Jun 24, 2011


H.L. Mencken, one of America’s greatest critics and commentators, once wrote, “A home is not a mere transient shelter: its essence lies in the personalities of the people who live in it.” To add to what Mencken said, I think that different regions and cities also personify the spirit of those human beings living within them. In Larry Wessel’s voyeuristic epic documentary Ultramegalopolis (1995), one is exposed to the various subcultures of conflict in the director’s home city of Los Angeles, California; a world where sexual perversion is the norm, cults of collectively schizophrenic Negroes think they are the true ancient Israelites, white proletarian bastards are brought up by father-less father figures like Charles Manson, Hispanic taggers are the most genuine of artists, and where 1960s ideals of peace and loved have mutated into a malignant metaphysical cancer that has completely consumed the souls of its inhabitants. Charles Manson and his estranged pseudo-family may have been imprisoned for over 40 years, but their legacy of magical bloodlust lives on in the hearts of every Los Angeles native. If you’re one of those dangerously optimistic individuals that happens to be a tad bit dubious of America’s cultural and economical decline, just insert a copy of Larry Wessel’s Ultramegalopolis into your dvd player and your mind will be made up within 2 minutes time, as the documentary reveals the most hidden cavities of L.A. in a somewhat pornographic manner.  Thankfully, unlike a lot of documentaries, Ultramegalopolis is a fairly objective work that does not wallow in philistinic sentimentalism and sickening social commentary.

Essentially, Ultramegalopolis is a comprehensive collection of cultural case studies that were assembled in an audacious and unabashedly politically incorrect manner by Satanic documentarian Larry Wessel. Indeed, I would even goes as far as saying that Wessel is the Jean Rouch of Satanists due to his seemingly instinctive knack for documenting quasi-anthropological ethnographies in a most daring and hands-on manner. Ultramegalopolis might be a cinéma-vérité film created for and by sinners, yet the subjects of documentary are certainly more depraved than the most wacky and weird of Satanists. The documentary features a miserable microcosm where all respective natives featured in the film have something socially muculent and malevolent seeping through their glaringly tainted auras. In the maniacal metropolis, Christianity is at best dead and pimping itself out via porn shop parking lots while the devil cryptically leads the city's citizens into a world of self-destructive vice and crime that often pays. During the beginning of Ultramegalopolis, the viewer is introduced to a convicted felon named Andrew who shared a prison cell with Charles Manson. This individual – who is quite sympathetic towards his messianic ex-cell-mate – had the distinct pleasure of witnessing Manson’s hair in flames after a rival prisoner poured paint thinner on his head and sadistically set it ablaze. On the post-industrial wasteland streets of Los Angeles, illiterate schizoids and self-appointed messiahs of the vagrant variety unashamedly ramble on endlessly in hopes of attracting hopelessly apathetic pedestrians. Also featured on the streets of L.A. are crude pseudo-carny freak performers and musicians that provide ordinary citizens with unwanted soundtrack for their bitter end of days. In fact, these street performers fittingly act as the unhinged score for Ultramegalopolis. If you’re one of those individuals that feels art is the product of a certain race’s/culture’s collective unconsciousness, you will be thoroughly alarmed after witnessing the schlock street art featured in Ultramegalopolis. As featured in the documentary, loco Latino’s use the concrete ruins of urban decay as their choice medium for creating poetic graffiti. If a person were to have watched Ultramegalopolis when it was first released in 1995, it would be no surprise to them that California has been virtually reconquested by mestizo Amerindians. Los Angeles, California may contain Hollywood, the land of manufactured dreams, but in the real L.A., phantasms are of the nightmarish variety. After watching Ultramegalopolis, I couldn’t help but wonder why there haven’t been a plague of killings in the tradition of Helter Skelter or the hedonistic derangement featured in the early hidden Hollywood of Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon. Whatever the future has in store for L.A., I wouldn’t be surprised if resembled the collective mass chaos and destruction featured in Zombieland (2009), except with real starving cannibalistic humans in a state of indefinite bloodlust instead of comedic undead zombies that were invented by a hack screenwriter. Ultramegalopolis is just another example as to why I wouldn’t be surprised if Charles Manson were to live long enough to see his prophecy of an apocalyptic race war fully realized.

 If you have an interest in viewing a real-life Spenglerian pandemonium, Ultramegalopolis makes for an engrossing daydream document of delirium-inducing audio-visual derangement. Even those rare individuals that tend to be repelled by a pessimistic spirit will find themselves debauched and morally neutered after watching the film. After viewing Ultramegalopolis, I felt even more disconnected from the thought of ever visiting Los Angeles. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that the documentary is like a virtual prequel to the apocalyptic neo-nazi pulp novel The Turner Diaries, but, unfortunately, Ultramegalopolis is an authentic documentary of gritty and mainstream media ignored truths. For all the derogatory and disdainful portrayals of rural America in Hollywood films, they seem like childish pranks compared to the undeniable third worldization of Los Angeles. I think that director Larry Wessel might want to consider creating a sequel to Ultramegalopolis as the moral and cultural fiber of L.A. has only furthered deluged with unsettling debasement and all-encompassing decadence since he originally released the daunting yet strangely delightful documentary. Although the decline of America (especially American cities) is out in the open for virtually everyone in the world to see, very few people are willing and perceptive enough to confront such a less than ideal reality. With Ultramegalopolis, Larry Wessel gives the viewer a window into a manmade world on the break chaos and inevitable destruction. On top of everything else, Ultramegalopolis is jocular work of exceedingly eccentric entertainment.  For more info on the film, checkout Larry Wessel's official: www.wesselmania.net/

-Ty E

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