Dec 25, 2010

The Junky's Christmas


Who better than old man junky William S. Burroughs to tell Christmas stories to young children around the Christmas tree? In the miserable Christmas claymation short The Junky's Christmas, elderly WSB narrates that opiate-withdrawing tale he originally wrote for his book Interzone. Despite being recently released from prison, the junk sick animated anti-hero (Danny) of the short film is determined to bring joy to his veins with a shot of opium. Indeed, The Junky’s Christmas at first may seem like an ode to opiates but it also contains the special Christmas theme that it is better to give than to receive. Danny may spend all of the film trying to score junk in the most absurd and pathetic ways but by the end of The Junky’s Christmas he has celebrated the true meaning of Christmas. 


As a child, I especially enjoyed watching vintage stop motion animation Christmas specials like Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Now older and much more pessimistic, I find it very hard to feel the Christmas spirit no matter how many old Christmas films I try to watch for nostalgias sake. Instead of Santa Clause, I was hoping that I could at least meet St. Nicholas’s evil comrade Krampus this year. It was not until I watched The Junky’s Christmas last night that I even remotely felt in the mood for Christmas. After all, the short film features the animation I loved as a child without the fantastically optimistic messages that most Christmas films contain. I may not be able to relate to Danny’s homelessness or Junk sickness but I can certainly relate to his nihilistic winter solstice.


After running a bunch of pathetic scams in hopes of getting the opiate kick he needs, Danny finally obtains a small amount of morphine by faking face Neuralgia to a kindly but suspicious doctor. Not only does Danny finally have the junk he needs for the Christmas Nacht but he also has a couple bucks to spend on a hotel room. Distracted by the sounds of a young man in pain from kidney stones in a room nearby, Danny visits the pain and bedridden unhappy Christmas boy. Feeling sympathy for the boy and being in the junk sicken Christmas spirit, Danny kindly plays doctor and gives the boy his only opiate pain reliever for the night, thus doing his good X-Mas deed of giving instead of receiving. No doubt an Angel was watching over Danny as the junky receives an immaculate fix from the heavens above. For a story written by William S. Burroughs, The Junky’s Christmas is surely one of the most optimistic pieces that Beat Sage had ever written. At the conclusion of the short, William S. Burroughs joins his family which even put me in the Christmas spirit. 


-Ty E

2 comments:

Michael Williams said...

Thanks for posting this.

Opiate Kick said...

Great story.

He captures every moment of the journey very well. It's nice to see something showing a junkie being human. After all, we are. It happens on the streets more than people know.