Thursday, July 30, 2015

I never knew her, but I cannot forget her.

I never knew her, but I cannot forget her, how fate so hard and ungenerous to a gentle life.  You have to keep that feeling-that special feeling-somewhere close to your heart.  You have to remember, too, those that suffer, whether they are besieged from without or they themselves authors of their own torments.  You can remember, you can give forgive, embrace love alongside the highest, and yet accept no excuses.  Let those who have sinned among us answer for eternity, honestly.  Let us all then answer for ourselves, for our lives, speak straightforward, and be taken then straightforward by a higher authority that does not sway or bend.

Futnuckery Dialogues: Zombi 2

New York herein is the province of the mind, the mind of the Italian movie director: bustling with traffic and lined with tall skyscrapers that mimic ideas, constructs.  And yes, Fulci films in New York.  We see our first uberzombie on the boat, which is the Fulcian lead zombie, with head tilted slightly back, haughty, seemingly indestructable.  The uberzombie is a big ole monster that just appears from the hold on the boat like a stray nightmare.

Nameless, nondescript dead wrapped in sheets are shot in the head, a wholesale slaughter that mounts a tally over time as the nameless and nondescript are dispatched one by one, and we are not to see the process but to understand.  Maybe the mad doctor's trepidation is the conscience of Fulci, that maybe he should not do this, should not release his mad vision to the world, because maybe the world is not ready.  Having discovered something, he fights, he dispatches, because the better part of him speaks up.

A word about Ian: he's the foil of the peice, finding out about the madness on the island on his southern sojourn, that too a part of the mind, a hellish subconscious that would torture a sane person, but kept in check by the dispatching bullets of a mad doctor, a doctor filled with worry, listening to the drums beat in the jungle as the dead pile higher and higher.

As Auretta Gay removes her bikini top and Ian, the half-gay Brit smiles, the film takes on an importance, though the boatswain remains ambivalent, as if to say to himself "so what?".  As she straps on scuba gear, running a nylon strap over her thong and strapping it down, the film is then divided into hemispheres, demarcated, ideas matriculate, and we know their lives are all up in the air then, as though having fallen from grace on approach to the island hell.  But she just wanted a half-nude dive, and that much is denied as she finds another zombie, lurking under the water.  The zombie is then assaulted by a curious shark and the poetry of the piece becomes more than just metaphors, but a ballet as green blood courses from the gills of the aquatic beast.

A word about the eye-gag after the nude shower scene: this is Fulci struggling with his audience to be understood, and therein he is perhaps too bold, not as fine in his story points as an Eastwood or a Spielberg.  Nevertheless, the doc's wife is killed through her eyeball(am I saying this right, or just mixing my own metaphors), and the wood shard is broken off inside her head as she falls dead.  Therein is a demented juvenile poetry, a bird-brained Shakespearean motif played to no effect, no notice, by Fulci.

Yes, they take refuge in a church and hurl firebombs at the zombies.  You would think then they would be harassed by burning zombies, which would have been cool from my perspective as an effects-first sort of fellow, but alas no: the burning zombies fall dead.  There are close quarters bites and other nonsensory as the group fights for its life amidst the swarming undead, and the ever-present beating of the drums from the jungle.  I would also say a three-hundread year old corpse couldn't rise as a zombie, and yet Fulci gave us that bend, that it wouldn't have rotted to dust, but would have muscle tissue that could reanimate.  Well.  Okay.  I didn't make the movie.  So ancient sins even come to visit the island hell.

A word about the final shot of the movie: bridge traffic in New York is slow is hell.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Futnuckery Dialogues: The Running Man

Arnold, as the Austrian transplant, works in the Running Man as the cop of the future-the future being a post-Cold War blend of capitalism and communism, a world of two classes: the priveleged and the proles.  Maria Conchita Alonso(ooh baby): the reluctant companion, and we have seen Arnold's film characters often with a reluctant woman.  I think of the fresh-faced Rae Dawn Chong taking up the fight with Arnold in Commando, actually using a rocket launcher to secure the freedom of the protagonist.  This is the Fordian tradition of John Wayne dragging the kicking and screaming Maureen Ohara;  a woman is a prize then worth fighting for, striving for, and she herself remains skeptical of the hero until the later in the work, until the man has proven his virility, his worthiness.  Also Richard Dawson appears herein as game show host and baddie, Killian, perhaps his last film role, and arguably perfect casting.

The baddies are the classical fat opera singer Italian who represents of course, Italy and art, that Arnold and crew must fight art itself, and not in the penultimate moment, but earlier in the piece.  The operatic baddie is armed with electricity, claiming a victim before being dispatched.  There is an Asian baddie called Sub-Zero which could be argued a reference to the rising sun, the national symbology of Japan.  The film veers a left turn on the final obstacle, which is an American portrayed by Jesse Ventura, a patriotic hero faced in a spike-lined arena, like a gladiator, in a match to the death; Arnold's face is superimposed over the patriotic hero's face to enforce the lie of the government/network.  But this is like being raped with broken glass, watching the hero fight the obviously American patriot, and then the great lie, but to make the subtext work, I have to cite Aryan patriotism, which is not apparent in the piece.  So the subtext dies there.

A word about the book by Stephen King/Richard Bachman:  there are two classes in the book, just as in the film.  Games shows are also therein the opiate of the masses, but the game show is less controlled, less Hollywood, and more reality television, which seems prescient for a book from the seventies.  King the lefty brings up all manner of economic concerns without a lot of political subtext, save for hunger, air quality, healthcare.  I'm sure we all remember the birth of the conservation movement in the '70s, and it had an obvious effect on the then-unknown writer.  The conclusion references terrorism, in my mind, and would make an interesting remake if the producers went back to the source material, shying from some broken World War II symbols and making the subtext exclusively American, with a horrifying, bleak ending of Ben Richards flying a jetliner into the giant Games Building.

good afternoon gentleman. all your faulkner is belong to us.

Whilst trolling social media this fine morn, I'm struck by the vividness of a memory.  It was in December 2012, in the shadow of the Mayan End Days, that I discovered the best writings of William Faulkner.  Think of it: newsies were talking up doomsday, which was really just the mathematical ending of the calendar, or the point where the Mayans stopped counting time, which is appropriate as they are no longer an empire.  It's like: "after this point, no one will care about us".  But in this soup of doomsday talk and the Sandy Hook massacre, I took a trip to the library, and as the world looked a dark place, I nursed a tiny light within my head.  This was a thirst for learning, an exploratory thing, for I had heard the name William Faulkner in so many quarters, even from Orpha.  Orhap.  Oharp. 

And behold there was an artesian well.  Within the context of the crackers(poor Southerners, as opposed to the whitey euphemism), I saw a rich palette of humanity, tales of proud lives, prouder deaths, outraged virginity, outraged religious fervor, a study of black versus white that transcends color, creating a hybrid black/white who finds each side of him hates the other.  I saw beautiful technique, from planning and story to the final language, and brother is his final language a rich tapestry, carried so far, to such a far degree, that it seemed at times he was stumping for a different breed of the English language.

Admittedly, I was a less connected person in 2012, though I was appalled by Sandy Hook.  I would go so far to say the sadness did permeate my shell and I was wondering why, but I wondered about so much, much as I do now.  I saw the tears as I crept into my cave to read away the hours.

Pylon stuck with me as a spectacularly planned bit of fiction, and I found myself thinking of it later, even much later, practically composing a book review in my head eighteen months after reading the book, as if it haunted me.  It was a little, base story, but disguised within were larger themes.  The book was called "cubistic" by a famous critic.  This seems to apply, yet does not satisfy me.  WF wrote a tale outside Yoknapatawpha with foils of several real people, with an odious version of a storyteller, which may lead us to think that this is Faulkner looking at Faulkner, and even in that the Faulkner looking at the media as well.  But in base scenes, he approaches a kind of hope, and thats the kind of uplifting that dovetails to his later win of the Nobel Prize, that the story is dualized, at once small in theme and grand, important in the same passages, that the importance of the book is hidden, that it remains humble instead of taking on the self-importance of so many other works.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Mil Lesiones

(note: I got poetic today about drinking mtn dew, which I use as both an occasional treat and to curb blood sugar spikes.  I did this while I should have been doing any number of other things.  My creativity is on an upward trend; will you visit my blog when I'm on the other side of the trend, posting utter crap?)

Mil Lesiones was like Ole Yeller: he came back mean.  He died the death of a thousand cuts, being wounded by tiny insults until finally it was too much and he crawled away to die.  But he came back, just as I threaten a Wallsmart Easter Parable, does Mil Lesiones chainsaw his way through haters. 

From the shadows, a mask that covers a sneer and hard eyes.

I believe if someone slaps you, you punch them twice.  It's retribution over-quantified, a teachable moment for a lesser sort.  A slap on the nose is a lesson most people remember, those learned the hardest, which last the longest.

So there is Mil Lesiones, lurking in the backroom of the hubcap store.  When you walk around the building to check on caps for an Aries K, you'll see his mask in the window, as if a demon had emerged from hell, into the gloom, just to stand and watch you, and maybe you're body temperature drops rapidly in spite of the hot sun beating down on you.  You think durn climate change, as you shudder, but the truth stays with you as you keep an eye on the building, lest the demon should come running.

And there is always the chance of being run down by a demon.

Always.