Archives for posts with tag: paranoia

It Comes at Night

A plague has decimated the United States, plunging the population into anarchy and reducing living standards to the bare rudiments. Rather than offering a panoramic view of the cataclysm, however, It Comes at Night opts instead to tell this story on an intimate level, with a minimal cast, and through the interactions of two families trying to survive in a forested wilderness.

Joel Edgerton lives in a remote house with wife Carmen Ejogo and son Kelvin Harrison. The death early on of the mother’s father, played by David Pendleton, serves as a reminder of the family’s continued vulnerability to the mysterious pestilence even in their isolation and haunts the remainder of the film.

New tensions are introduced when another family, headed by Christopher Abbott, enters their lives. Edgerton never completely trusts Abbott’s motivations, and lonely and sensitive Harrison finds himself drawn to Abbott’s attractive wife, portrayed by Riley Keough.

Highly effective moments of paranoia reminiscent of John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing enhance this morose and often oppressive horror drama, tipping this review in favor of a recommendation. 4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that It Comes at Night is:

3. Anti-gun, with firearms contributing to a tragic denouement instead of successful home defense.

2. Pro-miscegenation, with Edgerton married to a black woman and helping to raise her black son (it is never clear whether Harrison is supposed to be Edgerton’s biological or adopted son, but he looks too dark-skinned to be the former). The film includes a dream-turned-nightmare fantasy scene in which Keough grotesquely straddles and smooches the congoid boy before spewing black plague-slime into his face. Perhaps inadvertently, the scene conveys the temptation to miscegenation as well as the sense that there is something wrong and unnatural about it.

1.Borders-ambiguous. Writer-director Trey Shults has said that It Comes at Night is fundamentally about “fear of the unknown”; and one expression of this in the film is instability created by the unexpected presence of an outsider. Viewed microcosmically, It Comes at Night can be interpreted as an allegory about the immigration debate and the popular call for a wall and strong protectionist measures. Christopher Abbott, who plays the stranger, has some Italian ancestry, but could easily read visually as a mestizo. His character enters the lives of Edgerton and his family when he breaks into their home hoping to find supplies – he is, in other words, illegal and undocumented – but is allowed to move into the house with his wife and child after winning Edgerton’s trust with successful food-for-water barter. His presence, tolerated on pretexts of mutual economic benefit and universal compassion, also represents a threat to Edgerton’s family’s domestic security, however; and, just as Mexicans entering the United States have brought with them illnesses such as highly virulent strains of tuberculosis, Abbott and his family carry with them the risk of plague contagion. Perhaps endorsing this reading is Shults’s description of the climactic sequence as a “Mexican standoff” and his confession during his commentary on the film that, “I was reading books on genocide and thinking about, like, us as humans, you know, and how long we’ve been on this planet and that […] ingrained in us is tribe mentality, you know, and, like, basically, these two families are these two tribes.” The inability of the two men to maintain a peaceful collaboration is treated as a tragedy, but one that could have been avoided if their paths had never crossed – if, for example, Edgerton’s home security precautions had been more thoroughgoing and Abbott had never been able to break into his home in the first place.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

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Board to Death B

Board to Death is Dammie Akinmola’s miniature (15-minute) film inspired by a short story, “Death by Scrabble” by Charlie Fish. The movie’s title, framing ennui and death wish as a game, signals a playful attitude toward its dark subject matter. Joshua Exposito, an odd choice of leading man whose voice, accent, and moody stare recall Highlander‘s Christopher Lambert, plays the jealous husband of quintessential femme fatale Victoria Ashford in this neo-noir black comedy.

Wasting no time getting to the grit, the film opens with the insane protagonist staring across a Scrabble board at his smug, smoking wife and giving voice-over narration in the conventional hardboiled fashion. “I’ll break the bones of anyone who touches her, anyone who lays eyes on her,” her swears. “I’ll crack their skulls and smash their teeth on concrete. They’ll suffer till their lights go out.” He then proceeds to live up to this bloody vow.

The black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous, and director Akinmola, also a composer, has wisely opted to use music sparingly, so that Exposito’s crazed whisper commands every inch of the viewer’s attention. One only wishes to see Board to Death expanded into a full-length feature, as too many characters are crammed into its too-brief running time for the audience to have any satisfactory sense of the meaning of each character’s deserts. If nothing else, the short format and compressed storyline prevent the viewer from ever becoming bored – let alone to death.

Board to Death

4 out of 5 possible stars.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Board to Death is:

8. Anti-feminist. The wife is a monster who cruelly enjoys her husband’s suffering and the murders he commits. Women’s empowerment has complicated and corrupted male-female relations, maddening men and discombobulating their moral compass. She “can’t be trusted” because she is “far too strong”.

7. Arguably anti-Christian. The murderous maniac protagonist is a churchgoer.

6. Pro-tobacco. In classic 1940s fashion, cigarette smoking is code for sex.

5. Multiculturalist. Peaceful non-white Britons sit with attentive gazes during a Christian service, suggesting that they are positively assimilated participants in Western Civilization.

4. Pro-miscegenation. A mixed-race couple (Carl Muircroft and Latifah Parara) appear to have a healthier and more normal relationship than the leads.

3. Media-critical. In one blatantly postmodern and self-referential scene, Exposito picks a fight against the backdrop of the poster for Board to Death, the very film in which he appears at that moment. Is this to suggest that the character’s diet of violent entertainment has shaped his insanity, desensitized him, and incentivized his antisocial behavior? Judging from Akinmola’s admission on the movie’s website to admiring Quentin Tarantino and his (flippantly ultraviolent) attitude toward life, one can only assume that this critique is unintentional.

2. Anti-gun. A bartender (Cristinel Hogas) keeps a shotgun under the counter, but finds it worthless as protection when the jealous husband seizes it from him and pummels him.

1. Anti-marriage. The husband alleges that his wife is “a demon, a succubus sent to tempt men.” Among his final utterances are the words, “Wife. Liar. Killer. Husband. Possessive. Paranoid. Dead.”

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Closed Circuit

Forget neoconservative junk like Zero Dark Thirty. Closed Circuit is the real deal – or, anyway, as close to it as a major motion picture is likely to get in the present climate. After a 7/7-reminiscent terrorist bombing in London, attorneys Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are assigned the task of defending Farroukh Erdogan (Denis Moschitto), the alleged “mastermind” of the attack. It soon becomes clear, however, that nothing is as it seems in this self-described “conspiracy thriller”, as Bana discovers that the case is “being managed” from above and that the “suicide” of the previous barrister handling Erdogan’s defense might actually foreshadow his own demise. Unremittingly grim and realistically paranoid, Closed Circuit moves at a healthy clip, sustained by the lead actors’ earnest performances, and suffers principally from its anemic chromatic palette and visual drabness.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

4 out of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Closed Circuit is:

7. Anti-marriage. Bana is going through a divorce.

6. Feminist. Hall portrays an assertive, tough, and detail-oriented professional woman.

5. Anti-drug. Government patsy Erdogan is a heroin addict who, in the great Islamic fundamentalist tradition, has a drunk driving arrest on his record. The poor quality of the horse made available to him in prison causes him to be nauseous.

4. Anti-racist/multiculturalist. An East Indian complains that he is regularly stopped by police. The War on Terror, Closed Circuit suggests, has exacerbated racial prejudices. The multicultural wealth of London’s Turkish population proves to be an asset to the investigation.

3. Media-skeptical. The British press is characterized as unscrupulous. Closed Circuit strains credibility, however, in suggesting that The New York Times, of all publications – the “newspaper of record” that, for instance, covered up the Holodomor – would be the beacon of honesty in such a scenario, and that one of its reporters (Julia Stiles) would risk assassination to bring the truth about synthetic terrorism to the public.

2. Anti-state. Closed Circuit performs a modest service in mainstreaming the concept of government-instigated terror, with “national security” considerations only masking the cover-up; but the movie stops short of accusing western intelligence agencies of actually commissioning false flag terror attacks. Instead, Closed Circuit presents a story in which MI-5, through “incompetence”, has lost control of its counterterrorism operation.

1. Defeatist. “We’re not strong enough to fight them, are we?”

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

28 weeks laterLong-range predictive programming in play?

The New York Times, from wholly neglecting to report the Holodomor to its readers during the 1930s to touting Saddam Hussein’s alleged stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction, does have a history of playing fast and loose and creative with the facts. Now Free Radio Revolution alleges that America’s “Newspaper of Record” is actually staging Ebola victim footage to brainwash the public into accepting what some commentators allege is a wholesale hoax. Red Pill Revolution is of the same mind, and both channels point to what they claim is a comprehensive multimedia campaign to condition the public to accept eventual vaccination. The number of movies with plague and zombie outbreak themes has certainly skyrocketed in recent years, with the likes of Contagion, World War Z, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and others ratcheting fears of biological catastrophe. Jew’s Analysis, making specific reference to I Am Legend, has also cried “predictive programming”.

Free Radio Revolution, this writer will concede, does point to some strange and suspicious features of the New York Times video; but it is rather a gigantic leap next to assume on the basis of this and some green t-shirts that the whole outbreak is nothing but an elaborately orchestrated hoax. It may only be that reporters, fearful of venturing into proximity with the disease, but still wanting to score some sensational footage, simply opted to cook it up and pay some African locals to look sick for their cameras. Whatever the case, the theory is interesting and warrants consideration. Is the whole Ebola scare only that – a ruse to make a quick buck for pharmaceuticals manufacturers? International Business Timesfor whatever it may be worth, reports a surge in stock prices for companies working on an Ebola vaccine.

Hat tip, Murder by Media.

The Howling poster

The Howling (1981)

National Socialists have traditionally appropriated wolf imagery as an expression of their movement’s fierceness, masculinity, and pagan mystique. Hitler’s first Eastern Front headquarters was named the Wolf’s Lair, and Werwolf was the name the Nazis selected for a German guerrilla resistance force during the waning phases of World War II. White nationalists of today will sometimes refer to themselves as werewolves, as well. A close reading of Joe Dante’s horror hit The Howling (1981), however, may convince viewers that Jews are the ones who deserve the mantle of the wolf.

Ilsa She Wolf of the SS

Lupine-themed pop Nazi iconography

“Signed his work,” explains television news producer Christopher (Dennis Dugan), with reference to the gruesome clues furnished by the artistic creations of a murderous maniac – and, as it turns out, a werewolf – in dialogue suggestive of what may be The Howling’s ulterior intention of cluing viewers into the nature of its Hollywood provenance by way of a revelation of method.

The madman is Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), a sexual pervert stalking anchorwoman Karen White (Dee Wallace). The latter, in an attempt to help police capture Quist, agrees to meet him in an adult video shop, where he lures her into a private booth, activates a sadomasochistic sex loop, announces his intention to possess Karen’s body, and then proceeds to transform and to reveal his true physical nature – that of a wolf.

Dee Wallace

Dee Wallace as Karen White

Thus, in this crucial encounter, key subtext is set into motion. Quist is in his element when surrounded by filth and shows a pronounced interest in pornography – an industry dominated by Jews – and he also seeks to dominate Karen, a character who is significantly beautiful, blonde, surnamed “White”, and a representative, furthermore, of her local news media – another Jewish near-monopoly. Karen’s employer at Channel 6, Fred Francis (Kevin McCarthy), would seem to be one of the last of the WASP old boys’ club.

Picardo

Robert Picardo as Eddie Quist

A search of Quist’s apartment reveals obsessive drawings of monsters (i.e., autobiographical deviant art) and newspaper clippings illustrative of his resentful preoccupations with violence and Christianity. Two visible headlines from articles on his walls read, “The Dismembered Corpse in the Burned Out Church” and “Weird Case of the Murdering Messiah”. Murdering or murdered? Either way, the headlines speak to Quist’s sense of Jewish supremacy and hatred of gentiles.

Appearing as a guest on Channel 6 is a pop psychiatrist, Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee), who advises his audience of the benefits to be had from slackening their moral standards when he says, “We should never try to deny the beast, the animal within us.” Psychiatry, of course, being another field famously lorded over by Jews hostile to the traditional ways of Christendom. Dr. Waggner, like Quist, has designs on Karen White, and – using the pretext of her post-traumatic stress resulting from the meeting with Quist – invites her to his rustic retreat, suggestively named the Colony, for what is supposed to be group therapy along with her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone).

Elisabeth Brooks

Elisabeth Brooks as Marsha Quist

The Colony, unfortunately, is a forested den of werewolves, among them folksy locals Charlie (Noble Willingham), Erle (John Carradine), Jerry (James Murtaugh), deceptively friendly sheriff Sam (Slim Pickens), and shapely seductress Marsha (Elisabeth Brooks), a quintessential scarlet woman who sets about dissolving the bonds of Karen’s marriage by making herself aggressively available to Bill. Marsha’s love shack in the woods is adorned by pelts, which – with their six points of paws, head, and tail – abstractly approximate elongated Stars of David.

Pelt of David

Pelt of David

“Karen, you’re really gettin’ paranoid,” Bill accuses when his wife confronts him about his infidelity. “I know,” he says sarcastically, “it’s all a big conspiracy as far as you’re concerned.” Bill’s tactic, then, is to attempt to distract from the fact that he has plainly sold his soul and his services to the alien by smearing his accuser as a “conspiracy theorist”. Sound familiar?

Karen’s new Colony acquaintance Donna (Margie Impert), also a crypto-werewolf, lets slip a hint of her hidden identity when she and Karen happen upon a mutilated cow. “Oh, Jesus,” she blurts with embarrassment, to which Karen automatically tacks on “Christ”. It is Karen, and not crypto-werewolf Donna, who identifies Jesus as the Messiah and not a head of slaughtered cattle.

Donna and Karen

Donna (Margie Impert) and Karen (Dee Wallace)

An isolated redneck community might seem an unlikely representation of Jews, if not for their legendary prowess at passing themselves as common whites. “Your classic werewolf can change shape anytime it wants, day or night, whenever it takes a notion to. That’s why they call ‘em shapeshifters,” explains occult bookseller Walter Paisley (Dick Miller). “Silver bullets or fire,” he goes on. “It’s the only way to get rid of the damn things. They’re worse than cockroaches.”

Joe Bob Briggs

“That’s why they call ’em shapeshifters.” An example of the crypto is John Irving Bloom, who made a career as ersatz good ol’ boy Joe Bob Briggs

The strength of the wolf is in the pack. A single Charles Schumer or Dov Zakheim might pose no threat to the United States; but taken together, as an organized infestation, Jewry comprises a nearly unbeatable hydra. “A secret society exists and is living among all of us,” Karen duly warns her viewers when she returns to television. “They are neither people nor animal, but something in between.”

The less-than-sympathetic and decidedly utilitarian view this secret order of carnivorous creatures takes toward the goyim is made explicit during the scene in which they reveal themselves. The script is worth quoting at this pivotal juncture:

     Jerry: It was a mistake to bring her to the Colony.

     Erle: We should have stuck with the old ways. Raising cattle for our feed. Where’s the life in that?

     Charlie: The humans are our cattle.

     Erle: Humans are our prey. We should feed on them, like we’ve always done. Screw all this “channel your energies” crap.

     Dr. Waggner: But the danger of exposure! We need this shelter to plan! To catch up with society! Times have changed and we haven’t! Not enough.

     Marsha: Shut up, Doc! You wouldn’t listen to me! None of you! “We can fit in,” you said. “We can live with them!” You make me sick.

True to the bookseller’s lore, the werewolves prove to be vulnerable to silver bullets and fire – which is, of course, to say Holocaust – when gentile news producer Christopher, presumably following in the imaginary footsteps of Julius Streicher, rides to the rescue and burns the lot of the flesh-devouring good-for-nothings alive in their barn-synagogue of Satan.

Marsha, the Zionist Werewolf Whore of Babylon, is seen to be the only survivor of this horrible Howlocaust, and one can only assume that she will now be more bloodthirsty than ever, an assumption corroborated when she gazes into the camera and orders a hamburger – specifying that it be cooked rare. The Howling’s end credits then roll over a close-up of the sizzling hamburger patty – a macabre reminder of the final significance of what is meant by “goy cattle”.

“Rare.”

Wolfshiem

Jewish werewolf Meyer Wolfsheim (Amitabh Bachchan) in The Great Gatsby (2013)

Paul Wolfowitz

Jewish werewolf, warlord, nose picker, and comb licker Paul Wolfowitz

Wolf Blitzer

Jewish werewolf Wolf Blitzer, fiendish face of Cabal News Network

canyons poster

Paul Schrader (Hardcore; Cat People) delivers a characteristically decadent study with this, his eighteenth film as a director. Scripted by Bret Easton Ellis of Less Than Zero and American Psycho fame, The Canyons is at once tawdry, elegant, and meanspirited, and one of the most notable films of the year.

An extremely frank narrative revolves around repulsively spoiled trust fund wastrel Christian (James Deen), who whiles away his days corrupting the people around him and manipulating them like so many toys. So as to satisfy his father that he has an occupation, he dabbles in movies as a producer, which brings him into indifferent contact with handsome, aspiring actor Ryan (Nolan Gerard Funk). Christian professes to like to keep his openly open marriage with slut wife Tara (Lindsay Lohan) comfortably “loose” and “complicated”, but finds more complication than he probably desires when he discovers that seemingly wholesome Ryan has a previous history with Tara.

A constant doom hangs over The Canyons, its title both geographically and thematically descriptive of this sun-baked but gloomy experience. Punctuating the film are images of the empty marquees and ruined interiors of once-glorious, now abandoned movie theaters serving at once as commentary on an industry and on the characters’ inner desolation. Hollywood’s stories about itself, from Sunset Boulevard, In a Lonely Place, and The Bad and the Beautiful through Day of the Locust, The Player, and Hollywoodland, have tended to be downbeat affairs, and The Canyons continues in that tradition – less gothically or spectacularly, perhaps, than the more grotesque entries in the genre, but no less despairing by any measure.

Classy in execution if totally tacky in subject matter, The Canyons is well worth seeking out. James Deen is perfectly detestable as Christian, Nolan Funk’s male beauty is appropriately vapid, and luscious but fading Lindsay Lohan is exquisitely cast as jaded but sympathetic hussy Tara.

4.5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Canyons is:

5. Anti-drug. “Why are you drinking tequila at noon?” The danger of date rape drugs receives mention.

4. Anti-gay. Homosexuality appears as a predatory symptom of personal and cultural decadence.

3. Class-conscious. Inherited, unearned wealth like Christian’s gives rise to degeneracy and arrogance.

2. Technology-skeptical. Y appears as a generation rotten in inception and already gone to seed, at once precocious and empty-headed, and incapable of conversing over drinks without texting or sexting simultaneously. One suspects that Schrader holds handheld and streaming technology to be at least partly to blame for the murder of those stately old movie houses. Technology, too, has contributed to these young ones’ flippancy with regard to sexual morality. “Nobody has a private life anymore” and “We’re all actors, aren’t we?” Identity theft also looms as a threat in the world of online everything.

1. Crypto-traditionalist/anti-slut. For all its blatant depravity, male frontal nudity, and other marks of deceptively casual nihilism, The Canyons views its characters through a detached but quietly tragic, judgmental, and conservative lens. “I’m just sick of the old school shit about fuckin’ propriety, etiquette, and all that crap [. . .] It’s like when you’re at your family dinner on Sunday and everyone’s just lying, lying . . .” Christian explains – and he and his peers suffer to the degree that they deviate from the outmoded norms. Christian’s name speaks for itself as a sarcastic commentary on an utterly godless generation given to hedonistic materialism and soulless egoism. The only thing missing from The Canyons is the compounded case of venereal pestilence these little horrors would (hopefully) catch if they lived as depicted for very long.

SYNTHETIC_MAN_POSTER

Writer-producer-director (and everything else) John R. Hand’s The Synthetic Man is less a coherently narrative film than a filmed reflection on the writing process.  Though The Synthetic Man resists easy summary, it is generally concerned with self-absorption, boredom, paranoia, sexual longing, and various creative processes, both natural and unnatural, human and alien.

Framing its wildly scattershot content are scenes of an obese and probably insane young woman (April Hand) who in her directionless isolation decides to write a (really bad) science fiction novel in a spiral notebook.  Her initial inspiration is a rape fantasy nightmare in which she is groped and menaced while sleeping by an unseen knife-wielding visitor (Mike Engle).  This, she decides, is the Synthetic Man, who will figure as a character in her novel.

The woman appears to have no family or friends in her life, and certainly no significant other.  Furthermore, the way she rubs her notebook and presses it to her bosom suggests that the novel is just a pitiable exercise in redirected sexual energy.  Everything in her life and in The Synthetic Man as a whole suggests alienation and disconnect, from the sterile interiors of her home and other places to the snow on her television and the prophylactic barriers of fantasy, sleep, gloves, voice distortion, and video to all real human contact.

The material dramatizing her novel is quite the mess, with one highlight being the hero, Richard (Jeff Hartley), crawling around in a parking lot, abducting an old woman, and dragging her into the woods for a thrashing.  The idea of the story (no doubt derived from novels its dilettante author perused at the library) is that ancient aliens have planted secret agents among humanity, which is constantly under surveillance and occasionally falls prey to synthetic rape-seeding.  The latter event, depicted graphically (and to hilarious effect) during The Synthetic Man‘s concluding moments, is probably what viewers will most likely be discussing afterward.

One wishes the film as a whole had been as elegantly suggestive as the opening and closing creditscapes, which, graced by the electronic music of “The Greys” (Mr. Hand again) are fairly hypnotic as the introductory verses of Genesis are delivered in a distant, processed drone (director Hand giving Himself a too-big pat on the back, perhaps?).  The discordant sound design of these and other moments may be this self-consciously spare film’s finest asset.

If The Synthetic Man makes anything clear, however, it is that John R. Hand is a fiercely independent artist little concerned with what will appeal to a broad audience of conventional tastes or satisfy genre fan expectations.  Too cheap, self-absorbed, unfriendly, and uneventful an effort to be of interest to the typical science fiction, horror, or exploitation aficionado, this uncategorizable film will probably only appeal to a weird and very limited audience of seekers after the odd and independent.

1.5 of 5 possible stars.  Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Synthetic Man is:

5. Antiwar.  “Blessed are the peacemakers . . .”

4. Anti-obesity.  April Hand’s gawking, self-mocking performance does little to humanize her difficult character, who remains an unengagingly lethargic and grotesque figure througout.

3. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  Omaru (Esaw Parker Jr.), a black cosmic warrior, relates the origin of all suffering in the world as stemming from the machinations of an “evil race” (whites, no doubt) who bequeathed “gifts of hate and prejudice” to humanity.

2. Statist.  “Everybody’s being watched by someone – their parents, their government, their friends,” the aspiring writer muses in her tub.  “They’re all together.  They’re all related [. . .] What if we were all being watched by aliens?”  Distrust of the government and fears of something like an omnipresent New World Order are thus equated with kooky UFO talk and made the stuff of a lonely fat girl’s delusions.  The effect of her musings is to discredit those who question authority – a depiction that would likely meet with the approval of Cass Sunstein.

1. Sexist!  Women, especially undesirable ones, secretly long to be raped, knifed, or tied to trees and mistreated.

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