Oct 31, 2018

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich

 As much as I would not want to admit it to my rather naive childhood self, horror franchises—or, more specifically, movie franchises in general—are a cynical insult to filmgoers and their intelligence, especially when one really considers how unbelievably horrible these solely monetary motivated sequels really are, but few better demonstrate such an obnoxious talent for churning out pointless no-budget sequel after pointless no-budget sequel than semitic smut-peddler Charles Bands’ uniquely worthless Full Moon Features. Indeed, the production and distribution company, which almost makes Troma Entertainment seem like Warner Bros Studios in terms of sheer artistic bankruptcy and lack of creativity, is notable for producing a number of strikingly terrible horror franchises over the past couple decades that seemingly no one watches or desires, as if the company is simply a laughable front for some money-laundering operation or something. Indeed, Full Moon is so shameless in terms of its patently pathetic propensity for defecating out mindless and worthless direct-to-video duds that it actually created a rip off its its own Puppet Master franchise—the company’s first and most successful series—with the rather literally named Demonic Toys, as if the Puppet Master films were not bad and unimaginative enough. Needless to say, I never thought I would bother to ever watch, let alone review, another film from the franchise, at least until relatively recently when I found a pretty good reason. A series reboot that was penned by talented auteur S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl in Cell Block 99) and that thankfully has virtually nil association with Full Moon (though Charles Band acted as a hands-off executive producer, it is actually the very first film of the Fangoria Films relaunch), Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (2018)—a delectably anti-politically-correct horror-comedy co-directed by Swedish duo Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund (Wither, Animalistic)—is unequivocally the greatest, most intelligent, and idiosyncratic film in the entire series. Vaguely artsy, gleefully gory and amoral, and even somewhat eccentric, the film is what you might expect from a counter-kosher nihilist that hated the Puppet Master franchise so much that he decided to completely dishonor its dubious legacy by making a malefic Mumblecore-like killer quirk piece where the very same puppets that fight Nazis in previous films became genocidal Jew-slaughtering toys of lilliputian Hitlerian terror.  Indeed, if there ever was a no-budget trash flick that seems like it was meant to bitingly troll superlatively sanctimonious shoah gatekeepers like Eli Wiesel and Abe Foxman and play them like marionettes, it is this film.

 Indeed, anyone familiar with Full Moons knows that, aside making retarded entertainment, they have always had a sort of insufferably insipid anti-Nazi fetish, which is surely the result of the company’s owner Charles Band—a Litvak-descended Jew—who, among other things, apparently talked director David Schmoeller into changing Crawlspace (1986) from an anti-Vietnam war tale to anti-Nazi one with Klaus Kinski portraying what is assuredly one of the most absurdly and inexplicably deranged National Socialist true believers in cinema history. Of course, Band did not stop there as he eventually introduced Nazis to his most famous franchise with Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991). In fact, Band even created an entire sub-series of totally unwatchable anti-Nazi Puppet Master films known as the ‘Axis Saga,’ including Puppet Master: Axis of Evil (2010), Puppet Master X: Axis Rising (2012), and Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017). While the classic puppet characters like ‘Blade’ and ‘Pinhead’ fought against the Nazis in the original films, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich manages to disrespectfully mutilate and ultimately murder the entire Puppet Master mythos by having these very same puppets, as well as their eponymous creator André Toulon, portray Nazi spy killers that specifically target Jews, black, gays, and even gypsies. Probably to the great chagrin of Band, the anti-untermenschen motives of these characters ultimately makes them more intriguing than in the original films where they just seem like, well, mindless automatons. In fact, the puppets of the film oftentimes have more character (and even likeability) than the actual human characters, which was probably Band’s (ultimately failed) intent with the original films. Gorehounds will probably also be pleased to know that the film has the highest body count of all of the Puppet Master films, though what fans of the franchise like seems pretty irrelevant when one considers that this film was clearly was not made with fanboy nostalgia or sentimentalism in mind.  In that sense, it can be compared to the recent Star Wars franchise films like Rogue One (2016) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), albeit in a good way.  After all, whereas the new Star Wars films were an insult to George Lucas and the white heterosexual male target audience that made the series so popular in the first place due to being totally tainted with social justice warrior agitprop and grating displays of gynocentrism, the newest Puppet Master film paints a big beautiful bloody swastika onto the souls of both Charles Band and the franchise's original fans.

 Despite the fact that he unfortunately had nil involvement in the actual directing of the film, screenwriter S. Craig Zahler—a relative novice that has demonstrated with only a handful of films that he is one of the best genre filmmakers working today—probably deserves the most credit for the spirit and overall positive qualities of the film. A music journalist turned filmmaker whose novels have been lauded by figures ranging from genre maestro filmmaker Walter Hill (The Warrior, The Driver) to legendary actor Kurt Russell to horror novelist Jack Ketchum, Zahler reveals much character in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich in spite of the film’s seemingly nonexistent budget and somewhat dubious direction (notably, co-directors Laguna and Wiklund have mostly dabbled in no-brain/no-budget digital horror trash and simply cannot be seen as true ‘auteur’ filmmakers). With his directorial debut Bone Tomahawk (2015)—a sort of seamless horror-western hybrid of John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes (1977), and Ruggero Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980)—Zahler demonstrated a natural directing talent for nuanced depictions of human failings and visceral ultra-violence. With his second feature Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)—a moody and broody cinematic work with a fitting Siegel-esque title—Zahler revealed he could outdo his heroes like John Carpenter and Walter Hill by bringing a smidgen of arthouse cred and artful nuance to brute violence, gross criminality, and extreme character conflicts. Had Zahler directed Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, it would have unequivocally been a much better film, even if the auteur is not exactly known for his dark humor. Although I can only speculate his motivations, Zahler’s screenplay feels like a fun exercise in anti-fanboy postmodernism where the writer gleefully destroys a mostly worthless and forgettable franchise that probably has some sort of nostalgic significance to him but he felt was in desperate need of killing. After all, there is nothing more ‘safe’ and banally conformist than a film about puppets killing Nazis, so naturally the opposite scenario—in a sort of completely unexpected Mumblecore form no less—makes for a provocative film as demonstrated by the various obviously offended reviews from both professional and amateur (as well as Jewish and goy) reviewers. 

In fact, some people are so offended by Zahler’s work that, despite the fact he is Jewish, they have accused the auteur of being a neo-Nazi of sorts. Indeed, in a stereotypical whiny and pathetic article entitled ‘Is S. Craig Zahler a White Supremacist?,’ a young autistic Jew-boy complains, “It’s pretty clear that S. Craig Zahler has a formula for his fiction. Irredeemably evil minorities + damsel in distress threatened with sexual violence+ heroic Aryan(s)+ violent climax= jackpot!” Of course, what this hysterical Hebrew is really complaining about is the fact that Zahler prefers working within traditional western themes and does not contaminate his work with the social justice disease, Marxist sermonizing, nor phony token nonwhite characters, which is typical of contemporary Hollywood. Of course, as a member of the chosen tribe that has confessed that his favorite filmmaker is Sidney Lumet—a socially conscious Jew that directed such classic unAryan titles as 12 Angry Men (1957), The Fugitive Kind (1960), and Serpico (1973), among various other examples—Zahler would have hardly made the cut if he had a time-machine and traveled back to the Third Reich in a desperate attempt to get a job with Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ studio (though, as recounted by the filmmaker himself in Godard's Contempt (1963), it should be noted that half-heeb Fritz Lang claimed that he was actually offered such a lofty position).

Clearly a sane and masculine-minded individual that is able to appreciate art despite the politics of a particular artist, Zahler once revealed in an interview with the self-described ‘extreme music journal’ Worm Gear in regard to his preternatural interest in counter-kosher art, “I’m a (non-practicing) Jewish dude, but reviewed bands with white power or fascistic leanings, because I have an ‘art over politics’ viewpoint, and even though Mike G was sensitive about this stuff, he and Wagner still ran reviews—often positive—of this material. People have a right to hate whomsoever they want to hate and also to express that feeling. Charles Dickens has a ton of anti-Semitic shit in his work, and he is a writer I like who was an inspiration to me as a young fiction writer. I’ve just never felt the best way to respond to intolerance is by returning the sentiment—partially because that is the desired response to intolerance.” Undoubtedly, if most Jews and left-wingers had a more reasonable attitude like Zahler does, the United States would not be on the brink of a second civil war, which is somewhat ironic considering that Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich depicts dolls waging a war against the very same sort of oh-so sensitive people that would want such a film banned and, for that very reason alone, it is much more important than the average hokey horror-comedy turd. 

Just like most of the films Zahler has been involved with, Teutonic Über-queen Udo Kier—an unquestionably strangely charming chap that, not unlike fine wine, seems to get better with age—plays a small but unforgettable role in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich as the eponymous figure André Toulon. Of course, in this (anti)sequel, Toulon is more of an antagonist than protagonist, but I could not help but root for him, as Herr Kier almost always comes off as distastefully likeable.  A effortlessly effete ex-Nazi spy of half-French/half-German parentage, Toulon is depicted at the very beginning of the film slumming it at a soulless hipster bar in Postville, Texas in 1989. When Toulon tries to strike up a conversation with a female bartender and she gleefully attempts to piss him off by making out with her dyke friend, he mumbles “disgusting homosexuals” and subsequently summons his Nazi puppets to dispatch the extra cunty carpet-munchers. The cops eventually later catch Toulon in the act in his Hitler house of horrors using occult powers to kill subhumans, so they naturally kill him out of impulsive disgust. Flash forward three decades later to present day in Dallas, Texas and beta-boy divorcee Edgar Easton (Thomas Lennon)—a comic book nerd that writes comics and works at a comic store owned by his insufferably snarky semitic friend Markowitz (Nelson Franklin)—plans a road trip to a convention to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the infamous Toulon Murders because he owns one of the original Toulon puppets and plans to sell it there. Unbeknownst to Edgar, the ‘Blade’ puppet, which he finds in his deceased brother’s room, was also responsible for killing said deceased brother. Unfortunately for him, Edgar mistakes the uniquely unwitting mistake of bring his Jewish pal-cum-boss and new hot blonde girlfriend Ashley (Jenny Pellicer, who is the half-Norwegian niece of suicidal One-Eyed Jacks (1961) star Pina Pellicer) to a convention that is eventually blitzkrieged by a motley crew of nasty National Socialist puppets. Needless to say, as a place that details the history of an infamous Nazi where various expensive knickknacks and dolls are sold, the convention is flooded with Nazi-obsessed Jews so the puppets naturally decide to carryout a rather nasty Säuberung worthy of the Dirlewanger Brigade.  While none of the puppets resemble Dr. Dirlewanger, Blade somewhat fittingly resembles a corpse-like Dr. Goebbels.

While Edgar might technically be the lead character, Markowitz is, for better or worse (I’d certainly choose the latter), certainly the most dominat and unforgettable, namely because he is a whiny neurotic loudmouth kosher cuckold of the stereotypically slave-morality-ridden sort that has Nazis on the brains, thereupon making his (rather pathetic) inevitable murder at the hand of a Hitlerian marionettes all the more grotesquely fitting. For example, when Edgar tells him that he will not be able to play his favorite music (e.g. grindcore) in the car and that he will have to pay for gas if he accompanies him to the convention, Markowitz retorts in a stereotypical smartass fashion by calling his goy pal “Genghis McHitler.” Likewise, when the friends check into the convention hotel and the front desk clerk remarks, “You must be Markowitz,” the Hebraic nerd bitchily retorts, “Why? ‘Cause I look like a Jew?,” thus underscoring his glaring lack of self-esteem and paranoia when it comes to his race-cum-religion. In short, Markowitz is what Woody Allen might be like if he was a chubby millennial anime nerd. When the puppets start killing, Markowitz—a grade-A four-eyed wuss with a flabby body and poor motor skills—declares in what is undoubtedly one of the most unintentionally hilarious one-liners in cinema history, “I got about six million reasons why” in regard to his decision to man-up and take on the terrifying toys that are exterminating his race.  Needless to say, things do not goo too well for Markowitz.

While it takes a little bit too long for the Hitlerian puppets to start killing, once it begins it feels like it never stops. The first notable death scene at the convention involves are yarmulke-sporting Jew named Jason and his wife. While looking for his missing ‘Kaiser’ puppet in the room, Jason rationalizes his somewhat curious collection of Third Reich material to his wife by arguing, “Lots of Jewish people collect Nazi memorabilia – medals, pamphlets, posters, stuff like that. My Uncle Shelley does. It’s a reminder, sure, but there’s also a feeling of empowerment there, you know? Like saying to the Nazis, ‘Your big plans of genocide and world domination didn’t work, and now your symbols are nothing more than trinkets for us, to collect, souvenirs of your failure and our survival.’” Rather ironically, only seconds after making his boastful Jewish power declaration, Jason finds his Kaiser, which proceeds to literally torch both him and his wife in what proves to be a literal two-person holocaust. Indeed, aside from knocking off his yarmulke, the flames reduces the faces of the couple to mere bone (or a sort of kosher ‘totenkopf’). In a nearby room, a flying puppet named ‘Autogyro’ decapitates a gypsy while he is taking a leak and the headless gypsy even manages to piss on his own head after it falls into the toilet. After that, ‘Blade’ disembowels and slits the throat of a drunk blond gallery-owning queer shortly after he lies to his mother on the telephone about quitting drinking. In another room, a fat bull-dyke calls out for her girlfriend ‘Anne’ in the bathroom and is naturally dismayed when she finds her blue naked corpse in bathtub in what initially seems like a suicide but is ultimately something much stranger. In what is undoubtedly the most grisly and unforgettable killing scene, a puppet named ‘Money Lender’—an archetypal hook-nosed rabbi-like Jew with claws that match his schnoz—enters a pregnant negress’ vagina and eventually exists her bloated stomach with the woman’s fetus in its hands in a scenario that surely can be seen as symbolic of the millions of black babies aborted by Jewish doctors in the United States since the landmark legal decision of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court in 1973.  Undoubtedly, this scene is almost as shocking as Hebraic ex-abortionist Bernard Nathanson's classic anti-abortion doc The Silent Scream (1984), but I digress.

While Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich naturally does not have much in the way of a plot, it does have a lot of lame hipster-esque one-liners and whining, especially from Jew Markowitz, who states to protagonist Edgar after getting his fat neck slit by Blade, “Dedicate your next comment to me: to a great…Jewish hero. Shalom, amigo.” Before croaking, Markowitz, who is certainly no hero, makes a rather pathetic beta-boy attempt at courting a uniquely unattractive Asian girl named Nerissa (Charlyne Yi) who, like the ill-fated Jew, has an unhealthy anime obsession. In what is undoubtedly one of the most (seemingly unintentional?) hilarious scenes in the film, Nerissa dies brutally as a result of her skull hitting pavement after making a failed attempt to jump out of a two-story window and into a dumpster in what feels like a sad commentary on the athletic capabilities of nerdy Asian fangirls.  After all, Nerissa is the only character whose death is not the result of a Nazi puppet.  Aside from possibly a negro bartender named ‘Cuddly Bear,’ who is brutally savaged by the puppets but whose true fate is never really revealed, none of the non-white/non-straight characters survive the genocidal puppet show. Being the white heterosexual male protagonist, it is naturally up to Edgar to save the day, but he’s too much of a stereotypical modern-day spiritually castrated pussy to even accomplish that. Indeed, upon somehow magically realizing that Toulon is somehow alive (or, more specifically, ‘undead’) as a zombie and that he’s using occult powers to control the puppets from the luxury of his resting place, Edgar crashes his car into the extra necrotic Nazi's fancy mausoleum. While this causes the puppets to lose their powers and thus stop killing, it quite predictably pisses zombie Toulon off and he instantly begins trying to kill Edgar and Ashley. While Edgar tries in vain to put up a valiant fight, Toulon grabs a luger out of a special Nazi suitcase and puts a bullet in Ashley’s brain. In the end, Ashley is dead, Toulon gets away by slowly fleeing into nearby woods, and Edgar translates his story into a heartbroken issue of his comic series ‘Madame Lightning.’ While signing copies of his cryptically autobiographically comic, a young fan asks Edgar if he plans to write more comics and he replies, “Yeah, probably. I don’t feel like things are fully resolved” and then the film predictably concludes with an inter-title that reads, “To Be Continued.” 

As someone that is relatively familiar with various forms of National Socialist aesthetics and occultism/esotericism, I was somewhat disappointed that Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich did not really exploit this material. For example, at the very least, Toulon’s lair and/or mausoleum could have featured völkisch symbols like the ‘Schwarze Sonne’ (aka ‘Black Sun’), runes, and/or the quite alluring Ahnenerbe emblem. Additionally, aside from the skull-faced ‘Blade’ (apparently, three different versions of the puppet were used for the film) and ‘Money Lender,’ most of the puppets were simply too goofy to be taken seriously, especially ‘Happy Amphibian,’ ‘Grasshüpfer,’ and ‘Mr. Pumper.’ Undoubtedly, the filmmakers probably should have sought inspiration from Prussian auteur Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s magnum opus Hitler: A Film from Germany (1977), which features genuinely creepy puppets of Nazi bigwigs like Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, and Göring. In fact, I would argue that the life-size puppets in the criminally-underrated British Angela Carter adaptation The Magic Toyshop (1987) directed by David Wheatley are much creepier the ones in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, but then again, a pretty large percentage of audience members would probably find the film to be too disturbing if it took a more serious approach. After all, it is first and foremost a kitschy and sometimes even sardonic dark-comedy, as it would probably be impossible to take it serious if was anything else, hence one of the various reasons why Zahler probably opted to not direct the film himself. 

While I doubt it was the filmmakers’ conscious intention (though it might have be, at least partly, especially screenwriter Zahler’s), Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich can certainly be seen as an ‘unconventional’ commentary on the holocaust and the legacy of Third Reich in the modern age, especially in regard to young American Jews that have no real connection to that era. Personally, I was somewhat shocked to learn that Zahler was a Jew after seeing his features like Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 they are are highly masculine and testosterone-fueled cinematic works with traditional western themes that feature none of the insufferable sort of Judaic slave-morality sermonizing or race hustling that you expect from the stereotypical contemporary Jewish filmmakers ranging from Spielberg to Judd Apatow to J.J. Abrams, so I find it especially interesting that the Jews featured in Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich are unlikeable holocaust-obsessed neurotics and narcissistic wimps that seem driven by a pathological obsession with antisemitism, hence the nerdy Jew named Jason who brags that he collects Nazi memorabilia specifically because it provides him with a certain “feeling of empowerment.” I do not think it is any coincidence that he is the first character killed in the film as his mentality and overall demeanor epitomizes what gentiles find most loathsome about Israelites.

While various Jewish intellectuals ranging from Karl Marx to Otto Weininger to Gilad Atzmon have theorized about the motivation behind Jewish self-loathing and self-obsession, Charles Manson, who knew a number of prominent Jewish gangsters in prison, of all people once provided one of the more interesting arguments behind this. Indeed, in a 1989 interview with Penny Daniels, Manson, who sometimes made insightful statements in between his esoteric gibberish, remarked in regard to the Jewish tendency of Hitler (anti)worship and the strange tendencies in relation to his Jewish cellmate Jerry Milman, “How do you have peace on this earth? You can’t have peace on this earth unless you let the Second World War die. You wanna keep the Second World War going?! You wanna keep selling and buying Germans and dead Indians on TV every day? You know, that’s got to stop. The Second World War’s got to stop. And its got in the Jews. The Jews won’t let the Second World War stop. They keep the Second World War going […] they keep perpetuating it because they’re making money! As soon as the Second World War was over, they never stopped the brainwashing. The brainwashing they were selling the American public was making money […] Their not gonna stop making money! If the combination is there to make money, their gonna keep selling it. They’ll sell it all the way until I’m in the cell with a guy name Milman. Jerry Milman. And he’s got pictures of Hitler and Japanese and things and all . . . and I said, ‘Boy, Hitler must’ve been a hell of a guy,’ and he said, “Hitler was terrible. I hate him! I hate him!’ I said, ‘Why do you hate him?’ He said, ‘I’m a Jew.’ I said, ‘Why do you enshrine this guy? Is he your daddy?’ And he looked up to his mother’s fear. And his mother’s fear was Hitler. Hitler was like his father figure. He loved Hitler . . . but he hated Hitler. He needed Hitler to hold him up. Because Hitler was holding his hate up. Because, without his hate, he didn’t exist. He didn’t have no reason to live unless he had some hate. He didn’t have any reason to buy and sell unless the money held him up. If you took the money away from him, if you took the hate away from him . . . he’d be gone.”  Clearly, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a film that is a venomously sardonic assault on the very sort of archetypal Jew that Manson mentioned in his rant. Notably, more recently, Jewish American Olympian wrestler Mark Schultz, who was depicted in the Foxcatcher (2014), made a similarly and no less academically unsound argument when he offended his fellow Jews on Twitter by writing on August 14, 2018 (in a now-deleted tweet), “Jews win by sticking together against divided gentiles. Jews love persecution. It justifies offense and reinforces the need for strength in numbers to divide and conquer gentiles.”   While just speculation, I can only assume that Zahler's intention with the film was to drive a proverbial stake through the the perennial Hebraic vampire of Judaic victimhood, which the original Puppet Master franchise undoubtedly contributed to.

Undoubtedly, despite its surely shallow anti-Nazi angle, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is—whether intentional or not (I can only assume the former)—a critique of American post-holocaust Jewry and its own sick propensity towards neurotic self-worship. Just as the Halloween or Friday the 13th slasher flicks depict dumb pretty Aryan teenagers being dispatched for committing sins of the flesh, the Jews and other ‘minorities’ in the film become victims of their own sinful Hebraic hubris. While it would be easy to write-off screenwriter Zahler as a stereotypical self-loathing Jew, that would be too simple and ignores the rest of his highly masculine (read: unkosher) and master-morality oriented oeuvre. In short, Zahler seems to have mostly have transcended his Jewishness, hence why he had no qualms about casting living legend Mel Gibson in his latest feature Dragged Across Concrete (2018). Indeed, as the great Otto Weininger once wrote, “The antisemitism of the Jew, then, proves that nobody who knows the Jew regards him as lovable—not even the Jew himself. The antisemitism of the Aryan supplies the no less significant insight that Judaism must not be confused with the Jews. There are Aryans who are more Jewish than many Jews, and there are really some Jews who are more Aryan than certain Aryans.”  Surely, considering Zahler's less than hysterical attitude towards antisemites and antisemitic art, it can be said that he has, at least partly, transcended his own innate Jewishness.  Likewise, the typical Jewish filmmaker could not have created a film like Brawl in Cell Block 99 where a white blue collar worker commits a sort of twisted modern Christ-like sacrifice and, as Weininger also wrote, “Christ was a Jew, but only in order to overcome Judaism in himself most completely, since the firmest believer is he who has overcome the most powerful doubt, and the most positive affirmer he who has risen above the most dreary negation.” 

Unlike a lot of cinema, Zahler’s films, including Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, reject the metaphysical diseases of modernity and as Weininger wrote over a century ago in regard to modernity, “Our present age shows Judaism at the highest peak it has climbed since the days of Herod. The spirit of modernity is Jewish, wherever one looks at it. Sexuality is affirmed and today’s specifies ethic sings the wedding hymn to sexual intercourse. The unfortunate Nietzsche is certainly not responsible for the grand union of natural selection and natural fornication, whose despicable apostle is called Wilhelm Bölsche. He appreciated asceticism and thought its opposite more desirable only because he suffered too much from his own. But women and Jews are matchmakers; their aim is to make humanity guilty.” Aside from being responsible for a cinema that emphasizes heroism and strength over guilt and neuroticism and family love over soulless lust, Zahler creates films that promote sacrifice over self-worship and thus cannot be seen as in any way characteristically Jewish. While David Mamet—a right-wing Zionist Jew that attacks any Jew that rejects his race and/or religion—might have once wrote, “The quiddity of the self-loathing Jew, the opted-out Jew is his grotesquerie […] his efforts at assimilation foiling the possibility of contentment with a group to which he actually belongs”—Zahler seems content due to the fact that he has transcended his Jewishness and not simply because he has fallen victim to ‘assimilation.’ After all, how could a Jew assimilate into an industry and culture that is covertly, if not overtly, kosher?! Additionally, Zahler is not helping his career by creating films involving Jews being blow-torched by puppets or muscular white proles exterminating entire gangs of Mexicans singlehandedly, so one can only come to the conclusion that he is an unequivocal auteur that is driven to create a deeply personal, albeit genre-oriented, that comes straight from the soul.

Undoubtedly, the subversive nature of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich becomes clear when one compares it to John Landis’ surprisingly pathos-ridden An American Werewolf in London (1981)—a clear expression of culturally schizophrenic Jewish-American identity—where the auteur reveals his deep-seated Jewish paranoia in a nightmare scenario where a brigade of demonic Nazi werewolves quite literally holocausts his entire family in a dream-sequence that seems somewhat out of place in the film, at least if one does not realize it is a cinematic work that is fundamentally about Judaic introspection. Where it is clear that Landis is obsessed with Nazis and antisemitism in his classic kosher werewolf flick, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich is a film that makes a mockery of such sentiments by gleefully depicting the most seemingly benign children’s playthings brutally liquidity an eclectic collection of victim-mentality-ridden untermenschen, thereupon killing the very spirit and essence of Charles Band’s franchise in the process. 

In preparation for this review, I attempted to (re)watch Puppetmaster (1989) and Puppet Master III: Toulon's Revenge (1991) but, unlike Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, I found myself being unable to really concentration on the banality of it all. Indeed, I am willing to go as far as saying without even the slightest bit of exaggeration that the famous final segment “Amelia” of the classic made-for-television anthology horror film Trilogy of Terror (1975) features more delightfully deranged doll action and eccentric excitement than all of the original Puppet Master films combined. It is also no surprise that Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich shares something in common with Trilogy of Terror—a film where a so-called ‘Zuni Fetish doll’ takes on a dumb bitch chick—in that, on top of the fact that it features a puppet taking over the body of a human, it utilizes Lovecraftian tier fright tactics in its utilization of historical socio-cultural racial paranoia and animosity to stoke fear (whereas Black Devil Doll From Hell (1984) fails in that regard because it was made for blacks by blacks and thus comes off as superlatively silly).  Notably, one of my earliest movie memories is being exciting about the fact my parents were able to grab a new release copy of Child's Play 3 (1991) at a local store video store, yet now it is nearly impossible for me to take any of these toy horror shit seriously thus making it seem like a miracle that I was even able to enjoy Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.

Interestingly, in his book The Mask Jews Wear: The Self-Deceptions of American Jewry (1973), Reform Judaism Rabbi Eugene B. Borowitz—a philosopher from a more liberal strand of Judaism that is arguably atheistic and promotes a assimilationist tendencies—reveals a certain shame and repulsion towards Occidental civilization, arguing, “I therefore have much sympathy for the concept of Black Power. As a Jew, I know personally that one can never truly be a person as long as he looks at himself with the eyes of those who hate him. I do not see how Jews can dodge the fact that, religious and social traditions aside, much of the best of Western literature from Marlowe to T.S. Eliot sees the Jew as intruder or enemy. So, every Jew appropriating even the best of this civilization must sooner or later come to terms with the scandal, the disgrace of his Jewishness. And this is one reason why we wear Marrano masks with such fixity—they enable us to escape from our stigmatized inner selves; they proclaim us to be just like everyone else.”  When I watch Zahler's films, I certainly don't sense this shame or repugnance towards the West, as they are cinematic works that express the opposite.  For that reason alone, I certainly would nominate Zahler to ‘Honorary Aryan’ status, even though his favorite filmmaker Sidney Lumet.

As for a potential sequel that is hinted at quite blatantly at the conclusion of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, the possibilities seem endless but I think the coolest concept would involve the puppets heading to the nightmarish Unite the Right of 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.  After all, the counter-protestors were comprised of a rather eclectic collection of degenerates that the puppets would clearly love targeting, though somehow I think they would go after Richard Spencer too.

-Ty E

Oct 8, 2018

Who'll Stop the Rain

While it can certainly argued that the Occident died with the capitulation of the German 6th Army (Wehrmacht) at the Battle of Stalingrad (or as Louis-Ferdinand Céline once stated, “Stalingrad. . . The fall of Stalingrad was the end of Europe. There's been a cataclysm. Its epicenter was Stalingrad. After that you can say that white civilization was finished, really washed up”), I think it is safe to say that the rapid decline of white America—a decidedly deracinated Euro-mutt population with a rapidly dissolving bastardized WASP culture mixed with other European elements—was more or less officially confirmed with the rather spiritually and culturally corrosive 1960s counterculture movement, so naturally any film that depicts this phenomenon in any way is something that I am very interested in as I can only think of a handful of serious films that even dare to touch, let alone thoughtfully explain, this seemingly apocalyptic paradigm shift. Certainly, at least in an allegorical sense, Who'll Stop the Rain (1978) aka Dog Soldiers directed by Czech-born British Jew Karel Reisz (Isadora, The French Lieutenant's Woman)—a somewhat underrated filmmaker that was not afraid of alienating audiences via a subversive blend of morally dubious antiheroes, cynicism, misanthropy, and less than happy endings—depicts this scenario, even if it was not exactly the director’s true intention. Indeed, when it comes down to it, the genre-defying film is really a largely bleak expression of (post)hippie nihilism featuring a sort of Nietzschean active-nihilist action hero, a doped-up half-heeb heroine, and said heroine’s unhinged passive-nihilist husband. Based on the novel Dog Soldiers (1974) by Robert Stone, who co-wrote the script, the film also has the misfortune of being cheaply named after a rock song (in this case a Creedence Clearwater tune, which of course appears throughout the film). Luckily, unlike Sam Peckinpah’s terribly tedious and twaddling trucker turd Convoy (1978)—a film named after the 1975 country and western novelty song performed by C. W. McCall—Reisz’s film has much more to offer than simple mindless entertainment for beer-guzzling proles and meth-addled mechanophiliac pricks.

Luckily, Reisz is certainly one of the more ‘European’ of Judaic filmmakers as even his American films like The Gambler (1974)—a film based on a semi-autobiographical screenplay by Judaic pervert James Toback—reveal a style and cerebral essence that has more to do with European arthouse than Hollywood entertainment. After all, Who'll Stop the Rain is nothing if not a pensive yet prodding philosophical bummer that does the seemingly impossible by managing to be one of the most dejecting and suicide-inducing films relating to the Vietnam War that does not really depict any battle scenes from said war. In its depiction of a couple (ex)hippies ostensibly greedily transporting a large amount of drugs (in this case, three kilos of heroin) across the country and ultimately destroying their lives in the process, Who'll Stop the Rain is like an intelligent man’s Easy Rider (1969) as it lacks the inane leftist-boomer agitprop and anti-redneck hysteria.  Notably, the source writer Stone based the lead character, Ray Hicks, off of Beat Generation figure Neal Cassady—a somewhat tragic and self-destructively nihilistic criminal-cum-muse that acted as the inspiration for the character of ‘Dean Moriarty’ in his pal Jack Kerouac's famous novel On the Road (1957)—who he became acquainted with due to their mutual friendship with LSD-addled countercultural novelist Ken Kesey.

While the Beats are undoubtedly (somewhat rightly) regarded as proto-hippies, their philosophical roots are somewhat complex and include German conservative revolutionary sage Oswald Spengler's two-volume magnum opus The Decline of the West (1918-1922), which was gifted by literary junky William S. Burroughs to Kerouac in 1945 and inspired both writers' obsession with the spiritual and cultural decay of the United States. As Beatdom Literary Journal writer Lee McRae noted in his essay The Plurality of Beat Spirituality in regard to this imperative Faustian influence, “...Spengler suggests that it is those who are downtrodden and downbeat who will prevail when social structures collapse. Spengler denotes these as the ‘fellaheen,’ a term originally ascribed to an Arabian peasant or labourer. Ginsberg, Kerouac and Burroughs found that the ‘fellaheen’ were all around them in America; the underclass, the racially marginalised and the generally inferior were all considered to be part of this much darker but all the more real existence [...] In an article by Stephen Prothero entitled ON THE HOLY ROAD he links the Spenglerian notion of the ‘fellaheen’ to two inspirational Beat figures, Neal Cassady and Herbert Huncke [...] It was only in the hedonism and voyeuristic stability of Neal Cassady where the Beats would begin a new route and move forward in their establishment of a ‘New Vision.’ What distinguished Cassady from Huncke was a criminality that was awash with pleasure, a larceny of delight regardless of economic reward. This led to Cassady being idolised as a free-thinking Beat contemporary, or as Ginsberg coins in his poem ‘Howl,’ ‘secret hero of these poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver – Joy to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls.’”

Of course, the film's antihero is a fictional character and might be best described as the hopelessly hotheaded yet surprisingly brilliant blond beast hate-child of Cassady and Rambo.  A disgruntled Vietnam War turned merchant marine that moonlights as a pot dealer and has turned his war inward and believes in nothing aside from his own strength and will-to-power, Hicks senselessly decides to risk his life and freedom to transport coke simply for the thrill of helping a friend in a precarious predicament and not because he is compelled by any sort of petty greed.  A sort of self-stylized Nietzsche Zen Warrior, Hicks is certainly not afraid to fight but he seems to be hardly interested in joining another army.  Indeed, Hicks' philosophy and motivations are arguably summed up in Julius Evola's description of the Beats in Ride the Tiger (1961) where the right-wing anarchist philosopher notes that, “The heritage of the precursors of European nihilism has largely been translated, in these movements of ruined youth, into the crude forms of life as it is lived.  An important trait here is the absence of any social-revolutionary motive and the belief that no organized action can change things.  That is the difference from the left-wing intellectuals who condemn bourgeois society, and from the nihilists of the past.  ‘Work, read, prepared in groups, believe, then have your back broken—no thanks, that's not for me,’ says one of Kerouac's characters.  This is the end result at which the ‘revolution’ of the left has practically arrived after its triumph, after passing the phase of simple revolt.  Camus made it quite plain after the period of his communist illusions: The revolution has betrayed its origins with the constitution of new yokes and a new conformism, more obtuse and absurd than ever.”  With no political movement or revolution to support, Hicks simply settles for the joy and excitement that comes with any sort of anti-bourgeois rebellion, no matter how stupid and pointless the ‘cause,’ hence the tragedy of the character.

 Of course, there is no denying that director Reisz was, like many of his tribe, a leftist and he attempted to direct the film from that perspective, or as British film theorist Colin Gardner explained in his book Karel Reisz (2006), “DOG SOLDIERS is a watershed film in Reisz’s career because it marks the culmination of his long relationship to the New Left, beginning with his involvement with the CND [Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament] and MARCH TO ALDERMASTON and his theoretical writings on the social role of documentary for UNIVERSITIES AND LEFT REVIEW in the late 1950s. His collaboration with Stone reflects his growing acknowledgement of an irreparable rift between organized politics, rooted in party discipline and commitment to external social change, and the counter-cultural idea of living in and for oneself as a community of enlightened individuals. The former idea was rooted in Marx—a question of changing the world through direct action—the latter in visionary, utopian thinkers such as Emerson, Thoreau and Rimbaud, whereby a change in consciousness will necessitate a concomitant change in life itself.” Luckily, aside from being what I see as a symbolic depiction of the death of white America as incited by a degenerate anti-culture and corrupt government, the film seems to be an allegorical expression of Reisz’s own dejection in regard to the abject failure of the counterculture movement and how it devolved into mindless self-destruction nihilism, hedonism, and—arguably most hypocritically and revealing—greed. Indeed, although lapsed hippies that are into Nietzsche, the two main male (anti)heroes are set on a course of self-destruction ostensibly out of greed, or to quote Nietzsche by way of Gardner in relation to Reisz’s film, “Man would rather will nothingness than not will.”  In the film, antihero Hicks goes on a senselessly dangerous mission to smuggle dope just for the hell of it but at least it offers him the chance to play the Übermensch and not live by anyone else's rules because, as he states, “When I left the Marines I made myself a promise. Never again am I going to be fucked around by morons. The next mother who tries to make me back off is going to have to live it out with me.”

 One certainly realizes that Robert Stone’s source novel was practically begging to be adapted into a film when reads vintage reviews like that of The New York Times that describes it as, “A version of THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE in which the object of human greed is not gold dust but three kilograms of pure unadulterated heroin . . . three kilos of heroin that become a resonant metaphor of a corruption spreading across America . . . great power and emotional impact.” It should also be noted that reviewers oftentimes compared the novel to the literary classics of such greats as Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Conrad (in fact, the book begins with a quote from the latter’s classic 1899 novella Heart of Darkness). Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the film is nowhere near as ‘politically incorrect’ as the novel and does not feature unforgettably hilarious lines like, “He’s a Jew from television, a big faggot. We show him the blade, man, he’ll shit his pants.” Luckily, the very rotten essence and core aspects of the novel are retained and these things come together in a manner that would more likely appeal to a right-wing anarchist than to a ‘bobo’ (bourgeois bohemian), Limousine Marxist, or burnout boomer hippie bum.  After all, it is no coincidence that the film is largely forgotten.

Indeed, Who'll Stop the Rain contains no ‘positive vibes’ nor ‘California Dreamin’ for some deluded hippie utopia, as the film is a decided downer that, aside from being anti-authoritarian, is not likely to appeal to a leftist pussy with any sort of half-baked peacenik (anti)ethos. Despite the film’s Judaic director, it is also somewhat unintentionally covertly counter-kosher, as the female heroine, who causes much trouble for the male leads due to her innate incompetence as a result of being a lazy suburban junky in a perpetual dope haze, is the (half)Jewess daughter of an arrogant Judaic intellectual that owns a bookstore. On top of that, the most despicable villain is depicted by ogre-like kosher character actor Richard Masur, who has clearly mastered the lowclass Jewish gangster caricature. In short, the film is more about the Age of the Aryan American apocalypse than the Age of Aquarius (though it can certainly be argued that they are one and the same). To go back to Nietzsche, the film is certainly a bittersweet reminder of his remark, “We have art in order not to die of the truth.” 

 The film begins in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War, but instead of exciting battle scenes involving the gunning down of gooks the viewer is exposed to the uncomfortably monotone ravings of a disillusioned war correspondent named John Converse (Michael Moriarty) as he narrates the words of a letter to his wife Marge (Tuesday Weld) where he complains about the fact that the U.S. military has declared elephants “enemy agents” and rationalizes his dangerous self-destructive plan to smuggle dope, or as he writes, “Dear, Marge. I’m coming home. I remember your saying when I left that people were dying and that I was crapping around with fate to come here. You were more right than you could imagine […] I have no more cheap morals to draw from all this death. So I’ve taken action. An old friend from my marine days will be coming to see you soon. His name is Ray Hicks. We owe him $1,000. I want you to pay him. I have started something here that I can’t stop. And it’s the right thing, I know. You see, in a world where elephants are pursued by flying men, people are just naturally going to want to get high. I’ll explain when I see you, and you’ll understand.” Indeed, John has “taken action” in a most irrationally deleterious fashion by  agreeing smuggle three kilos of heroin from Vietnam to San Francisco, but he is somewhat of a passive pansy and uses his much tougher ex-marine buddy Ray Hicks (Nick Nolte)—a merchant marine that sells pot to college girls on the side—to take virtually all the serious risks.  As a result of his dubious drug smuggling scheme, Converse causes his wife and best friend to become the hunted in a film that naturally evolves into an offbeat road movie that makes for a nice counterpoint to similarly themes works like Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Richard C. Sarafian's Vanishing Point (1971), and James William Guercio's Electra Glide in Blue (1973) in terms of taking a (quasi)existentialist approach to dismantling the counterculture dream.  Arguably, out of all these films, Who'll Stop the Rain is the most meditative and philosophically ambiguous.

Naturally, Hicks uses the merchant marine vessel that he works on to smuggle the drugs, but he initially refuses to get involved with Converse’s dubious scheme for obvious reasons. Aside from the great risks associated with smuggling such a large amount of narcotics, Hicks begins to rightly question his old friend Converse’s sanity when they reunite. For example, when Converse declares that “Jesus, that’s fucking piquant” after discovering that his friend reads Nietzsche, Hicks is somewhat taken aback by the remark and replies, “Piquant? I don’t know what the hell that means. You turned me on with that book.” In short, Converse seems to have a totally different personality from the one his friend best remembers and seems to suffering from some degree of amnesia and mental feebleness as if he is on the brink of suffering a similar sorry mental fate to his one-time hero Nietzsche. While Hicks believes it is “bad karma” to smuggle the dope and does not really trust his friend, he ultimately makes the major mistake of agreeing and stating, “Okay, I’ll carry your scag, Johnny. Hell, why not? A little adrenaline cleans the blood. But make sure I get treated right. Self-defense is an art I cultivate.” Quite unlike his insufferably mercurial pencil-pusher buddy, Hicks is a man of action and martial prowess that has no qualms about inviting great danger into his life, but unfortunately the nihilistic odyssey proves to be ultimately fatal for the manly merchant marine.  Unbeknownst to Hicks, Converse setup up the drug deal with a dubious dame named Charmian (Gail Strickland), who is friends with a corrupt DEA agent that plans to utilize whatever means necessary to get the dope once it lands on American shores.  In short, Hicks because the pawn of a pawn, but he is not all that unwitting about it and immediately suspects danger right from the get-go, hence his interest in the deleterious mission in the first place.

 While Hicks manages to make it safely to San Francisco with the dope, Converse’s jaded junky wife Marge forgets that he is coming and does not even bother to procure the money that her husband promised.  Indeed, when Hicks arrives at Converse's house to drop-off the bag of junk and get his monetary reward, Marge acts obnoxiously confused and behaves as if her husband's friend is some sort of scary nuisance that she just cannot be bothered to deal with.  Unfortunately for Marge, she is forced to deal with it.  Indeed, the money is the least of the two’s problems as they are being trailed by two gangsters, Danskin (Richard Masur) and Smitty (Ray Sharkey), who work for a corrupt DEA agent named Antheil (Anthony Zerbe). As it turns out, Converse has been being unwittingly used by Antheil as a pawn in the drug smuggling operation and the two goons are there to collect the dope and possibly kill all the occupants of the house, including Marge’s/Converse’s young daughter Janey, but luckily Hicks proves to be such a fierce fighter that he brutally beats and ties both of them up.  A somewhat Loki-like jokester, Hicks even takes a certain sadistic glee in taking out his enemies and even demonstrates a certain tendency to add insult to injury when doing so.  In fact, even a sociopathic lowlife like Danskin feels a deep sense of degradation when Hicks dares to chain him to a toilet as if to remind him he is a piece of shit.

Despite not knowing or particularly liking one another (for example, only minutes after first meeting, Hicks says to her, “You dumb cooze. What are you, a junkie?”), Marge and Hicks are forced to flee together in what is ultimately the beginning of a totally unintended but rather crucial road trip where they hope to sell the dope whilst attempting to evade Antheil and his goons. Needless to say, Antheil has Danskin and Smitty capture and torture Converse when he finally arrives in San Francisco. A decidedly dejected dude that seems completely dead inside, Converse maintains his flat affect and acts less than entertained by the torture and bogus claims by Danskin and Smitty that his buddy Hicks is banging his wife.  Seemingly apathetic about even sparing his own life, Converse spews banal nonsensical bullshit to Antheil when questioned. For example, when Antheil asks for information about his wife Marge and her mindset, Converse simply replies with the enthusiasm of a benzo-addled street hooker, “She’s 30 years old. She’s half Irish, half Jewish” and “Pretty moral basically,” thus underscoring his great apathy for his wife and seemingly lack of interest in sparing his own life. Indeed, it only seems to be when Antheil threatens to do something to his daughter that Converse begins to display any sort of superifical desire to help. While Converse's initial desire to get involved with drug smuggling seems like an absurdly misguided and desperate attempt at becoming some sort of neo-Beat Übermensch, his actions and attitude reveal he really personifies a degenerate form of Nietzsche's ‘Letzter Mensch,’ albeit lacking even the desire for comfort.  While Antheil is a treasonous criminal scumbag, he manages to perfectly sum up Converse's pitiful leftist hypocrisy and amorality when he states to him, “I think you're the kind of wise cocksucker that writes a tear-jerk play against the Marines and then turns around and smuggles a shitload of heroin into this country.”  Indeed, while Converse might be against the Vietnam War and mass slaughtering of gooks, he has no qualms about profiting from the epidemic misery, death, and destruction that comes with the flooding of his nation with heroin which is, not coincidentally, the drug that destroyed the counterculture movement.  Indeed, in Who'll Stop the Rain, heroin is certainly a symbol of the greed and mindless hedonism the destroyed utopian dreams of the hippies and ultimately discredited their entire movement.

 While Marge is a closet-junky that regularly semi-covertly downs Dilaudid (aka Hydromorphone) tablets, Hicks gets high on Nietzsche, Zen, and great risk-taking. For example, after reading to her the Nietzsche quote, “In danger all that counts is going forward. By growing used to danger, a man can allow it to become part of him. He grows used to evil,” Hicks reveals to Marge that he agreed to smuggle the dope for her husband simply, “Because he asked me,” adding, “I don’t always have to have a reason for the shit I do.”  As demonstrated by his remark to Marge in regard to the heroin that,  “It belongs to whoever controls it,” Hick certainly believes in and lives by a Nietzschean master-morality, which was indubitably informed by his wartime experiences.  Although totally doped up, Marge is well aware that her husband came back a very different man as a result of his wartime experiences, but when she asks Hicks about how these horrific events might have affected her hubby, he simply states, “In some ways he was beautiful. In some ways he had his head up his ass.” Although he is initially annoyed by her dopey dopehead demeanor and she is initially disturbed by his combination of redblooded brute violence and intense extroversion, Hicks and Marge soon develop such a glaringly socially imperative yet totally organic affection for one another that the viewer finds themselves rooting for their romance despite the great betrayal associated with such an extramarital union. Quite unlike like the mercurially autistic absurdities of her husband, Hicks is exactly the sort of man a damaged dingbat like Marge needs as he could provide her with the sense of protection, security, and strong male affection she desperately needs. Of course, the viewer never doubts that their romance is doomed to fail miserably just like the drug smuggling operation. 

After making a failed attempt to sell the dope to a fat fag friend named Eddie Peace (Charles Haid)—a Hollywood-connected dealer that seems like the sort of degenerate that prides himself on having a harem of underage boys—and nearly killing an English writer named Gerald (James Cranna) by intentionally shooting dope into a vein in the wrong fashion after his preposterously effete comrade insults his intelligence by brazenly attempting to rip him off, Hicks loses some of his stoicism and exposes his truly misanthropic feelings in regard to most of humanity to a visibly disturbed Marge. Indeed, when Marge asks why he almost killed an assumed innocent like Gerald—the seemingly soft and innocent husband of a similarly naive heiress—he angrily replies, “Cause he’s a Martian. They’re all Martians. And I’m a loyal American who fought for my flag. Peace was fucking with me and I don’t take shit from Martians. In Vietnam I had men that were dead the day they hit that place. In the morning they were in Hawaii, in the afternoon they were dead. That’s right, fuck Gerald. I was pissed off. It seemed like a good idea.” At this point, it becomes quite clear that Hicks is a disgruntled war veteran with assumed repressed posttraumatic stress and he is probably not mentally sound enough to ever reenter the American mainstream, so naturally it is only fitting that he go on one more serious military mission. 

After the botched dope deal with Eddie, Hicks drives west with Marge in a stolen Land Rover to a southern New Mexico mountain named ‘El Ojo Grande’ (aka ‘The Big Eye) to hide out in a former Jesuit settlement turned hippie colony that is owned by the antihero’s German Buddhist roshi-cum-pal Dieter Pravda (who, rather curiously, never actually appears in the film despite being an important character in the source novel). As Hicks nostalgically explains to Marge, he did much partying on the mountain in the past and even rigged the entire area with tons of lights and speakers, even remarking with a certain jolly pride, “You know, when I came up here in ’65, there were all kinds of people here. Dieter hauled in a couple of tons of hardware. He had speakers, amplifiers, tape decks, microphones, all kinds of lights. Came in and said we’d got to get it all together. Hook it all up. One big circuit. Well, I’m the only one that knows anything about that shit. So I get the job. Everybody else is so ripped, they couldn’t change a battery in a Jap radio. I’m laying wire from hell to breakfast. Took me about four weeks. And half the time I’m so stoned I couldn’t even talk. But by Christ we did it. One big circuit. Man, we made this mountain boogie.” Needless to say, little did Hicks ever suspect that he would ever use the lights and speakers as imperative weapons in a sort of neo-cowboy guerilla battle against a DEA agent and his goons. It is certainly no coincidence that Hicks decides to return to the magic mountain of his bohemian youth in the end as it is clearly a solacing and even spiritual place that reminds him of his life before his emotionally devastating wartime experiences. While at the mountain, Hicks reveals his feelings for and desire to runaway with Marge, softly stating to her, “We’re going to win this one. You know that? Huh? Listen. If we can lay that stuff of, we’ll go down to Mexico. I know some people there. Hey, hey, maybe we’ll get a boat.” In fact, Hicks even remarks to a Mexican friend in regard to Marge that she’s, “Nothing but class. She's the love of my life, no shit. Beats the hell out of all of them.”  Rather unfortunately, both Hicks and Marge seem to realize that they have no future together, even if they are spared the wrath of the degenerate DEA agent Antheil.

 Rather predictably, there is a climatic showdown of sorts between Hicks and Antheil and his goons near the end of the film. Indeed, in what proves to be a psychedelic battle that vaguely anticipates the more viscerally hallucinatory elements of Apocalypse Now (1979), Hicks guns down Antheil’s degenerates as a light show and Canadian country singer Hank Snow’s 1950 single “The Golden Rocket” provides a certain absurdist ambiance to the situation as if the counterculture movement and the war it opposed are depicted in a symbolic struggle. While Hicks efforts lead to him being able to rescue his friend Converse and reunited him with his wife Marge, the friends decide to temporarily separate since the antihero wants to provide cover for his comrades. Although the friends agree to meet the next day near some desert train tracks, Hicks is severely wounded after being shot by Danskin, who he subsequently kills only seconds later. When Converse and Marge eventually arrive the next morning, they are distressed to discover Hicks’ recently deceased corpse near the tracks in a scenario that was inspired by Beat figure Neal Cassady’s somewhat mysterious death in 1968 (notably, Nolte would subsequently portray Cassady in John Byrum’s somewhat underrated film Heart Beat (1980)). Indeed, Marge immediately cries, “No, no, no, no, Ray! Ray! No, he’s not dead.” When Converse replies, “Marge, I’ve got to bury him,” she demonstrates her hysterical degree of denial by senselessly hitting him while yelling, “No. You’re not going to bury him. Don’t you touch him. Don’t you dare touch him. Get out of here. Get away.” After Marge eventually calms down, Converse buries Hicks’ corpse and then, upon finding the heroin in his dead pal’s bag, pours the dope in the sand in what is ultimately one of the most infuriating gestures of passive-nihilism ever committed to celluloid. In the end, Converse says to Marge, “Move over, Marge. If we stay here and grieve, we’ll be just as dead as he is” and then the two drive away into a white desert devoid to a decidedly dubious future. Needless to say, the film would probably have had a slightly happier ending if Converse had died and Hicks became Marge's new lover. Of course, with the alpha-male dead and the less than happily married couple comprised of a neurotic junky and self-destructive beta-male introvert driving off into what visually seems like oblivion, the film’s conclusion can certainly be symbolic of the white America’s forsaken future. 

There is no question that Who'll Stop the Rain and the novel it was adapted from were both influenced by Nietzschean philosophy, which is arguably most obviously personified by the two very different male leads. Indeed, while John Converse is an expression of the sort of ‘passive nihilism’ that Nietzsche bemoaned as expressed by his obnoxious ‘will to nothingness’ and overall absurd ascetic weakness that he tries in vain to transcend with his idiotic drug smuggling scheme, Ray Hicks—a proud ‘Zen Warrior’ and archetypal man-of-action—embodies ‘active nihilism’ as a muscular mensch of strength that seeks to destroy the world and recreate it in his own image, so it is only fitting that he, not unlike the revolutionary counterculture movement he was part of, dies in the end. Notably, in his book Karel Reisz (2006), Colin Gardner would argue, “…it would be a mistake to say that the film condones the characters’ misguided existentialism […] Reisz undercuts the subjective indulgence of both Converse and Hicks to draw attention to the dangers of an immoral individualism by portraying both the war and its seeming antidote, the escapism of the drug culture, as twin jaws of the same trap. Both men turn to Nietzsche’s amor fati from a helpless sense of the absurdity of war, but they apply its tenets in very different ways.” In his (pseudo)autobiography Ecce Homo (1908), Nietzsche wrote, “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it—all idealism is mendacity in the face of what is necessary—but love it.” While the two characters have undoubtedly accepted their fates, it is doubtful that they ‘love it’ and would embrace the Nietzschean idea of ‘eternal recurrence’ in that they are so content with life that they would relive every second of the same exact life over and over again for eternity. While his wartime experiences have turned Converse into such an emotional cripple that he can barely even remember reading Nietzsche, Hicks’ battle scares have influenced him to be able to live life ‘beyond good and evil.’ As Gardner noted, “Like Converse, Hicks’ existentialism in the novel is born of a traumatic episode in Vietnam […] Since then Hicks has adopted Nietzsche’s idea of will-to-power through a Zen-like faith in the Samurai code (a poster for Akira Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO hangs by the door of his Topanga Canyon hut) […] This allows him to see events less in terms of right and wrong, but like Nietzsche […] as a question of pure Machiavellian power. The heroin for Hicks, as he explains to Marge, is simply another object, which belongs to whoever controls it, and he follows its grail logically and unquestionably to the bitter end.” 

Needless to say, judging by Who'll Stop the Rain, one can only assume that Reisz thought very little of Nietzsche’s philosophies and the characters of Hicks, but as Carl Jung once wrote, “The Jewish race as a whole – possesses an unconscious which can be compared with the ‘Aryan’ only with reserve. Creative individuals apart, the average Jew is far too conscious and differentiated to go about pregnant with the tensions of unborn futures. The ‘Aryan’ unconscious has a higher potential than the Jewish; that is both the advantage and disadvantage of a youthfulness not yet fully weaned from barbarism.” Indeed, the same ‘barbariac’ Aryan spirit, which is totally alien to the Jew, that led to the conquering of North America and creation of the United States is also the same healthy ‘barbarian’ spirit that leads to Hicks’ demise. While the more Jew-like character Converse (and his half-Jewish wife) survives, he achieved none of the glory of his dead friend and is plagued to live the rest of his days as the same miserable banal fellow that he always was. Had Who'll Stop the Rain been directed by an Aryan like Sam Peckinpah or even a self-described “Zen Fascist” Jew like John Milius, it probably would have had a much more overt and nuanced Nietzschean edge.  On the other hand, one of the most interest aspects of the film is the director Reisz's critical approach to the subject matter, which is certainly more nuanced than Alfred Hitchcock's critique of the idea of the Nietzschean Übermensch in his Leopold and Loeb inspired psychological-thriller Rope (1948).

While it would take the so-called ‘acid fascism’ of Charles Manson to put the final nail in the already-corroded coffin of the counterculture movement, Michelangelo Antonioni seemed to cinematically prophesize such a forsaken fate for the subculture with Blow-up (1966), which he unequivocally confirmed with the bizarre surrealist ending of Zabriskie Point (1970). In the Maysles brothers doc Gimme Shelter (1970), Mick Jagger is arguably even depicted coming to the realization that the movement is dead in real time as he watches himself performing “Under My Thumb” while a 18-year-old negro named Meredith Hunter is being stabbed to death by a Hells Angel at the 1969 Altamont Free Concert. In the little-seen (non)cult film The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970) starring a very young and then-unknown Don Johnson, it is demonstrated the counterculture is dead and that even the coolest and most intelligent of hippies sometimes commit suicide as the movement is a soul-destroying spiritual dead-end. In Ivan Passer’s masterpiece Cutter's Way (1981), it is revealed that over a decade after the end of the Vietnam War and death of the counterculture movement, the wounds of war and drug addiction are still very fresh, thereupon underscoring the distinctly deleterious long-term effects of hippie hedonism and the shallow anti-authority (pseudo)ethos that accompanied it. I could go on and on, but I think it is safe to say that Who'll Stop the Rain features the most nuanced depiction of the seemingly perennial dark clouds that followed the so-called ‘Summer of Love’ and how these things contributed to the death of white America. If one sees the final scene of the film where Converse and his wife are driving away in a seemingly endless desert as an allegorical depiction of the aimless road to nowhere that white America has taken since the late-1960s, then one can only imagine that, after four decades, that very same road would now be full of infernal potholes and beat-up cars full of drunken illegal aliens and that the once-barren landscape is now increasingly flooded with every and any sort of forsaken brown person from around the world. 

Notably, in his text The Dispossessed Majority (1972), which was written nearly half a century ago, American racialist writer Wilmot Robertson noted that American cinema no longer represented the character of the country’s white majority population, or as he explained, “The ban on displays of Majority ethnocentrism in art—a ban written in stone in present-day American culture—also reaches back to the Majority cultural past. Chaucer and Shakespeare have been cut and blue-penciled and some of their work put on the minority index. The motion picture of Charles Dickens’s OLIVER TWIST had a hard time being released in the United States because of the recognizably Jewish traits of Fagin. The masterpiece of American silent films, THE BIRTH OF A NATION, can no longer be shown publicly without the threat of picket lines, while Jewish-produced black ‘sexploitation’ films like MANDINGO (1975), replete with the crudest racial slurs against whites, are shown everywhere.” Of course, in a world where a mundanely minimalistic coming-of-age film about a gay negro dope dealer like Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight (2016) wins countless highly coveted awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, it is quite clear that things have gotten much more aesthetically and racially degenerate and that the white majority has seemingly given up on making its own true organic cinema, but such is the predictable fate of a nation where a subversive culture-distorting racial minority owns and/or runs all the major film studios despite only making up about 2% of the population (though one can certainly argue that lame independent movements like Mumblecore represents a genuine white movement, albeit of the spiritually neutered and largely racially deracinated post-bourgeois sort). 

 Undoubtedly, the only reason a somewhat ‘illiberal’ film like Who'll Stop the Rain even exists is because it covertly (and, largely, seemingly unintentionally) depicts white American’s decline (also, it probably does not hurt that it was directed by a British Jew). Despite being a Jewish leftist, auteur Reisz was always dubious of leftists movements, at least starting with his commie family comedy Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), or as Gardner explained, “However, while Reisz’s skeptical indictment of Morgan’s madcap, symbolic lip-service to Marxist icons seemed both prescient and justified in 1966, when the British New Left were mired knee-deep in theoretical debate, DOG SOLDIERS seems to be fighting a rearguard action in a factional war that has already been lost. If there were any doubt, then EVERYBODY WINS, Reisz’s final entry into the political stakes (in which Nick Nolte once again plays a compromised seeker of truth), is clear proof that only an absurdist cynicism can prevail when conventional moral values have lost all meaning.” Of course, only an extremely self-destructive absurdist cynicism can prevail in a country where minorities—whether they be racial, sexual, social, etc.—are pampered at the great expense of the majority, hence the real implicit appeal of ‘Donald Trump's Make America Great Again’ campaign. If America is to survive, at least in any healthy organic form, I think one should remember Ray Hicks’s rather simple yet poignant words, “All my life I've been taking shit from inferior people. No more.”  After all, the United States is a nation sown in rebellion by Europid rebels.

While it is easy to write-off Who'll Stop the Rain antihero Hicks as a sociopath, I would argue that he largely personifies everything that once made America great as a fearless and heroic rebel that is willing to risk death out of loyalty his friends, which can hardly be said of the many boomer dopers of his era.  After all, as Evola noted in his insightful essay 1968 essay Youth, Beats, and Right-Wing Anarchists featured in his late book The Bow and the Club (1968), “...I agree with the claim made by some Beats that—contrary to what psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and ‘social workers’ believe—in a society and civilization such as ours, and especially the American one, it is generally in the rebel, the misfit and the antisocial person that the healthy man is to be found.  In an abnormal world, all values are inverted: it is precisely the one who appears abnormal in relation to the exiting milieu who is most likely to be ‘normal’ and to preserve some vital energy.  I cannot agree at all with those who would like to ‘rehabilitate’ such individuals, whom they regard as sick, and to ‘readapt’ them to ‘society.’  One psychoanalyst, Robert Lindner, had the courage to state this explicitly.”  Indeed, in a world where ‘diversity is our strength’ is the most common corporate/government mantra, people with two digit IQs are considered equal to people with three digit IQs, autogynephiles are considered sane enough to read books to elementary school children, miscegenation is a fad, disability is a virtue, Hebraics are lauded as world history's greatest humanists, killing ones unborn baby is regarded the most imperative ‘female right,’ and an overall slave-morality reigns, it is hard to imagine why anyone would want to be considered normal.  In that sense, smuggling heroin as a sort of Nietzschen thrill seems sane by comparison; or, as Ernst Jünger once remarked, “better a criminal than a bourgeois,” especially when the current bourgeoisie is largely comprised of box-wine and Xanax addicted feminists and soy-soaked sods, fanboys, and ethno-masochists.

-Ty E