Thursday, January 26, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Here are some possible results of the wheel of ridiculousness.
Old people, paper bag, smiling, purgatory, dumpster, monster.
Swollen cheeks, radiator, weird dance, uncomfortable, worms, squish.
Nitrous Oxide, humping, daddy, closet, velvet.
See? It makes perfect sense. This is why he never tells anyone what the hell his movies are supposed to mean. They mean nothing.
Of course there is another possibility. I suppose what really happens is that David Lynch is a genius. A man who thinks of things few of us will ever be able to experience. A man who probably thinks in terms of algebraic functions, or worse---knows what they mean. Yes, that must be it. The very thought that someone out there conceived of a notion where the sounds of a radiator turn into a scary woman dancing on a stage and squishing worms is enough to make my head explode. It makes me want to find a secret door and enter into his head, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH style. Would I find the inner workings of a factory, churning out Kafka ideals and existential thoughts? Or would I find a chaotic palette of random ideas and themes meshed together like one grotesque blob?
Aside from the fact that most of us have no idea what these films mean, we tend to love them regardless. While I admit to needing some time to get warmed up, I believe I have finally reached a point in my life where my acceptance swells with a bright feeling of joy. Yesterday I found myself craving the need to watch MULHOLLAND DRIVE again, and before that I was immersed in the land of DUNE—hypnotized by Kyle MacLachlan’s odd inner monologue about the spice. This is a step above where I was previously. Before this I found that I had to be in a very specific mood in order to even pay attention to a film as surreal and oddly moving as one of Lynch’s. It took me two tries to watch BLUE VELVET and I only watched half of ERASERHEAD before being so strangely disturbed that I had to take a break of 6 months before a second attempt.
This brings me to a question that has been plaguing me for a while now. What is it about David Lynch and his films that often leaves them on lists of disturbed films? Having just watched IRREVERSIBLE, I was combing through lists of what others had deemed the most shocking and disturbing films. I’m always a bit surprised however to find that ERASERHEAD almost always appears somewhere in the top five. Can I really agree that ERASERHEAD is more disturbing than a film like IRREVERSIBLE or even CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST? Strangely, I think I can. After all, I was able to watch CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST in one viewing but ERASERHEAD for whatever reason had me tripped up. If trying to figure out what David Lynch’s films really mean is impossible, then trying to come to a conclusion of what makes them particularly disturbing must be equally hopeless.
As far as I can tell, ERASERHEAD employs the Lynchian method of trapping the viewer inside a tiny bubble of confusion, keeping them cut off from oxygen and only supplying them with strange images and themes. We are kept in the dark, away from civilization and we are instead forced to watch a world in which deformed cackling cow fetuses laugh at men with fuzzy hair and where a line of pencils comes dangerously close to becoming the world’s most beautiful shot in the world. I’m serious. When I think of how uniquely perfect that shot of all the pencils is, I start slowly placing it over CITIZEN KANE inside my head. Pencils. Pencils!!!
When I’m watching ERASERHEAD I feel like I’m trapped in the bowels of a nightmare. I get worried that if I watch it for too long my head will be trapped inside of that world and that I’ll develop an eraserhead too.
It surely is one of those nightmares that you can’t wake up from. Sure, no one gets raped-- but cow fetuses get stabbed and weird shit happens. Like really weird shit. ERASERHEAD with all of its oddities then is something of a mind fuck and is a film that impairs some portion of your daily thought processes. It is perhaps one of the most disturbing films that I’ve ever seen. It’s unexplainable aura of dread and its nightmarish landscape of industrial waste is in fact something that sticks with its viewer until long after they watch it. Even still to this day, when I lay on my bed and hear those sizzling obscenities emanating from the radiator, I envision—hell.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
If there is one thing I’ve grown tired of lately, it’s the fan base of everyone’s favorite horror icon, the zombie. Since my horror craze started a bit later in my life, I was late at grasping the concept that at some point in time zombies were not annoying– they were terrifying. How was I suppose to know that before zombies became memorabilia for teenage horror fans, they were vehicles of social commentary? Who would have told me that once, long ago, zombies were not punch lines but actual walking corpses that managed to chill the blood of anyone watching? Luckily it doesn’t take a whole lot to learn these startling facts. A copy of Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, or even Fulci’s ZOMBI 2 is enough to help you understand that zombies had a history and a life before they were downgraded to a joke.
One would think that being a modern day zombie hater, would mean that by default, I would hate the grandaddy of all zombie comedies–RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Don’t worry, I thought it too. I expected to roll my eyes at the joking and glorifying of the zombie race but instead, I grew interested. In the short time span that I’ve held RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD in my hands I have watched it about 3 times. Not because I was instantly taken with it, but because I respected it and wanted to understand why it didn’t fall victim to my automatic hate of zombies.
As far as I can tell, the main reason that RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD does not fall prey to its expected outcome is for the same reason I came to like it—it has respect. It’s quite easy to determine that the makers of the film have an appreciation and a respect for zombies that seems missed by most modern filmmakers today. Perhaps the most obvious way it does this is by keeping the zombies scary. There are moments in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD that have me wincing with semi-embarrassed fear. My favorite being when the paramedics turn on the headlights to find an eerily motionless horde of zombies starring back at them.
While I may have been dubious of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD’S appeal at first, I have eventually come to realize its greatness. Yes, Trash may dance naked in a graveyard,