Archives for posts with tag: pro-choice

booksmart

Booksmart is, on the one hand, an involving study of two brainy teenage girls’ unique friendship, and, on the other, a comedy death-fart that did not make me laugh even once. Directed by Olivia Wilde and penned by Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, and Katie Silberman – it apparently takes the combined creative resources of four women to put together a screenplay this unfunny – Booksmart is nothing if not a hoarse and harrowing howl of girl-power intransigence into the maelstrom of Trumpian apocalypse. Unsmiling lesbian Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and smug, RBG-venerating Jewish fatty Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are academic all-stars who reach the end of their senior year with a sudden sense of regret at not having done any partying like their cooler peers during their time in high school. With one last night in which to revel before their graduation, Amy and Molly determine to cut loose and go buck wild whatever the cost. No one can fault the ensemble cast for the energetic, fully invested maniac performances on display; one only wishes the script had given the actors something a little more dignified to do with their talents. Booksmart is fast-paced and never exactly boring, but the accidental-finger-up-the-butt hijinks, microphone fellation, and scoldings about the difference between sexual orientation and “gender performance”, etc., failed to turn the engine in my inner gay pride parade float. This is a movie that does not so much attempt to tickle audiences’ funny bone as thrust its hand down its pants Don Lemon style before rubbing its malodorous fingers under the viewer’s nose in a botched, mentally ill attempt at seduction.

3 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Booksmart is:

Multicultural and pro-miscegenation. The almost uniformly brilliant student body of the girls’ Los Angeles high school seems to be comprised entirely of homosexuals and diversity. Molly’s secret crush, as it turns out, is mystery meat jock Nick (Mason Gooding). Hip black teacher Miss Fine (Jessica Williams), meanwhile, has an end-of-year fling with a Mexican student.

Anti-white. “Straight white man, your time is [over],” proclaims a graduation speaker. In one of the more grotesque expressions of the dumb blonde archetype ever to hit the screen, an athletic but spastic girl named Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) appears to be borderline retarded.

Anti-Trump. The girls’ car displays “Resist” and “Warren 2020” stickers. So brave!

Pro-drug. A dose of psychedelic strawberries has the girls hallucinating and finding themselves in the bodies of Barbie-like dolls, precipitating the obligatory exploration of the objectification of women. Talk to the hand, W.C. Fields. This feminist comedy steamroller can’t be stopped!

Gay. “Amy, do you know how many girls are gonna be up your vagina at Columbia next year? Are you aware of it? ‘Cause I’m aware of it,” the heterosexual Molly assures her best friend. “Every time I come to visit you, you’re just gonna be scissoring a different girl.” Putting in what I suppose is intended as an endorsement of gender-neutral bathrooms, male and female students converge on the same facilities where they gossip, draw dicks, and write obscene messages on the walls. In addition, Booksmart truly puts the Globo in Globohomo by giving a shout-out to increasingly gay-friendly Botswana even as Amy laments the fact that she would be murdered in heterofascist Uganda.

Feminist. Molly aspires to be the next Ruth Bader Ginsberg, while Amy rejects male value altogether. “My Body My Choice,” booms a poster on her wall. “Honestly, ‘pushy’ is a compliment,” Molly observes. “You know who else was pushy? Diane Sawyer. Joan of Arc. Queen Noor of Jordan.” Tediously, one of the movie’s running gags is that Molly and Amy will periodically pause to give each other sassy pep talks and tell each other how hot, fabulous, and empowered they are – almost as if neither one is convinced.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism.

 

Prodigy

The popular creepy kid genre can be traced all the way back to The Bad Seed (1956), but really took off in the years that witnessed the introduction of the birth control pill and the legalization of abortion in conjunction with overpopulation propaganda, with Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), It’s Alive (1974), The Stranger Within (1974), Devil Times Five (1974), I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975), The Omen (1976), and The Brood (1979) being notable examples. The purpose of such movies, when it is not simply to make a quick, exploitative buck, has frequently been to instill in deracinated women associations of anxiety and disgust with their own biological imperative, and The Prodigy (2019) is an especially noteworthy development of this tradition. I found it to be genuinely scary – even as I smirked inwardly at its gross subtextual purpose.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Prodigy is:

3./4. Anti-gun and pro-choice in one fell swoop. You have to watch out for those meddlesome old white men with their guns trying to save children from being murdered by their mothers. BELIEVE WOMEN when they determine that their sons deserve to die.

2. Antinatalist. The Prodigy might as well have been titled Abort the Alt-Right: The Movie.

1.Anti-white. New parents John (Peter Mooney) and Sarah (Taylor Schilling) – who have the surname Blume but do not appear to be Jewish – seem to have the perfect suburban life until their unhealthily pale son Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) starts to manifest precocious intelligence while lagging behind in emotional development and social skills. He also has different-colored eyes like Nazi LARPer David Bowie, who is name-dropped in the screenplay. These are the film’s first clues that what devil-child Miles really represents are Jewish and globalist anxieties about the remaining potential for a resurgence of nationalism and fascism among peskily still-reproducing white people. One of the semi-autistic child’s first demonstrations of intolerance is when as a schoolboy he becomes jealous at the sight of a Mexican-looking boy working on a project with a white girl. Miles wants to be paired with the girl instead and attacks the other boy in deplorably savage fashion with a wrench. A not-so-insignificant establishing shot shows him attending Buchanan Elementary School – because everybody knows the antisocial influence that Patrick J.’s tutelage exercises over the kids these days.

A Jewish parapsychologist, Dr. Arthur Jacobson (Colm Feore), finally determines that Miles, who speaks in Hungarian while he sleeps, is the reincarnation of a misogynistic serial killer, Edward Scarka (Paul Fauteux), whose family had relocated from Orban Land to Ohio. Scarka, as seen in The Prodigy’s prologue, disrespectfully chopped off womyn’s hands and murdered them in his supervillainous hillbilly house of horrors. He was probably a Republican, too – the viewer just senses it. Hungary, in Jewish consciousness, is inseparable from its twentieth-century history of anti-Semitism and the “Holocaust”, and Scarka personifies the threat of retro central-European bad-optics nationalism’s reincarnation in Rust Belt populism and toxic masculinity. After Dr. Jacobson tries hypnotizing Miles in order to learn more about the malevolent Hungarian soul occupying his body, Miles threatens to accuse him of sexually molesting him – because, of course, that is what incorrigible young white men are doing these days – falsely accusing Jewish men of being pedophiles. Who needs the bother, amirite, sisters? Just #RESIST pregnancy and have an abortion.

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Rainer is the author of the books Drugs, Jungles, and Jingoism and Protocols of the Elders of Zanuck: Psychological Warfare and Filth at the Movies.

Beloved Sisters

This German film tells the presumably somewhat true story of two sisters, Charlotte (Henriette Confurius) and Caroline (Hannah Herzsprung) von Lengefeld, and their shared love for Friedrich Schiller (Florian Stetter), a charming poet of frail health and uncertain fortunes. The offbeat romantic scenario and the performances are intense and largely engrossing, the love scenes erotic without being obscene; but costume drama buffs expecting another Pride and Prejudice may be put off by the gradually darkening tone of the film, which takes on the character of a tragedy without ever becoming a tearjerker, however. Beautifully staged and photographed, with a few quirky stylistic choices such as having characters address the camera directly, Beloved Sisters is unique and never feels like a run-of-the-mill Austen-derivative programmer.

4.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Beloved Sisters is:

6. Pro-choice. “Do you want to have the child? … Why?”

5. Anti-Christian. A mother whose bastard child is of an uncertain paternity is compared to the Virgin Mary. Schiller also recites from one of his writings dealing with the inhumanity of the Inquisition.

4. Feminist/pro-gay. The sisters, who share Schiller sexually, also dress as men in order to attend one of his boys-only lectures. Caroline longs to be “a free woman, a single woman.”

3. Anti-marriage. Beloved Sisters depicts multiple unhappy unions, with marriage described as “tragedy”. Caroline’s husband is an “evil elephant” who “wants a dozen children, but only because he won’t come into his father’s inheritance otherwise.” Consequently, he “keeps pestering” her. The sisters, says Wilhelm (Ronald Zehrfeld), sent Schiller “not to paradise, but to the solitary confinement of marriage.” An incident in which a woman who fakes her death to escape her boring husband and run away with her lover demonstrates “international flair”.

2. Reactionary! Initially, Schiller is a naïve radical fired by the ideals of the Enlightenment. “I think humanity will evolve through knowledge and the sight of true beauty,” he says. Later, in the bloody wake of the French Revolution, and after having heard the horror stories of his friend Wilhelm, who has witnessed the carnage of the Terror firsthand, Schiller has more sobering thoughts. “Shouldn’t we have known, Wilhelm?” he asks. “Yes,” his friend replies. “Everyone who rang the bell for renewal should have known.”

1. Racist! That a movie – a German movie, no less! – would have the nerve to present a primitive, pre-multiculturalist Europe as something other than a totalitarian nightmare, and a place, indeed, of great natural charm and civilizational order, is a crime that this critic cannot forgive. Internet bigots obsessed with those supposed Cologne “attacks” will no doubt find much to admire in this dainty, escapist portrait of a racially homogenous society.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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The Ideological Content Analysis 30 Days Putsch:

30 Reviews in 30 Days

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

Terminator Genisys

In a series of events with which the fans of the original Terminator will already be familiar, futuristic human resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his own father (Jai Courtney) back through time to 1984 to save his mother before a Terminator cyborg (CG-rejuvenated Schwarzenegger) can kill her before she conceives the destined savior. Terminator Genisys then proceeds to overturn the audience’s expectations by having Reese arrive not in the 1984 of the first film, but in an alternate, already altered reality in which Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) has already been toughened by years of tutelage from “Pops” (geriatric Schwarzenegger), her own personal cyborg sidekick and father figure. Genisys, an Orwellian app to be launched in 2017, turns out to be the catalyst for the rise of the machines. The plot gets a lot more convoluted than this, and none of the time travel gobbledygook makes any sense; but fans of the franchise ought to enjoy it, its sinister purposes notwithstanding.

4 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Terminator Genisys is:

3. Feminist. Sarah Connor in this movie is already a battle-hardened warrior woman. She resents Reese’s presumption that she is in need of his protection; and, in fact, it is she, not Reese, who utters the famous line, “Come with me if you want to live.”

2. Zionist. In the bleak future sampled in the exposition, humanity is confined in camps, given arm-barcodes, and exterminated. The term “final solution” even occurs in the script, so that human resistance in Terminator Genisys is understood subtextually to serve as the avatar of holocaust-fearing organized Jewry. Awakening European racial consciousness is equated with the quest of a totalitarian order of genocidal robot supremacy. This is the future that must at all costs be prevented. (Skydance Productions, which made the film, is run by Jews David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Jesse Sisgold.)

1. Pro-choice and anti-white. Jew-killing robot armies of whites will never be able to serve their purpose as long as they are never born. Terminator Genisys, consequently, is greatly concerned with promoting Euro-American childlessness. Thirty years of cultural collapse spanning the first film and this one can be read between the lines. Whereas, in the first entry in the series (made in the decade following the Roe v. Wade decision), the Terminator is an antagonist – an abortionist sent from an inhuman future to preemptively terminate Sarah’s pregnancy – this same soulless, robotic abortionist (or one with identical facial features) has, in Terminator Genisys, become a perverse father figure to Sarah, who enlists his help in killing her son, John Connor, who, Sarah discovers in this installment, has become a corrupted collaborator of Skynet in the yet-to-be. One of the major action sequences in Terminator Genisys features Sarah driving a symbolically passengerless school bus – signifying the white race’s decadent demographic decline – in her desperate rush to evade and/or destroy her own posterity. Once freed from the horror of her son’s bleak destiny, Sarah can enjoy sexual freedom and happiness with Reese because, as she puts it, “Now I can choose.” Additionally, the necessity in the film of preemptively assassinating a future savior can be read as expressing a Jewish wish that Christ had been aborted.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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

Wild poster

A career highlight showcase for star Reese Witherspoon, this freewheeling emotional odyssey into triumphant you-go-girlism concerns real-life tramp Cheryl Strayed, whose epic hike along the Pacific Crest Trail takes her from “piece of shit” and “hobo” to liberated and self-actualized piece of shit with an Oprah’s Book Club pick. As with all wilderness pictures, from Jeremiah Johnson to Rescue Dawn, there is an innate fascination to the scenes of Strayed’s one-woman struggle with the elements. The interspersed flashbacks to the unpleasant experiences that drive her to make her quest, however, are hit-and-miss, diminishing any sympathy this reviewer is able to muster for her. Laura Dern appears as Strayed’s long-suffering, cancer-ridden mother.

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

6. Drug-ambivalent. Wild sends mixed messages about Cheryl’s life as a heroin addict. Marijuana, however, seems to be a laid-back thing to do. Alcohol appears as a no-no, though, with Cheryl vomiting after some hard stuff. (see also no. 1)

5. Anti-Christian. Foulmouthed Cheryl utters multiple blasphemies.

4. Anti-redneck. The rural white male is a constant menace hovering in the gloaming of Cheryl’s consciousness, leering at her and making unsavory advances.

3. Pro-choice. Cheryl has an abortion.

2. New age, peddling mass market paperback mysticism that might have been cribbed from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The film ends with Witherspoon reciting some philosophical gobbledygook about how nobody knows what leads to what – the scientific method, contrary to this reviewer’s mistaken impression all his life, turning out never to have been invented after all – life being one big mysterious journey, each seeming adversity or disastrous decision constituting a necessary step toward destiny’s fulfillment. People – and, by extension, societies – might as well experiment to their hearts’ content on this starry trek of objectively valueless existence.

1. Feminist. Wild celebrates the junkie-adulteress-intellectual as heroine. One of its many nuggets of womany wisdom is that divorces, unlike marriages, tend to be lasting. Regarding her serial back-alley extramarital humps and heroin habit, Cheryl apologizes to her nice-guy husband (Thomas Sadoski) but later confesses that she harbors no regrets about anything. Adrienne Rich’s poem “Power”, a favorite of the protagonist, furnishes Wild with its theme. Marie Curie’s “wounds”, Rich explains, “came from the same source as her power”. Witherspoon’s body, accordingly, appears with unsightly contusions and cuts throughout the movie, these presumably being the feminist stigmata symbolizing the suffering through which she has attained her “power”. In a parallel characterization, Cheryl’s mother is an abused wife who abandons her alcoholic husband and goes back to school for her education because, she says, she never felt like she was in the driver’s seat of her own life.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Oprah’s Bucks Club

Zombies vs. Strippers

The Tough Titty, a strip club in a seedy Los Angeles slum, finds itself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in this silly Full Moon outing. Spider (Circus-Szalewski), the proprietor, along with his bevy of shapely and jiggly employees, must cope with swelling numbers of undead perverts who congregate around the building while everyone also tries to come to terms with how they will spend what may be their last night on Earth. A pair of lewd customers wants nasty thrills; DJ Bernie (Tanner Horn) just wants to get high; while Spider and the strippers increasingly find that staying alive is more important than making money they might not be able to spend.

Slightly better than the tacky and unimaginative title might suggest, Zombies vs. Strippers is still an unremarkable pile of trash and risks overstaying its smelly welcome even at a meager seventy-four minutes padded with lengthy opening credits. There are, of course, curves galore, and a few witty one-liners; but the zombies, after a nice gradual tease during the exposition, offer only a modicum of suspense and pay diminishing returns as more and more of the snarlers appear onscreen. Good enough for a slow night, but hardly the movie this viewer would want at the top of his queue at the end of the world.

3 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Zombies vs. Strippers is:

13. Diversity-skeptical. Black stripper Vanilla (Brittany Gael Vaughn) dismisses “crazy fuckin’ white boys”.

12. Pro-gun. Guns are used defensively against the corpses.

11. Anti-slut. Fornicators are punished, with the zombie plague being compared to venereal disease.

10. Anti-X.  Like Creep Van, Zombies vs. Strippers holds Generation X/Y in low regard, particularly in terms of their value to employers.  DJ Bernie is a pothead, and the strippers can be foulmouthed and sassy. “I’m a professional. That used to mean something,” bouncer Marvin (J. Scott) reflects disapprovingly on the slacker mentality. “The American Dream is stuck in the mud,” children’s host Hambo the Ranch Hand (Chance A. Rearden) says before advocating the extermination of the rising generation.

9. Anti-TV.  Paralleling the zombie plague is the zombie-like vapidity and desensitization of the characters in the film from what seems to have been a lifelong diet of dumb television. “What would Hambo do?” Spider asks, the pig-nosed TV personality having apparently taken the place of Jesus in his life. Characters are more than once unable to distinguish between entertainment and imminent threat.

8. Anti-police. The LAPD, whether from cowardice or indifference, never enters the neighborhood of the Tough Titty. Bikers laugh at the threat of a call to the police.

7. Pro-choice/euthanasist. The infected must be put out of their misery for the good of humanity. Hambo, holding up two eggs, calls for the “eggstermination” of the young.

6. Anti-drug. Spider insults a zombie, calling it “crackhead”, and tells Bernie that weed will lower his sperm count. Later, offering a reefer to a zombie, Bernie is bitten.  When Bernie the zombie is killed by Vanilla, she cries, “This is your brain on drugs, motherfucker!” and pierces his head with her high-heel shoe. Drinking impairs the judgment of more than one character. One man is killed just as he is about to light a cigarette.

5. Capital-ambivalent. Zombies vs. Strippers presents a warts-and-all but basically sympathetic portrait of the American small businessman in Spider, who despite his efforts has failed to make the Tough Titty profitable.  Spider is not above trying to cheat a customer out of his money, but his chosen victim, musician Spike (Adam Brooks), is dishonest and an admitted thief. Adding to Spider’s woes are disrespectful and lazy employees like Bernie, whose poor turntable efforts prompt Spider to threaten to replace him with an mp3 player.

4. Anti-Christian. Christians are represented by biker Red Wings (Brad Potts), who spouts biblical claptrap but makes little secret of his nasty-mindedness. Spike gets tired of listening to his “religious crap”. One of the strippers irreverently dons a nun costume.

3. Pro-miscegenation. Black stripper Vanilla, announced as two scoops of chocolate ice cream that will make a man’s banana split, is desired by the white men around her and engages in flirtation with Red Wings.

2. Feminist.  The name of the strip club, the Tough Titty, says it all. Strong women stand the best chance of surviving. The representative male chauvinist pig (Patrick Lazzara) who uses abusive language against the strippers is certain to meet with an unpleasant end.

1. Relativist/nihilist.  “We’re all a bunch of criminals. A whole world of ‘em.”

 

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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.

Appearances, as the old saying goes, can be deceiving.  A case in point is Devil’s Angel, recently retitled and rereleased after debuting in 2010 as I’m Not Jesus Mommy.  A controversy-courting film that deals with abortion, child murder, genetic engineering, the New World Order, Christianity, and the end of the world, Devil’s Angel would be an admirably ambitious undertaking regardless of budget, but is especially praiseworthy for its accomplishments on an obvious shoestring.  No less impressive and entertaining is Devil’s Angel‘s deft handling of its ideological agenda.

Voluptuously common-looking (executive producer) Bridget McGrath stars as Kimberly Gabriel, a doctor pioneering fertility treatments for women but who, ironically, has been unable to conceive a child with her husband (Joseph Schneider).  Enter the gauntly sinister, smiling Dr. Gibson (Charles Hubbell), a genetic researcher who drafts reluctant Dr. Gabriel to assist with his government-funded cloning project.  Dr. Gabriel harbors moral reservations about the experiment and the treatment of the embryos, but continues in Gibson’s service for reasons of her own.  Pitiably, in an access of womanly self-indulgence, she steals a vial of clone material scheduled for disposal and artificially inseminates herself in the lab bathroom and breaks the wonderful news to Hubby only have him get upset, storm out of the house, and die in an auto accident.

Flash forward seven years and the country has fallen prey to freezing climate change, crime, dictatorial rule, starvation, and a plague that evaporates people.  Dr. Gabriel is living alone in a squalid apartment with her creepy clone son, little David (beautiful Rocko Hale), and taking life one day at a time.  Dr. Gibson, meanwhile, is now flying his Jesus freak flag high and has moved in with his sister and niece, whose souls he tries his darnedest to save by reading them scary Bible stories by candlelight.  And what of little David, who talks to an imaginary friend, appears to have access to knowledge of future happenings, and can bring dead mice back to life?  What part does he have to play in the end times?  Could the fact that David’s genetic source material comes from the Shroud of Turin possibly have anything to do with any of this?

So far, so seemingly simple and straightforward, with what appears to be a melodramatic Lifetime Network original horror film with a pro-life and survivalist wacko slant.  Twenty or thirty minutes into its story of the repercussions of a cloning experiment gone wrong, however, the viewer must face a burning question.  Is all of this Apocalypse business in earnest or a joke at the expense of Christian audiences?

Clues are provided by the IMDb and Wikipedia profiles for the director, Vaughn Juares – beginning with his real name, Vaughn Garland Smith.  A creator of web videos that include a mock ad for a Jesus Christ action figure, and director of mercenary assignments ranging from spots for American Express and Nestle to Dairy Queen and Democratic  congressional campaign commercials, plus several boob-and-booty-obsessed music videos for Univision, one of which was named AOL’s “Sexiest Video of 2006”, Mr. “Juares” is a professional product hustler and is clearly no choirboy.  With this background in mind, the viewer is advised to take Devil’s Angel‘s religious content with a wafer of salt.

Put bluntly, Devil’s Angel is a con and a Trojan horse, a film that presents itself as one thing and delivers quite another.  An ostensibly Christian film about the dangers of tampering with the natural order of God’s creation actually emerges in the end as an undermining operation aimed at demolishing by sly ridicule the illusions of its probably intended audience.  It is a film, furthermore, that complicates somewhat the task of Ideological Content Analysis, which, however, indicates that Devil’s Angel is:

10. Smartass.  “No animals were harmed during the making of this motion picture.  The mouse was already dead.”

9. Feminist.  Dr. Gabriel stabs a presumptuous male assailant.  Her husband dies in a wreck as punishment for not supporting her unilateral reproductive decision.

8. Prejudiced.  A man in a hoodie attacks Dr. Gabriel, thus perpetuating the cruel stereotype that would take Trayvon Martin’s life.

7. Drug-ambivalent.  Cigarettes are a turn-off and bad for mothers and babies, but wine is sexy stuff to lick from a woman’s neck.

6. Ostensibly and deceptively critical of climate change theory, i.e., crypto-environmentalist.  Not only is the globe not warming; the fact of the matter is that it is freezing!  This is most likely a condescending sop to conservative climate change skeptics who presumably, in this film’s view, would be more likely to believe in global cooling.

5. Ostensibly and deceptively genetic research-critical.  “At some point science will go bad,” Dr. Gabriel reflects early in the film.  The ridiculousness of the religious views expressed in the film are effectively tantamount to an endorsement of mad science.

4. Pro-immigration.  Illegals are captured and persuaded to allow themselves to be used as guinea pig host mothers for the clone project in exchange for mere “permanent resident” status and are portrayed sympathetically as victims of anglo insensitivity and cruelty, including ogling and butt-slapping.  The situation is then reversed when, seven years later, the U.S. has frozen over and Americans are now scrambling to get into Mexico, which responds by building a wall and shooting frostbacks on sight.

3. Ostensibly and deceptively anti-state, i.e., contemptuous of anti-state sentiment – which is to say that Devil’s Angel is crypto-statist in its sympathies.  The government is indirectly responsible for the Apocalypse – sounds like something those zany hard right Tea Partiers would allege, yes? “When it comes to science,” Dr. Gibson exults, “the public doesn’t have a say.”  “Thanks to a liberal president in the White House and the proliferation of broad fetal cell research,” he elaborates, “we are practically mandated to take the next steps in human cloning.”

Most outrageously, the film parodies right-wing nightmares about the New World Order in its characterization of authoritarian post-Obama America.  The new regime’s propaganda arm, the National Information Ministry, has as its symbol an abstract eagle and a paranoid eye at the center of a pyramid.  The tinnily robotic voice of a fuzzy National Information Ministry broadcast (tv reception sucks in the future) warns that the U.S.-Mexico border is a Mexican-designated kill zone for Americans and Canadians.  “Warning: do not eat food products not provided by the National Food Ministry programs.  All food must be obtained with a valid government wristband or other voucher.”  A national curfew is also in effect from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and government services are unavailable in most areas due to the ice and severe weather ravaging vast stretches of the country.

2. Ostensibly and deceptively Christian and spiritual, i.e., anti-Christian and insultingly crypto-irreligious.  Dr. Gibson, the film’s representative religious nut, scares his sister and gives his niece nightmares with his obsessiveness.  “Jesus will take care of us,” he tells them; but after hearing and being inspired by a spooky radio sermon on Abraham, he smothers the sister with a pillow and then snuffs the little girl with her teddy bear.  Fanatically, he has cloned Jesus only to accidentally bring forth the Antichrist instead.  David’s mother disapproves of his belief in an imaginary friend, telling him, “I used to be a kid like you, imaginary friends and all” – which could be read as the film’s way of implying that religion is no better than the products of a childish imagination.

1. Ostensibly and deceptively pro-life, i.e., fundamentally crypto-pro-choice.  Try as it might to pose as a pro-life propaganda piece, the reality of Devil’s Angel‘s plot remains that the Apocalypse could have been averted by a simple abortion procedure.

Essential viewing for any fan of Alien, Ridley Scott’s new exploration of classic themes alludes to the director’s earlier film in both explicit and subtle ways, beginning with the slow appearance onscreen of the title, starting with two bars where Alien began with one, signaling that this comprises a second installment of a vision and a set of ideas with continuity.  As in Alien, a vessel on a commercial voyage runs afoul not only of unexpected surprises and evidences of life on arrival at a distant destination, but also the secrets being kept from the crew by their employers.  Prometheus is visually captivating and philosophically rich from start to finish, definitely a thinking person’s alien creature flick, and rewards repeated viewings.  Momentum builds irresistibly throughout, with unanswered questions maintaining constant tension and finally leaving the audience yearning for Prometheus 2: The New Batch.  Noomi Rapace’s presence greatly enhances the pleasantness factor of this effectively frightening and often highly revolting film.  Charlize Theron is also unnerving in her icy supporting role.  5 stars.  Highly recommended.

Ideological Content Analysis, meanwhile, indicates Prometheus is:

3. Pro-miscegenation.  The pungency of this aspect is mitigated somewhat by the observation that, from the standpoint of one interpretation, both of those who partake are punished in one way or another.  I also noticed a slyly mischievous segue that hadn’t occurred to me on the first viewing. Immediately after the scene of suggested miscegenation, one of the scientists, seeing menacing slime oozing out of alien canisters, wonders aloud, “What’s all this black stuff?”  Actually surprising that got left in.

2. Pro-choice, making a thrilling medical emergency out of a zany abortion.  (This is actually my favorite set piece and has to be seen.)

1. Antiwar.

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