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I’ve never been much of a U2 fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for the group’s song “Beautiful Day”. Upbeat and uplifting in a generic, innocuous way, the track could hardly have been more perfectly engineered for distracting the public with pleasant reflections during some of the darkest days in the history of the United States. Was this the intention?

Curiously for a single offering such a positive message, the album from which it was lifted, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, was released at the end of October 2000, with E! News announcing the album as a “Halloween offering” for the band’s fans1. In retrospect, there is a creepiness to the music video for “Beautiful Day”, which features the band cavorting and performing at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The video, in addition to showing Bono running about and behaving like a child or a madman, contains a scene in which the group’s luggage is scanned by airport security – did anybody suspect U2 of being terrorists? – and later has them playing a gig on some Persian rugs laid out on a runway. Less than one year later, the unfortunate associations of aircraft, airport security, and the Middle East in conjunction with the stuck traffic and other details referenced in the lyrics would conjure anything but the idea of a “beautiful day” – for most audiences, anyway. The events of September 11th were, of course, highly profitable for many – perhaps even “beautiful”.

bono-u2

Was All That You Can’t Leave Behind designed as a cryptographic soundtrack to 9/11? To ask such a question, of course, sounds foolish, as would any suggestion that Bono or any other members of U2 had anything to do with the terrorism experienced in New York City and Washington, D.C., that day. There are, however, several compelling precedents for an intelligent discussion of popular culture artifacts as possible evidence of cryptically indicated foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the Coup’s Party Music cover depicting the remotely controlled demolition of the World Trade Center being one of the most familiar of these. Are there any circumstances, apart from those listed above, that might lead a person to suspect more than a quasi-synchronicity at work between the perpetrators of 9/11 and All That You Can’t Leave Behind?

The cover of the album itself, also photographed in a terminal of Charles de Gaulle Airport, invites interpretation with its superimposition of the code “J33-3”, a reference to Jeremiah 33:3, which Bono has described as “God’s phone number”2. The biblical passage, which itself refers to mystery, reads, in the New American Standard Bible translation, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In the King James version, it says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”, while the English Standard version renders it more interestingly as, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (italics added). The Darby Bible and the Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh of 1917 also favor the use of the word “hidden” in this passage. Is Bono, who as a young fellow in Ireland belonged to a prayer group called Shalom3, suggesting that something or other has been “hidden” or encrypted in the album’s contents?

bono-bush

The context of the quotation from Jeremiah may be instructive in view of the music’s hypothetically posited relevance to the events of September 11th, which infamously prompted Benjamin Netanyahu to observe that the destruction of the World Trade Center was “very good” for Israel4 and to concede years later, “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.”5 Here is what Jeremiah goes on to say after 33:3.

For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword in the fight with the Babylonians: “They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

“Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.”

bono-star

After the promised revelation of the “hidden things”, the “God of Israel” talks about demolished buildings and war against the enemies of the Jews in connection with the restoration of Israel. A few verses down, Jeremiah even mentions “burnt offerings” and “sacrifices” with reference to Israel’s ascent. For those with an interest in the occult significances of 9/11, the number 333 is also associated in Aleister Crowley’s Thelema system with a destructive force called Choronzon, a “demon of dispersion”, illusion, and hallucination which Aleister Crowley claims to have summoned. This, however, is probably straying too far afield for the purposes of the present essay, possible indications of Crowleyite mysticism at play on 9/11 and Bono’s reputed sartorial dabbling in the Jewish occult notwithstanding (“When he’s going cycling, he likes to dress up as a Hassidic Jew,” the Edge revealed of his bandmate after Bono injured himself in a bicycle accident in 20146).

Returning to “Beautiful Day”, the song informs listeners, “You’re out of luck,” and goes on to intone, “Sky falls, you feel like / It’s a beautiful day.” It goes on, “You’re lovin’ this town / Even if that doesn’t ring true / You’ve been all over / And it’s been all over you” – as, perhaps, material from the combusted skyscrapers would be “all over” the people in the streets of lower Manhattan? Niall Stokes, in his book Into the Heart, notes that Interscope Records executive Jimmy Iovine made a special visit to the Dublin studio where U2 was hard at work on “Beautiful Day” with “co-conspirators” (i.e., producers) Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois. “It wasn’t finished at the time,” Stokes writes, adding that “the lyrics were only half-crafted when Iovine heard the track”7. He goes on to give this interesting account of one member of the production team’s experience of the song:

Daniel Lanois, sitting in the control room also had that [“Beautiful Day”] feeling [expressed by Bono]. “The track at that point was really pumping,” he remembers, “and the mix that we did had the power of shattered metal. You don’t know where it comes from – I think it was a lot of processing. And I had this image of Bono, singing about beauty in the midst of flying pieces of metal and mayhem.”8

bono-eyeWhat “flying pieces of metal and mayhem” have to do with a “beautiful day” is beyond me, but apparently it meant something to U2. Another song on the album is titled “New York”, referencing the target of the attacks explicitly, and name-drops Jews and, in the following line, “political fanatics” – although it’s unclear from the context whether or not the Jews are the fanatics in question. Other lines in “New York”, heard post-9/11, could easily be construed as alluding to the chaos of that day if somebody didn’t know better: “Voices on a cell phone / Voices from home / Voices of the hard sell / Voices down a stairwell / In New York […] You can’t walk around the block / Without a change of clothing / Hot as a hair dryer in your face / Hot as a handbag and a can of mace / New York.”

Other songs on the album, whether intentionally or otherwise, carry similar 9/11 resonances, with imagery evocative of air travel (“Man dreams one day to fly / A man takes a rocket ship into the skies”; “Explain all these controls”; “You’re packing a suitcase”; “you’ve got no destination”; “You make me feel like I can fly / So high, elevation”; “The only baggage you can bring / Is all that you can’t leave behind”; “Who’s to say where the wind will take you”), death and loss (“I wasn’t jumping / For me it was a fall / It’s a long way down to nothing at all”; “They left you with nothing”; “a star that’s dying in the night”; “You lose your balance, lose your wife / In the queue for the lifeboat”; “I’m not afraid to die”), and explosions (“scatter of light”; “fireworks”; “star lit up like a cigar”), and other catastrophes (“All that you wreck / All that you hate”; “I hit an iceberg in my life”). “When I Look at the World”, meanwhile, in lines that could very easily refer to the “Chosen People”, gripes, “I can’t see for the smoke / I think of you and your holy book / When the rest of us choke.” Another of All That You Can’t Leave Behind’s tracks is titled “Kite” and might be of particular interest to those familiar with accusations of esoteric significance to the children’s reading demonstration for President Bush on September 11th. “There’s a kite blowing out of control on a breeze,” the song warns, adding, “I wonder what’s gonna happen to you.”

Notwithstanding the highlighted lyrics, it must be noted that Bono and his bandmates have provided perfectly plausible explanations for the genesis of each of the songs on All That You Can’t Leave Behind – each of which is detailed in Into the Heart. Bono has claimed the death of INXS frontman Michael Hutchence as the inspiration for “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of”9, while “Elevation” purports to convey “a combination of primordial lasciviousness, ecstatic spirituality and soulful need”10 and “Walk On”, according to Bono, was inspired by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese academic and leader of the National League for Democracy11. As for the album’s travel motif, Stokes makes the observation that Bono is “a man who has spent a substantial part of the last 25 years living in hotels.”12 On the origin of “In a Little While”, Stokes offers the following:

Around the turn of the year, Bono had been thinking Millennium thoughts, watching old clips of the Apollo moon landing on TV and experiencing again the sense of awe that he’d felt when he saw those pictures for the first time as a kid, the ecstatic realisation of how tiny and insignificant we are as individuals – and as a race – in the grand scheme of things. It was a mood that fed into “Beautiful Day” with its vision of Bedouin fires, the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and other earthly phenomena, as seen from above, the narrator cocooned in the bosom of a space ship orbiting the globe.13

bono6In addition to the “Bedouin fires” and “oil fields” – clearly references to the Middle East – the line in “Beautiful Day” that goes, “See China right in front of you” is, perhaps, and to force a point, interesting in view of this assertion by geopolitical commentator and former U.S. Treasury official Paul Craig Roberts: “The Western peoples are so dimwitted that they have not yet understood that the ‘war on terror’ is, in fact, a war to create terror that can be exported to Muslim areas of Russia and China in order to destabilize the two countries that serve as a check on Washington’s unilateral, hegemonic power.”14 But, again, such a reading would constitute something of a stretch.

The song “Peace on Earth”, meanwhile, is acknowledged to have been inspired by a terrorist event – but one that took place in Ireland, not New York. Stokes explains:

[…] a bomb went off at 2:30 in the afternoon, on 15 August 1998, in the town of Omagh in County Tyrone. There had been an advance warning. But it was inaccurate, and instead of clearing the area around the car containing the bomb, it drove the crowds of people milling around the town on a busy Saturday afternoon towards the danger zone. When the bomb exploded, the resulting carnage was the worst in the bloody history of the Northern troubles with twenty-nine killed and dozens more scarred, maimed and wounded.15

bono-bush-2

Finally, “New York”, according to Stokes, consists of “the cool pulsing groove acting as a backdrop as the narrator confesses quietly to the terms of the mid-life crisis afflicting him” until “halfway through it explodes in a grungy mess that’s impressively appropriate to the theme of the song.”16

In spite of the flimsiness of the case to be made for All That You Can’t Leave Behind as a cryptographic foreshadowing of the World Trade Center attacks and the coming of the War on Terror, there is an undeniable and consciously cultivated connection between U2 and these events. As The Daily Dot’s Nico Lang recounts:

Their 2000 record, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, not only sold a staggering 12 million copies, but it gave the band a renewed relevance in the wake of 9/11, when songs like “Walk On” came to symbolize an America figuring out how to pick up the pieces. Songs like the anthemic “One” had always found a universal relevance, but this was a reminder of exactly why U2 was so popular: It united the types of people who would normally never agree on liking anything.17

Whatever the group’s intentions in crafting each of the particular songs, fans have made connections between the group, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, and contemporary events in history. One uploader to YouTube has even dubbed “Stuck in a Moment” a “9/11 Song” despite the fact that it was released almost a year before that date.

bono-flag-2

More intriguing than fans’ perceptions of the band’s intentions, however, are Bono’s unexpected involvements with the neoconservative Blair and Bush administrations. “Among liberals there was, it is true, some grumbling when, from 2001, Bono’s friendly persuasion started to provide ‘caring’ cover for a Republican White House rather than a Democratic one,” writes Harry Browne, author of the scathing study The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). “But such grumbling is a mere artefact of the partisan divide in the US, where the distinction between the two parties hides the fact that they have few substantial differences.”18 He continues:

bono-flag-3It was reported that he would hop on a plane immediately after a gig and dash to Washington for meetings first thing in the morning. The Bush White House increasingly liked the cut of his jib. […]

The White House was pleased that Bono was on board with the sort of “conditionalities” on aid that First World governments and institutions had been demanding from developing countries for decades.

After 9/11, it perhaps became a little harder to sell development assistance in Washington. However, [Condoleezza] Rice and secretary of state Colin Powell were keen to ensure that US foreign policy was seen to have a non-military dimension, and Bono and others were frequently heard to conjoin the “war on terror” with a “war on poverty”: as the New York Times put it, paraphrasing Bono’s argument, “fragile states could not be allowed to become failed states, as Afghanistan had been.”19

bono-flagBono does not seem to have had much of a problem with Bush’s interventionist foreign policy, and the singer was disgustingly reported to have “clicked” with Paul Wolfowitz when the pair met20. At the very outset of the War on Terror, he gave his implicit blessing to the American invasion of Afghanistan. “Bono would not always be so sensitive about the dangers of associating ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ with nationalism, even violent nationalism,” Browne recalls. “On stage in Madison Square Garden in October 2001, as the US dropped bombs on Afghan cities, during that song he ‘embraced the Stars and Stripes’ and otherwise ‘reverently’ handled the US flag,” he continues. “He didn’t tear it apart.”21 A few months later, at E-Trade Finanacial’s Super Bowl Halftime Show of 2002, U2 performed “Where the Streets Have No Name” as, ironically, the names of the 9/11 dead were projected behind the band. At the close of the show, Bono opened his jacket to reveal the American flag in its lining, appearing to give the crowd a demonstration of his solidarity with America’s warlike response to the terror attacks.

“Such is Bono’s special status among the elite globalist sets of Bilderbergers and Trilateralists that he has, inevitably, come to the attention of American conspiracy theorists, who incoherently (even by their own standards) paint him as a knowing ‘frontman for genocide’ through his connection to an obscure but deadly eugenics agenda that appears to be run by Bill Gates,” Browne observes. “As usual,” however, “such ravings distract from serious consideration of Bono’s place in the world and the service he provides to the powerful by dressing their work, individually and collectively, in humanitarian garb – a relationship that is right out in the open and can be viewed clearly without resort to conspiracy.”22

Inevitably, not every questioner will be satisfied by Browne’s dismissive sarcasm – particularly when Bono conveniently pops up at the recent ISIS Nice truck attack (!).

Thoughts?

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Endnotes

  1. Grossberg, Josh. “New U2 Album to Rock Halloween”. E! News (August 21, 2000): http://www.eonline.com/news/40334/new-u2-album-to-rock-halloween
  2. Rossell, Raul. “U2 All That You Can’t Leave Behind Airport Photo Location and Bible Reference”. FeelNumb (August 29, 2010): http://www.feelnumb.com/2010/08/29/u2-all-that-you-cant-leave-behind-airport-photo-location/
  3. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 14.
  4. Abunimah, Ali. “‘It’s Very Good’: Recalling Benjamin Netanyahu’s Words on the Day of the 9/11 Attacks”. The Electronic Intifada (September 11, 2012): https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/its-very-good-recalling-benjamin-netanyahus-words-day-911-attacks
  5. “Report: Netanyahu Says 9/11 Terror Attacks Good for Israel” Haaretz (April 16, 2008): http://www.haaretz.com/news/report-netanyahu-says-9-11-terror-attacks-good-for-israel-1.244044
  6. “U2’s Bono Goes Hasidic”. Jewish News (December 8, 2014): http://jewishnews.com/2014/12/08/u2s-bono-goes-hasidic/
  7. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 146.
  8. Ibid., p. 147.
  9. Ibid., p. 148.
  10. Ibid., p. 150.
  11. Ibid., p. 151.
  12. Ibid., p. 152.
  13. Ibid., p. 154.
  14. Roberts, Paul Craig. “The NeoCon Game”. American Free Press 15, no. 51/52 (December 21-28, 2015), p. 12.
  15. Stokes, Niall. Into the Heart: U2. New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, p. 156.
  16. Ibid., p. 160.
  17. Lang, Nico. “How U2 Became the New Nickelback”. The Daily Dot (September 16, 2014): http://www.dailydot.com/via/how-u2-became-the-new-nickelback/
  18. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 72.
  19. Ibid., p. 73.
  20. Grieve, Tim. “Wolfowitz Reaches Out to Bono”. Salon (March 18, 2005): http://www.salon.com/2005/03/18/wolf_5/
  21. Browne, Harry. The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power). New York, NY: Verso, 2013, p. 24.
  22. Ibid., p. 111.
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Village of the Damned (1995)

Village of the Damned (1995)

Germanicus Fink, also known as Son of Europe and Mr. Weedwacker, recently saw John Carpenter’s version of Village of the Damned (1995) and gave the following interpretation at Murder by Media:

Anyway, people commonly assume the movie is anti-White because the evil alien children have blond hair (actually it’s white), but it is so obviously about the Jews.

The real giveaway occurs after they have created so much animosity among the townspeople because they have been causing many people to destroy themselves. They all suddenly decide to move into an old barn outside of town for their own protection. They then order everyone to bring them supplies so they can sustain themselves.

Could there be a more obvious analogy about Israel?

“John Carpenter’s movies, all except possibly [. . .] Prince of Darkness, deal with the Jewish question,” Fink goes on. “The Thing and They Live are obvious examples. Village of the Damned is packed with references to Jewish behavior. Once you see it I know you will agree with me.”

This writer would be hard-pressed to explain how such Carpenter classics as Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), Christine (1983), or Big Trouble in Little China (1986) “deal with the Jewish question”; but the argument has certainly been advanced that They Live (1988) is rife with such resonances, with some even suggesting that the “Hoffman” lenses in the film, which allow people to recognize the manipulative aliens that surround them, are a reference to the work of Michael A. Hoffman II.

What about Village of the Damned? Along with the original 1960 movie, the story is based on the 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. Film historian  Steve Haberman, in his audio commentary on the 1960 version, calls it a “fairly faithful adaptation” of the book by Wyndham, whom he characterizes as an author of “respectable bestsellers” – which suggests that Wyndham’s work was ideologically unobjectionable and therefore promoted by the entertainment establishment.

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

Luke O’Farrell, writing at Heretical, sees in The Midwich Cuckoos an anti-Semitic message similar to what Fink reads into the John Carpenter film:

Mass immigration. I started thinking about it the other day when I was reading John Wyndham’s novel The Midwich Cuckoos (1957). It’s about an English village in which women are impregnated by a mysterious alien race. Someone starts to wonder about the aliens’ motives:

If you were wishful to challenge the supremacy of a society that was fairly stable, and quite well weaponed, what would you do? Would you meet it on its own terms by launching a probably costly, and certainly destructive, assault? Or, if time were no great importance, would you prefer to employ a version of a more subtle tactic? Would you, in fact, try somehow to introduce a fifth column, to attack it from within?

In the 1950s, when The Midwich Cuckoos was first published, White societies were very stable and very well-weaponed, and a direct assault on them would certainly have been costly. So the alien race that wanted to challenge their supremacy didn’t launch a direct assault. Instead, just as that John Wyndham character suggested, they introduced a fifth column to attack it from within.

Who was the alien race? Jews, of course. And what was their fifth column? It was non-whites.

Amazon reviewer Allen Smalling, however, says of the Folio Society’s edition of The Midwich Cuckoos that its foreword by Adam Roberts

makes rather too stringent a case, in my opinion, that the Midwich children represented a “subject race” much as Jews did under Nazi Germany. I don’t hold with that interpretation, but it is worth noting that the children in the book were rather dark-complected, arguably Semitic in appearance, unlike the blond Aryan types portrayed in the 1960 movie.

There seems to be some disagreement among putative readers, though, as to how Wyndham actually describes the unearthly children in his book. Haberman, in his Village of the Damned (1960) commentary, claims the novel describes them as having “gleaming golden hair”. Not having read The Midwich Cuckoos, this writer is in no position to referee, so any reader who happens to know is invited to chime in on this matter.

Village of the Damned (1960)

Village of the Damned (1960)

Haberman relates that Village of the Damned screenwriter Stirling Silliphant, who would go on to pen In the Heat of the Night (1967), claimed that MGM was “appalled to find that they had bought what they termed an anti-Catholic film. Apparently studio executives felt that the impregnation of village women paralleled the Immaculate Conception.” Consequently, MGM sent the script to its British branch with a lower budget and instructions for a rewrite.

The film was directed by Wolf Rilla, a Jew whose family emigrated to London after Hitler came to power. “In this film, these aliens become little traitors in our own homes, sort of like space-crafted Hitler Youth,” says Haberman, who adds that “it may go back to our portrayal of the enemy in World War II – the Nazi superman who was sold to the world as physically and mentally superior but obviously lacked any moral sense whatsoever.”

Martin Stephens as David in Village of the Damned (1960)

Martin Stephens as David in Village of the Damned (1960)

Stormfront poster JohnJoyTree says, “I fear Wyndham was a typical liberal in racial matters. Consider The Midwich Cookoos [. . .] with its blue/blonde alien supermen who must be wiped out: or The Crysalids, where the persecuted ‘racially impure’ telepathic mutants are the inheritors of the Earth: etc etc.” Of the anti-war, pro-disarmament Village of the Damned sequel Children of the Damned (1963), in which a new, multicultural crop of super-evolved youngsters offers the liberal dream of a one-world peace to end the Cold War, Wyndham is said by screenwriter John Briley to have “liked it very much”.

A Mondoweiss commenter, meanwhile, finds parallels in The Midwich Cuckoos with both the Nazis and Israeli settler zealots:

What I hear of the settler children reminds me of the Midwich Cuckoos, the creation of the 1950s science fiction writer John Wyndham. They are children with strange, malevolently used powers based on their ability to think and feel as a group. As I remember they are described in very Aryan fashion, so the story seems like a satire on how what began as a bunch of deluded children became the irresistible German army of 1940. But totally shared thinking is not dangerous for one race only.

Blogger MPorcius offers the following insights into Wyndham’s 1955 novel The Chrysalids, in which the mutant minority protagonists “begin to receive telepathic messages from New Zealand”:

Christianity in the novel is an oppressive scam; women have large fabric crosses sewn onto their dresses, and in a scene late in the novel the fleeing mutant women cut these devices off their clothing, symbolizing their liberation.  Maybe these crosses are supposed to remind us of the Crusaders?  I often think these oppressed-minority-with-special-powers stories are allegories about anti-Semitism, and Wyndham’s naming the main character David, and inclusion of a debate among the mutants about whether it is wise to marry “Norms,” encourages such suspicions.  Maybe we should see New Zealand as akin to Israel?

Thomas Dekker as David in Village of the Damned (1995)

Thomas Dekker as David in Village of the Damned (1995)

If a protagonist’s name in The Chrysalids reinforces the notion that he and his party are Jews, however, does this not also argue in favor of the Midwich children being Jew stand-ins in Village of the Damned? The lead alien child is named David in both movie adaptations. If Fink is correct and the movie is an allegory about the Jewish menace, then why make them so exaggeratedly fair-haired and dress them in vaguely fascistic black coats as they march in stiff lockstep like movie Nazis? Are these features fig leaves to hide the author’s or the filmmakers’ true intentions – iconographic red herrings, perhaps? What characteristics do the children have that might have prompted Fink to see them as symbolic of the Jewish state?

For one, they are aliens – outsiders – and maintain an intensely exclusive group identity. They are cruel and sadistic, for another, and separate themselves geographically by moving into a barn on the edge of the village. In the 1960 film this is mandated by the authorities, whereas in Carpenter’s version this little exodus is their choice. Then there is the implacable vengefulness and control-freakiness exhibited by the children. Obliteration – a Holocaust, perhaps? – will “not happen to us because we have to survive – no matter what the cost,” proclaims David (Martin Stephens) in the 1960 film. “You [gentiles?] have to be taught to leave us alone.” The David (Thomas Dekker) in the John Carpenter version delivers a very similar harangue.

Another alteration that the remake’s screenwriter, David Himmelstein, makes in adapting the original is that Christians are the most forcefully opposed to the alien children, with local reverend Mark Hamill actually attempting to shoot them in one scene. Is Himmelstein attempting to warn the viewer that Christianity is their best and only buttress against the Jew World Order? Given that Hamill and his supporters are unsuccessful and come across as rather crazed, one suspects that this was not the intention.

The fact, too, that Himmelstein wrote the script to Sidney Lumet’s film Power (1986), which attempts to scare the gullible with the Jonesian specter of Arab influence in American media and politics, would also tend to militate against interpreting Himmelstein’s Village of the Damned screenplay as a well-intentioned warning to the gentiles. Then, too, there is the fact that abortion, had the mothers in the story chosen to go that route, would have obviated the ultimate mass-murder of the children that brings the story to its resolution. This hardly seems like a Christian solution.

John Carpenter on the set of They Live (1988)

John Carpenter on the set of They Live (1988)

Is John Carpenter an anti-Semite? The answer clearly hinges on the subtext of They Live. “If you sat Abe Foxman down and made him sit through They Live there would be little doubt that he would begin to see this as a critique on Jews [and] on Jewish culture,” writes Robert Phoenix, “though Carpenter was really assailing Reaganite conservative culture at the time.” Numerous movies attacked conformist consumerism during the eighties, with similar themes receiving satirical sci-fi treatment in The Stuff (1985) and Happy Hour (1986), both films made with heavy Jewish participation. But does it ultimately matter whether They Live is intentionally anti-Semitic or not? Whatever Carpenter’s intentions in making They Live – and, for that matter, Village of the Damned – white nationalists can enjoy these movies as entertainments and as illustrative realizations of those aspects of the present order they must continue to combat. They Live lives – and so do the memes.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Scarehouse_poster

Sorority sisters, haunted houses, and nights of revenge are all typical slasher movie elements; but Killer Party this is decidedly not. A Canadian blast of cold gore porn, The Scarehouse is a story of two competing horrors: the tortures inflicted by its vindictive protagonists, on the one hand, and the vapid “21st century party monster” mentality of their bevy of victims on the other. As to which is more appalling, that is for each viewer to decide. Co-ed sadists Corey (Sarah Booth) and Elaina (Kimberly-Sue Murray) are out of prison and out for vengeance after taking the rap for a sorority prank that resulted in an involuntary manslaughter. Determined to torment their fellow sisters, the pair has designed a haunted house attraction to mask the actual torture laboratory within.

The lighting and atmosphere of the film should satisfy devotees of the genre, and genuinely homicidal psychos should also be entertained. The lead performances, particularly Booth’s, are strong; but The Scarehouse, like other torture-oriented horrors, suffers from lack of likable characters. The backstory explaining the night’s motivation is never sufficient emotional justification for the shocking degree of onscreen brutality, and serves only to ensure that even the screaming victims of the atrocities garner little audience sympathy. Occasionally humorous, The Scarehouse is more often disturbing, and this reviewer would much prefer to have seen a movie about these two characters not killing people.

2.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Scarehouse is:

4. Homosexuality-ambivalent. From the perspective that there is no such thing as bad publicity, The Scarehouse is pro-gay for featuring homoerotic flirtation between young women; but the portrayal of the lesbian lead as a psychopath is hardly flattering.

3. Anti-Christian. Jesus freak Jaqueline (Katherine Barrell) stands for the film’s contempt for “fire and brimstone shit”. Other irreverence takes the form of the sadists’ appropriation of crucifixion symbolism: Corey has a cross tattoo on her back, while Elaina at the end can be seen wearing a crucifix.

2. Anti-drug. “You might want to stick to water.” Drinking, along with a rufie, results in the accidental death that sets the plot in motion, and drunks are also more susceptible to the torture porn treatment. One of the songs on the soundtrack also refers to alcohol poisoning.

1. Anti-feminist. Whatever The Scarehouse’s intentions, it shows something of a divided mind with regard to its array of targets. Elaina and Corey advertise no overt ideological motivation for their murder spree, but do demonstrate a distaste for traditionalism as it takes on grotesque, hypocritical forms. Jaqueline’s Christian good girl moral code is a lie, so she must be punished. Similarly, Katrina (Emily Alatalo), for “Frankensteining” herself in an exaggerated devotion to a male chauvinist’s hourglass figure ideal, must answer for her betrayal of her sorority oath to embrace woman’s “inner beauty”.

Corey and Elaina, if they are supposed to be radical feminist progressives, discredit their cause with their violent antics. The moon phases pictured on Corey’s tank top may mark her as merely a walking, talking, rampaging case of PMS. “Why does everyone think I’m a lesbian?” she wonders aloud, to which Elaina replies that “there is some truth in it”, the implication perhaps being that the political agenda of Corey and her type is motivated more by sexual frustrations than by reason or fairness. Elaina blunders through the sorts of clueless academic abstractions that cause social experimenters’ projects to fail. “You know I only have textbook theory,” she frets. “I built this place on a lot of theory, and this is a test run, so give me a frickin’ break on a few minor flaws.”

The fact that horny, drunken fraternity men appear as the gullible victims and not the perpetrators of murder and sex crimes undercuts the popular misandrist myth of an ubiquitous “rape culture” on college campuses. Women’s degradation and endangerment appears as their own doing in The Scarehouse. The sisters only degrade themselves by calling each other “cunt” and “bitch”. As women’s femininity has been eroded, their pedestal toppled by political empowerment, they no longer enjoy their previous freedom from violence and sexual mutilation at the movies. (“I am going to punch her in the box,” Corey threatens.) Just as a man can be kicked in the crotch with the utmost casualness, as has been the case for decades, “liberated” (i.e., dehumanized) women are now more apt to see their breasts removed or their eyelids ripped off on the big screen. A satirical indication of the degeneration wrought by the sexual revolution comes when the sight of the bloody and ravaged Katrina makes one character wonder if this is a “sex party”.

mischief-night-poster

Director Richard Schenkman, whose previous efforts range from Playboy documentaries to the abysmal Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, delivers a surprising winner with this tense home invasion shocker.

Mischief Night evokes immediate sympathy and concern for protagonist Emily (Noell Coet), a girl psychosomatically blinded after her mother died in a car accident. When Emily’s father (Daniel Hugh Kelly), with her encouragement, leaves her alone in the house on what happens to be her community’s annual Mischief Night – an occasion for spooky pranksterism – she finds herself at the mercy of a mysterious intruder (or is that intruders?) in a raincoat. The resulting film is a genuine tingler that raises the bar for blind girl terror, besting Wait Until Dark and Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out in terms of its sheer contagious fright.

The most frustrating aspect of Mischief Night is the muddiness of its moral universe – and, ultimately, its consequent meaninglessness. A fun but superfluous prologue that punishes two fornicators suggests that the Mischief Night killer or killers are disgruntled moralists or judgmental fire-and-brimstone vigilantes of the type represented in The Collection. Subsequent murders, however, lack this puritanical dimension, with victim selection failing to point to any unifying principle other than maximum terror. For most of the movie, the killers function as personifications or agents of a personal Hell for Emily, taking out of commission one by one the people and things that give her a sense of security – a theme that would have been strengthened if the screenwriters had excluded some of the extraneous deaths.

Flaws aside, Mischief Night is as scary as anything the viewer is likely to find at the Redbox, and is therefore happily recommended.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Mischief Night is:

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

7. Class-conscious. Wealth and a comfortable home afford no protection from reality or from the moral ramifications of sin.

6. Pro-castration. Emily’s father, somewhat reminiscent of Henry Winkler in wimpy Waterboy mode, is a model sensitive man.

5. Liberal. An old man (Richard Riehle) listening to a conservative talk radio program is dispatched almost as soon as he appears. This might be interpreted as an indication that the old conservative certainties of traditional values and Constitutional republicanism are dead or no longer a feasible defense of America; but more likely is that this is simply gratuitous spite directed at Limbaugh listeners.

4. Anti-slut. An adulteress (Erica Leerhsen) is terrorized during the opening sequence. Emily’s physical closeness with and trust of her boyfriend (Ian Bamberg) is a source of discomfort for the viewer.

3. Anti-gun. Emily’s father accidentally shoots her boyfriend, believing him to be an intruder.

2. Feminist. Emily’s disability has caused her to become highly self-reliant in ordinary circumstances. She proves more valiant than her father in the defense of their home and even asserts an imaginary phallus in the form of a chainsaw.

1. Pro-family. Emily is close with her father, and her disturbance after her mother’s death, a rupture of the family unit, has left her blind and, if not helpless, then at a significant disadvantage. The father, however, is rather girly and ineffectual, thus mitigating the movie’s pro-family credentials.

2007’s Superbad marked a very welcome return to form for the raunchy teen sex comedy, a genre fallen on seemingly incurable black days after its 1980s heyday.  Superbad‘s call to arms, unfortunately, seems to have gone unnoticed by any filmmakers of notable talent, with Fun Size, Nickelodeon’s foray into lightweight (PG-13) teen sex comedy territory, landing instead like something of a soggy firecracker.

Gorgeous high school students April (tv tart Jane Levy) and Wren (tv tart Victoria Justice) – a nod to Stimpy’s Nickelodeon guyfriend? – are, we are expected to believe, socially insecure and not cool enough to feel that they have a chance with the likes of studly musician classmate Aaron (tv tart Thomas McDonell, “the next Johnny Depp”, as one IMDb user salivates), whose Halloween party promises to be the social event of the season.  Unfortunately, after being invited, Wren gets saddled by her slutty single mother (Chelsea Handler) with babysitting her tubby little brother (Jackson Nicoll), who delights in torturing her with his toilet humor and pranks.  Meanwhile, nice nerdy guy Roosevelt (Thomas Mann – the actor, not the author) pines for Wren’s affection and intellectual companionship, while his token minority buddy Peng (Osric Chau) lusts after kitty-costumed April.  Will Wren’s social life survive the night?  And, more to the point, will anyone in the audience care?

What could have been a happy, human, nocturnal teen comedy after the model of Sixteen Candles or Adventures in Babysitting ends up as a plastic, calculated exercise in nasty teensploitation.  Thomas Middleditch provides some amiable amusement as wimpy convenience store clerk Fuzzy, who befriends Wren’s mischievous little brother, and there are a few moments of mild hilarity, such as a knob broken off a car radio during a particularly annoying song, and the randy giant chicken sight gag featured in the trailer.  Overall, however, Fun Size is too miserly in heart to redeem itself as it depicts a sadistic, casually tawdry, filthy suburban America full of liberal intellectuals and growling barbarians, directionless women hungry for sex, overweight slobs, Obama voters and future serfs – and finds very little amiss.  This is a rotting world where women openly chat about their mammograms without shame and as if anyone could possibly care; a self-loathing civilization in which a little black boy in a Spider-Man outfit gives audiences a chuckle by calling a white girl “bitch”.

Ultimately, though, what’s worst about Fun Size is that it simply isn’t terribly funny.  It gets a grudging 2.5 of 5 possible stars, I suppose.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Fun Size is:

11. Antiwar.  Sarcastic reference is made to “Afghan citizenship” – a reminder of neoconservative failure in the Middle East.

10. Multiculturalist.  Races mingle freely and in friendship.  Hip-hop is an educational tool.  Spider-Man “looks like a Mexican wrestler”.  And, last but not least, bow down before Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bitches!

9. Drug-ambivalent.  Fuzzy warns about the danger of smoking around children after earlier jokingly offering chewing tobacco to Wren’s little brother.  Sexy young people do shots at a club before getting hot and heavy on the dancefloor.  A thug abuses Pepto Bismol.

8. Obesity-ambivalent.  Junk food is the key to the little brother’s heart.  He’s insulted for being fat, but nobody even tries to change his sugary, greasy eating habits.  Fuzzy indulgently gives him packets of sugar.  Overweight Polynesians also provide visual comic relief.

7. Anti-gun.  As part of his Aaron Burr costume, Peng sports an antique pistol – the representative gun is thus an anachronism clashing with enlightened modernity.  He fires the weapon at one point and, though it intimidates a bully, Peng himself clearly finds the experience more frightening than fun.

6. Pro-gay.  Roosevelt was raised by caring and cultured lesbian mothers.  When Aaron, at his party, asks who would like to kiss him, one boy raises his hand along with all the girls.

5. Anti-white male/pro-castration.  Manly men are antagonistic and primitive savages and constantly raising hell whether by stealing, theatening violence, or abducting and holding a child for ransom.  Kicked testicles are an occasion for humor.  Positive portrayals of men in Fun Size are limited to sissy, skinny, sensitive types like Roosevelt and Fuzzy and nerds like Peng.

4. Statist/pro-serfdom.  Roosevelt’s new age lesbian mothers, who presumably named him after crippled American dictator and welfare state Santa Claus FDR, “evolve” spiritually and as artists as they weave a tapestry of a smiling Barack Hussein Obama.  Roosevelt, like Wren, is a “fan of the Supreme Court”.  Wren does her part to inflate the college debt bubble by applying to NYU.

3. Pro-slut/anti-family/dysfunction-tolerant.  The mother whines about how hard it is being a single mother but also seems to find unaccountable bragging rights in this.  Kids are a hassle and Trojan condoms get the appropriate product placement.

2. Pro-miscegenation.  April inadvertently catches a steamy case of yellow fever after letting Peng feel her breast at a party and goes to bed (couch, actually) with him the same night.

1. Feminist.  For Halloween, Wren considers dressing as “feminist icon” Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who gets name-dropped an obscene number of times for a dumb teen comedy.  Katie Couric, meanwhile, is praised for being “so brave”.  April experiences painful burning after applying Nair to her ass – and thus is punished for wrongheadedly catering to men’s sexually domineering expectations of female hairlessness.  Wren’s mom bares her teeth and intimidates Roosevelt by boasting that she’s a single mother (and therefore a force to be reckoned with) before handily wrestling him to the ground like a pro.

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