back in the day before there were hundreds of network stations to choose from – there was this little old grandfather of cable tv known as HBO- it started out in the covered wagon days on November 8th 1972
(yep television is older than dirt- or something like that- see?)
HBO ‘pay tv” is where I was first exposed to a few very disturbing movies. Some just sort of stuck with me though I was too young to appreciate at first viewing. Most of these left me with this sort of creepy feeling that goes up my spine when I think of them. yea these films are creepy – but not in a scary movie way- instead in a gritty- sad -desolate and demented real life way. While I can’t say I liked these movies I have revisited them more than once
….each time thinking to myself ‘I’ll never watch that again’ (uh-huh)
yet I’ll find myself every couple of years coming back to them. why do I re-watch? that I really can’t say…it probably because I’m a moron or maybe because they’ve been argued to be art de haute qualité and I’m still searching for that quality thing
requiem for dream (definitely not for everyone)
salt lake city punk (definitely not for everyone)
where the day takes you (definitely not for everyone)
by now you’re maybe noticing a pattern but it’s a ruse- I am not faithful to any one particular genre like many other types of films- these ones are just a sampling of the creepier ones.
so…speaking on this topic there is this little ditty that I regrettably- not long ago- decided to see again.
John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust.
I first came upon it on that HBO thing before I was old enough to understand anything about it.
This particular movie sure is not pretty…in fact it’s eerie and monsterous on many levels.
…an analysis of human decay- both emotionally and physically- its characters? self absorbed and vacant and grotesque.
the story goes….sometime in 1930 something Hollywood artist Tod Hackett moves into the San Bernardino Arms- a ramshackle apartment building in the seedier part of town -fancy that?
the building is host to an assorted distortion of life
One Faye Greener- desperate for stardom yet fastly fading into the oblivion of ‘never was/never will be’ a dame who divorces herself from all sense of reality pretty much all the time.
Harry Greener- her father – a median former vaudevillian turned door to door scammer -though not altogether charmless as is often the case with any seasoned con artist.
Abe Kusich- your run of the mill violent – foul mouthed dwarf next door
Adore Loomis – radical androgynous brat who spends his days psychotically mimicking the lunatics of the ‘Arms’ while his mother Maybelle aggressively refuses to believe Adore will not be next big child star- she simply ain’t havin’ it.
further is the assortment of other resident freaks and weirdoes including Mary Dove- Faye’s somewhat sociopath prostitute friend -the more or less removed Hackett -and his rival of Faye’s affections- a pathetic anti hero suitably named Homer Simpson.
I suppose somewhere within the context of the film the viewers are encouraged to feel a sense of sympathy for them all -but for me the movie’s ghoulish tone makes it near to impossible to feel anything but disgust and sadness simultaneously.
The final sequence especially draws those emotions to and above the surface til I’m practically choking on them so yea- a feel good movie this is not.
Though not a fan of the animated Simpsons after re-watching the movie I realized I’d much prefer the dad Homer to the DOTL’s Homer- at least he doesn’t drive over the cliff on a regular basis.
And now…I’m officially and thoroughly creeped out and convinced I will never watch this again… until the next time… maybe
- post note oh also-
I’ve read from several sources that Matt Groening christened the father character after The Day of the Locust’s Homer Simpson but he has never admitted nor denied it to be true- I can’t say I blame him.
By the way- this was not intended to be a review or bash the film but instead to simply purge myself of the nasty feeling it left me with. I’m not sure but I think it’s working..
yea- I feel ‘cleaner’ already so I’m assuring anyone interested enough to keep up- my next post will be more upbeaty /positive…kinda sorta