Logan's Run 1936
Another mashup by Rob! Audio from Logan's Run theatrical trailer (1976), video clips from The Black Pirate (1926), The Lost City (1935), The Phantom Empire (1936), Things to Come (1936), Undersea Kingdom (1936), Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940), Evil Brain from Outer Space (1964), plus the Lincoln Memorial matte paintings from Logan's Run.
Kane Richmond from The Lost City plays Logan 5. Claudia Dell plays Jessica 6 and Jerry Frank plays Francis 7, both from The Lost City. You can spot Crash Corrigan crucified on a tank and getting rammed through a castle gate (from Undersea Kingdom). Lee Van Atta is the little boy in sailor hat firing a raygun (Undersea Kingdom).
You can now follow me on Twitter. But do I want you to?
I've had a webpage on Tripod since 1998, I think. Started using Blogger to update it and eventually set up RSS feeds (you're very welcome, both of you). I'm still posting video mashups and occasional vlogs to Youtube. I can't remember or bring myself to care when I started and stopped posting to MySpace. Some friends convinced me to start on Facebook, and I've been somewhat active there.
As someone who reads a lot and writes a lot, I haven't seen the point of Twitter, so I resisted the hype. Lately I heard an interesting video where a guy recommends marketing your "personal brand" on as many different social media sites as you can. It makes sense, like having ads on different radio and tv stations, instead of running one ad on one station that appeals to you. So I found a Facebook "app" (what we used to call a "program" back when we transcribed them line by line from Compute's Gazette magazine into our Commodore 64s) that lets me enter a line in Facebook and have it post to my status and also to Twitter. So you can now follow @evilbobdayjob there, if that sounds like the kind of thing you'd want to do.
After setting it up that way, it occurred to me that I keep my Facebook junk private because of Melinda's rash of haters over the last few years. I'm not worried that someone would come to our house and attack us, but I worry about armchair pranksters ordering pizzas to our address, or crates full of dildos or who knows what. So now I can log into Facebook, which I keep somewhat private, and post something that will be displayed for anyone to see via Twitter where I use my real name.
Then I come back here to post about it. Hmmm. Are you someone who reads my blog on Awkwardly, or watches my videos on YouTube, or friends me on Facebook, or follows me on Twitter? It'll be there just in case you want it. There's plenty of me to go around.
* Among the various things that annoy me about the name and concept of "apps," one is that they are usually designed for some limited purpose for use within some particular website's software, or on some portable device that I can't afford. It reminds me of one of those redundant household devices that duplicates a function you can already do with your common appliances, but this thing has the advantage of being specialized (limited in the ways you can use it) and relieving you of that excess money you have. The worst offender is the revolving pizza oven, a little turntable that spins under a heating element to cook pizza. Or if you can't be bothered to leave a big crockpot on low heat on the stove for several hours, why not buy a new and separate device with its own heating element, specially designed to cook foods slowly? Yeah, "apps" remind me of that, only they clutter up facebook and iphones instead of kitchen counters or basements.
Death penalty moratorium in Mongolia
Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj announced a moratorium on the death penalty on 14 Jan 2010, and called for it to be abolished. He told parliament that the death penalty degraded Mongolia's dignity.
"International Death Penalty Abolition Day" is March 1st, marking "the occasion in 1847 when the state of Michigan became the first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish capital punishment." (I love to brag about that, even though most of my forefathers settled in Michigan later, and the gravitational pull of the U.S. invasion of Vietnam caused me to be born in a Naval hospital in California instead of Mich.)
Robertson Formula: How to make Satan work for you! (or God)
If an event is bad and it's happening to me, that's just the normal kinds of events that happen to everyone. No need to bring God into it. (Unless I recover from it nicely, and then that's God's blessing again. See also the Mother Angelica biography by Raymond Arroyo.)
If an event is bad and it happens to someone I don't like, that shows they've been wicked. Assume God is punishing them. This could also be a large group of people collectively punished for failing to denounce the wickedness of a smaller subset within the group, such as the September 11 attacks (punishment against gays and liberals and the ACLU) or the 2004 tsunami that wiped out a 100k or 200k people around the Indian Ocean because of some gay beaches around there.
If that last way of condemning enemies gets too stale, then you can shake things up a little bit by saying they made a deal with the Devil 100 years ago, and they're finally getting their punishment.
If things go well for your enemy, that's because the person is the Devil or made a deal with the Devil.
These interpretations of events are not your way of manipulating religion. It's just a reasonable, common sense interpretation of the Bible and the traditions handed down to us by only the best, truest representatives of God. All other interpretations can safely be assumed to be of demonic origin.
You're welcome! ;)
Are we talking Star Wars or Wheeled Warriors?
An older mentor with facial hair, funny clothes and magical powers guides the hero. He occasionally deceives his trainee for the greater good. (1)
The mentor passes something on to the hero that was made by the hero's father, an item that will be important in their quest. (2)
The most prominent female character is like a sister to the hero. She's psychic and has funny hair. Don't hold your breath waiting for a lot of other females to appear, cuz it'll be a while. (3)
The hero and his mentor hire the services of a jaded, wise-cracking, money-motivated pilot. This pilot's initials are H.S. He wears a dark vest and tries to avoid conflict. His cargo-carrying vehicle sometimes malfunctions, but usually pulls through at the last possible moment. (4)
Some of the good guys pilot smaller assault vehicles that only accommodate one or two people. (5)
Another member of the team is a big creature who has a strong attachment with another team-mate, can't speak English, but communicates with some of the heroes. (6)
Rounding out the good guys is an annoying, sniveling automaton created by the hero's father. Intended as comic relief, the whiny automaton occasionally saves the day by accident. He is apparently enslaved to humans, calling the hero "master." He sometimes loses his limbs or his head, but can be reassembled without much trouble. (7)
The villain would not exist except for the actions of the hero's father. The villain is somewhat psychic. The headquarters of the bad guys is massive and almost spherical. (8)
At the darkest moment of the first installment in the series, the mentor telepathically reminds the hero to use his magic power. (9)
The heroes consider themselves members of an ancient order that fought for good. Our heroes seem to be the only members of the group currently active. (10)
Although the setting is explicitly sci-fi with higher technology than our own, there are medieval touches in the clothing and imagery. (11)
That's all Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, right?
[Notes below spell out the details from Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors. I assume you know Star Wars well enough to recognize what I'm talking about on that end.]
1. Gillian lies to Jayce in an episode titled "Future of the Future", lies to Herc in the pilot episode by giving him "temporary" gold. Kenobi says that Luke's father died, then later tries to recover from the lie with a twisted, lawyerriffic parsing of words that even Bill Clinton would have been ashamed of. Yoda didn't bother to tell Luke either. Jedi have always been manipulative and acted like no one else can handle the truth.
2. The root amulet was made by Jayce's father, Audric. They use it to track down Audric, and they need to keep it away from the Monster Minds. Gillian also gives the Armed Force vehicle to Jayce, but that was made by Gillian for Audric.
3. Flora is like a sister to Jayce because his father created her.
4. Herc Stormsailor, at your service. His space barge is called Pride of the Skies II.
5. Wheeled warriors explode into battle! Like X-Wing Fighters and Tie Fighters, most of the Wheeled Warrior vehicles accommodate only one person.
6. The huge flying fish is named Fauna. Not quite as intimidating as Chewbacca, but he helps or saves the team in a few episodes. Only Flora and maybe Gillian understand the fish's squeaks and whistles.
7. That would be Oon and his "magic" lance. Don't forget that C3PO was created by Luke's father, just like Oon was created by Jayce's father! They couldn't have stolen this bit from Star Wars because it wasn't spelled out in the Star Wars universe until Phantom Menace, a decade or more after Wheeled Warriors was off the air.
8. Sawboss communicates with some of his minions psychically. Oon says, "My master Audric tried to create a plant that would end starvation forever," resulting in Sawboss and the Monster Minds. Maybe in the future or in a far off galaxy, starvation is a problem due to lack of plants or population explosion. On Earth right now, we have enough to feed everyone in the world, but we don't have the will to distribute it or share it without profiting from people who need it. I guess it wouldn't have gone over as well if Oon had said, "My master Audric tried to create a humane political system that would end starvation forever."
9. "Jayce, use the ring!" – From Gillian in the pilot episode. A little different from Star Wars because here Jayce's mentor is still alive when he sends the telepathic message.
10. "In ages past, there was a small band of heroes who guided us to victory in desperate times. They were called The Lightning League. Their leader wore this ring. It is time for the knowledge of the past to save the future." – Gillian in pilot episode, as he gives the ring to Jayce.
11. The Lightning League doesn't sound as medieval as the Jedi Knights, but remember the animated suit of armor and his "magic" lance.
Gentlemen of the Road
Go read his Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands for Chabon's essays defending this kind of thing, stories with genre and plot, or at least stories that don't fall into the genre of "literary", which are incorrectly portrayed as neutral or genre-free. (Can you tell I'm convinced?)
Those historical details aren't obstacles to a good story, or something to complain about. They're the kind of names you might gloss over in an explicitly fantastical or sci-fi story because you'd know they were made up, but here they appear to be historically accurate.
I haven't read a lot of Robert E. Howard, but the locations of Gentlemen put me in mind of the Lost Valley of Iskander stories. It's dedicated to Michael Moorcock, which explains the thin, brooding, depressive, pale, straw-haired member of the heroic duo. Boilerplate on the back cover of the large print edition compares it to The Arabian Nights and Dumas. When he's not skewering bad guys, that pale "scarecrow" Zelikman is a doctor, sort of a medecin sans frontiers willing to sew up anyone. I'm not sure if Chabon intended the comparison, but that put me in mind of Sabatini's Captain Blood, a.k.a. Doctor Peter Blood, who starts as a surgeon and gets dragged into slavery and piracy because he performed surgery on a rebel. Zelikman's edgeless rapier is named "Lancet", and I would hate to leave out Amram or his rune-covered axe whose name translates roughly as "Defiler of Your Mother." Who knew there were Jews in Africa that long ago? Not me. Okay, I mean it's just not widely discussed. I hear there were a lot of Chinese settlers in Mexico too. It's just surprising if you are victim of the stereotype that Europeans or WASPs are the only people who ever moved around in big numbers. Sorry. Now I know, and knowing is some portion of the battle.
If I had read more than a chapter or two of Swords And Deviltry, I could say more confidently that Gentlemen reminds me of Fahfrd and Gray Mouser, but I can't remember if they banter quite as much or as well as Zelikman and Amram.
Chabon name-checks Conan and D'Artagnan in the Afterword of Gentlemen of the Road, and his working title was actually Jews with Swords. Draw a Venn diagram with all of the above types of picaresque adventure stories overlapping somewhat and Gentlemen would be somewhere in the sweet spot.
The first scene is about our heroes pulling a scam. Although they show off their fighting skills, they con their way out of other tight spots throughout the book. And the whole story is resolved with a massive con in the end. Which goes to show that even if the "Road" part of their job title is accurate, the euphemism "Gentlemen" is a stretch, so misleading that it almost qualifies as a lie. They have their own ideas about what constitutes proper behavior, but then everyone does, so who's to say they're not really gentlemen.
I'd recommend Gentlemen of the Road to anyone who likes playing thieves or rogues in D&D, or as a model for anyone who wants to understand them better. I can't put my finger on exactly why I love it, but after finishing this novel yesterday, I yearn for Chabon to write sequels, and I'm almost ready to write Gentlemen fan-fiction myself. (He has essays in favor of fan-fic too in Maps and Legends. See also Jonathan Lethem's essay The Ecstasy of Influence: a plagiarism in defense of fanfiction and in defense of plagiarism, sort of, or at least pointing out that some of the greatest arts and literature we can think of borrowed heavily from earlier works.)
And I almost forgot, here are some great lines from Gentlemen of the Road:
"Zelikman heard breathing behind him and turned to find the stripling, behind a rain jar, face buried in his hands, weeping. Zelikman was alien to feelings of sympathy with young men in tears, having waked one morning, around the time of his fifteenth birthday, to find that by a mysterious process perhaps linked to his studies of human ailments and frailties as much as to the rape and murder of his mother and sister, his heart had turned to stone."
Thoughts attributed to a particularly greedy trader: ". . . His ancestral memory of the decline of the great age of trade fleets and caravans [reached] back, like that of all Radanites, to the fall of Rome and the rise of those warring stepchildren of Judaism, the followers of Islam and Christianity, who in violation of God's desire and teaching and above all his good sense would rather kill than haggle."
"She had always found a paradox in the crime of blasphemy, for it seemed to her that any God who could be discountenanced by the words of human beings was by definition not worthy of reverence . . . ."
Walt Disney Presents: The Precious and the Frog
I didn't mean to add weirdness by having the frog as the mother getting kissed by Princess/Precious. It was a simple matter of trying to build this from less than five minutes of audio and video taken from the full trailers for both movies and the teaser for Princess and the Frog. Mo'nique just has priceless lines in that movie, and the only animated character shown speaking on screen long enough other than the Princess was the frog, so that's how it worked out.
2009 Dramatic Movie with Stakes Most Twee
Released from prison in 1990.
The Black majority of South Africa allowed to vote.
Mandela takes office as President of South Africa.
Racial tension continues.
How could we dramatize that tension and conflict?
Get Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Get a multi-Oscar winning director.
Of all the possible stories in Mandela's life, what would be the most dramatic to represent?
That's right: his influence on the nation's rugby team.
The award for Dramatic Movie with Stakes Most Twee 2009 goes to -- Invictus.
See also past "winners" of Dramatic Movies with Stakes Most Twee.
Response to Obama's War Escalation by Rachel Maddow
Shattered Illusions of Peanuts
My understanding of the Peanuts mythos has been recalibrated by the first volume of strips from 1950-1952. For one thing, somewhere in the first two or three years was a strip in which a word balloon pointed to an adult out of frame, when Charlie Brown hears his mother calling. A purist could explain this away by saying that we don't know it was Mrs. Brown: it could have been some other kid calling him or pretending to be his mother. Surely that event would have been incorporated into the story, so it's not a plausible explanation.
Another weird bit is that Lucy's famous fake-out, pulling away the football at the last minute while Charlie Brown runs up to kick it, was actually pioneered by Violet. In that first version, Violet slips or turns away at the last minute, so it was more of an accident than a trick intentionally played on Charlie Brown.
A nice discovery was that Schroeder's first word in the strip was "Beethoven." He's shown as a baby who doesn't speak for his first several appearances, although he plays the toy piano before speaking.
At the back of Volume 1 is an interview with Schulz from 1992. He makes a few pronouncements about mistakes in Peanuts and other comic strips. It starts off sounding like wise judgments of general storytelling technique (especially admitting that it was a mistake to introduce Snoopy's brothers and sisters), but some sound like his own personal, arbitrary complaints about other strips and stories:
Rick Marschall [with Nemo magazine]: You've never pictured adults, parents or otherwise, in the strip. Maybe once or twice you've had the hand of an adult at a magazine counter or something like that. Was that something you set out to do?
Schulz: Oh, I never thought about it at first. It was the way I drew the characters, they filled up the strip and I drew them from the side view. ... At one point, I think, years and years ago, I drew a whole bunch of adults in a gallery where Lucy was playing in a golf tournament, which is something I never should have done. But it was an experiment. ... And then I used to have off-stage voices, which again was simply because I didn't know how to handle it. Now the strip has become so abstract that the introduction of an adult would destroy it because you can't have an adult in a strip where a dog is sitting on a dog-house, pretending he's chasing the Red Baron. It just doesn't work. So, it's taken all these years really to learn some of these things. You make mistakes, but fortunately it's a medium that allows for mistakes if you recognize them right away. It's possible--I think--to make a mistake in the strip and without realizing it, destroy it. ...I think Eugene the Jeep was a mistake. I think Eugene the Jeep took the life out of Popeye himself, and I'm sure Segar didn't realize that. I realized it myself a couple of years ago when I began to introduce Snoopy's brothers and sisters. I realized that when I put Belle and Marbles in there it destroyed the relationship that Snoopy has with the kids, which is a very strange relationship. And these things are so subtle that when you're doing them, you can make mistakes and not realize them. ... What made Popeye great was that he solved all his problems by whopping somebody, but then by having Eugene the Jeep be able to predict the future and do all of these things, I think, was just the wrong direction. And once you go there, it's almost impossible to pull back. I think the Jeep was a great idea, but it shouldn't have become as dominant as it became.
... The same with Superman. Superman was destroyed on several levels. In the first place, a comic strip cannot appear in its original form in too many areas because then, the tension goes out of it. You cannot have a daily strip going, a Sunday page going, Action Comics going, another Superman comic book going, a movie going. You can't have all these things going because he can't be damaged in one area and be undamaged in another. There are too many things going on at the same time. Now, Superman was great until he began to be able to see through things and fly. Superman shouldn't fly; Superman should jump. ...
Huh? I can see where readers from that earliest era would disdain the creeping increase in Superman's powers. But it's already fantastical to imagine an orphaned alien able to leap over a building. Why would it be too fantastical to imagine he can fly or see through things? Maybe it's just more interesting to see a character with limits, instead of one who's so powerful you can't sympathize with him anymore.
The potential conflicts between all the different media and formats in which the Superman stories have been retold doesn't seem to have destroyed or harmed their popularity. The Hitchhiker's Guide series also comes to mind, although something in the nature of that beast with all the discussions of paradox and chaos and confusion makes it helpful to have conflicts between all the retellings in different formats. The novels made changes to the radio plays, and neither of those matched the text video game or the tv show or the movie. But those changes were approved and designed by its creator. Schulz sounds like he prefers to create a canon and not have it tampered with, whereas Adams kept tinkering and trying to improve the story, right up to the drafts of the screenplay where he emphasized a romance between Arthur and Trillian. He probably would have felt that holding to a strict canon was just embalming an early draft that could stand to be tweaked.
If you have a rosy image of Schulz as someone who would never offend anyone (which would have been cured if you had read Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography by David Michaelis), you might be surprised at how much smack he talks about Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury ("unprofessional"), Walt Kelly's Pogo ("near the end, it became boring") and others in this interview.
Now here's a bit of storytelling advice that should work for any medium:
Schulz: ... I think there is a similarity to the lead characters in a lot of scripts. There is one simple character who is kind of innocent. He's not too strong in his personality; if he were, then he would dominate the strip. He's the one that holds everything together, and it's the other characters who have the unique personalities. He can't be a terrible character, but he has to be somebody that you like that holds things together. ...
There are exceptions to that rule, but it explains why a lot of people don't like movies or stories featuring unsympathetic protagonists or anti-heroes. There Will Be Blood, for example, or some Wes Anderson movies where the heroes stumble along hurting each other while trying to create family connections. Maybe what Schulz explained are guidelines for creating a character that Midwesterners will be able to care for and follow, characters that anchor a story so you can explore other weird or fantastical personalities.
Schulz: ... The whole business of Charlie Brown and the red-haired girl came from listening to a Hank Williams song. I was home alone one night listening to it and it was so depressing that it occurred to me that I would do something with Charlie Brown and the little red-haired girl and that's how it all started.
Marschall: You'll never show her, right?
Schulz: No, and I think it was a mistake to even show her on television, but you make a lot of mistakes when you do a lot of media. But I could never draw her into the strip now. You reach a point where the reader has already drawn her. And you could never live up to the way the reader has drawn her in his or her imagination. ... I'm not good at drawing pretty little faces. That would be the number one fear. I could probably be tempted into drawing her, if I could draw a real knockout of a cute little girl, but I don't think I could. So I don't think I will. I like the little face on the girl that keeps telling Linus, "Aren't you kind of old for me?" Even that face was a struggle to draw.
Larry the Cable Guy comes out
A: Now he shouts GLITTER-DONE!
Q: What did Fozzy the Bear shout when the Muppets went on strike in the middle of filming?
A: Walkout, walkout, walkout!
(Pronounced like waka, waka, waka).
Phantom on The Darjeeling Limited
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Telly Savalas star as three brothers on a spiritual journey that goes off the rails...into horror! A Hammer Film Production by Wes Anderson. *Opening Night Selection, Loomis County Bedsheet Projector Fest 1978*
Audio is from the official theatrical trailer for The Darjeeling Limited (2007).
Clips are taken from:
Horror Express (1972)
The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)
The Steel Claw (1961)
The Big Trees (1952)
Casablanca Express (1989)
Battle of the Eagles (Partizanska eskadrila) (1979)
... all in the public domain or apparently orphaned works (except Darjeeling Ltd).
Kirk Douglas can be glimpsed for just a few seconds rolling around on the riverside fighting some other guy, and embracing a woman on a caboose near the end of the clip.
"Phantom on The Darjeeling Limited" was not made or endorsed by Wes Anderson or Hammer Film Productions. This non-coincidence is intended to be satire, so hopefully that gets me off the hook.
The Formula won't work on Wuthering Heights
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim
The Undead World of Oz
Don of the Dead: A Zombie Novel
The publisher of Pride and Prej and Zombies had already considered public domain titles like War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and Wuthering Heights before starting down that path. I notice they haven't gotten around to any of those yet, and in the case of Wuthering Heights, I don't think they will. Or I should say, if anyone does, it won't come out as well. I haven't read any of these, just like the idea, but the magical part of it is the tension between highbrow women's literature versus lowbrow gore and monsters. It wouldn't be funny or tense if you took Bram Stoker's Dracula and added mummies, or took the text of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and added sections about werewolves. You'd have a nice episode of Abbot and Costello, or a nice cross-over monster movie, but it wouldn't have that zing of "You got your postmodern archetype in my classic literature!"
Another level of text mashup that they haven't done would be much harder: instead of taking one classic and adding new material, take the text from two classics and mix them together. Mary Shelly's Pygmalion would put a new spin on both those stories, for example. With music, you can blend bits together quickly without worrying too much about what comes next, but it's difficult to keep a narrative when blending different sources, without adding some new transitions to smooth things over. Aren't people supposed to be more creative when constrained?
Anyway, the reason Wuthering Heights won't work in that original formula is that it already talks about ghosts and monsters. You might magnify the horror that's already in it, and that could be fun, but it won't have the shock value of prim ladies suddenly discussing zombies. You'll have ladies who already saw ghosts and discussed goblins, ghouls and vampires, starting to encounter a few more monsters.
From Chapter XXXIV:
"Oh, Mr. Lockwood, I cannot express what a terrible start I got by the momentary view! Those deep black eyes! That smile, and ghastly paleness! It appeared to me, not Mr. Heathcliff, but a goblin ...."
"'Is he a ghoul or a vampire?' I mused. I had read of such hideous incarnate demons."
... "Mr. Heathcliff was there--laid on his back. His eyes met mine so keen and fierce, I started; and then he seemed to smile. I could not think him dead; but his face and throat were washed with rain; the bed-clothes dripped, and he was perfectly still. The lattice, flapping to and fro, had grazed one hand that rested on the sill; no blood trickled from the broken skin, and when I put my fingers to it, I could doubt no more: he was dead and stark!
"I hasped the window; I combed his black long hair from his forehead; I tried to close his eyes: to extinguish, if possible, that frightful, lifelike gaze of exultation before anyone else beheld it. They would not shut: they seemed to sneer at my attempts; and his parted lips and sharp white teeth sneered too!"
... "We buried him, to the scandal of the whole neighbourhood, as he wished. ... But the country folks, if you ask them, would swear on the Bible that he walks: there are those who speak to having met him near the church, and on the moor, and even within this house. Idle tales, you'll say, and so say I. Yet that old man by the kitchen fire affirms he has seen two on 'em, looking out of his chamber window, on every rainy night since his death ...."
Fort Hood and Fred Phelps
What I like about Hostel
1. I like how Hostel explores where the torture hobbyists draw the line between people they treat as subhuman victims and other people they treat as equals. Do they bring their hobbies home and kill or torture in their neighborhood? If the guy in the locker room got angry or aroused while getting suited up for the dungeon, would he torture a fellow hobbyist right there in the locker room instead, or a guard? In Hostel 2, the less excited buddy tries to back out of getting the tattoo. How far would the eager guy need to be pushed before he'd torture or kill his reluctant pal?
2. Porn, prostitution and torture porn. Critics threw around the phrase "torture porn" when talking about Hostel, as if viewers get off on it. Meanwhile it's a story exploring the morality of paying to screw or torture or kill somebody. It's about people who pay prostitutes (good guys who pay prostitutes? or do they deserve the torture later because they fornicated with prostitutes?) and bad guys who pay to torture and who definitely get off on it. In case you manage to forget the link between those ideas for a moment, there's even a guard watching porn in the dungeon hallway. At the start of the movie, one kid backs out of seeing a hooker that his buddy already paid for. In the dungeon there's a callback, one guy who seems on the verge of backing out of torture. Is it a lack of courage, or wavering morality? Does the torturer need to feel his victim is subhuman before he can go through with it? Does the john need to forget that his hooker is human before he can go through with that?
While we're watching this movie about people doing torture, and it may or may not make us sick, other people are watching the phenomenon of torture movies getting made and viewed by us, and *that* makes them sick. I was kind of leaping to the conclusion that everyone who enjoys this must get off on torture, but it's just plain old horror. Most people who enjoy scary movies don't seem to be sadists or masochists. I suppose this debate has been circulating since long before my dad told me to turn the channel when "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism" aired on a Saturday afternoon, circa 1983.
3. Traumatized victim becomes a traumatizer. At the start, you may wonder how people can stand to torture and kill anyone. Why do they do it? After it happens to our heroes and one of them is getting away, I kept yelling for him to kill the torturers, the guards, anyone at all involved. It transforms the hero and the viewer, if they started off thinking that you wouldn't want to kill anyone.
4. Very economical body count. Although we can assume lots of others are killed throughout the dungeon, we only follow three people from start to the end of the movie, spread out over 90 minutes, yet it doesn't drag. Plenty of slasher movies kill more than three just for an appetizer.
5. You know how "Deliverance" is supposed to be sort of a random attack, but it ends up seeming like a warning that hicks are gay rapists who hate city slickers? The Hostel movies have a subtext that Slovaks are creepy, kidnapping human traffickers who hate Americans and rich tourists. But it's Americans and other rich Euro tourists paying for it and making it possible.
6. Callbacks to Tarantino.
...A. Pulp Fiction is playing in the Hostel lobby.
...B. A guy standing up torturing a guy strapped to a chair reminds you of Reservoir Dogs. The ball-gag reminds you of Pulp Fiction.
...C. Victim escaping in car sees his enemies in front of him and runs them over.
1. Hard to believe the escaping hero coincidentally runs across (then over) three people who led him to get tortured, and then the wannabe-surgeon torturer, and has the opportunity to kill them all.
2. How many American can disappear from the same Hostel before it gets conspicuous?
3. If you pay some secret society to kill someone they captured, in their dungeon, how can you be confident they won't take video or keep other evidence and blackmail you? They don't mind kidnapping, human trafficking, abetting murder and torture, but they're too honorable to blackmail you? I guess they figure repeat customers are worth more than what they'd get from blackmail.
Druggist ads from 1897
Stearns' Electric Rat and Roach Paste
Wine of Cod Liver Oil
Witch Hazel Jelly
Dunkley's Genuine Kalamazoo Celery Compound
Glass Urethra and Ear Syringe
"Liquid Bread" is a malt extract that's supposed to provide ultimate nutrition for sick people, probably intended to be like "Ensure". I'm guessing Electric Paste is metaphorical, or else they ran some electricity through it and think that makes it more poisonous? Strap a magnet to the roach's wrist, that'll fix it.
And I can see where the same design of glass syringe might have useful applications for ear problems as well as urethral problems. I just don't want to imagine the same syringe used for one and then the other.
Arnold's Bromo=Celery. Effervescent! Cannot be surpassed as an active antidote for the after-effects of Alcohol, Opium, Chloral and Tobacco. Can be safely used by the most delicate lady or child.
Check out Lush's Celery Sarsaparilla Compound below:
(No, I don't work for Google Books. Our company happens to be scanning these same issues. I'm sure there will be some kind of value-added functionality in our version to make it superior to Google's.)