern handing you thorazine or Jack Nicholson and Adam Roarke melting into zombie monsters while trying to stop you from cutting off your own hand with a circular saw. Not that you ever would, because you're not a lightweight like Warren

Coming up Next in the Summer Series: "Post-Giallo Dream Logic"

1 comment:

  1. I've actually seen three of these, which has to be a record for me reading your stuff. I watched the DMT one last year, watched "John Dies at the End," and I own the DVD for "Enter the Void."

    Now I have to go back and catch the rest of these.

    ReplyDelete

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