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Men Women and Children

This ensemble film follows the interrelated lives of a set of high school students and their parents in the context of twenty-first century connectedness that paradoxically has resulted in a profound disconnect for them all. Jennifer Garner plays a paranoid mother obsessed with controlling and filtering her daughter’s online activities. The daughter, Kaitlyn Dever, strikes up a friendship-cum-romance with Ansel Elgort, a sensitive, gloomy boy who quits the school football team after realizing that sports are meaningless. Meanwhile Elgort’s gruff football enthusiast father, played by Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris, attempts to cope with his wife’s abandonment of the family. Norris thinks he may have found a new love with Judy Greer, whose trampy daughter, played by Olivia Crocicchia, aspires to become an actress and promotes herself online with risqué photographs. Adam Sandler, meanwhile, adds another “serious” role to his résumé as a dull accountant whose marriage to Rosemarie DeWitt has lost its magic, with both seeking sexual satisfaction on an extramarital basis.

On the whole, Men, Women and Children makes for an engrossing and mildly artsy Hollywood social commentary, but some threads of the story are definitely more rewarding than others. The insights about the debilitating effects of online pornography are welcome, and the portions of the film concerning young lovers Dever and Elgort are touching and nicely played; but the story about the straying spouses takes Men, Women and Children into regions of moral repugnancy too extreme to qualify as entertainment – a circumstance that militates against what otherwise might have been this critic’s unmitigated recommendation. The film does, however, have much to say about the consequences of living in a deracinated, nihilistic, high-tech society centered on empty civic nationalism and in which “football served as a common language for which they [i.e., father and son] had no substitute.”

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Men, Women and Children is:

6. Anti-Christian. The actions of Jesus Christ mean “absolutely nothing”.

5. State-skeptical. Garner’s surveillance of her daughter’s devices, while attacking the “helicopter parent” phenomenon as a sort of irrational paranoia, also serves as an allegory about the post-9/11 regime of domestic spying as the norm. The flaw in the analogy, of course, is that it suggests domestic surveillance is motivated by a misguided maternal devotion rather than a hostile mania for control.

4. Anti-porn. Sandler’s imagination has been vitiated by the instant gratification of online pornography. His computer, as a result, is also riddled with malware. His son, played by Travis Tope, has been rendered sexually dysfunctional by his own pornography habit. “By age 15,” narrator Emma Thompson informs the viewer, “Chris found it difficult to achieve an erection without viewing a level of deviance that fell well outside societal norms.” Now only the idea of female sexual domination arouses him, and he is incapable of performing with an actual girl. One wonders if Hollywood’s anti-porn stance as articulated in this film and in Don Jon (2013) is motivated by genuine concern for the public health or by worry about online pornography’s competing share of its target audience’s disposable time and income.

3. Slut-ambivalent. Elena Kampouris plays a girl who gets pregnant and has a miscarriage after losing her virginity in a sordid episode in the home of a friend. The audience is invited to hold blonde “bitch” Crocicchia in contempt when she says, “It’s a new era for women, okay? Just because I’m comfortable with my body and enjoy hooking up doesn’t make me a slut.” The film’s anti-slut credentials are, however, undermined by its comparatively casual treatment of marital infidelity.

2. Anti-marriage, pro-miscegenation, and anti-white. Sleazebag Sandler seeks and finds sexual gratification with a prostitute while his shiksa wife, Rosemarie DeWitt, signs up for an account with the Jewish homewrecking site AshleyMadison.com and takes the Allstate congoid, Dennis Haysbert, for her lover. DeWitt is eventually embarrassed to be found out by Sandler when he catches the witch in a bar with still another man, so that the film ostensibly shows that cheating carries risks; but Sandler’s response is tolerance, and his wife evinces embarrassment rather than actual regret. She clearly enjoys what she is doing, and Men, Women and Children makes a great to-do of eroticizing her first encounter with Haysbert. “I’m excited,” she says as she straddles the hulking, gorilla-faced lothario. “I want it […] in my mouth. I want that big penis of yours. I want it. I want your dick. I want you to destroy me with your big fucking cock.” The film, furthermore, could be argued to constitute de facto product placement for AshleyMadison.com’s AIDS-procurement service, suggesting as it does that women of Rosemarie DeWitt’s level of physical attractiveness can actually be met through the site. The viewer is left to assume, too, that, had Sandler’s wife not been caught in her infidelities, she blithely would have continued enjoying her shameless escapades.

1. Luddite. Technology has profoundly complicated the human condition, disrupting male-female relations and isolating individuals in a lonely cacophony. Like the Voyager outer space probe featured more than once in the movie, humanity has now entered treacherous “uncharted territories” thanks to technology.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY-ONE

Electric Boogaloo

Like most men who grew up in the eighties, this writer has a treasure trove of fond memories emblazoned with the immortal Cannon logo. Producers of everything from musicals and dance exploiters like The Apple (1980) and Breakin’ (1984) to science-fiction weirdies like Lifeforce (1985) and the remake Invaders from Mars (1986), the Israeli moviemaking duo of director-visionary-madman Menahem Golan and “shrewd businessman” Yoram Globus is most closely associated with a string of classic over-the-top action movies including Enter the Ninja (1981), Death Wish 3 (1985), American Ninja (1985), The Delta Force (1986), Cobra (1986), and Cyborg (1989). The wild variety of the Cannon output furnishes much of the wonder of this documentary.

Lightning-paced and packed to the gills with interviews with an array of writers, directors, actors, and editors who share with the viewer their first-hand memories of this crazy company, Electric Boogaloo is a feast of film clips, archival footage, and funny anecdotes. At a disastrous preview screening of The Apple, for example, the complimentary soundtracks provided to the audience ended up being angrily thrown and embedded in the screen! Actor Alex Winter describes director Michael Winner as “a pathologically brutal, sadistic, insecure, egotistical character” who delighted in depicting rape, while Sharon Stone “was hated on the set [of King Solomon’s Mines (1985)]. All the South Africans hated her. She took a milk bath [and] they peed in the water.” Meeting with Clyde the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose (1978), Golan is said to have turned to his female head of publicity and asked her, “Would you fuck this monkey?” Cannon staple Charles Bronson, meanwhile, is said to have insisted on being chauffered “about three feet from his dressing room” to the set in his personal Jaguar. “It was more like watching a man golf than act.”

Cannon catapulted to prominence (if not respect) in the industry through its formula of thriftily produced exploitation, outrageous content, and pre-sales chutzpah, the end coming when the company grew too big for its britches and tried to make extravagant special effects blockbusters conceived to rival major studio output but ended up with a list of duds like Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and Masters of the Universe (1987). Responsible for products ranging from turkeys like the midget-in-a-suit chimpanzee film Going Bananas (1987) to the highly regarded Runaway Train (1985), Golan and Globus receive praise and vitriol ranging from actress Martine Beswick’s opinion that they were manipulative, “rotten and horrid”, to director Franco Zeffirelli’s assertion that they were “the best producers I ever worked for.” It is these delicious contradictions of character and clashes of larger-than-life personalities that make the story of Cannon Films such a fascinating ride.

5 stars. Highly recommended. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Electric Boogaloo is:

3. Multiculturalist. Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones recalls with pride how the Breakin’ movies brought the races together where even the United Nations had failed.

2. Zionist, endorsing the official War on Terror narrative. “In a way, [1985’s] Invasion U.S.A. was a very prescient film,” reflects editor Daniel Loewenthal. “We didn’t really think about terrorism, the terrorism was more of an abstract idea.” In fact, Cannon had a very conscious agenda of vilifying Arabs in the American consciousness, as evidenced by the portrayals in The Delta Force. Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films alludes to these unsympathetic representations, but approaches the subject with a sense of humor rather than seriousness. Menahem Golan’s birth name was Menahem Globus (he is Yoram’s cousin), but he changed it to Golan in celebration of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. They are also credited with helping to popularize the Jewish supremacist term of abuse “shiksa” with American audiences in their Elliott Gould vehicle Over the Brooklyn Bridge (1984).

1. Oy vey, scratch that last one – this movie is anti-Semitic! Golan and Globus are repeatedly described in terms that reek of Jewish stereotypes. Producer Pieter Van Brugge says, “There was always that wheeling and dealing and that wheeling and dealing was very much – I mean, they were Israelis, and they were defined by that culture.” Laurene Landon, star of America 3000 (1986), excoriates: “You people have a cash register where your heart should be.” Described as being “very conservative”, both Golan and Globus thought nothing of corrupting American morals with their cultural Marxist depravity, one interviewee summarizing their winning formula as “something minus good taste”. Editor Mark Helfrich recalls of The Last American Virgin (1982), “An abortion is being played with U2 music under it, and you go from a doctor performing an abortion to some guy cutting up pizza. […] That’s insane. That’s just nuts,” he goes on, adding, “For instance, after the abortion Gary brings her a Christmas tree and a bag of oranges. That must have meant something in Israel.”

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Lamb Chop 3

Lamb Chop’s Special Chanukah (1995) ***1/2

This kooky kiddie relic of the pandemic cultural crappiness constituting the 1990s opens with sock-puppeteer Sonia Hurwitz (alias Shari Lewis) doing some last-minute Chanukah shopping in an open air produce market. Brimming with the supremacist ebullience of the season, Hurwitz launches into a song to tell her fellow shoppers how happy she is, dancing and twirling her red coattail like a vampire’s cape now that Chanukah, like some biblical plague, has finally arrived! She bumps into TV has-beens Pat Morita (Happy Days) and Alan Thicke (Growing Pains) and invites them to come to her house for dinner. That means it is up to Hurwitz and Lamb Chop to cook enough latkes (potato pancakes) to accommodate their guests – all while singing up a funky shitstorm about it, of course.

Meanwhile, Hurwitz’s mutant child, buck-toothed miniature pony Charlie Horse, is trying to win a prize by creating the greatest-ever superhero using a computer game. Thicke and Morita have dual roles as two of Charlie’s botched superhero creations, Weapons Man and Super Ninja, who proceed to tear up Hurwitz’s house like a couple of ungrateful goyische kops. Lloyd Bochner also appears as a disembodied flying head in an existential crisis. Camp factor, needless to say, is high.

Nothing captures the spirit of a Jewish holiday like a Jew with her fist stuffed up the ass of a symbol of Christ named after its own dismemberment. Christians, accustomed to celebrating the birth or resurrection of Jesus and seeing Jews constantly depicted as innocent victims in the massive ass media, are generally unaware that the Chosen, in choosing their holy days, prefer to commemorate the slaughter of gentile enemies and their children.

Chanukah, or Hanukkah, or however one attempts to express by means of the English alphabet the phlegm production signifying the name of this eight-day indulgence in ritual self-worship, celebrates the victory of Judah Maccabee, or “Judas Sledgehammer”, who defeated the gentile forces of the Greeks and the Syrians, two peoples against whom – if recent history offers any indication – the Jews still bear a bloodthirsty grudge.

3.5 out of 5 Stars of David. Lock yourself in this laughing-gas chamber and get exterminated with cuteness.

Lamb Chop 2

Shari’s Passover Surprise (1996) ***1/2

Charlie Horse is running for Fifth Grade President at his elementary school, which apparently is so progressive that disheveled Jewish ponies are permitted to enroll alongside human children. Hoping to sway his classmates’ loyalties by means of old country hospitality – and to subject them to weepy tales of Jewish woe to gain sympathy votes – Charlie invites the whole multicultural crew to the Hurwitz home for a Passover Seder. That means lots o’ matzo to make!

Gullible tub Dom DeLuise, tricked into believing himself the recipient of some enviable privilege, is persuaded to play the shabbos goy and cook supper for the bunch, and professes his eagerness to become a Seder “sadist”, while Benson‘s Robert Guillaume is also invited and sings some soulful jive about the plagues visited upon the Egyptians. Rounding out the likable cast of has-beens is Alan Thicke, putting in another brief appearance in the demanding role of himself.

The Seder is a kind of nightmarish house party, with characters crawling around looking for a hidden matzo and Lamb Chop hanging from a chandelier and screaming in vain for help from Shari. This being the 90s, when the children are told the story of the Egyptian captivity, they are told to boo when Pharaoh is mentioned and go “Woo Woo Woo!” like an Arsenio Hall audience whenever Moses gets name-dropped.

Passover occasions the Jews’ deluded gloating over their psychotic god Yahweh’s mass murder of gentile children in Egypt during the period of the Israelites’ supposed enslavement in that land. Notwithstanding the utter lack of archaeological evidence for this, however, Shari’s Passover Surprise goes whole hog and more than once trots out the ludicrous claim that Hebrew wretches were even forced to build the pyramids.

Continuing in the tradition of killing gentile children, Shari’s Passover Surprise cuts loose with a veritable enfilade of politically correct small ordnance, hitting the audience with a cheerful anti-slavery pep talk, multicultural mumbo jumbo, and even an endorsement of bestiality when Charlie Horse determines to ask a black girl out on a date – all designed to murder the mind and squash incipient self-esteem in any white children who may happen to be watching.

There is also a faint echo of Kristallnacht when Charlie Horse and a blond boy are playing catch outside Robert Guillaume’s house and break out one of his windows. The blond boy, naturally being a fink, runs away and leaves the horse to take the whole of the blame. Damn blond kids! It was a perfectly good and wholesomely diverse neighborhood until they moved in!

3.5 out of 5 Stars of David. Press play and get plagued, you hateful goyim!

Lamb Chop 1

“Come on, Bubby, light my fire!”

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AHauntedHouse

To make a comedy that will satisfy its target black audience, experience shows that it helps immensely for certain crucial elements to be firmly in place. Does A Haunted House fulfill these requirements? Serious students of cinema art are encouraged to consult the following checklist of quality standards, not only in judging the movie under consideration, but in all future encounters with the African-American comedy form.

1. Stupid honkies? Check.

2. Honkies with insatiable lust for blacks? Check.

3. Industrial-strength-funk toilet humor? Triple check.

4. Jewish names credited as producers? Check and double check.

Clearly, in renting or (preferably) purchasing the remarkable Michael Tiddes joint/cinematic celebration A Haunted House, the viewer has in hand what promises to be remembered as a timeless classic to rank alongside The Ladies Man and (yes, even) Who’s Your Caddy?.

The flimsy pretense of a plot concerns the haunting of live-in lovers Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) and Kisha (Essence Atkins) and serves to set in motion an unremitting cavalcade of hit-and-miss sight gags and surplus dirty jokes. In its defense, A Haunted House does contain a few genuinely amusing cheap laughs at flatulence, bad breath, body hair, the sight of Marlon Wayans sweatily humping multiple stuffed animals, shitting on his own carpet, and so forth, but the film is only recommended to non-whites or the most contemptible and unsalvageable of white ethnomasochists.

3 stars for the full, screeching, monkey-like intensity of Marlon Wayans’s physiological investment in his part, and Cedric the Entertainer’s earthy turn in a disappointingly small supporting role as a ghetto priest. ICA’s advice: for a funnier, less disgusting movie about spooked blacks bugging their eyes out and acting like utter buffoons, see Mantan Moreland in Lucky Ghost instead.

Lucky Ghost

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that A Haunted House is:

10. Pro-life. “But good thing that clinic was closed,” Kisha’s mother (Robin Thede) says, remembering how she almost aborted her daughter. “Hoo, God is good.”

9. Sexist! Kisha once made a deal with the Devil for a pair of designer shoes.

8. Pro-gay. The ghost has anal sex with Malcolm, and psychic Chip (Nick Swardson) slobbers over the chocolate comic stud and gropes him in every scene in which the two appear together. Kisha experimented with lesbianism in college.

7. Pro-drug. Malcolm and Kisha get high with the ghost (see also no. 4).

6. Anti-gun. Malcolm promises Kisha that no harm will come to her “unless a nigger got a gun – and then you on your own.”

5. Anti-marriage/anti-family. Each couple in the film illustrates the new, childless norm of the West. Dan (David Koechner) becomes hysterical as he remembers how he caught his wife having sex with a mail carrier.

4. Anti-Christian. Father Williams (Cedric the Entertainer) keeps weed in his Bible and cocaine in his crucifix. While possessed, Kisha masturbates with a cross.

3. Racist!/anti-immigration. Mexican housekeeper Rosa (Marlene Forte) is irascible and duplicitous, pretending not to know English when in actuality she speaks it fluently. Kisha, displaying the typical touchiness and quickness to anger of the entitled American negro, suspects Rosa of seducing Malcolm and boils over with rage when Rosa uses the word “negra” (black), with Kisha mistaking it for “nigger”. Further tarnishing the reputation of Hispanics are the revelations that Rosa is running a cocaine ring out of Malcolm’s house and that she is also a murderess and nymphomaniac who has sex on the kitchen table while her employers are away. (Contrarily, if the intention is to portray Mexican women as sexy, sexually available, and proficient in English, then A Haunted House could be interpreted as favoring immigration – at least from the male standpoint – which, considering that one of the screenwriters is named Alvarez, is arguably more probable.)

2. Anti-white. The Caucasians in A Haunted House are awkward, neurotic apes obsessed with stereotypes of blacks. Chip, for instance, assumes that Malcolm plays basketball, while Dan the Security Man (David Koechner) has hardly set foot on the property before he starts blabbing about fried chicken, ribs, hot wings, cornbread, and watermelon. For some reason, he also begs Malcolm for permission to use the word “nigger”. “You can call me a cracker .  . . Let me say it.” Dan’s partner Bob (Dov Zakheim lookalike Dave Sheridan) is brain-damaged, illiterate, and, like Dan, a racist. When the pair first meets Malcolm, Dan asks if the owner is home. “You’re talkin’ to him,” Malcolm answers. “Yeah, right,” Bob objects, clearly disinclined to believe that a black man could be the legitimate owner of such a nice suburban home.

1. Pro-miscegenation (i.e., pro-AIDS). Not only are whites in A Haunted House as dumb as dung; they are also racially suicidal and bent on miscegenation at the cost of every dignity. Sickening prostitutes Alanna Ubach and Andrew Daly play the protagonists’ white friends Jenny and Steve, swingers who constantly try to get Malcolm and Kisha to swap partners. Hoping to entice them, Jenny flashes her breasts and snaps her teeth like an alligator, while enthusiastic cuckold Steve proposes to “double-stuff the Oreo a little bit, huh? Dirty up the white snow . . . black poles, white holes . . .” Finally, the couple settles instead for a “Mandingo party” or black-on-white gangbang with Malcolm’s primitive cousin Ray-Ray (Affion Crockett) and other subhumans assembled to do the job. This scene, which graphically visualizes a bare-bottomed ogre in the process of turd-rodding ecstatically grinning Jenny, is easily the most depressing thing this battle-hardened reviewer has witnessed in some time.

To see that Universal Studios, a brand once known for genre classics like Frankenstein and Jaws, has sunk to distributing biohazardous sludge like this is to realize how close to death this civilization really is. Ubach’s IMDb profile claims that this indeterminate slimewad is “Half Mexican and half Puerto Rican”, but she is no doubt supposed to be portraying a representative Caucasian human female. In any case, this person deserves the scorn of white moviegoers everywhere, who would be entirely justified in boycotting any future productions in which she, Daly, or other perpetrators of this hideous scene participate. Of all of the values, ideals, or lifestyles that Hollywood might spend its time, vast resources, and influence promoting – bravery, devotion, tradition, forbearance, intellect, or self-reliance – screenwriters Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez and their backers instead expect audiences to be entertained by the sight of a white woman rapturous in self-immolation and racial death as congoids line up to use her twat for a toilet. Aesthetic considerations aside, one might think that a basic human concern for the public’s health would prevent these lowlifes from promoting promiscuous sex with blacks, one of the most frequent sources of AIDS. But sex hygiene is so boring and unprogressive, right?

snowflake

Realized through a mixture of live action and computer-generated animation, this Spanish-produced film follows the fortunes of Snowflake, the world’s only albino gorilla, who as a child is taken by force from her parents in Spain’s colony of Equatorial Guinea and sold to a zoologist, who gives Snowflake to his daughter Wendy (Claudia Abate) as a pet. Wendy and Snowflake become bosom companions, but Snowflake’s life is again upturned when Wendy’s father deems her too old and troublesome to be kept as a pet and sends her to live instead in a zoo with other gorillas.

Unfortunately for Snowflake, the papa gorilla is prejudiced, takes an immediate disliking to her, and would rather his two children, Petunia and Elvis, had no association with her. Snowflake is understandably ashamed at being different, and sets out with friendly red panda Jenga to find the Witch of the North (Elsa Pataky), who can turn Snowflake into a normal, black gorilla so she can fit in with her peers. Meanwhile, the evil and superstitious Dr. Archibald Pepper (Pere Ponce) has designs on Snowflake’s heart, not in the emotional sense, but as an ingredient in a potion he hopes will give him eternal life.

Children will enjoy this simple story, the innocent Snowflake being an impossible heroine to dislike. The animation ranges from tolerable to excellent, and the jokes, of the “monkeying around” variety of wordplay, are hit-and-miss; but the film is sufficiently fast-paced to keep both young and old from falling asleep. Voice-over actors in the English-dubbed version include Christopher Lloyd as the goofy Dr. Pepper, David Spade as zen-aspiring red panda Jenga, and Keith David as the father gorilla. Surprisingly, the English version even includes an allusion to David’s role in John Carpenter’s alien invasion classic They Live, when, aping (no pun intended) Roddy Piper’s character in that film, he says, “I do two things: eat bananas and kick butt. Looks like we’re almost out of bananas.”

Jenga sums up the movie’s lesson when he says, “At the end of the day, being yourself always means being a little different.” In addition to the prevailing messages of tolerance and self-esteem, young audiences are also reminded of stranger danger and of the value of family. Mildly gross humor includes nose-picking, with cartoonish violence fairly frequent. Potentially objectionable moments include Dr. Pepper chasing Snowflake with an axe and brandishing a machete as he threatens the beautiful Witch of the North, “You won’t be pretty when I’m done with you.” Mothers may also want to be aware of one borderline raunchy scene in which Jenga, understandably eyeing the Witch’s shapely rump, observes, “Ooh, you know I might be missing out on some stuff with all this purification.”

3 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Snowflake the White Gorilla is:

11. Class-conscious. Dr. Pepper, though wealthy, is a miserly tipper.

10. Media-critical. Media reliability is implicitly questioned when a news broadcast about Snowflake erroneously uses footage of Petunia instead.

9. Pro-police. Cops, after catching Pepper, flash peace signs.

8. Secularist/skeptical. Reason is more valuable than superstition or new age spiritual notions of karma and meditation, Jenga’s jargon stock-in-trade.

7. Animal rights militant. Hunters, ivory collectors, and other victimizers of animals are depicted negatively.

6. Anti-colonial. Just as progressivist wisdom dictates that the Third World must liberate itself from its western masters (even when, as in the case of Equatorial Guinea, this invariably results in terror, tyranny, and a degraded standard of living), it is part of Snowflake’s coming of age that she separates from her adoptive family of humans and self-actualizes among her own kind. (To the extent that the representative of the colonized country is an animal, the film is perhaps unintentionally racist.)

5. Multiculturalist/pro-wigger. Jenga, making the racial subtext of the film explicit, says, “She wants to be black, you moron. It’s actually not uncommon in teenagers.” Snowflake and friends, during the end festivities, do a negroid dance to kiddie hip-hop. Jenga sassily calls Snowflake “girlfriend”.

4. Mildly feminist. Snowflake is tough and adventurous. Wendy’s mother, though the typical homemaker of Franco’s traditionalist Spain, perhaps hints at the advantages of sexual equality and women in the workplace when she observes, “It’s not easy living off of one income.”

3. Arguably irreligious, specifically constituting a coded attack on Catholicism. Dr. Pepper derives his outmoded superstitions from an ancient Latin text full of arcane lore and prescriptions, and his devotions include the lighting of candles on an altar. His beliefs and his yearning for eternal life are psychologically unhealthy “childhood hangups”, the viewer is told. Jenga mocks him and possibly alludes to Jehovah’s Witnesses when he says, “Shouldn’t you be going door to door telling people about your weird obsession?” The Witch of the North, looking into Dr. Pepper’s favorite book and seeing what it has to say on the subject of white gorillas, objects, “Oh, my God, that must be a mistake.” Religion, Snowflake the White Gorilla teaches, must be bent to accord with social progress. Subversively, the Witch is the more likable character.

2. Pro-family. Families, though not perfect, are generally useful and loving units. Wendy, thinking she might die, reflects, “I should have been nicer to my parents.”

1. Pro-miscegenation and anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn). The film ends with a white gorilla/black gorilla kiss. A red panda may also have the hots for a human.

Rock DJ Heidi Hawthorne (Sheri Moon Zombie) launches upon a series of strange and frightening experiences after mysteriously receiving a goth record credited to “The Lords”. But are her ordeals real or just hallucinations? And is the elusive tenant down the hall in apartment 5 just another figment of her imagination? Meanwhile, museum curator Francis Matthias (Bruce Davison) investigates what he believes may be a link between the Lords’ surprising new hit song and the local heritage of sorcery and witch burnings. Could the eccentric old ladies living in Heidi’s building be the remnants of Salem’s seventeenth century coven, and, if so, do they have plans for their young friend?

Rob Zombie’s latest horror opus, The Lords of Salem, is impressive in a number of ways. Ambitious, consistently atmospheric, and occasionally quite unsettling, the film is filled with images that will remain with those who view it. Cinematographer Brandon Trost deserves much of the credit for the veneer, somewhat tenuous, of something approximating class, which keeps the show afloat over the stinking morass of its unsavory obsessions. The special effects and art departments are equally commendable, as are the contributions of musicians Griffin Boice and John 5.

The Lords of Salem does, however, begin to overstay its welcome as it becomes increasingly apparent that the film has little or no purpose apart from cramming as much blasphemous shock value onto the screen as possible while maintaining a stylish pretension to some kind of seriousness. Still, horror fans should find much to enjoy, and may detect and appreciate the writer-director’s indebtedness to genre classics including Black Sunday, Rosemary’s BabyThe Wicker Man, and The Fly. These same fans, unfortunately, may be disappointed to learn that familiar performers like Michael Berryman, Meg Foster, Richard Lynch, Andrew Prine, and Sid Haig are squandered in worthless, unrecognizable cameos.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Lords of Salem is:

9. Media-critical. Pop culture carries the potential for mass hypnosis. Rock in this case is literally “the Devil’s music”.

8. New age. Wicca is “a positive, earth-centered religion”.

7. Multiculturalist/pro-wigger. Heidi sports ratty dreadlocks and gets along swimmingly with her non-white coworkers.

6. Pro-miscegenation. Herman “Whitey” Salvador (Jeff Daniel Phillips) – a white Hispanic, presumably – is something like Heidi’s occasional guyfriend. Matthias is married to a Latina (Maria Conchita Alonso).

5. Anti-family. Matthias, appalled at the thought of changing diapers, has never wanted children. An attendee at a drug rehabilitation support group recalls that his mother was also an addict and responsible for his own drug problem. (see also no. 3)

4. Drug-ambivalent. Hard drugs are a problem from which Heidi is still recovering, but cigarettes and liquor receive a free pass. Mrs. Matthias smokes marijuana.

3. Pro-choice. “Children are a bit of a waste.” Childbirth is more than once depicted horrifically. First a witch licks a newborn infant and spits on it, disgusted by the taste. Later scenes depict a human mother giving birth to inhuman invertebrate offspring. (see also no. 5)

2. Feminist/pro-slut/pro-castration. In the opening scene, a coven of seventeenth century Femen disrobe and disport without shame. “That felt good,” Sonny (Dee Wallace) says after braining Whitey with a pot, thus repurposing traditional women’s domestic wares into the means of gender retribution. Heidi, Zombie’s feminine ideal, is a tattooed eyesore who sleeps bare-bottomed and experiences sexual self-actualization with a goat. Her guyfriend Whitey, a sensitive nurturer, does a weenie dance to the Velvet Underground’s masochistic paean “Venus in Furs”.

1. Anti-Christian. The Lords of Salem is a veritable cavalcade of blasphemous celebration. Images likely to offend religious viewers include monstrous, masturbating clergymen, Christian objects juxtaposed with liquor, and a priest (Julian Acosta) forcing Heidi to give him a blowjob. Church is “slavery”. The Bible is “the Book of Lies”. “Our philosophy,” says rock musician Count Gorgann (Torsten Voges), who no doubt speaks for Zombie himself, “is to expose the lies of the Christian whores and Jesus the true bringer of death.” “God must die. God is the unholy pig,” he adds for those in need of further clarification on his views.

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