May 7, 2020

Psycho (1960)

Generally, I have two modes of film viewing: serious and unserious. While I tend to reserve arthouse films and ‘heavy stuff’ for my more serious film experiences, I also like to binge-watch old horror and sci-fi series like The Twilight Zone (1959–1964) and Tales from the Darkside (1983–1988) when I am feeling less serious and am simply looking for something nice and cozy to play in the background when I am working on other things, eating, or whatever. While many film nerds and film academics swear that he is unequivocally the greatest cinematic auteur that has ever lived and a virtual god among mere mortals, Hitchcock—a man that would arguably ultimately become better known as a brand than a simple filmmaker—is not exactly an all-time-favorite filmmaker of mine, which I recently further confirmed after having a long Hitch marathon of his mostly late-era top-shelf stuff during a number of my ‘unserious’ viewing sessions over the course of two weeks. Although there is no denying that Hitchcock was some sort of master craftsmen in a way probably comparable to Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher was in his field in terms of playing with things like symmetry and perspective and mastering découpage to an almost mathematical degree, it is hard for me to take him serious the way I do highly idiosyncratic auteur filmmakers like Carl Theodor Dreyer, Robert Bresson, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Werner Schroeter as his films are simply too glaringly contrived, cold, artificial, superficial, unbecomingly garish and just plain too old-fashioned for my tastes, hence why it does not surprise me that the man was a virtual brand and that he was the progenitor of a hit TV series entitled Alfred Hitchcock Presents (later known as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) that lasted ten seasons as he mastered a sort of gimmicky form of entertainment which, to his credit, he did better than anyone else.  In fact, I would argue that even a classic The Outer Limits episode like ‘The Man Who Was Never Born’ displays more a ‘soul’ than the average Hitch flick, but I digress. Somehow I can imagine that even having sex, Hitch would have to at least spend 20 minutes getting ready and putting on the right specially selected bondage gear just to get down and dirty as normal sensual things like passion and spontaneity probably totally escaped him.

Indeed, at the risk of sounding like a pretentious prick and/or contrarian cunt, I found it nearly impossible to take most of Hitchcock’s films any more serious than any other seriously reasonably entertaining horror and thriller flicks as they lack a certain heaviness, rely too much on pop psychology and bastardized true crime tales, and just do not hit me the way a great Bresson and Fassbinder flick does (indeed, compare Fassbinder’s Cornell Woolrich adaptation Martha (1974) to Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and it becomes quite crystal clear who is the more painfully serious and completely uncompromising artist).  Similarly, Rebecca (1940) is undoubtedly one of Hitch's greatest and most elegant films, but fellow English filmmaker Nicolas Roeg went much further with his Daphne du Maurier adaptation Don't Look Now (1973) and seamlessly assembled a singular combination of pathos, tenderness, eroticism, and virtual avant-garde horror that would simply confound the Notorious (1946) director as he seemed to lack a sense of artistic vigor, hence his self-admitted boredom while actually directing films. Still, if you are looking for the cinematic equivalent of a fun amusement park ride that takes your mind off the greater miseries of life, Hitchcock’s films indubitably provide and his countless imitators of various stripes prove this. In fact, like it or not, there is no denying that Psycho (1960)—a film that arguably represents the auteur at his most subversive, daring, and uncompromising—is simply one of the most influential films of all-time, though the overall value of said influence is somewhat dubious (after all, is there a more decidedly disposable and artistically bankrupt (sub)genre than the slasher film?!).

After my recent half-ass Hitch marathon, I think I tend to agree with the popular consensus that Psycho—along with Vertigo (1958) and The Birds (1963)—is one of Hitchcock’s greatest, if not greatest, masterpiece and a film that has aged relatively gracefully despite the large virtual garbage dump of senseless cinematic trash that it has influenced, which is somewhat ironic since it is certainly the one film that has completely escaped its creator’s grasp and developed a life of its own as demonstrated by the various Hitch-unapproved sequels and TV series that have haunted it, not unlike Norman Bates being perversely haunted by the memory of his dead mommy. Of course, more importantly, Psycho has had a totally unquantifiable influence on the art of cinema as a film that, aside from the obvious example of guido giallos and its American bastard offspring—the wretched slasher film—has been paid tribute (and anti-tribute) to in films ranging from William Wyler's The Collector (1965) to George Kuchar’s high-camp avant-fart short Pagan Rhapsody (1970) to Fassbinder’s debut feature Love Is Colder Than Death (1969) to the Amero brothers’ psychedelic hardcore horror flick Bacchanale (1970) to Maurice Pialat’s anti-romance We Won't Grow Old Together (1972) to Robert Altman’s Images (1972) to Paul Bartel's Private Parts (1972) to Jonathan Demme’s underrated Last Embrace (1979) to Brian De Palma's Hitch homage Dressed to Kill (1980) to Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion (1984) featuring Anthony Perkins in a virtual meta-commentary role of his Bates character, among countless other examples. In short, Hitchcock’s arguable magnum opus is a film that has influenced an eclectic range of filmmakers, though there is no denying that its sexual perversion angle is indubitably one of its greatest sources of influence as a work of great indelible penetration where Hitchcock does not fuck around when it comes to depicting a freaky fuck that, probably not unlike the filmmaker, suffered the fate of living too much inside of his own head where he imagined many beauteous blonde babes dead.

Needless to say, Psycho was not the first film where Hitchcock dealt with the perils and problems of the seriously sexually sick, though he was certainly more covert, if not sometimes downright esoteric, when dealing with such material in the past. Indeed, even with his third feature and first worthwhile flick The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)—an Expressionistic silent feature where the auteur revealed his crucial Teutonic influence (for example, Hitch once spent weeks on the set of The Last Laugh (1924) watching F.W. Murnau direct)—Hitchcock had the rather androgynous and openly gay Ivor Novello play the titular lead. While I am totally opposed to the modern-day mainstream academic trend of attempting to prove that great dead artists were secretly gay, Hitchcock’s films just give too many damn clues that he was a closest queen and gay film critic Robin Wood makes a pretty good case in his classic text Hitchcock's Films Revisited (1989) that these signs are apparent starting with The Lodger and his second lesser known Novello collaboration Downhill (1927). In Woods’ obviously biased blow-boy mind, Hitchcock got really fat and married Alma Reville at the same time he worked with Novello as a means to repress his sexual desire for the flaming Welsh actor, or as the film critic argues, “Why, in fact, did Hitchcock put on so much weight? No clear medical evidence has been produced, as far as I know. There seems to be abundant testimony that Hitchcock, throughout his life, longed to be attractive to women an experienced agonies of frustration over his fatness. The Psychoanalytical evidence seems to point in the opposite direction, to a hysterical resistance to being physically attractive to anyone.” Indeed, it is also hard to imagine a straight man stating things like, “The trouble today is that we don’t torture women enough” and taking so much sadistic glee in the brutalization and/or death/murder of beauteous blondes in films like Psycho, The Birds, and Vertigo which are, not coincidentally, the filmmaker’s greatest (and, for the most part, most personal) works.

Of course, with his great experiment in (non)editing Rope (1948)—a film penned by kosher cocksucker Arthur Laurents—Hitchcock paid (anti)tribute to infamous Hebraic homo childkillers Leopold and Loeb and their failed attempt at a mundanely murderous pseudo-Nietzschean Übermensch lifestyle. Even more incriminating, after his commercial critical flops with Marnie (1964) and Torn Curtain (1966), Hitchcock planned to direct a covertly gay necrophiliac serial killer film entitled Kaleidoscope (aka Frenzy)—a film project that apparently even disturbed #1 Hitchcock fan-boy Truffaut—but apparently Universal Studios bigwig Lew Wasserman felt a film involving an unhinged killer with an unhealthy addiction to beefcake bodybuilding magazines who gets caught masturbating by his own mother was not commercial enough so the filmmaker was unfortunately persuaded to direct the all-too-cold Cold War thriller Topaz (1969), which is indubitably one of his worst and most forgettable films, instead. Of course, Hitchcock’s oeuvre is, relatively speaking, a clever cocksucking cinephile's wet dream as it features much hermetic homoisms.  For example, Hitch's first feature The Pleasure Garden (1925) features an exceedingly effete costume designer, Murder! (1930) is notable for a half-breed transvestite killer, The Lady Vanishes (1938) has a curious cricket (and seemingly cock) obsessed male couple, Strangers on a Train (1951) features a titular bromance that borders on the homoromantic, and Martin Landau plays a murderously jealous queen of sorts in North by Northwest (1959), among various other examples. Needless to say, in terms of implied homosexuality and gay coding, there’s a lot of creepy covert cocksuckers when it comes to the cinema of Hitchcock and, as Psycho certainly demonstrates, this one of the most interesting and entertaining aspects of the filmmaker’s oeuvre.

Undoubtedly, the casting of actor Anthony Perkins—a painfully shy and weirdly wiry fellow that, not surprisingly, was involved in strictly same-sex relationships until his late-30s—was a stroke of genius and one can only assume that old Hitchcock had a great gaydar as it is simply impossible to imagine, say, Paul Newman (who later appeared in Hitchcock’s uneven Torn Curtain (1966)) or any another top leading man portraying the unconventionally iconic role of Norman Bates who is indubitably one of the great unforgettable characters of cinema history. Rather revealingly, Bates suffers from the stereotypically homosexual psychological problem of mommy issues and, as Jewish feminist Paula Marantz Cohen complains in her book Alfred Hitchcock: The Legacy of Victorianism (1995), the film is arguably at least partially the auteur’s response to ‘Momism’—a term coined by psychologist Erik Erikson (who had his own special lifelong mommy issues as the bastard broad of a Jewess and Danish Aryan father)—and the deleterious nature of an obscenely overly-controlling maternal influence. Of course, not unlike many of Hitchcock’s greatest films, most of the female characters in Psycho are unlikable, if not downright loathsome, including an insufferable secretary played by the director’s own daughter Pat Hitchcock (apparently, the filmmaker was not too happy when his daughter got married in 1952 and their relationship permanently suffered as a result). While most of the male characters are not much better, one gets the sense that Hitchcock is somewhat rooting for Bates Motel master Bates and that he is nothing if not the demented victim of gynocentrism in its most natural and unfortunately unchecked form. While some perennially dry and soulless fecund-free feminist types might go as far as describing the film as misogynistic, I think it would be more accurate to describe Psycho as a fairly successful experiment in merrily macabre misanthropy where a relatively tasteful tongue-in-cheek approach is taken to the idiosyncrasies of the rather retarded enigma that is (in)humanity. Undoubtedly one of the most artfully executed cinematic trolls in Hollywood history, Psycho is a proto-tranny-tinged anti-tribute to the tediously terrible turd pile that is (most of) humanity. In short, the film is where Hitchcock revealed what sort of beast he really is and he curiously utilized a knife-wielding dude in a dress to do it.

In modern post-internet speak, Psycho is the tragic tale of a young erratic incel of the obviously autistic sort (hence his bird fetish) that confronts his virtual female sexual marketplace opposite—a desperate unmarried and childless dame of the seemingly highly sexually experienced sort that is about to ‘hit the wall,’ hence her desperate motivation behind impulsively stealing $40,000 from a crude capitalist cowboy—in a confrontation between the sexes that would have been rather unlikely were it not for the absurdity of fate. Indeed, real-estate secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) has good reason to be so deleteriously desperate as her biological clock is ticking and her divorced boy toy Sam Loomis (John Gavin)—a somewhat dumb yet likeable hunk that makes most Hitchcock heroes seem like effete pussies by comparison—is in serious debt on top of having to pay alimony to his ex-wife, thus it seems unlikely that she will have the means to start a family anytime soon. In that sense, Marion’s brutal murder at the hands of Normans Bates (Anthony Perkins) almost seems like an unintentional act of compassion as the quasi-heroine, who seems to have very little prospects in life aside from great lunchtime sex in sleazy hotel rooms, is put out of her misery and it is only fitting that the culling process is carried out by a miserable man-boy that is unlikely to reproduce himself due to being psychologically castrated by his mother who he, rather fittingly, killed. Notably, after Marion dies, her sister Lila Crane (Vera Miles) hooks up with boyfriend Sam to search for her and it is quite clear the two have great chemistry and will probably make for a great couple in the future. Notably, when Marion and her beau Sam are depicted at the very beginning of the film during a brief post-coital exchange, it almost seems like the end of a transaction between a whore and her john, but one would never sense such a sleazy display between sister Lila and Sam. In that sense, Psycho is not unlike Fassbinder’s The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972) of all films in terms of its ironical depiction of a healthier couple being formed as direct a result of the death of the protagonist. In short, sometimes tragic murders have positive consequences and sometimes lethally lonely lunatics can make positive contributions to society; or such are some of the more delectable absurdities of some of Hitchcock’s greatest films. After all, in The Birds, the most benign of creatures—feathered warm-blooded vertebrates that remind one of nature’s harmony, purity, and beauty—provide the viewer with the delight of going on a bloody rampage and collectively attacking obnoxious spoiled people in what might be best described as the anti-monster movie par excellence. Undoubtedly, films like Psycho and The Birds demonstrate that Hitch derived his greatest sense of humanity in his inhumanity, misanthropy, and misogyny, as there would be very little emotionally left in his films were in not for these audaciously asocial attributes cloaked in dark sardonic humor.

Aside from taking the pink pill and attempting to reveal what sort of queen the knighted English auteur really is after coming out of the closet himself, gay Hitchcock scholar Robin Wood has done a pretty interesting job dissecting the filmmaker's psychological motivations and compulsions in general, especially as it relates to his most famous flick Psycho. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Wood takes a pathetically politically correct and absurdly academic approach and even attempts to link the film to the holocaust and the abandoned British government-produced agitprop doc German Concentration Camps Factual Survey (1945) that Hitchcock worked as a supposed ‘treatment advisor’ on. Indeed, as Wood curiously argues at the very end of his chapter on the film in Hitchcock’s Films Revisited, “PSYCHO is one of the key works of our age. Its themes are of course not new—obvious forerunners include MACBETH and Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS—but the intensity and horror of their treatment and the fact that they are here grounded in sex belong to the age that has witnessed one the one hand the discoveries of Freudian psychology and on the other the Nazi concentration camps. I do not think I am being callous in citing the camps in relation to a work of popular entertainment. Hitchcock himself in fact accepted a commission to make a compilation film of captured Nazi material about the camps […] But one cannot contemplate the camps without confronting two aspects of this horror: the utter helplessness and innocence of the victims, and the fact that human beings, whose potentialities all of us in some measure share, were their tormentors and butchers […] PSYCHO is founded on, precisely, these twin horrors. For Hitchcock it was a ‘fun’ picture, and a streak of macabre humor (‘Mother . . . what is the phrase? . . . isn’t quite herself today’) certainly runs through it. Is it, then, some monstrous perversion? Many have found it so, and their reaction seems to be more defensible than that of those (must we include Hitchcock himself?) who are merely amused by it […] No film conveys—to those not afraid to expose themselves fully to it—a greater sense of desolation, yet it does so from an exceptionally mature and secure emotional viewpoint. And an essential part of this viewpoint is the detached sardonic humor. It enables the film to contemplate the ultimate horrors without hysteria, with a poised, almost serene detachment. This is probably not what Hitchcock meant when he said that one cannot appreciate PSYCHO without a sense of humor, but it is what he should have meant […] For the maker of PSYCHO to regard it as a ‘fun’ picture can be taken as his means of preserving his sanity; for the critic to do so—and to give it his approval on these grounds—is quite unpardonable. Hitchcock (again, if his interviews are to be trusted) is a much greater artist than he knows.”  Somehow, I doubt shoah saints like Claude Lanzmann would approve of Wood's attempts to connect Hitch's masterpiece to the Big H, but I have to respect the film critic's preternatural passion for Psycho.

While I can appreciate Wood’s hardcore (Hitch)cockphilia as a fellow cinephile and argue that Hitch mastered a sort of majestic detachment like no other, I cannot help but feel that, as hinted at in the biopic Hitchcock (2012), the filmmaker derived a great sense of sadistic glee from Psycho and that the film is largely an expression of the all-too-deceptively-effete filmmaker’s great contempt for his audience and humanity in general to the degree where a killer momma’s boy in a dress is arguably more sympathetic than his victims. Indeed, while I do not typically find much to agree on with feminist Hebrewesses, I cannot help but mostly concur with Paula Marantz Cohen when she argued in regard to the savagely yet stylishly sadistic essence of Hitchcock's classic cinematic work, “The gaze that the film directs back at the audience in PSYCHO is, in [William] Rothman’s phrase, ‘murderous’ precisely because it envisions the gaze of the spectator to be, like Norman Bates’s mother, not capable of the right response—imaginatively, if not literally, dead. This being so, the film can only engage in acts of vengeance against the spectator, acts that is also attributes to the spectator as if seeking to animate it (Norman’s strategy with his mother’s corpse). Thus PSYCHO seeks both to animate us into an identification with the murderous Norman and to prove through doing so that we are morally empty in our ability to shift our investment from Marion to Norman and, finally, to accept meekly the posturing paternal verdict of the psychiatrist. The film works to ventriloquize our response, to animate it in order to kill it again. The ‘construction of a mental process’ that Hitchcock had linked to the look in REAR WINDOW has been placed by its opposite, the dismantling or murder of the look. One critic has made a relevant observation with regard to the look in PSYCHO: ‘What is remarkable . . . is that most of the characters who stare at the public are dead when they do so.’ Even the sophisticated montage technique in the PSYCHO shower scene is a model of its deconstructive method […] If montage in its traditional usage conditioned us to see an integrated reality, montage in PSYCHO conditions us to see an unintegrated one—to expect the inexplicable and gratuitous.”

 While Jimmy Stewart is an obvious stand-in for Hitchcock in films like Rear Window and Vertigo, I have always felt he was living somewhat vicariously through the John Dall character in Rope as if getting away with (a homoerotic) murder is one of his greatest fantasies, hence the sense of contrived insincerity of the ending where the lead denounces his previous (pseudo)Nietzschean philosophy after discovering that his (ex)students have actually dared to put his Übermensch philosophy into practice.  Either way, Psycho, not unlike much of Hitchcock’s films, reeks of fetishism and psychosexual sickness; it is just a question of what the filmmaker’s true repressed impulses really were. After all, as a relatively cultivated Victorian gentleman, Hitchcock was a bit more intelligent and civilized than Ed Gein—the real-life momma’s boy quasi-necrophile influence for Norman Bates—and one can only assume that he would not act on such impulses, which arguably acted as the source of his arguable genius as a master of cinematically depicting mentally defective criminality of the sort that might have been inspired by the various case studies featured in Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis (1886). In fact, I do not think it would be much of a stretch to describe Hitchcock as a sort of covert modern Uranian artist, but there is no way in hell that the filmmaker would have ever accepted such a label, even if he had been unequivocally exposed as being engaged in tearoom action or buying bussy from young twink hustlers.

Notably, in an essay entitled ‘Must We Believe in Hitchcock?,’ celebrated French film critic André Bazin—a great cineaste intellect that, quite unlike his Cahiers du cinéma comrades like Claude Chabrol and Truffaut, had somewhat mixed feelings about the Psycho director—made a great point about the filmmaker that underscores what I both love and loathe about him, arguing with great no bullshit penetrating insight, “We know that Hitchcock has one idiosyncrasy: he appears in all his films for a brief moment. In LIFEBOAT, he is seen in a magazine photograph that is stained with oil and floating among the wreckage of the ship. In STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, we see him as a musician glimpsed boarding the train with an enormous bass fiddle. We have to take this as more than a superstition or a director’s trademark. A point of irony touching his entire oeuvre is the reminder of a certain between-the-lines reading of the scenario by those who can see beyond the most obvious effects. Nonetheless, at times this marvelously oiled mechanism grates strangely on one’s ears. Through the rhetorical, conventional, and, in a word, reassuring sadism of American films, Hitchcock sometimes makes you hear, over the victim’s terrified screams, the true cry of joy that does not deceive you—his own.” Indeed, Hitchcock’s greatest films almost mockingly hint at the perversions of the man that created them, as if he is so arrogantly rewarding those special individuals that are not total dumb asses and can see the camp and dysfunction hidden underneath—like Norman Bates’ erotic member under his mother’s dress as he penetrates with dumb bimbo with a knife—with a window into his true perverted personality. In fact, this aspect of Hitchcock’s films—and not the brilliant Psycho shower scene montage or oneiric essence of Vertigo—is the one thing that keeps me interested in his films and has kept me from the strong temptation to write him off as an obscenely overrated (yet undeniably technically talented) artisan that has had more of a negative than positive influence on the art of cinema (from the senseless schlock of the slasher genre to the The Bourne Identity, Hitch has inspired a lot of completely soulless/tasteless cinematic shit).

While critics have oftentimes argued that Hitchcock’s intent with Psycho and many of his other films was to, somewhat hypocritically, implicate the voyeurism of his audience (whereas his wop spiritual son Brian De Palma would simply use cinema to wallow in his own self-admitted fetish for voyeurism), the real intrigue of a Hitch flick is what cannot be seen: the debauched director’s deep dark desires. In Psycho and Hitchcock’s penultimate Frenzy (1972)—a virtual exercise in perversely playful self-parody where the auteur finally got to expose real unclad female flesh—the filmmaker probably comes the closest to revealing the real rampaging gynophobic queen hidden beneath the makeup. In that sense, that is why the psychiatrist scene at the end of Psycho is especially annoying and obnoxious as it not only insults the viewer’s intelligence, but also seems like a form of obfuscation upon the auteur’s part as if he wanted to clearly separate himself from the sexually psychotic nature of his film. It is also no coincidence that Hitchcock directed his most personal films while working in Hollywood as he would have surely faced a similar hysterical backlash to the sort that was heaped on Peeping Tom (1960)—a film that, for various obvious reasons, is oftentimes compared to Psycho (in fact, the film's heroine Anna Massey would later rather fittingly star in Hitch's Frenzy)—in the UK that more or less ruined its once-well-respected auteur Michael Powell's career had he dared to direct his gender-bending proto-slasher flick in his native land. In short, had Hitchcock grew up in a different era, he might have done for the thriller and horror genres what Fred Halsted did for homo hardcore as the man was just too innately Victorian and a product of his time to completely break out of his shell.  Undoubtedly, Norman Bates might as well be speaking for Hitchcock when he so passionately proclaims, “You know what I think? I think that we're all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.”  While Hitch would actually dare to ‘budge an inch’ (or two or three) with Psycho, one can only assume the sort of unhinged cinematic assault he might have assembled had he been more comfortable with embracing his inner pervert.  Personally, while it might sound insane, I actually find it is easier to fully embrace a no-budget Andy Milligan genre movie than a Hitchcock one as I feel like I am not being lied to or bullshitted as the gay gutter auteur might have had a somewhat ‘spastic’ directing style but he could not help but be himself.  Indeed, Milligan may have been a monster of the absurdly technically inept sort but, quite unlike Hitchcock, at least he fully embraced it with great gusto.

While, in my opinion, Hitchcock never directed a cinematic work quite as artfully unnerving or perfectly pitch black as Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les diaboliques (1955)—a film that would heavily influence Psycho, especially the filmmaker’s decision to shoot it in black-and-white—I think it is safe to say that he transcended his French influence in terms of being a morbid master of manipulation (though Clouzot was clearly the more delectably misanthropic of the two filmmakers). Indeed, as Robert P. Kolker argued in his text The Extraordinary Image: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the Reimagining of Cinema (2016) in regard to Hitchcock’s arguable magnum opus, “PSYCHO is, like all Hitchcock, highly manipulative; it takes us exactly where it wants us to go but on subsequent viewing allows us in on the joke at PSYCHO’s heart. In the parlor scene, where Norman and Marion meet and she first hears Mother’s voice yelling at her son, the conformation exposes who Norman is and pretty much what is going to happen to Marion. The sequence is worth looking at in detail.” But of course, being a master of manipulation and ‘campy’ dark humor (which itself was oftentimes a result of said manipulation) just further confirms my suspicion that Hitchcock was a homo or, at the very least, a sort of ‘spiritual sod’ of sorts, but of course the same can be said of many of Hitchcock's film heroes.  After all, while various film critics and scholars (including filmmaker William Friedkin in his DVD audio commentary for the film) have speculated that Vertigo is largely inspired by the sense that Hitch felt haunted by the unattainability of beauteous platinum blonde babes due his trademark portly physique, one could just as easily argue that said unattainability was the result of his sexuality and that he was more jealous of said beauties than desirous of them.  After all,  Hitch's gleeful brutality of Tippi Hedren in The Birds makes a lot more sense if one sees it from the perspective of a jealous gay man that is using cinema as a cunty covert means to attack stupid dames that he sees as rivals (additionally, due to his curious mommy issues, strange attitude, and dubious dress sense, Rod Taylor's character also seems fairly queer).

While indubitably ‘Hitchcockian’ in the best sort of way, there is a certain irony in Psycho being the director’s arguable magnum opus as it owes so much to so many other talented artists and, not unlike Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976)—a film that, incidentally, Bernard Herrmann also scored—has more than one auteur (indeed, screenwriter Paul Schrader was the real ‘brain’ behind the film). Indeed, aside from the iconic title designs by Saul Bass (who, rather revealingly, also storyboarded the shower scene), uniquely unforgettable musical score by Herrmann, and source novel by Robert Bloch (as penned for the screen by The Outer Limits writer-producer Joseph Stefano), the film is impossible to imagine without lead actor Anthony Perkins who, as far as I am concerned, IS Norman Bates as the character is nothing without the actor’s perturbingly preternatural essence. After all, as Orson Welles’ Kafka adaptation The Trial (1962), Pretty Poison (1968), WUSA (1970), Curtis Harrington’s How Awful About Allan (1970), and Crimes of Passion (1984) surely demonstrate, Perkins excelled like no one when it came to portraying unnervingly awkward introverts of the oftentimes morbidly mentally unsound sort. In fact, even in Jules Dassin’s Phaedra (1962) were Perkins plays an atypical hunk that cuckolds his own powerful bigwig shipping tycoon father, the actor bleeds a sort of highly visceral vulnerability that screams crazed cracked queer. While they might be obvious examples of cinematic sacrilege, I even find the three Psycho sequels tolerable simply because of Perkins’ presence (notably, Perkins also directed Psycho III (1986), thereupon further cementing his claim to Psycho auteur status). While I have admittedly fantasized about other leading men aside from Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant being in Hitchcock’s other great films, Psycho would be simply unimaginable without Perkins who proved that sometimes being a waywardly wimpy weirdo has its advantages.  Additionally, Gus Van Sant's soulless virtual shot-for-shot Psycho (1998) remake is worth seeing just to see how appallingly horrendous Vince Vaughn is as Norman Bates compared to Anthony Perkins.  Indeed, Vaughn, who Van Sant clearly wanted to fuck (among other things, the camera pointlessly focuses on the actor's ass as he walks up a set of stairs), seems like he is doing his best impression of what he thinks stereotypical gay men are like (in S. Craig Zahler's Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017)), the actor would prove he is not bad at acting so long as he is playing a masculine character)..

Somewhat recently, not long after re-watching Psycho for probably the fifth or sixth time in my entire life, I happened to rewatch Joseph Losey’s beauteously bizarre failure Secret Ceremony (1968) for the first time and I could not help but notice the similarities and dissimilarities in how they deal with the theme of monstrous mothers as both films feature tragic young characters who grew up to be unhinged due to their mothers’ dubious relationships with sexually domineering men that dominated their lives at the expense of their children. While Psycho is clearly the superior and more immaculate film, I could not help but feel more impressed with the artistic integrity of Secret Ceremony—a meditative, somewhat ambiguous, sometimes dreamlike, and oftentimes quite beautiful film—despite it being a glaring artistic failure that sometimes borders on unintentional camp.  Additionally, Nicolas Roeg's uneven yet underrated Track 29 (1988) acts as a nice thematic counterpoint to Psycho as a film where a sexually repressed wife is both literally (?) and figuratively haunted by the long lost son she gave up for adoption 15 years before.  Needless to say, Roeg's film is both more thematically and artistically ambitious in depiction of the psychosexually unsound, especially as it relates to the morbidly maternal.

In short, I find it somewhat hard to like Hitchcock as both an artist and as a man as his films are oftentimes as cold and calculating as his carefully contrived cool-as-a-corpse character. In fact, I cannot help but agree with David Thomson—a lifelong Hitchcock fan that even devoted an entire worthwhile book to Psycho—when he wrote at the conclusion of his entry on the director in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (1975), “His great films are only partly his; they also belong to the minds that interpret them. There is an artistic timidity in Hitchcock that, having put the audience through it, must allow them to come to terms with the experience. But his own personality is withdrawn, cold, insecure, and uncharitable. The method, despite its brilliance, is equally privative and restrictive. To plan so much that the shooting becomes a chore is an abuse not just of actors and crew, but of cinema’s predilection for the momentary. It is, in fact, the style of an immense, premeditative artist—a Bach, a Proust, or a Rembrandt. And beside those masters, Hitchcock seems an impoverished inventor of thumbscrews who shows us the human capacity for inflicting pain, but not more. Such precision can only avoid seeming overbearing and misanthropic if it is accompanied by creative untidiness. In the last resort, his realized blueprints affirm film’s yearning for doubt and open endings.”  In short, Hitch had the virtual emotional depth of a tick, the artistic passion of a mathematician, and the humanity of an over-educated executioner, but of course these are some of the things that also make him interesting and distinct as a filmmaker.

Despite the contrived nature of his films, Hitchcock actually demonstrated in a 1960 article entitled ‘Why I Am Afraid of the Dark’ a somewhat surprising appreciation for the proto-Surrealist literature of Comte de Lautréamont and surreal cinema of Luis Buñuel, René Clair, Jean Epstein, and Jean Cocteau, thereupon making his seeming incapacity to take serious artistic risks all the more perturbing but such seems to be typical and quite expected of his carefully contrived character. Indeed, somehow I think I would like Hitchcock more if it was revealed that he was not totally unlike the Norman Bates preposterously portrayed by Vince Vaughn in Van Sant’s Psycho remake and prone to masturbating while playing peeping tom as it at least would reveal a certain vulnerability and, in turn, humanity. Of course, somehow I suspect the real Hitchcock was a mix of motel master Bates and ‘Scottie’ in Vertigo as a man that rather see an inordinately beauteous blonde dead than lying naked in his bed.  While Hitch might have been a fag, he was surely no serious art fag and I will continue to enjoy Psycho like my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits while trying to forget that certain film scholars and even great filmmakers somehow regard him as one of the great cinematic masters as if he was working on the same level as a F.W. Murnau, Bresson, Dreyer, or even P.P. Pasolini.  While it is easy to understand why Hitch's films are so commonly taught in film schools as they are so meticulously and obviously manufactured with great geometric precision, there is no way one can truly teach the gifts of a Bresson, Federico Fellini, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, or Werner Schroeter.  Still, many filmmakers have tried to make their own equivalent to Psycho and various other Hitchcock films (e.g. D.J. Caruso's Disturbia (2007) is a tedious teenage reworking of Rear Window), yet Hitch still did it best (sorry, Maestro De Palma). In fact, even François Truffaut had to rightly admit that his Hitchcock homage The Bride Wore Black (1968)—a film scored by Bernard Herrmann and based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich who of course also provided the source material for Rear Window—was an artistic failure.

In Psycho, the female lead portrayed by Janet Leigh is brutally studied in the way women judge other women for about forty minutes and then slaughtered like a pig while in a most vulnerable position by a man in a dress with a serious negative Oedipus complex.  While Hitch's own sexuality is a matter of speculation, I think it is only fair that film scholars recognize his masterpiece as a classic piece of queer cinema that arguably demonstrates what Jean Cocteau meant when he stated of himself in Vanity Fair in 1922 that he is a, “lie that tells the truth” as it a sometimes campy fictional cinematic work that gets to the heart of certain homosexual truths in regard to sex, misogyny, and mommy issues, among other things, hence why top New Queer Cinema auteur Gus Van Sant—an artsy fartsy director that does much better with loose nonlinear narratives than more convention linear ones as confirmed by his greatest films like My Own Private Idaho (1991) and Elephant (2003)—was given the decidedly dubious job of directing the terrifying tacky remake (which is ultimately gay in the worst sort of way).

In her magnum opus Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson (1990), Camille Paglia attempts to make the case for elevating Hitch's film to the level of high art by arguing, “The finale of THE GIRL WITH THE GOLDEN EYES anticipates a classic moment of cinema.  Paquita is not just killed but slaughtered, butchered, as in the murder scene of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO (1960).  In Hitchcock as in Balzac, a knife-wielding hermaphrodite [...] compulsively slashes the body of a beautiful woman enclosed in a female bower [...] The horror of the two scenes comes from the mutilation of a sensuous female body around which an erotic aura has been painstakingly built up, in Balzac by the stressing of Paquita's ‘luminous’ beauty and in Hitchcock by the voyeuristic display of half-naked Janet Leigh, who models lingerie from the first scene on [...] Balzac and Hitchcock turn the beautiful woman into an object.  Marion's blood flows indifferently with the bathwater down the drain.  Her body falls awkwardly over the edge of the tub.  Her cheek is deformed by the tile floor.  And the last we see of her is her dead eye, lingered over by the camera until it has the iconicism of Paquita's golden eyes.  Cold and marmoreal but still glittering with beauty, Marion's eye belongs to a fallen statue, an art object vandalized and abandoned.  Balzac and Hitchcock record symbolic sex acts by megalomaniacal but phallically impotent cultists.  Norman Bates, like the Marquise, has his own sequestered ritual love-object—the body of his mummified mother!”  Of course, it would not be a stretch to assume that Hitch was an impotent megalomaniac that was enslaved to some Oedipal trauma and thus a real ‘psycho’ of sorts, which I hope is true as it certainly makes him more interesting as both a man and artist.

-Ty E

Apr 12, 2020

Imperium: The Flaccidity of Hollywood and Culture-Distorter (Meta)Politics

For about a decade or so, I have tried to steer completely clear of Hollywood movies in general, especially nasty anti-white agitprop of the brain-dead neo-nutzi sort where skinheads and other ostensibly pro-white tattooed losers demonstrate that they are even less articulate and cultured than the ghetto negro crackhead and dope dealers that they so ruthlessly and venomously hate yet somehow I forced myself to watch the innately insipid and inanely idiotic Imperium (2016) directed by young Hebraic hack Daniel Ragussis who demonstrated a prior interest in Judaic studies with his short Haber (2008) starring Teutonic mischling Christian Berkel in the titular role as German-Jewish chemical warfare pioneer Fritz Haber. In fact, my main reason for enduring such fiercely phony ADL-approved celluloid shit is due to it being seemingly named after Francis Parker Yockey’s wonderfully arcane neo-Spenglerian tome Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics (1948), which is hardly the sort of book that is read by the tattooed neo-nazi degenerates, neo-confederates, and the various other sorts of terminally retarded and completely culturally deracinated would-be-stormtroopers that make up the so-called ‘white supremacist’ movement. In fact, while a copy of Yockey’s classic text Imperium can be briefly seen quite preposterously alongside Essays of a Klansman (1983) by Louis Beam (whose maritime KKK actions against Vietnamese immigrant fishermen seems to have partly inspired Louie Malle's shockingly horrendous late-era agitprop piece Alamo Bay (1985)), it has nothing to do with the film and simply seems to be the expression of the filmmaker’s fear of an almost mystical book that, quite unlike the cartoonish white nationalism of George Lincoln Rockwell, represents the zenith of post-Third Reich pro-Europid revolutionary thought as a 600-page metapolitical philosophical text as written by an American lawyer turned virtual one-man-revolution that, among other things, abandoned his post as a post-trial review attorney for the Nuremberg Trials while fighting against the Allied Occupation of Germany and later even wrote anti-Zionist propaganda for the Egyptian Information Ministry after an inspiring meeting with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

In short, Yockey, who had a genius IQ of 170 according to his extensive FBI records, is the sort of fearless Faustian Renaissance man that hysterical Hebraic types wish did not exist and the film is ultimately a piss poor pathetic attempt to ostensibly confront that ‘neo-nazis’ are not only people, but also that some happen to be intelligent and even extremely cultivated and far from the deranged dipsomaniac bonehead stereotype that absurdly finds a sense of racial identity by chanting Skrewdriver lyrics while chugging cheap canned beer with his similarly boorish bros.  Not surprisingly, the film fails in virtually every single regard while quite ironically and unintentionally making the neo-nazis, or at least the more cultivated ones, seem like the good guys, which is funny for a film that uses the played-out and oftentimes misattributed quote, “For evil to triumph, it only takes good men to do nothing” as a tagline. In fact, the only thing that could make the movie more carelessly cliche and intellectually bankrupt is if it featured some George Santayana quote about history or whatever.

Released around the time of 2016 United States presidential election when Donald Trump was still promoting borderline white nationalist ideals and the so-called alt-right and related groups horrified Hollywood and the mainstream media by revealing that pro-white subcultures are now actually cool and somewhat evolved since the largely lumpenprole days of less than elegant ex-con skinheads and bearded pseudo-Odinist LARPers, Imperium is less a serious movie than a considerably clueless PSA that was meant with the disingenuous intent to strike fear in Judaic and leftist elites about the very real possibility of a new white American consciousness that completely rejects the completely counterfeit multculti globalist con and corrupt kritarchy that America has become as a result of the undeniably steady decline of its elite Anglo-Saxon founders. A frivolous failure in virtually every single objective it seeks out to accomplish, the film ultimately also somewhat paradoxically attempts to comfort the sort of compulsively complacent idiots that believe in Hollywood negro scientists, reflexively reference the pseudo-scientific turds of Jared Diamond, and read The New Yorker like it were scripture, which is ironic when one considers the sheer cluelessness of this feckless filmic fart as a movie that confirms that the enemies of white nationalism simply do not understand as to why there is an organic reawakening of the blond beast despite being a largely racially European yet culturally mongrelized country where Nietzsche has never (and will never) be a household name. Of course, one should not expect anything less from a movie meant to appeal to the sort of bourgeois lemming losers that unwittingly adopted degenerate leftist politics as a result reading Harry Potter as children. 

Despite being a preposterously flaccid and superficially melodramatic pseudo-thriller sans action and suspense that has literally nothing going on for it, Imperium curiously seems to have been heavily promoted among the mainstream liberal intellectual elite as demonstrated by the extra features of the blu ray release of the film, which includes two different 30-minute The New York Times’ TimesTalks with Daniel Ragussis and Daniel Radcliffe where the non-auteur and his similarly intellectually languid lead actor try in vain to explain the idiosyncrasies of what is oftentimes described as the white nationalist movement as if they are trying to explain the behavior of exotic animals in a zoo. Undoubtedly, what becomes clear in these superficial interviews is that, aside from having an intrinsic racial disdain for these movements, Ragussis and Radcliffe have real no innate understanding of the contra-kosher subculture that they supposedly spent many months, if not years, apparently researching. For example, there is not a single reference to Yockey and his tome Imperium despite the latter strangely acting the inspiration for the name of the marvelously mediocre movie. Of course, the reality is that Imperium inspired many strange things both inside and outside the largely bankrupt WN movement. For example, before providing hipster cred to dead-eyed porn star Sasha Grey—a proud ostensible bad girl with a boy bod that is big on anal—David Tibet created an entire album entitled Imperium (1987) for his longtime neofolk project Current 93 in tribute to Yockey’s book and it features lyrics like: “The jews they crucified the Christ…And the jews they crucified the Christ…And nailed him to a tree…Imperium…Imperium…Imperium.” Additionally, before he ruined his life by getting involved with the so-called Manson Family, psychedelic musician Bobby Beausoleil—a tragic ‘acid fascist’ that created one of the greatest film soundtrack in cinema history for Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising (1972) from the comfort of prison—found influence in Yockey and his book.

As for actual neo-nazis, Imperium has influenced figures ranging from National Renaissance Party leader James H. Madole to lone wolf advocate James Mason of Siege infamy yet his influence on these neo-nazi misfits seems to be more symbolic/superficial than truly (meta)political. Hardly an advocate of the stereotypical (neo)nazi view of race, Yockey—a dark-haired dude of mostly German and Irish stock that grew up in a cultivated Anglophile family—aggressively rejected ‘racial materialism’ in favor of a more ‘spiritual’ idea of race and thus has inspired some more seriously racially dubious stormtroopers over the years, including kosher Nazi Dan Burros, whose tragic life inspired Henry Bean’s The Believer (2001) starring Ryan Gosling, as well as tragic mulatto neo-nazi and would-be-terrorist Leo Felton. Of course, nothing in the moronic movie Imperium gives any idea as to the strange, singular, and oftentimes arcane influence of Yockey, which is, in a way, strangely fitting as the film dares to sympathize with the morally bankrupt plight of an unashamedly underhanded undercover FBI agent and the neo-Spenglerian philosopher was himself with victim of FBI oppression, which ultimately led to his mysterious death. 

The sad reality is that most films about neo-nazis/skinheads seem to be, at best, poor philistine attempts at reexamining the more sensational elements of Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971)—a film largely inspired by its celebrated NYC Jewish director's own conflicted view of Faustian man—in a painfully literal and one-dimensional fashion as is especially exemplified by the decidedly dumb yet somewhat entertaining Australian flick Romper Stomper (1992).  Of course, whacked-out Hebrew Tony Kaye’s overrated Edward Norton vehicle American History X (1998) is the most popular and beloved of these films and it fails miserably in its objective by somehow unintentionally romanticizing the white prole power subculture. Undoubtedly, Greek-French commie Costa-Gavras did a more respectable job with Betrayed (1988)—a film inspired by the real-life outfit The Order (aka Brüder Schweigen) and its founder/leader Robert Jay Mathews (who, notably, was burned alive by FBI agents during a disastrous standoff in December 8, 1984)—where the FBI is arguably portrayed as more criminal and terroristic than a neo-nazi terrorist group. Despite the film’s director and actors constantly attempting to claim one of their main objectives with the film was to try to humanize its rather stereotypical collection of neo-nazis characters, Imperium is no more successful in this regard to similar flicks to the point where Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room (2015)—a neo-Carpenterian genre-crusher with vague arthouse qualities—takes a more nuanced approached to depicting skinheads despite being a horror-thriller where heroin-dealing neo-nazis utilize dogs to kill some dumb punk kids.

Although based on the professional experiences of a real-life ex-FBI agent by the name Michael German as detailed in his book Thinking Like a Terrorist: Insights of a Former FBI Undercover Agent (2008), Imperium never manages to seem like it is anything more than the careless and confused result of some SPLC researcher glancing over a couple Wikipedia articles on the most bland sort of white nationalist groups and then assembling what feels like a third rate detective story sans any serious detective work. Indeed, the only thing one really learns by watching the film is that FBI agents live pathetic lives that involve treachery and emotional exploitative and that they are much closer to the losers of Martin Ritt’s classic John le Carré adaptation The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965) than some glamorous alpha-male James Bond type as only the morally defective and uniquely unprincipled could pretend to be something they are not while exploiting the trust of people that already find so little to trust in the world. In that sense, it is a sick irony that such a film would be named after the magnum opus of Yockey who had so little trust for the government of his nation that he went renegade by defending the conquered people that said nation destroyed during the so-called Nuremberg Trials, thereupon completely throwing away a very potentially prestigious and lucrative law career in the process. 

If it was not obvious from his appearance and overall essence, Daniel Radcliffe is notably a chosenite so it naturally seemed like an absurd prospect when I initially discovered that he of all people would be pretending to be an undercover FBI agent LARPing as a neo-nazi. While I have personally known some rather racially dubious individuals associated with certain ‘pro-white’ and counter-kosher subcultures, including half-Jews and hapas, as it is a scene that—rather unfortunately but unsurprisingly—tends to attract a lot of unhinged and/or terribly troubled individuals, Radcliffe is just too painfully banal and mirthlessly milk-toast in his Judaic essence to ever be even remotely believable as an American neo-nutzi, hence one of the many reasons that Imperium is a fundamentally flawed celluloid shitshow that, at best, would only appeal to the already (kosher) converted. Admittedly, the idea of Harry Potter hanging out with tatted Hitlerites did seem like it could be potentially humorous in an unintentionally absurdist fashion, but the film even manages to fail in that regard as insufferably runty Radcliffe simply lacks the command and charisma of someone like Otto Preminger in terms of a Jew preposterously portraying a nazi. Hell, even with his relatively small secondary role as a paranoiac neo-Nazi in Costa-Gavras’ Betrayed, self-described “hillbilly Jew” Ted Levine makes a seemingly infinitely more convincing and captivating neo-brownshirt. I, for one, certainly have no problem with members of the tribe playing various types of National Socialists and anti-Semites so long as they bring the sort of fierce flare typical of Erich von Stroheim when he was depicting pernicious Prussian officers and Nietzschean monsters, but little boy Radcliffe has about as much life and potency as a meth-addled tranny’s chemically-castrated cock, but I digress. 

Undoubtedly, Radcliffe's glaring lack of believability as a soulless FBI stooge posing as a neo-brownshit is only transcended by the sheer and utter unlikeability of the ‘good guys,’ especially the shady bitch boy protagonist’s feministic FBI handler Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette). Indeed, when FBI agent Zamparo—an obnoxiously proud ‘nasty women’ that is certainly a painful reminder of Yockey’s words from Imperium, “Feminism liberated women from the natural dignity of their sex and turned them into inferior men”—notices that pussy protagonist Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe), who is, quite unsurprisingly, the annoyingly introverted and effete product of a single mother, seems particularly sympathetic towards a decidedly dark-skinned Jihadist that is more or less entrapped by some scheming FBI goons, she absurdly assumes he is autistic enough to go completely underground and learn to sympathize with neo-nazi types despite his strange affection for said dark-skinned Jihadist.  Needless to say, nancy boy Nate is not initially up for the job as he lacks both the testicular fortitude and sense of conviction it takes to pretend to be a hardcore Mein Kampf fan-boy, but the insufferably pushy Zamparo, who clearly suffers from a perennial case of Penisneid, eventually gets her way in what ultimately proves to be one of the most less than uniquely underwhelming and stale spy scenarios in cinema history to the point where the film seems like a personal affront to Alfred Hitchcock as a master of suspense.  In short, Imperium lacks virtually everything that makes Hitchcock's anti-nazi spy flick Notorious (1946) great and I say that as someone that has never had a hard-on for Hitch.

Starting nearly at the bottom of the white nationalist scene, Nate—a worm of a lad that is hardly the posterboy for white power prowess—first hooks up with a small-time neo-nazi leader named Vince Sargent (Pawel Szajda) while proclaiming to be a disgruntled Iraq War veteran that, due to his experience as a “WMD squad” bro, can offer special security to the less than motley skinhead crew. Although painfully idiotic in a cartoonish sort of fashion, Vince’s security guy Roy (Seth Numrich)—the sort of rabidly retarded, insanely irrational, and ultraviolent one-dimensional type that you tend to expect from a Hollywood neo-nazi flick—immediately rightly suspects that there is something fishy about Nate, but luckily the protagonist soon moves up the ranks of the white nationalist movement which, of course, has rather low standards and thus he only has limited interactions with the exceedingly erratic troglodyte Hitlerite.  In the hope of entrapping them in a terrorist plot, Nate simultaneously attempts to court both an odiously opportunistic white nationalist shock jock named Dallas Wolf (Tracy Letts)—a sort of Hal Turner type (who, of course, was a real-life FBI informant)—and a rather rotund white nationalist leader named Andrew Blackwell (Chris Sullivan) who is the national director of a group called ‘Aryan Alliance’ that espouses a sort of archaic Christian Identity Weltanschauung (of course, this group is modeled after the long-irrelevant neo-nazi organization Aryan Nations founded by shady porn star fan Richard Butler). Needless to say, like in the real-life white nationalist scene, infighting and wild posturing is common but terroristic behavior is a rarity, so Nate wastes a good deal of time before he can find some poor unwitting idealist to bust with his bullshit FBI scheme.  Rather preposterously, in the fiercely flaccid kosher-certified Hollywood fantasy that is Imperium, is is ultimately the most successful, cultivated, and respectable neo-nazi types that are involved in a terrorist plot.

In a film that trades in the probable for the pathetically propagandistic, it should be no surprise that the least likely sort of white nationalist type—a loving and well-educated family man of the highly intellectual, soft-spoken, and loving sort—is the one that ultimately gets busted in a monstrous terrorist plot. Indeed, gentleman Aryan Gerry Conway (Sam Trammell of True Blood)—an almost perturbingly pleasant pretty boy—is so wholesome that he detests when his skinhead comrades cuss and smoke around children and he is even cultured enough to confess that Leonard Bernstein is his favorite conductor when it comes to the musical compositions of Tchaikovsky (whereas the skinhead characters absurdly refuse to wear Levi's jeans simply due to their Judaic origins), yet he is totally enamored with the prospect of getting involved in a suicidal terrorist plot that involves utilizing caesium for a dirty bomb, as if such a senselessly destructive scenario will somehow bring about some sort of Aryan utopia and guarantee his place in Valhalla (notably, the film strangely uses Gerry's suicidal terrorist plot comments to allude to belated National Alliance founder William Luther Pierce via his favorite ancient Norse proverb and, in turn, the title of his bio The Fame of a Dead Man's Deeds (2001) by Robert S. Griffin).  While the Pierce-inspired Norse proverb is too good to be in the film, the following words do pay apt tribute to Yockey: “Cattle die and kinsmen die, and so must one die oneself. But I know one thing that never dies: the fame of a dead man’s deeds.

Needless to say, FBI stooge Nate is shocked that a mensch as calmly charismatic and cultured as Gerry could be a true blue Nazi but, as the family man explains, a youthful reading of a book called Which Way European Man (which is a clear reference to William Gayley Simpson’s classic WN tome Which Way Western Man? (1978)) and experiences living among black Africans in Kenya imbued him with a strong racial consciousness, especially in terms of his firm belief in terms of the cultural and, in turn, racial superiority of Occidental man. While there have been a couple American neo-nazi terrorist types like David Lane that were certainly not dumb, there has certainly never been one like white bread suburban racial warrior Gerry Conway and one can only come to the conclusion that the character has been contrived to strike fear in stupid normie lemming types that their relatively successful Nietzsche-reading neighbor might be a potential terrorist that wants to violently exterminate mamzers and other untermenschen from the world. In fact, Imperium concludes with Nate’s FBI buddies busting Gerry and other neo-nazi professional types in what can only be seen as a fantasy scenario for Hebraic Hollywood types that would love nothing more than for successful racially-conscious whites to die in prison and their kids be spiritually and psychologically (and probably physically) defiled the sickos of Sunset Boulevard. Indeed, the title of the film only makes sense when one considers how the FBI destroyed Francis Parker Yockey, who was unequivocally the most intelligent and cultivated person ever associated with American white nationalism and a rare example of an American WN that was, as Savtri Devi would describe, a ‘Man Above Time’ who exhibited creative life-affirming qualities and sought to transcend the process of Occidental decay.  Of course, Yockey was a somewhat mystifying rebel with certain libertine qualities and hardly a family man type like Gerry.

While Imperium revels in lies and half-truths, probably the most hyper hypocritical and all-around nonsensical message of the film is the claim that the “one essential ingredient to fascism” is “victimhood,” as if that is not really basis for virtually all forms of leftist politics and, in turn, identity politics.  Indeed, considering we now live in a country with a slave-morality and victim culture where one's supposed moral superiority is based on what victim group they belong to, it is pretty hilarious that the film would accuse fascists of playing victim when many modern-day fascists were largely inspired to become fascists due to their disgust with victim politics and phony concepts like “equality,” which ultimately drags society down to the lowest common denominator at the expense of superiority.  While there are undoubtedly various WN types with victim mentalities, it is simply a form of racial projection (especially in Hollywood's case) to accuse racially conscious whites of suffering from a victim mentality simply because they have identified a hostile group that is working against their interests.  Indeed, one does not need to be a neo-nazi to clearly see that there is currently a war against America's largely silent white majority.

Undoubtedly, the petty propagandistic nature of Imperium becomes quite clear when one considers that the film’s ex-FBI agent co-writer Michael German and co-writer/director Daniel Ragussis were interviewed by the anti-white goons of the moronically misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center. Somewhat shockingly, German goes against the grain of the SPLC agenda in the interview and argues against the de-platforming of WNs and other right-wingers, stating, “The vast majority of neo-Nazis strongly believe what they believe and don’t want to share that side of themselves with the rest of society. They’re completely peaceful and have their website, where they can go invent their ethnostate and [organize their] conference once a year. I’m completely fine with that and more power to them; I will defend their right to do that. This idea that we have now of twitter-takedowns and social media-takedowns I think is very dangerous. From my experience within the violent fringe of this movement, that’s exactly what they want. As soon as people feel like they can’t express themselves and can’t engage with others about their ideas, that’s when the person on the fringe who says, ‘No, you have to use violence to change things,’ becomes more convincing.” Of course, this interview was conducted in February 2017 a number of months before the disastrous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which led to the hysterical unprecedented mass-banning of WNs from social media sites, banning of alt-right sites like The Daily Stormer by several domain registrars, and complete deplatforming of pro-white politics from pretty much everywhere on the internet aside from the fringes. In short, the Tech companies, mainstream media, Hollywood, and United States government have colluded to create a sort of post-bolshevik softcore authoritarianism that will ironically guarantee the rise of WN terrorists who, feeling they have nothing to lose, will lash out, but maybe that is the point.  After all, it does not exactly help the white identitarian movement for unhinged nut-jobs to go on rampages, so it is rather curious that Imperium somehow depicts the nicest and most morally pristine of white nationalist types as a potential mass-murdering terrorist.

Notably, as recounted in the book Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family (2000) co-written by John Gilmore and Ron Kenner, Bobby Beausoleil, who once appeared as ‘Lucifer’ alongside experimental auteur Kenneth Anger as he waves a swastika flag in the film Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), declared a somewhat conflicted affection for Yockey and Imperium. Indeed, Beausoleil, who was originally given the death sentence for killing his leftist hippie dope dealer friend Gary Hinman, once stated, “I had this image in my mind of a sword—like it’s pictured on the cover of a book called IMPERIUM, by a guy the FBI was hounding and busted into infinity . . . a hated and feared man by the name of Francis Yockey. He wrote that book under the name of Ulick Varange, a pen name. It was a big book and I read it a lot—studied it and tried to make as much of it as I could—but my course was different. There was something about it—some passive idea that kept me put off by it. I finally would come to believe that I was a man of action, I had to go through things no matter what they were or how dangerous they may have seemed to someone on the outside.” While Beausoleil would go on to create one of the greatest original film scores of all-time for Anger’s Lucifer Rising—a film he was originally also supposed to play the titular the role of—he more or less completely wasted his life by getting involved with the misfit Manson Family and would have probably led a more artistically fruitful life had he stuck with Imperium, which inspired the late-1960s proto-neofolk group Changes led by cousins Robert N. Taylor and Nicholas Tesluk. Indeed, contrary to the confused covert message that the film attempts (and fails) to make about the tome—a virtual real-life Necronomicon for white nationalists (notably, like Yockey, H.P. Lovecraft was heavily influenced by Spengler)—Imperium is a metapolitical text of great artistry that has proven to greatly inspire an artist’s complete Weltanschauung. As for the movie Imperium, it can only inspire disdain for Hollywood and the FBI, which is completely fitting since both are largely Hebraic harbingers of anti-aesthetic authoritarianism and asininity. 

While Yockey originally wrote Imperium in 1948 long before the internet was created, his following words are still fairly accurate, “The techniques of American propaganda is inclusive of every form of communication. The leading instrument is the cinema […] During the period of war-preparation, 1933-1939, the cinemas produced an endless succession of hate pictures directed against the European Revolution of 1933, and its 20th century outlook and actualizations.” Needless to say, even Imperium—a film that repeats the lie that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was some sort of white supremacist terrorist simply because he sold copies of The Turner Diaries (1978)—proves that Yockey was clearly right and that little has changed in terms of agitprop when he wrote in regard to WWII era propaganda, “The propaganda was entirely free from any cultural basis, and was completely cynical with regard to the facts. Precisely as the cinema-factories of Hollywood ground out lying plays and ‘newsreels,’ the propagandists of the press created what ‘facts’ they need.” When an autistic part-Jewish nerd diagnosed with schizophrenia by the name of James Fields panicked and crashed his car into some far-left protestors at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in a scenario that is, in some ways, eerily similar to a scene in Imperium and it resulted in the death of a protestor, the mainstream media immediately used the opportunity to unleash a nonstop war on white nationalists and the FBI director at that time even absurdly called it an act of domestic terrorism, thereupon leading to countless frivolous arrests and lawsuits against WN leaders that never even heard of troubled mischling Fields. Of course, a movie like Imperium gives one the impression that such a stupid tragic scenario would inevitably happen, as if the movie was specifically made with the intent of psychologically conditioning Americans for a major clampdown on pro-white voices.  Either way, as Yockey's lead demonstrated, both rallies and protesting are completely worthless and can only lead to negative press, among other things.

One reason that Imperium is a strangely fitting, if not incredibly insulting, name for the film is that there exists more than a thousand pages of once-classified FBI documents on Yockey and his revolutionary internationalist exploits as a renegade neo-Spenglerian on the run. In fact, in many ways, Yockey would have made for a great FBI undercover spy as he engaged in purported fascist espionage with a sense of humor. An individual described by the FBI as a loner and “secretive individual who did not tolerate anyone who would not wholeheartedly agree with his solution to world problems,” Yockey never used his real name when phoning associates and even signed his letters with the pseudonym “Torquemada” in tribute to the Spanish Grand Inquisitor of Jewish descent from the Middle Ages who persecuted Jews.  Somewhat perversely, Yockey even was a sort of warped James Bond when it came to the ladies and even apparently bashed the gashes of wealthy Hebraic Heiresses for cash or as Martin A. Lee explained in the book The Beast Reawakens (1997), “A relentless womanizer, Yockey had plenty of bed partners when he came to New York, including Hazel Guggenheim (sister of Peggy, the famous art collector and philanthropist). An oft-married Jewish woman of rather large proportions, Hazel dyed her hair blond, wore heavy purple eyeliner, and smoked cigarettes in a long cigarette holder. Apparently she liked young men and found the idea of sleeping with a fascist particularly appealing. ‘I am sure he received some financial remuneration for any services rendered to her,’ alleged [Harold Keith] Thompson.” Of course, all this talk of Yockey points to the fact that there should exist a very different film entitled Imperium as Yockey’s real-life is infinitely more interesting than the dubiously shadowy tactics of any shady FBI spook. Indeed, in a sane world, Yockey would hold the reputation that some shadowy commie revolutionary like Che Guevara—a sociopathic rich kid of the hardly racially sensitive sort that has countless crappy films directed by whorish hacks ranging from Richard Fleischer (Che! (1969)) to Steven Soderbergh (Che (2008)) made about him—maintains today among rebellious teenagers as his face would certainly look much better on a t-shirt (though, of course, Yockey is too good for such tacky corporate branding), but we unfortunately live in a morally and spiritually inverted world where many young kids have their aesthetic and moral tastes destroyed by hokey Harry Potter films where the villain Lord Voldemort is of course a fiendish blood-obsessed fascistic Führer of sorts. After all, in a sensible world, Daniel Radcliffe would portray ressentiment-ridden evil nerds instead of mercurial heroes but, as Yockey would have noted, such is one of the many consequences of the rise of the culture-distorter as a result of Europe being completely destroyed in two World Wars.

In an unpublished 1940 manuscript entitled ‘Life as an Art’ that he wrote at 23-years-old while still a student at Notre Dame University, Yockey made it quite clear the difference between himself and a FBI stooge like the hero of Imperium when he wrote, “Higher men and lower men—the few called to rule and the masses born in order that the higher men may actualize a grander destiny—differ in spirituality so much that they cannot be comprehended otherwise than as two different species. In all reverence it can be said the lower men rely on God and the higher men on themselves. This basic natural hierarchy is the fundament upon which rests all practical philosophy of human nature. It must therefore be definitively set forth.” After all, whereas Yockey lived and died for his quite singular metapolitical vision, Daniel Radcliffe’s character is such a superlatively soulless little worm that he is even willing to get a Nazi tattoo that represents something he completely hates just so that he can play the good little whore of a government agency that is rarely associated with any sort of good. While Yockey was right when he recognized that Hollywood trash movies spread the message of “the total significance of the isolated individual, stateless and rootless, outside of society and family, whose life is simply, the pursuit of money and erotic pleasure,” the one exception to this spiritually moribund message of passive hedonistic nihilism is moronic agitprop movies like Imperium and American History X where the white American is taught they should always actively fight against the interests of their race as well as against those white individuals that dare to fight for their race, as if it is totally sane and normal for any other living organism to fight against its own survival.

As a literal genius and highly cultivated artist of the somewhat wanton and womanizing sort that spent a good portion of his life traveling the world in the hope of helping to create a Europid Imperium, Yockey breaks virtually all the tired stereotypes associated with (neo)fascist types and that is why it was so important for Hollywood types to disgracefully name a film after the book he is best known for. Considering he was once punched in the nose by (in)famous British Union of Fascists leader Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, had a propensity for imitating misanthropic film comedian W.C. Fields, enjoyed holding fascist meetings at expensive Jewish luncheonettes, and remains the most exceedingly enigmatic neo-fascist figure in history despite having two lengthy biographies dedicated to him, Yockey is a name that demands an epic biopic but, rather unfortunately, that is probably even less likely to happen than his dream of an Imperium, though somehow I can see Johnny Depp of all people playing the role. After all, both Jodie Foster and Steven Soderbergh have attempted to create a Leni Riefenstahl biopic. In terms of living filmmakers, only Teutonic auteur Hans-Jürgen Syberberg is intelligent, politically astute, and creative enough to assemble a truly visionary depiction of Yockey’s somewhat tragic and stranger-than-fiction life and considering that the American political revolutionary—a man that tried to help German philosopher Carl Schmitt escape political persecution during the Nuremberg Trials and later even earned the respect of German ace fighter-pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel—was such a hardcore Teutonophile, it would only be fitting. 

 The patent absurdity of a film about modern-day neo-nazis being entitled Imperium becomes quite clear when one considers that American Nazi Party Führer George Lincoln Rockwell—arguably the single most influential figure on the largely pathetic joke that is post-WWII American neo-nazi scene who was curiously the son of a vaudeville performer that was pals with celebrated Jewish comedians like Groucho Marx—was vocal in his hatred for Yockey who he described as a “Strasserite” in anti-tribute to Uncle Adolf’s ‘left-wing nazi’ rivals Gregor and Otto Strasser. Even four years after Yockey’s death, Rockwell, who was himself assassinated a couple years later under dubious circumstances supposedly by a disgruntled Greek-American (ex)stormtrooper, would complain,“There is rising all over the world, among hard-core National Socialists, a new cult of what I call Yockeyism. I found much of interest in Yockey’s book IMPERIUM and actually helped promote it. But the cult founded on this man is dangerous and, I believe, in some ways downright evil.” Of course, both brain-dead neo-nutzis and kosher commies alike probably have nothing to fear as it has been over 70 years since the publication of Yockey’s magnum opus Imperium and it is quite unlikely that it will ever become a sort of new Mein Kampf as it is just too arcane and aesthetically pleasing to ever appeal to the masses, even if the white nationalist ideas began to flourish among the American mainstream. After all, in Nazi Germany, Mein Kampf was much more popular than National Socialist philosopher Alfred Rosenberg’s innately more interesting and intelligent tome The Myth of the Twentieth Century (1930), just as Rockwell’s own virtual Mein Kampf, This Time the World (1961), is considerably more popular than Imperium among WN types today.

Needless to say, Yockey is not only hated among raging Rockwellite types as he oftentimes is referenced in a negative sense by neo-fascist and neo-nazi types even though very few have actually read his work.  For example, while white nationalist scholar and professor Revilo P. Oliver—an old school far-right intellectual and professor with a legit palindromic name who once testified before the Warren Commission in regard to the JFK assassination—went to the effort of carefully criticizing Yockey's views with an entire book entitled The Enemy Of Our Enemies (1979), the majority of his critics simply rely on libel, dubious rumors, and downright ludicrous lies like in the obscenely dumb anti-occult text Satanism and its Allies: The Nationalist Movement Under Attack (1998) anonymously co-authored by writers from the British neo-nazi magazine Final Conflict who describe Yockey as “part-Jewish and homosexual” despite the Imperium author's well-known womanizing escapades and hardcore counter-kosher activism. In the end, it might be best think that Ludwig II of Bavaria was also practically speaking for Yockey when he once famously stated, “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others.”  Incidentally, Yockey once wrote, “The articulation of the Culture has three aspects: the Idea itself, the transmitting stratum, those to whom it is transmitted [...] Who knows whether we would have Wagner's greatest works but for Ludwig II? [...] Not everyone can play a great role, but the right to give meaning to his life cannot be taken from a man.”  Somehow, despite his relative obscure, I think the full meaning of Yockey's life remains to be seen.

Unlike glorified agitprop director Daniel Ragussis and most of the rabble associated with supposed neo-nazism, Yockey was first and foremost an artist so it is only natural that Imperium—a book that, not surprisingly, is more talked about than actually read—will forever remain a text appreciated by a special sort of artistic type that dreams of a world that will never be. Somewhat absurdly optimistic for a Spenglerian, Yockey, like all serious artists, lived to create a completely new world so it comes as a great insult that a film bearing the name of his revolutionary text could only dream up a painfully banal and superlatively soulless vision of the ghettoized neo-nazi scene that the philosopher-cum-revolutionary’s intellectual nemesis Rockwell is largely response for inspiring. Of course, considering Rockwell’s background as a cartoonist, it almost seems like tragicomical kismet that his ultimate legacy would be something akin to the grotesque image of a morbidly obese Amero-mutt sporting a homemade SS Halloween costume while hysterically screaming lowbrow racial slurs to similarly unsightly and racially dubious protestors protestors. While Francis Parker Yockey will never be a household name, he has at least inspired some interesting art from the likes of Current 93 and NON/Boyd Rice and will probably continue to inspire it well into the future considering the unfortunately imperative rise of racial consciousness among American Europids—a mongrelized group that, as Yockey noticed, is unfortunately decidedly more deracinated and culturally retarded than its mainland European brothers—in the zio-globalist age of Occident decline.

Rather unfortunately, modern-day pro-white movements tend to focus on the negative and critiques and thus are starting to resembling the sort of leftist anti-culture that Yockey critiqued when he wrote, “Liberalism can only be defined negatively. It is a mere critique, not a living idea.” Undoubtedly, one of the greatest things that one can learn from Yockey comes from his words, “But creative force—this will remain forever incomprehensible to those, far more than 99% of humanity—who cannot see deeply into the soul of Culture-man—IS AT BOTTOM ARTISTIC. In the deeps the will-to-power merges with the aesthetic instinct. In the brief moment of satisfaction which follows the completion of a work—a novel, a building, a suspension bridge, a symphony, a victorious battle, the soul of a higher man feels an intense and profound aesthetic satisfaction in the form of self-reverence and a feeling of union with the essence of Being.” While just speculation, somehow I doubt the creators of Imperium felt the ‘profound aesthetic satisfaction’ that Yockey speaks of when they completed their agitprop abortion.  Indeed, politics aside, the film can, at best, be seen as an excremental exercise in anti-aesthetic whoredom where artistic, intellectual, and philosophical integrity are completely compromised in a fundamental fashion that speaks to the superlative soullessness of its creators, but I guess one should not expect anything less from an FBI-approved neo-nazi spy flick starring Harry Potter.  While the film attempts to make a profound statement about cultivated Yockey-esque types with the Lord Byron quote, “This should have been a noble creature: he hath all the energy which would have made a goodly frame of glorious elements, had they been wisely mingled,” the creators are not even worthy of such a remark as they lack any noble or glorious elements and instead symbolize midbrow mediocrity at its most self-deceptively dull, unwittingly disingenuous, and cowardly conformist as a movie that even has less value than the vintage doc Blood in the Face (1991). Instead of watching the movie, I recommend that one read Yockey's Imperium and other texts, the anti-Yockey bio Dreamer of the Day (1999) by Kevin Coogan and pro-Yockey bio Yockey: A Fascist Odyssey (2018) by Kerry Bolton, and then contemplate that great sort of film that could be made about his life and struggle.  Unfortunately, I fear there will soon by a time in a generation or two when few, if any, understand Yockey's words because, as his great intellectual influence Oswald Spengler once recognized in regard to the precarious nature of art, “One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be—though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain—because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.”

-Ty E