Saturday, May 16, 2020

I envied him.

Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau) and Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) are strolling down Hollywood Boulevard on a sunny morning, when the above dialogue takes place. It is the morning after the riotous premiere of BRIDE OF THE MONSTER (1955) in a fleapit cinema, and they’re referring to the moment when one of the wild teenagers runs up to Vampira and grabs her breasts.

The movie is, of course, ED WOOD (1994) by Tim Burton, and Vampira, the TV persona of Maila Nurmi, is played by then Burton’s wife Lisa Marie, a model turned actress that was one of the most beautiful women of the nineties. So strikingly beautiful, in fact, that she was able to turn a non-speaking role in MARS ATTACKS (1996) into an iconic science fiction trope.

The scene above culminates in an impromptu autograph session when some passersby recognize Lugosi who is in a sunny disposition. It is a heart-warming moment. Watching the movie for the first time, one doesn’t realize that in the immediate scene, Ed will be told of Lugosi’s death. When Lugosi mischiviously says to Wood that he envied the kid who took a grab of Vampira’s breasts, he’s not envying him just that fleeting grope. He’s envying him the daring of youth (minutes before, when driving to the cinema, with Lugosi pressed against Vampira in the back seat of the cab, she tells him to watch his hands), the mindless hormonal rush ignited by the movie frenzy that practically tears the theatre down. He’s envying him the promise of a future that he senses he no longer has.

In a way, I guess, Lugosi was enjoying the chaotic walk down the aisle, with the howls of the savage hordes of teenagers reviving in him, for the last time, the long lost sense of success, of being a figure instantly recognizable by any, and all, moviegoers. As he still is, today.

Who really envies the kid (actor Johnny Meyer, I think) for his daring raid on the bountiful breasts of Lisa Marie, is the rest of us, immersed on the dream world of the movies, wondering if the kid understands that he is groping Lisa Marie, playing Maila Nurmi, playing Vampira, in an Escher-like illusion of erotic bliss.  The envy we mere mortals feel towards those like us who get to touch the sublime.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

As time goes by

Time is an endless river that swallows us whole, dragging us down with it into oblivion. Sometimes its course is a short straight line, others a winding circuitous journey through harsh rugged terrain. Others yet, it goes underground, seemingly disappearing forever. Sometimes it surfaces again. Not always. It’s the same with blogs like this one. Time has been such a rare commodity, life’s interests so varied that one never seems to find the right moment, the right post, the right idea, to come back to it. And so it lies dormant, seemingly dead, the river never resurfacing again.

Until  one braves the harshness of time and comes back to it, hoping to find it yet free of the ravages of mould and decay. Beautifull in its stilness, still plyant and suple, although pale for the recent lack of sun and warmth.

It’s been almost three years, and one still remembers how alive it was before – but it wasn’t, really, it never was… is was just a game. Full of promises and ideas, but always a second thought. But not to my mind. Not to me. It reminds me of joyfull hours spent with wonderfull films, books, and other blogs. Strange images and outrageous scenes.

But, just like Dr. Hichcock, it was I who killed beauty. True, it wasn’t something violent and bloody like a staking through the heart, the wood, herdenned by fire, puncturing the soft warm breast of a defenseless sleeping victim.

No, no, nothing like that. It was through sheer neglect of a willing partner. Too much of that, not enough of the attention she needed. In my defense, I should say it was due to some eagerness to go beyond the limits, to fill myself with too much of its promises. Erotic thrillers, damsels in distress, the defilement of innocence…

No, it was not something violent, it was not murderous in intent. But it happened. However, just like Dr. Hichcock’s Margaretta, maybe the blog is not dead yet. Maybe it is just dormant. Maybe it can be brought back to life if I can shock it with the spark it needs.

That’s something to be tried, for sure.

And so, here I am, not like a slayer, but like a vampire, stalking the sleeping victim in a mirror image of the dreaded necrophiliac I could very well be.

Sure, there’s something of parodic in this ritual. The undead, not quite alive, approach the as yet living, intent on turning them into something else. There’s something of religious in there, and obviously something sexual. The hands of the vampire are drawn to the heaving breasts of its victim as if by undying instinct, as dead moths trying to cling to the living warmth of the flesh.

There’s something of obscene in it, as well, of corrupting, as sometimes the victim is fooled into willingness. She welcomes that embrace most foul, allows herself to be swept through the door that separates being from eternal non-being. At least when you’re dead, you leave something behind…like a blog.

Can it still be revived? Can it be kept alive?

Only time will tell…

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween

I don't know why, but every Halloween makes me long for House of Sin's cherished muse: Elvira. Sensuality and a hot moonlit night. That's Halloween. Share the moon, folks! Share the moon!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dreaming in a Darkened Room

There's a scene in Tullio Demichelli's otherwise simply entertaining ASSIGNMENT TERROR (EL HOMBRE QUE VINO DE UMMO, 1969) that illustrates why movies are just like dreams, when one's in that magic moment between sleep and wakefulness, apparently able to control what's going on in the deepest recesses of one's mind.

As one lays asleep, the monsters stir in the shadows of the night. They prowl in search of prey, and they hunger. For what, we do not know. Theirs is the will of the unconscious, where dark desires brew and bubble in unseen cauldrons.

She lies asleep, a vision of beauty, placid and defenseless, unaware of the menace that defiles her solitude like a stray thought from Fuseli's notebook. Maybe it hungers for blood, or maybe it's all an arcane erotic ritual being played out in our mind's backstage. Maybe it's just our dormant limbic system uncoiling its darkest dreams, yearning for simpler, more primitive times, when we just took what we wanted.

And, in our dream, we're commanding the nightmarish presence, telling it to go forth, to take advantage of the beautiful young girl lost in her own dreams. Or it may be she's having a nightmare. Maybe our dream is her nightmare. One feels tempted to wonder if we're dreaming her, or are we a figment of her dream of someone dreaming her awake? For she wakes. As if sensing something's amiss. As if the mere weight of the evil satanic look upon her body gives her the shivers. Or as in  any good nightmare: you cannot be scared if you're not awake, even while you're sleeping.

And, by this time, we're turning and tossing in bed, near wakefulness, feeling the dream trying to slide from our grasp, the things happening out of control. She's wake, for god's sake. Don't let her scream. That would spell the end of the dream. But she only gasps. The nightmare is just beginning.

By now she's in that moment of the nighmare where you try to run through molasses, your limbs sinking in invisible mud that seems to extend to the earth's core itself. That's why she dreams she's being mesmerized, the monster's gaze glowing like a misjudged imitation of Cristopher Lee's iconic vampire in HORROR OF DRACULA (1958).

You, meanwhile, feel a surge of adrenalin in your dream. Or is it serotonin? The drug of happiness. Things are under control after all. You are there along with the vampire, looking down at your prey - that's how dreams and movies go: you can look, but you can't touch.

Although there's nothing else you'd want more. To touch her - she's Karin Dor after all, in the prime of her youth - and she's hipnotized, doubly asleep. Touch her, you cry in your sleep, at the same time shutting up the uproar of indignation from your sleeping counsciousness. This is a dream. In your dreams, you can be the monster if you want to.

And so you do it. The monster of your dreams does it. It's a monster after all, why should he keep the moral standards you live by in your waking hours? Arent' you dreaming when you go to the movies? Don't you close the door of dreams on the face of reality? Don't the actors lend their bodies and souls to embody your yearns? And if the director is of the right mind - if he directs his movies as you try to run your dreams - magic can happen. You look at the screen and, just like a toddler trying to warn Zorro that the soldiers are behind the barn doors, you find yourself commanding the action on screen. You say touch her, and the monster touches her.

Yes, that's it. And then you think, strip her. Tear that nightgown from her. Rip it off. After all, this is a dream. Only a dream. And you shout at the screen, come on, do it. And you feel surprised when the monster obeys you, the film obeys you, the director obeys you...

...the paw sliding up Karin's breast...

...clawed fingers anxious but gently curling around the nightgown's collar...

...bunching it up, prepping for yanking it down...

...and you're amazed of the power you have over dreams, over reality, as you keep mubling to yourself, yes, yes, do it, do it now, come on, DO IT!

And, as always, someone opens the door ans shatters the dream. He even comes dressed with the markings of science, as if to remember us that reality always trumps the stuff of dreams. And you're left with just a memory of what could have been. And you dream once more, of Karin Dor. Asleep and dreaming herself, safe from the monsters. That's life. That's cinema.