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One comment on “Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore

  • williamkenny1812 says:

    A splendid documentary indeed, essential viewing. Henenlotter of course is a class act. A ‘cut’ (heh heh) above, in this age of the bozodoc … when tarantino’s last film was about to be released, it brought on this reverie … Hollywood High (And Low) … ’63 at the motel in Miami. some shady folk putting up the cash … cross paths with Cuban exiles … a few years later, TV is yapping at the heels of bloated cinemascope epics and too many musicals losing money … the technology is getting more lightweight, handheld (the pictures are getting smaller), upstart exploitation is offering something the majors, with all their prestige, won’t touch, and below that, a sub-order of porn and hardcore horror, the sex gore netherworld … ‘Soon every one will be able to star in their own movie’ … some screen test footage of starlet projected onto naked body of starlet, a la ‘Goldfinger’ opening titles … the sexual allure of the big screen, narcissistic ecstasy. It was to be ‘Shampoo’ meets ‘The Trip’ meets ‘Mulholland Drive’, if you will. The stuntman who can’t work sees himself as a cowboy. Ben Johnson. Some strange folk with money attempt to seduce a movie brat director to shoot a film according to their specification. They put money into gore flicks and have a house party with Zapruder on a loop playing … Videodrome type talk about penetration of the mind through the eye, we’re building toward one giant movie – Life Is A Movie, or that’s what we want you to think … they are maybe some gnostic sect that wants to induce a purifying apocalypse of mass violence, or at least sustain the illusion of a hell-like planet of threat and terror … or maybe they do think it is healthy to have the catharsis of seeing psychosis enacted on the screen. There’s a secret film studio. Maybe a lunar landscape is there. The lunar landscape? Disconcertingly vacant, transient locales. Stuntman sees ‘manson’, striking beauty, walk through psychedelic discoteque in black cloak. Tries to chat her up and psyche her out, intrigued when she proves more than a match for him. Mostly impending dread. ‘Manson’ girl like the first punk, in 1967 … 2,000 Maniacs as John And Jackie Go To Texas… fictionalised and time compressed, Cielo Drive and Wonderland ave events merged, maybe … Turtles ‘somewhere friday night’ ambience to late night drives on the sunset strip … Like a Rat Park’ of fulfilled desire, desire is what makes a movie, a movie star, feeding off the ‘want’ of the unwashed … LA hippy culture as ‘delirious fancies such as the madman fashions’ … stuntman not above sticking his nose in the trough … ‘manson’ cypher as Prince Prospero??? The ‘devil’ as a brutal primitive atavism, a force that uses people, words, anything for whatever purpose then discards them. ‘Who we really are, what we worship. I who was, and will be again’. Man as hapless pawn in devil/god games, no one completely bad or good, implicit that some vast entity lurks outside frame, with an agenda of it’s own … Witchey Woman does the Tarot – capsulises whole film – a moment of great flux, many younger forces marshalling their powers, a great empire exhausted and vulnerable – disaster will come before equilibrium is restored … Perverse dynastic power figures who show ‘manson’ up as an amateur … In dreamland, the new heart of Control, Busby Berkley’s ‘Triumph Of The Will’ unspools … no baloney happy ending, no insipid rewrite of history. You read Paul Krassner’s assertion about a stash of H’wood star porno held at The Last House On The Left(wing?)? Stuntman, for all his cowboy code ethics, roped and pulled and branded, compromised into shenanigans. Gets offed in ways I can’t detail here. Ends on a flashback – a BS happy ending – he gets to make some grand noble gesture and walk away with head high, but we know he is doomed (pulp fiction but with a guilt-ridden conscience and anxiety issues), a moebius strip, a moebius sunset strip. A studio security guard mistakes stuntman for the star he doubles for as he passes by ‘no, he doubles for me’ he replies. Jack Nitszche ‘Theme For A Broken Heart’.

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