13 O’Clock Movie Retrospective: Nosferatu the Vampyre

On today’s bloodsucking installment, Tom and Jenny are discussing Werner Hertzog’s 1979 arthouse remake/homage of the 1922 German classic Nosferatu.

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The Goddess’s Top Ten Horror Movies Based on True Stories

Time for more list-based goodness from The Goddess, and I promise I’m not really gonna make this an ongoing thing; these are just easier for me to do when I’m pressed for time, you dig? I thought you could. When things calm down around here I swear I’ll get back to my more in-depth content.

Similar to my last post, where I picked my favorite horror films adapted from novels, this time around I’m picking my ten favorite horror films based on true events. Now, here’s where it gets a tad sticky, so I had to make a few loose rules for myself. What constitutes “true,” after all? There are a shit-ton of movies based on supposed “real-life” haunted house cases, alien abductions, poltergeist infestations, and demon possession, for example; any self-respecting list would include The Amityville Horror, A Haunting In Connecticut, Fire in the Sky, The Mothman Prophecies, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and many, many others. I’m disqualifying those because I don’t think most of them are “true” in the sense that they really happened; in other words, I don’t believe in ghosts or demons, so for me, these movies are not based on reality at all. I’m also avoiding films that were based on novels that were in turn based on true stories (for instance, 2007’s The Girl Next Door, which was based on Jack Ketchum’s fictionalized novel of a true event, doesn’t qualify, and I wrote about it last time anyway). Rule of thumb, the movie can be based on a book, as long as the book is non-fiction. I’m also discounting films that so drastically veered away from the stories that inspired them that they are no longer recognizable as the original event, and ones that were sorta loosely based on a particular person, but didn’t have much else to do with a true account of said person (the villains in both Psycho and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, for example, were inspired by serial killer Ed Gein, but both took so many liberties with the guy’s real biography that it no longer counts as anything but fiction; plus Psycho was based on Robert Bloch’s novel, so). I realize that by their very nature, movies are fictional entities, so there’s a lot of gray area here, and I’m sure I might break a few of my own rules with the movies I picked, but those are my standards and I’ll try to stick to them. I also realize that a few of these aren’t strictly horror films per se, so don’t bust my balls. They’re horror friendly, bitches. So here we go.

Dahmer

10. Dahmer (2002)

I wasn’t expecting much from this one, to be honest, since it came out right around the same time as a bunch of other direct-to-video serial killer flicks that weren’t much shakes, but I have to admit it really surprised me. Jeremy Renner is great in his complex, nuanced portrayal of rapist, murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer; he’s pitiful and vomit-inducing by turns.

FromHell

9. From Hell (2001)

Kind of a cheat, since it’s loosely adapted from Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel, but it’s also based on real theories surrounding the Jack the Ripper case, and I really liked it, so I’m gonna give it a pass. The thing looks great, drenched in gothic atmosphere, and Johnny Depp is his usual rad self as real-life Ripper investigator Frederick Abberline.

Ravenous

8. Ravenous (1999)

This blackly comic horror film, a sadly underrated one, takes aspects of the Donner Party and the case of cannibalistic gold prospector Alfred Packer and mashes them together into a grimly hilarious tale of man-eat-man during the Mexican-American War of the 1840s. Directed by Antonia Bird and featuring great performances from Guy Pearce and Robert Carlyle, this one’s not for all tastes (sorry), but it has a large cult following for a reason, and I thought it was terrific.

SerpentAndTheRainbow

7. The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

This one obviously takes some liberties with the source material to ramp up the horror factor, but it’s rooted enough in non-fiction to qualify for the list. Based on anthropologist Wade Davis’s 1985 book of the same name, in which he described the practices of Haitian Vodou and specifically the case of real-life “zombie” Clairvius Narcisse, the film veers into the supernatural, but retains the scientific trappings of the real events.

InColdBlood

6. In Cold Blood (1967)

Nominated for four Oscars and starring the suspected real-life wife-killer Robert Blake, this one stays pretty faithful to Truman Capote’s classic non-fiction work about the 1959 murders of the Clutter family in Kansas. It’s another film that uses a stark, documentary-style feel to make the horrific crime as chilling as possible, and Blake and Scott Wilson (who portray the killers) are eerily believable.

ShadowOfTheVampire

5. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

A sort-of realistic retelling of the making of the 1921 silent classic Nosferatu, this stylish film (directed by E. Elias Merhige, also responsible for the disturbing 1991 silent film Begotten, which I covered here) uses many techniques from the silent film era to great effectiveness. John Malkovich is fantastic as driven director F.W. Murnau, who will stop at nothing to get his vision on celluloid, and Willem Dafoe turns in a skin-crawling performance as Max Schreck, who may just be a REALLY hardcore method actor or may be an actual vampire. Totally meta and wonderful.

Henry

4. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

Probably one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve ever watched, simply because the crimes are so unflinchingly presented. Michael Rooker is skeezy perfection as real-life drifter and serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, and the scenes of him unemotionally watching videos of his killings with scumbag partner in crime Otis (based on Henry’s real-life sidekick Ottis Toole and played by Tom Towles) are intensely disturbing. One of the ickiest films ever made, but also one of the best.

Zodiac

3. Zodiac (2007)

David Fincher’s chilling thriller is based on the famous series of random murders that took place in the San Francisco area in the 60s and 70s. He chose to focus on the police investigation of the case rather than the killer (which I guess he had to, since Zodiac was never caught, heh heh), but that only serves to make the film even creepier, since the identity and motivations of the murderer remain unknown. The scenes of the actual killings are matter-of-fact and completely horrifying, striking from out of the blue and giving the viewer the visceral feeling that no one is safe, ever. Brrrrr.

DeadRingers

2. Dead Ringers (1988)

I’ve written about this film before, as it’s my favorite of all of Cronenberg’s body-horror epics. As disturbing as this movie is, it’s made even more so by the fact that the creepy Mantle twins were based on real dudes, specifically twin gynecologists Stewart and Cyril Marcus, who practiced together in their New York City clinic and were both found dead in the apartment they shared, presumably from barbiturate withdrawal.

Monster

1. Monster (2003)

A brutal, gritty take on the crimes and trial of female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, this one is a twisted masterpiece, elevated to classic status by Charlize Theron’s unbelievable turn as Aileen. I saw this in the theater, and had to keep reminding myself that Aileen Wuornos was actually dead and not appearing in this movie; Theron embodied the character in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen in another film (except maybe for Martin Landau portraying Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood). A complex film that dares you to sympathize with its protagonist even as you revile her. Astonishing.

And ten more, just for the hell of it:

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Based on a real family of cannibals in 15th-century Scotland, headed by Alexander “Sawney” Bean.

The Elephant Man (1980)
David Lynch’s fictionalized biography of deformed Englishman Joseph Carey Merrick.

Rope (1948)
Based on a 1929 play that was in turn based on the famous 1924 Leopold and Loeb murders.

The Lodger (1944)
Somewhat fictionalized retelling of the Jack the Ripper case, based on a novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes.

Jaws (1975)
Adapted from Peter Benchley’s novel, but inspired by a real 1964 story about fisherman Frank Mundus catching a monster great white shark off the coast of Long Island.

Helter Skelter (1976)
Based on Vincent Bugliosi’s 1974 account of the Charles Manson murders.

The Black Dahlia (2006)
Brian de Palma’s histrionic film was based on the real-life, grisly murder of actress Elizabeth Short in 1947.

Hollywoodland (2006)
More a detective thriller than a horror film, this is a speculative adaptation of the mysteries surrounding the death of Superman actor George Reeves in 1959.

Ed Wood (1994)
Definitely not a horror film, but one of my favorites, this loving film sort-of-accurately eulogizes famed terrible horror and sci-fi film director Edward D. Wood, Jr.

Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Also not a horror film, but a great account of the real 1954 Parker-Holme murder case in New Zealand.

Scary Silents: “The Haunted Castle”

The Goddess is a busy hellspawn, as I’m sure you all know by now. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been running my little cloven hooves off, doing promotional radio shows for The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist (such as here and here), researching and writing an upcoming book I’m collaborating on with parapsychologist Steve Mera about one of his poltergeist cases, formatting and uploading ebook versions of some of my other books (here, here, here, and here), as well as doing my regular full time job and all the other freelance graphic design and club promotion stuff I do. In short, minions, I’m tired, and I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming three-day weekend, over which I have ambitious plans to simply lie around like a slug, eat copious amounts of food that’s bad for me, and occasionally rouse myself, put on pants, and go out to dance and drink myself silly until the wee hours. I’m going for the gusto here, folks.

But I didn’t want to go into the long weekend before posting a little something something on this here blog, and since it’s been a week or two since I did a “Scary Silents,” that seemed the logical choice. However, since it is also Friday and I’m really antsy to get the party started but also kinda bummed out that the air conditioning in the Hellfire home busted last night and won’t be fixed until Thursday (and we live in central Florida, y’all, so this is a horrible tragedy and even though you’d think that I’d be all about the heat, being a minion of hell and all, you’d be WRONG, I’m a motherfuckin’ COLD demon, dammit, so don’t question me), I wanted to choose a silent film that would fulfill the requirements for the series but wouldn’t be too taxing on my overworked and overheated brain. Enter The Haunted Castle.

Released in 1896 (!!!), directed by the über-famous George Méliès, and considered the first horror film ever made (even though it’s more funny than scary), The Haunted Castle (French title Le Manoir du diable, ooh la la) was a massive influence on early horror films, particularly the German expressionist classics and the subsequent Universal films in the 1930’s. Even though audiences of the time had probably seen similar effects performed live on a stage, I’m thinking that seeing the same thing in a moving picture must have blown their minds in an OMG MAGIC TECHNOLOGY kinda way. The fact that the movie is only a little over three minutes long doesn’t lessen its importance or influence, and here I’d like to give a shout-out to the New Zealand Film Archive, which located a copy of this film in 1988 after it had been presumed lost for decades.

The film opens, obviously, on a static set of the cavernous halls of a haunted house. A huge bat comes sailing into the frame and flaps around a bit before poofing into a fabulous caped figure, who has a cool top hat kinda thing and some wicked Peter Pan shoes and a sweet Van Dyke beard. This is Hipster Mephistopheles, bitches. With a wave of his eeeevil hand, he materializes a big-ass cauldron at center stage. Then he produces a wand from somewhere in his dance belt, draws some Satanic-ass shit on the floor, and another poof reveals his sidekick, Imp Boy, who proceeds to stoke the flames under the cauldron, causing smoke to pour out the pot.

Drink me in, sinners.
Drink me in, sinners.

And from the smoke emerges: VOILA! A LADY! She has a flowy white outfit on like a Greek cauldron bitch, and she’s all TA DA, and then Mephy (that’s what I call him, we’re tight) magically edits her to the floor. Then he puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her some shit, and kinda pushes her into the closet so she doesn’t embarrass the guests he has coming over or something. Greek Cauldron Bitch has a tendency to get handsy when she drinks, that’s all I’m saying.

Then he goes to the imp and sorta pets him on the head like he’s a faithful bull terrier, and Mephy’s all DO THAT THING, so then an open book appears in the imp’s hands, and Mephy writes in it. “Dear Diary: Today I made a cauldron and my imp appear in a puff of smoke, and then materialized a Greek goddess out of the cauldron and shoved her ass in a broom closet. LOL. Productive day.”

Then the imp disappears again, because he’s an imp so he has to go chill in another dimension when his services aren’t required, and then Mephy prances a bit and HUZZAH makes the cauldron disappear again. Then he’s like listening for something, and seems to hear what he expected, because he puts his cape back on and disappears. And then, sure enough, two of the three musketeers come sashaying into the castle, pointing around the place and talking between themselves like they’re assessing the property for “Flip This House,” all OOOOH, GIRL, CHECK OUT THAT WAINSCOTING, OOPS, SORRY I BEANED YOU WITH MY BITCHIN’ BELL SLEEVES THERE and then the imp poofs back with a big forked stick and starts poking them in their fey asses. They’re both looking around like WTF but the imp keeps disappearing before the musketeers can see him, so presumably they’re each thinking that the other musketeer has butt-poking feelings for him that he has not revealed until this point. I ONLY LIKE YOU AS A FRIEND, PORTHOS, GOD.

The musketeers quibble and argue and shove each other, and I may be imagining some sexual tension here (BOW CHICKA WOW), until finally one of them is all FUCK THIS SHIT, I’M OUT and the other one’s like GO THEN, YOU ASS-POKING FREAK, THE HELL WITH YOU. And then the remaining musketeer is all OOH, LOOKIT THIS BENCH, IMMA TAKE THIS FANCY SHIT ON ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, and then it disappears because Mephy doesn’t want his furniture turning up on PBS for everyone to gawk at, for heaven’s sake. Musketeer is all K THEN, I’LL JUST PARK MY ASS ON THIS OTHER BENCH OVER HERE but then POOF that one disappears too! Mephy is all about spreading evil through minor inconvenience, you see, all de-apparating the chairs you were just about to sit on. Dick.

Musketeer is all exasperated, but then he turns around and the first bench is back, and he doesn’t even find this particularly strange, he’s just OH THERE YOU ARE, GET READY BENCH, YOU’RE FIXING TO GET GRACED BY ATHOS ASS, and before he sits he points at the bench like NOW DON’T YOU GO ANYWHERE, and it doesn’t go anywhere this time, but just as Athos settles his legging-clad shanks on the bench, a skeleton appears there and he scoots booty right into a bony pelvis. FACE!

'Sup, flesh sack.
‘Sup, flesh sack.

And then, because Athos is clearly a paragon of rationality, he whips his sword out of its scabbard, all IMMA SLICE THAT SKULL LIKE BUTTA, but when he swings the sword, the skeleton turns into the giant bat and flaps at him while he puts his sword back into its sheath all like K, I’M DONE WITH THIS WEIRD ACTION, but then he reconsiders and grabs the bat, and POOF, it’s Mephy again! Athos is all SHIIIIIIIT and backs away, and then Mephy conjures up more smoke in which the imp makes a repeat appearance. And Athos seems like he’s scared, but also kinda like HUH, WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT.

They see me impin', they hatin'.
They see me impin’, they hatin’.

Mephy points the imp to the floor, where he does a kinda tumble and disappears YET AGAIN, in a way that kinda makes it look like an accident. OH, THAT’S RIGHT, I FORGOT I CAN’T TUMBLE THAT WAY, THAT SENDS ME RIGHT TO THE OTHER DIMENSION. DAMN.

And then Athos, looking very put out, attempts to stomp like a manly man away from these devilish shenanigans, but ALAKAZAM! The way out is blocked by four white-clad babes! Instead of being all LLLLLADIES, Athos falls to his knees and begs them not to touch him with their ovary cooties, but they just push into him like an impenetrable wall of vampitude, and Athos JUST CAN’T EVEN and passes out. The ladies, their job done, disappear.

Mephy jumps over the prone Athos and then wafts his hands at the guy, and Athos acts all histrionic like he’s been blinded maybe, and then Mephy reaches into the closet and brings out Greek Cauldron Bitch. Athos is all WELL HELLO THERE and sorta bows to her and takes her hand, then gets down on one knee and kisses the hand, the whole schtick. But as soon as he kisses her hand, ABRACADABRA, she turns into…um…someone else? Another lady in a long white gown and maybe white angel wings, and she seems to be holding a staff. Athos is perturbed about this for some reason, and is all LET’S GO, ANGEL HO and he draws his sword again, but angel-woman raises her staff, and then a bunch more ladies appear beside her. Athos is all UH OH, but then apparently Porthos has recovered from his butthurt because he returns and starts helping his fellow musketeer fight the woman-wall. And I guess they’re supposed to be witches, because a bunch of them have brooms. The witches run around in a circle and then go out the door, but then troop back into the room through another entrance, like some kind of Wiccan conga line. Porthos has had enough and runs from the room and leaps over a railing with a hearty WHEEEEEE while Athos is back there all WTF MAN YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING ME, BROTHERS IN ARMS MY ASS.

Away with your foul womaniness, temptresses! My ass is not yours for the poking!
Away with your foul womaniness, temptresses! My ass is not yours for the poking!

The ladies kinda feint at Athos, and he just doesn’t know what to do, but then the witches kinda circle again and crouch down to the floor and disappear. I feel like Mephy is just messing with the musketeers at this point, and all because Athos and Porthos were considering renovating Mephy’s sweet infernal castle into a charming bed and breakfast. (Lake views, full buffet meals, and just a hint of Stygian atmosphere, all for very reasonable rates.)

Athos searches the ground where the witches disappeared as if to say WELL, I CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT, even though all he’s seen so far in this joint is magical appearances and disappearances of various non-human entities, so at this point you’d think he’d just be going with the flow. Finally he’s like WELL, I’M DONE and makes to leave, but of course Mephy is still there in the doorway and makes laser-finger gestures at Athos while Athos cowers and chews scenery. Then Athos pulls the old HEY, LOOK AT THAT DISTRACTING THING UP THERE and he climbs up on the bench and pulls down a big wooden cross that was conveniently hanging over a doorway. Now, not to judge, Mephy, but why on earth would you decorate your house with crosses when crosses are anathema to a diabolical being such as yourself? Maybe it isn’t Mephy’s castle after all. Maybe he’s just house-sitting for Cotton Mather or something.

Predictably, Athos wields the cross at poor Mephy, Mephy does the old OH WHAT A WORLD, WHO ARE YOU TO DESTROY MY BEAUTIFUL WICKEDNESS routine, and then the movie abruptly stops. Christianity wins, Mephy scampers back to Heck, and Athos buys the haunted castle for a song and razes the whole thing to the ground to build a Super WalMart. The end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of Scary Silents, and I hope you have a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Don’t forget to grill a nice rare steak for the Goddess, and keep it creepy, my friends.

Scary Silents: “Begotten”

begotten

Welcome back to Scary Silents! Even though this series is relatively new, I’m already changing things up a tad, so I hope none of y’all mind. Yes, this is still a silent film I’m discussing, but it isn’t from the sanctioned “silent film era” (hence the reason I also cross-posted it in my “Creepy Scenes” category). It’s a notorious experimental film from 1991 called Begotten, directed by Edmund Elias Merhige, who was also responsible for the fantastic film Shadow of the Vampire (which of course focused on the making of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu). I became intrigued with Begotten because of its persistent appearance on pretty much every “Most Disturbing Films EVAR” list circulating on the internet, so being something of a masochist, I decided to check it out and write down my thoughts for posterity. If you would like to follow along, here is the linky-poo:

The first thing I gotta say is that this certainly does look like a legitimate silent film from the era. It’s filmed in very stark black and white, and the film stock is all grotty and the camera work shaky, so kudos for realism. There is also no sound other than the constant drone of crickets, and the occasional grunt. The first shot is a shack in the woods, and already I’m digging the whole look of the thing; it really conveys that creepy, otherworldly feel I look for in my old silent films. I have a creeping suspicion that the entire production is going to be intensely arty-farty, but I don’t have a huge problem with either arts or farts, so it’s all good.

Inside the shack is a man in an eerie Leatherfacey mask and a white robe. He has blood all down his front and he’s coughing up even more of the stuff as he shakes and twitches, so I’m guessing it isn’t really his day. From the Wikipedia entry, I’m led to understand that this is supposed to be God™, so I’m rolling with it and calling him that. He produces a straight razor and begins to disembowel himself, pretty enthusiastically, I thought. He’s pulling viscera out from between his ribs and just merrily hacking away, chucking organs on the floor all willy nilly and wiping blood on the walls, because fuck it, he’s God™ and he knows he’s not the one who’s gonna have to clean up the place. That’s what worshippers are for. And just as a final dick move, he poops himself a lot (I think; since the movie’s in black and white, poop and goopy organs look the same) and lets it splooge all over his feet and everything. OH MY GOD, GOD™, GET A DIAPER.

I have no bowel control and I must scream.
I have no bowel control and I must scream.

Then, from out of the mess of fabric and innards and fecal matter, a woman’s arm emerges, and the rest of the woman invariably follows. This is Mother Earth, and she’s wearing a black mask over her eyes like it’s Mardi Gras all up in here, and she can’t seem to keep her hands off her perky ta-tas. She wanders around for a bit, her head thrown back. Then, because why not, she begins giving DeadGod™ a handie. He jizzes on her tummy and she rubs it in like Oil of Olay, because the protein in semen is like REALLY good for stretch marks (claim not evaluated by the FDA). She then smooshes her man-battered hand into her impressively furry bush, making sure it gets alllllll up in there so that she may preggify her bad self with DeadGod’s™ SuperSperm™. Is anyone reminded here of The World According to Garp? Just me? Okay, moving on.

We next see a black coffin appearing at various points in an empty field, and then Mother Earth is standing next to the coffin, rubbing her preggo belly. There are some quickly-edited shots of what looks like blood on skin, and I think I saw a fetus hand in there, and then suddenly there’s a fully-grown man lying all bloody on the ground, and what looks like a janky umbilical cord connecting him to Mother Earth. She wanders off and leaves him there, all WELL, YOU’RE ALL GROWN UP NOW SO GO GET A JOB, and he’s all twitching and hyperventilating and looking like a victim of the Mount Vesuvius eruption, and I wonder if he’s gonna have abandonment issues from here on out. WTF MOM, NOT EVEN ONE SIP OF BREAST MILK? Mother Earth is super harsh, you guys.

Well, my work here is done.
Well, my work here is done.
Game of peek-a-boo? Bedtime story? Anything?
Game of peek-a-boo? Bedtime story? Anything?

And then there are a bunch of hooded men shown in shadow, and I guess they’re nomads because they look like they’re all laden down with merchandise from Pier One, and they come across the Son of God, and they’re all like HEY, FREE NAKED DUDE while he writhes around. They scoop him up and tie him with ropes (or maybe this is the umbilical cord, hard to tell) and bring him along on their nomadery, because maybe they’re bored out there wandering in the barren landscape or maybe they’re gonna eat him later, who knows. Son of God (henceforth SOG) doesn’t appear to be having too fun a time, convulsing his limbs and struggling and being all WHERE ARE YOU GUYS TAKING ME, SHIT’S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE and the nomads just drag him around like it ain’t no thang. SOG begins vomiting up organs or something, and the nomads are all FUCK YEAH and start collecting the stuff in their bags, and then, because they apparently can’t wait until he yaks up some more of his insides, they start pulling the goo right out of his midsection while he’s going SO I GUESS YOU GUYS AREN’T GONNA HELP ME THEN and they’re like NOPE, JUST GONNA SWIPE ALL YOUR INNARDS AND THEN PUT YOU IN A SLING AND DRAG YOU UP A CLIFF. THAT’S HOW WE ROLL.

Pictured: Traumatic childhood.
Pictured: Traumatic childhood.

They make a fire and drag him to it, because presumably this is like The Hills Have Eyes and they’re all cannibals too, because they really needed that last little push to cement their dickery. They stab the shit out of him while he writhes and vomits, and the nomads aren’t even fazed, man, they’re like WHATEVER, VOMIT JUST TENDERIZES THE MEAT and then they drag him around some more while a bunch of his meaty bits hang out his mouth, while the sun glares down, impassive.

Then he’s lying on the ground alone, still twitching but now all clean again, so I guess they didn’t barbecue him after all, and Mother Earth comes back and puts a collar on him and starts dragging him around too, because nothing like rubbing salt into the wound, right, MOM? SOG really hasn’t had the most pleasant introduction to the world, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Something something, apron strings, something something.
Something something, apron strings, something something.

The nomads, apparently peeved that someone made off with their toy, begin following, gesturing at her like GET THAT UPPITY WOMAN WHO TOOK OUR FREE NAKED MAN, BUT FIRST LET’S BASH THE MAN’S HEAD IN WITH A STICK WHEEEEE and then it looks like they punch him in the dick too, and then maybe pull it off, but the way the film is shot it’s kinda hard to tell. Sounds like something they would do, though. Fuckin’ nomads.

Hi, we represent humanity, and we're just the worst.
Hi, we represent humanity, and we’re just the worst.

Then they gang rape Mother Earth, because of course they do, all the while beating on her with their sticks and just tearing her all up and jizzing on her by the gallon. This bit was actually kind of upsetting to watch; even though it’s not particularly gory because of the black and white and because it’s so shaky and grainy that it’s hard to tell exactly what’s happening, in a way that makes it worse because you can see enough of what’s going on to imagine the rest. The flashes of them just pounding the shit out of her labia with their big mace-like staffs (not a euphemism) especially had me going:

024e22f1bd600950721a7ae048a06a5b96bcdb00125580220d636f738abb6e6d

Then Mother Earth is lying there, and SOG is kneeling between her legs, so I guess he’s still alive despite the head-bashing, and I’m thinking OH, ARE YOU GONNA RAPE HER TOO? MIGHT AS WELL, EVERYONE ELSE HAD A GO, FUCKING HELL, but I guess he’s just mourning or something. Two nomads come and drag Mother Earth away from him while he’s all WHYYYYYYY.

Therapy. He'll need some.
Therapy. He’ll need some.

And then it looks like they’re nailing her to a rock face while feeling her up some more because they’re just shameless, these nomads. Then they cut her into pieces, so that’s nice. They put the pieces into a big barrel that they’ve evidently brought along for that very purpose, so it’s good to know they were planning ahead, and at least had the wherewithal to stop by Home Depot on the way to the dismembering.

Then there’s a sunrise, and we see SOG still crawling around like a worm in the dirt, and because the nomads are nothing if not thorough, they scoop up SOG again, put him in a sack, and beat the stuffing out of him with a huge clown hammer and poke at him with sticks. It starts to rain, and there’s some waterfall action going on, then the nomads are stabbing and punching all the guts into the ground, because FUCK THOSE GUTS, and I mean, really, this all seems a bit like overkill at this point. Then I guess they’re planting the guts, and the next scene is of plants and flowers blooming. So everything worked out okay in the end, and only three beings had to be raped and eviscerated, but they’re like not even people, they’re just like representations, man, so no big. Circle of life, folks, nothing to see here. Good times.

So what was my final impression? The film is certainly nightmarish, that’s for sure, and seems to spring from some dark, primitive place of savagery miles removed from most people’s day-to-day lives. As a metaphor, it’s pretty brilliant, examining as it does the tortures that the earth and our gods go through to satisfy our human whims (or at least that’s what I understood the film to mean). I didn’t find the film particularly hard to watch, other than the rape scene (because rape scenes always give me the squicks), but that’s mostly because the shots were deliberately grainy and obscured, leaving most of the violence to the imagination. I think the horror comes more from the idea of what’s going on, rather than what the viewer can actually see. It was a strange experience for sure, and the imagery was rather haunting. I might actually give it another watch when I’m not distracted by office noises and having to stop it every few minutes to write this silly crap about it. Heh.

Please stay tuned for more Scary Silents! I will probably go back to the more traditional silent films for the next installment, but I wanted to do this one as an experiment because it was so highly recommended. Keep creepy, my friends, and until next time, Goddess out.