Mar 17, 2016

Blow Out

Although I do not agree with a lot of his opinions on cinema and consider him to largely personify the worst sort of stereotypical British upper-class smugness and pomposity, I cannot help but occasionally refer to the writings of film critic and historian David Thomson, especially his film reference guide The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (2004), which features a number of unconventional critiques on various important and almost always unanimously praised filmmakers ranging from Federico Fellini to Stanley Kubrick. Indeed, aside from concluding his entry on the 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) director with “…Kubrick was always a ‘master’ who knew too much about film and too little about life—and it shows,” he wrote regarding every film school hack’s favorite filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, “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 But his own personality is withdrawn, cold, insecure, and uncharitable.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 private 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 no more.”  While Hitchcock has directed a dozen or so films that I particularly appreciate, I must concur with Thomson, especially when I compare the exceedingly eulogized “Master of Suspense” to the true pioneering masters of cinema like F.W. Murnau, Carl Th. Dreyer, Robert Bresson, and Ingmar Bergman, among various other examples.

Needless to say, Thomson is no less harsh with Hitchcock’s greatest impersonator Brian De Palma (Carrie, Scarface), who I have always considered a sort of obnoxiously self-satisfied and pedantic hack of the obscenely over-glorified sort who makes highly technically competent yet largely superficial and one-dimensional grade A big budget exploitation movies that film students, fanboys, and sexually impotent beta-male misogynists assumedly enjoy beating off to.  Naturally, one also cannot take a director too seriously whose superficially stylish and machismo-marinated spick gangster films like Scarface (1983) and Carlito's Way (1993) are literally worshiped as the virtual Gospel by rappers, wiggers, ghetto negroes, and various other forms of gutter grade untermenschen rabble who typically have about as much respect for the artistic medium of film as they do for laws and literacy. Of course, De Palma’s films are even more contrived and manufactured looking than Hitchcock’s, as they are mostly fairly soulless and spiritually vacant cinematic works that are virtually all artifice and seem like they were more the product of a engineer’s mind than that of a serious artist or poet, but then again he probably would have never obtained mainstream acceptance were he actually a artist or poet. Naturally, I am probably a little biased, but the cinematic works of largely forgotten auteur filmmakers like frog avant-gardist Yvan Lagrange (Tristan et Iseult, Dérive 'Le naufrage de Vénus') or Aussie hippie mad scientist Albie Thoms (Marinetti, Rita and Dundi) are infinitely more important and intriguing to me than some ex-arthouse poser like De Palma, whose arguable greatest talent is utilizing techniques from the experimental underground like split-screen as a novel gimmick that slightly differentiates him from the legions of soulless for-hire whores and artistically autistic artisans that prostitute themselves to the lawyers, businessmen, Cadillac commies and Israeli spies that rule Tinseltown. Of course, it is no coincidence that De Palma has a strong affinity for creating conspicuously cinephiliac cinematic works where the mechanics of the filmmaking process are actually incorporated into the film, as it highlights his sort of super literal and sterile view of cinema.  Not surprisingly, De Palma is also arguably at his best when directing such covert cineaste pieces as his pre-Scarface output clearly demonstrates.  Thankfully, quite unlike his bastard half-wop disciple Tarantino, De Palma also displays a degree of elegance and nuance when paying tribute to his cinematic masters, but cinephilia will only get you so far when it comes to being a truly formidable filmmaker.

 As someone with a largely worthless BS degree in film, I would undoubtedly argue that studying philosophy, psychology, or even history would be of greater value to any aspiring filmmaker than actually studying film, as you will never be an intriguing auteur if you have no understanding of people, psychology, history, or spiritually (which, not surprisingly, seems to be the subject that most contemporary filmmakers seem to least understand). Surely, it is no coincidence that Swedish master auteur Ingmar Bergman was the prodigal son of a highly respected Lutheran minister, just as it is no accident that Paul Schrader was bought up under the anti-cinema doctrine of the super strict Calvinist Christian Reformed Church and Jean Cocteau was, first and foremost, a poet whose amateur painter mother committed suicide when he was only nine years old. Likewise, it would probably shock no one to know that Spielberg was a nerdy suburban kid who had nil interest in art films, spirituality, or even sex (though, like many Judaics of his generation, he developed a deep and visceral hatred of Germans at an early age), as his films reflect his sterile, contrived, sheltered, naive, materialistic, and socially retarded upbringing.  Indeed, Spielberg probably has more power and creative freedom than any other filmmaker in the world yet he chooses to create childish blockbuster swill that has not even really surpassed the pioneering films of Anglo-Saxon master D.W. Griffith in terms of artistic and narrative innovation.

A rare Italian-American from a Protestant background, De Palma had a banal bourgeois upbringing that was only unconventional in the sense that he began playing peeping tom on his own father when he discovered that the patriarch was cheating on his mother with another woman, hence his obsession with paying homage to the shameless voyeurism of Rear Window.  Not surprising considering his dubious cinematic portrayals of women and troubled real-life personal relationships with women, De Palma also had a cold and callous mother that oftentimes reminded him of the fact that he was an accident and treated him as inferior to his eldest brother.  Notably, De Palma’s philandering father was a respected orthopedic surgeon and as Thomson somewhat hilariously noted regarding one of his most famous films, “…CARRIE is the work of a glittering, callous surgeon who left his knife in the body.” Aside from developing an odd obsession with watching his physician father getting physical with random women when he was a boy, De Palma was also a tech dork that was obsessed with conspiracy theories, most notably the JFK assassination.  Naturally, De Palma's contempt for his white bourgeois family and mistrust of the government as a result of JFK getting his brains blown out under quite dubious circumstances would ultimately lead to him adopting an ethno-masochistic Weltanschauung that would prove to be beneficial to his filmmaking career.

 While De Palma’s films, not unlike Hitchcock’s, reveal very little about the man behind the camera aside from being the creations of a smug smirking cynic and lame mainstream liberal type that is more interested in seeing beautiful women penetrated with a knife than a cock, at least one of his commercial films, Blow Out (1981)—a flick that Thomson conveniently completely forgets to mention in his rather dismissive entry on the filmmaker in The New Biographical Dictionary of Film—is vaguely autobiographical and arguably his closest equivalent to a true auteur piece.  Like fellow dago New Hollywood filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s respectable commercial failure The Conversation (1974), the film is more or less a reworking of Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni’s revolutionary English-language arthouse counterculture thriller Blowup (1966), albeit focusing on film sound recording as opposed to photography. Featuring a whiny beta-male protagonist that reminds me of what Shia LaBeouf might be like if he had a couple testosterone injections and a somewhat less swarthy appearance, the film stars fellow weirdo wop wuss John Travolta as a sort of more handsome and charismatic stand-in for De Palma in a role that would earn the Hollywood hunk some minor legitimacy as an actor.  In the film, Travolta portrays an exploitation movie soundman who unwittingly gets immersed in a deadly political conspiracy after serendipitously recording audio evidence in regard to the assassination of a popular governor and presidential candidate.  Somewhat curiously but not surprisingly, the film also stars the director’s then-wife Nancy Allen as a sort of dimwitted quasi-prostitute that is ultimately brutally murdered in the end, thus somewhat symbolically highlighting the De Palma’s troubled history with women (notably, Allen was the first of three different women that the director was briefly married to). Additionally, the film is set in De Palma’s hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and shot at various locations that the filmmaker was very familiar with, thus further adding to the film's innate auteur essence. 

 Originally aspiring to be a sort of ‘American Godard’ that was more interested in testing the bounds of cinematic experimentation in terms of both narrative and technique than attempting to appeal to the bread and circus tendencies of mainstream audiences (somewhat strangely, Godard later became a fan of his rather lame and tame mainstream supernatural-thriller The Fury (1978) and even included a clip from it in his ambitious 8-part video project Histoire(s) du cinema (1988-1998)), De Palma’s first feature-length film was an overly ambitious semi-experimental black-and-white metacinema horror piece entitled Murder à la Mod (1968), which feels like the result of some film school dork with Asperger syndrome paying intertextual homage to both Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) and Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), albeit with a little bit of Kurosawa’s Rashômon (1950) and sub-Sarno-esque 42nd Street exploitation sleaze thrown in for good measure. Undoubtedly, as a fairly erratically assembled cinematic work that incorporates the filmmaking progress as an imperative ingredient of both the film's structure and storyline, De Palma’s debut feature certainly feels like a crude and dilettantish art school prototype for Blow Out, which is thankfully devoid of any of the sort of asinine Godardian and Brechtian influences that were prevalent in his early films. Indeed, if the film is admirable for anything aside from clearly demonstrating that the general public does not care about the truth and rather not know about sinister conspiracy theories that involve the brutal assassination of their beloved politicians, it is that it manages to reveal some of the mechanics of the filmmaking process in a fairly enthralling manner that will not put people to sleep while at the same time demonstrating that cinema truly has the power to change the world. While De Palma’s films have hardly contributed anything to the evolution of humanity (in fact, his anti-American digital turd Redacted (2011) actually inspired a deranged Albanian Muslim to shoot and kill two U.S. Airmen at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt, Germany), Blow Out is a fairly provocative reminder that sometimes cinema can be a deadly game. 

 In a sort of trick film-within-a-film opening that seems like a parody of Bob Clark’s classic slasher flick Black Christmas (1974), an autistic-looking four-eyed dork is depicted prowling around a female college dorm and spying on quite cunty and savagely salacious college sluts that are engaging in fucking, masturbating, and bitching, among other less than ladylike things that make the building seem more like a bordello than a student housing complex. When the killer eventually makes his way into a dorm bathroom without a single girl noticing him, he raises his knife in a Norman Bates-esque fashion and prepares to stab a showering babe who, upon finally noticing the psycho killer, unleashes a most impotent and unintentionally humorous scream that immediately reveals to the viewer that they are watching a rough cut of an imaginary movie. The slasher flick is a work-in-progress entitled “Coed Frenzy” and protagonist Jack Terry (John Travolta)—a former tech whiz kid turned underachieving exploitation film studio whore sound recordist—is ordered by his swarthy lard ass boss to do what he does best and record some new sound effects for the flick, including “new wind” sound and a more believable scream for the shower scene. After leaving the exploitation film studio, Jack heads to a wooded area near a small bridge to do some sound recordings and is somewhat delighted when a young couple mistakes him for a peeping tom. Aside from the couple, Jack also encounters a frog and an owl, among various other small creatures that he carefully records. Needless to say, when a speeding car appears out of nowhere, careens off a bridge and then plunges into the water, Jack is left totally startled, but that does not stop him from taking the initiative to become a hero by diving into the water and risking his life to save the passenger(s) of the sinking car. While the driver of the car is already visibly dead (how Jack can see under water during nighttime is anyone’s guess), Jack finds a live girl in the back seat and he manages to save her in a courageous act that will ultimately eventually lead to the protagonist living a forlorn life of paranoia, dread, melancholy, and extreme guilt, among various other negative qualities that one does not typically associate with exploitation filmmakers. 

 After saving the girl, Jack is not congratulated as a hero but is instead treated like a virtual guilty criminal when he is questioned by the cops, who strangely doubt his story that there was a woman inside the car. As it turns out, the dead man that was driving the car was a populist democrat governor and presidential candidate named George McRyan, who was expected to be the country's next president. Before Jack knows it, McRyan’s best friend and right-hand man, a dorky Nordic dude named Lawrence Henry (John McMartin), approaches him and attempts to coerce him into not telling anyone, especially the press, about the fact that the good governor was riding in a car with a somewhat slutty looking young lady that was not his wife. When Jack brings up the “truth” and how he prefer not to lie, Henry eventually manages to get the protagonist to change his mind after getting angry and arguing, “Who gives a damn that you were there? You want to tell his wife that he died with his hand up some girl’s dress? Or maybe you’d rather she read it in the papers!” Sally (played by Nancy Allen, who modeled her performance after Giulietta Masina's character in Federico Fellini’s La Strada (1954)) is the mysterious girlish beauty that Jack saved and she immediately blushes and covers her face like a bashful child when the protagonist visits her hospital room and states, “I didn’t realize you were this pretty with all that mud all over your face.” While Jack’s somewhat flirtatious remark to Sally hints that he might develop some sort of romantic relationship with her, he ultimately becomes more infatuated with a pernicious political conspiracy that the little lady has somewhat unwittingly got herself involved in. Indeed, after leaving the hospital and checking into a cheap motel so that they can avoid any potential media attention, Sally falls asleep and Jack begins studying the sound recording that he captured during the accident, thus leading him to immediately suspect that it was not an accident at all and that the entire situation is part of a big coverup that both the police and politicians are involved in.  As a result of what he hears on the sound recording, Jack believes that an assassin intentionally shot out the tire of McRyan's car to make it seem like the governor's death was a mere accident and he is seriously determined to uncover who did it and why.  Indeed, Jack immediately becomes so obsessed with the political conspiracy that he cannot even bother to find the time to initiate a lurid love affair with Sally, who seems more than a little bit privy to any sensual advances that he might make.

 Unbeknownst to gentleman Jack, Sally is a sort of softcore whore that was a semi-unwitting co-conspirator in a plot with her Judaic bossa sleazy photographer and businessman named Manny Karp (Dennis Franz)  that has no problem using his professional talents for rather unsavory yet highly profitable purposesto setup Governor McRyan and destroy his political career.  The original plan was that Karp, who was at the scene of the crime with his trusty 16mm camera, would film McRyan with Sally and thus ruin the presidential hopeful's plan to take residence in the White House due to the bad press that he would receive, but that all changed when an assassin decided to shootout the politician's tire and ultimately cause his somewhat horrific death.  Needless to say, delectable blonde dingbat Sally did not expect to get involved in a deadly situation where she found herself potentially drowning inside a car with a powerful dead man that she just met, but such are the unfathomable consequences of dealing with shadowy individuals that want to destroy political careers.  Of course, neither Karp or Sally realized that a mysterious assassin named Burke (John Lithgow)a tall and even somewhat goofy WASP weirdo with an equally bizarre fashion sense that probably no one would suspect of being an extra cunning coldblooded killerdecided it would be best if McRyan was simply liquidated. As an act of desperation, Burke was hired by the President’s campaign manager Jack Manners, but he did not think that he would go so far as kill the governor. With McRyan dead, Burke still needs to clean up some “loose ends” and decides he must kill Sally, destroy Jack’s sound recording, and deal with slimy sleazebag Karp. Unfortunately for him, Burke initially mistakes a random blonde for Sally and ends up killing the wrong girl, so he decides to mutilate said girl’s genitals with cuts in the form of the Liberty Bell to make it seem as if she was the victim of a sexually sadistic serial killer. By creating a modus operandi for a phony mentally disturbed serial killer with a fetish for Liberty Bells and young broads with curly blonde locks, Burke hopes to make Sally’s death seem like the result of a random sex crime as opposed to part of a big political coverup. 

 When Sally's kosher cohort Manny sells 16mm footage of McRyan’s assassination to a mainstream publishing company for a large undisclosed amount and they are subsequently published in a magazine, Jack actually goes to the effort of cutting out black-and-white still photographs of the car crash and meticulously constructing a primitive film out of them that he then synchronizes with his audio recording, thus further strengthening his belief that the governor was the victim of a political conspiracy. Eagerly determined to prove to the public that the governor was assassinated, Jack brings a copy of the sound recording to a local cynical cop named Detective Mackey (John Aquino), who loathes the protagonist because he “put a lot of good cops away” during his previous occupation with the Keen Commission where he was responsible for putting wires on people and busting corrupt policemen that were shaking down members of the mob. While Detective Mackey mocks and berates Jack and treats him like a half-crazed conspiracy nut as a result of the serious and seemingly absurd allegations that he makes, he reluctantly agrees to take a look at the sound recording, stating “Just because I don’t like you, does not mean I’m not gonna do my job.” Notably, as Mackey states to Jack in regard to the general public’s apathy when it comes to political corruption and conspiracies, “Nobody wants to know. Nobody cares. No sordid details. No political assassination. Accident. This guy’s dead, for Christ’s sake. None of this shit’s gonna do him any good now.” When Jack complains, “Don’t you understand that if they can get away with this and kill McRyan, who’s next?,” Detective Mackey cynically replies, “Who’s ‘they’? First I want you to tell me who ‘they’ is. What is that, a communist conspiracy of some kind? Or maybe – maybe it’s a couple of ayatollahs running out here in the street with blowguns.” Needless to say, when Mackey has his men take a look at the recording and they discover that it is completely blank, he calls up Jack and accuses him of being a nut job. As it turns out, Burke not only erased the sound recording, but also sneaked into Jack’s editing room at the film studio and erased all of the copies that he made. Luckily, Jack had enough foresight to hide a copy in the ceiling of his apartment. 

 When Jack is approached by a big star newscaster named Frank Donahue (Curt May) from a TV network named CITY NEWS, he finds the media man's intentions somewhat dubious, but has second thoughts when he is offered the opportunity to play his recording on live television. Indeed, when Jack asks, “Why would you be interested in an assassination nut like me?,” Donahue confidently replies, “Go along with me on this. I guarantee you, by 8:30 tomorrow night…every one of those eight million sons of bitches are gonna believe Jack Terry’s story.” Before Jack can go on television, he must get Sally to steal her scumbag boss Karp’s original footage of the crash. Of course, Sally is reluctant to help him at first, but Jack manages to change her mind when he brings up the fact that he knows that she was part of the conspiracy and that her life is in danger, stating to her in an impassioned smart ass fashion, “I got a look at some of your earlier work. Some motel candid camera shots. You got nice tits. Who was paying you to flash ‘em for McRyan? [...] If I hadn’t been there to pull you out of the river, you’d be dead right now. Don’t you get it?” While Sally defends her quite dubious actions by stating, “It was just a job like all the others. I get ‘em into bed, and Manny’d get it all on film,” she cannot deny the fact that she was almost killed and that she is probably still in serious danger, thus leading her to comply with Jack's simple request.

Luckily, Karp attempts to rape Sally when she goes by his apartment, thus giving the happy-go-lucky harlot the opportunity to smash a bottle over his head and then steal the 16mm film reel while her would-be-rapist is unconscious. Somewhat humorously, before attempting to sexually ravage Sally, Manny defends their role in the assassination of McRyan by stating to her while simultaneously taking a leak, “Besides, nobody is exactly crying over the way things turned out, if you know what I mean. What would have happened if the guy had have lived, huh? His career was finished, thanks to us. This way, uh, the guy comes out ahead, huh? He’s a saint. A martyr. Christ, they passed one of his bills this morning.” While Jack now has all the evidence he needs to prove that someone shot out Governor McRyan’s tire, he does not realize that Burke has tapped his phone and knows about his plans to go on Donahue's show.  Fully aware of the fact that she has no clue who Donahue is and thus would not recognize his voice, Burke calls Sally while pretending to be the newscaster and manages to coerce her into meeting him at 30th Street Station at 5:00pm with both Jack’s audio recording and Karp’s footage. Luckily, just before Sally leaves, Jack stops her and convinces her to wear a wire since he finds the meetup with Donahue to be somewhat fishy, stating, “I’m gonna cover all the bases. Nobody’s gonna fuck me this time. This way if he disappears with the film…he can’t pretend he didn’t take it, ‘cause I got him on tape.” While Jack makes a copy of his recording, he unfortunately does not have time to make another print of Karp’s film. 

 Upon arriving at 30th Street Station, Jack gives Sally a sort of brotherly kiss while parked in his Jeep in what is undoubtedly the closest thing to a romance scene in the entire film. Of course, Jack also lets Sally know that he can hear whatever she says since she is wearing a wire and that if she has any trouble to let him know. Not long after exiting Jack’s Jeep and entering the station, Sally communicates to the protagonist via the wire how she would like to take a trip with him to New York City to see “Like SUGAR BABIES and stuff.”  Somewhat tragically, Jack will never get to travel to NYC to see Sugar Babies with Sally or start a hot and heavy romance with her, as Burke has quite different plans for the two. Indeed, almost immediately after Sally proposes the trip to NYC, Burke abruptly swoops in on her, introduces himself as Donahue, declares, “I think we have a little problem. I think we’re being followed,” and then practically drags the heroine through the station.  Of course, Sally has no idea that Burke just strangled to death a female prostitute in a bathroom only a couple moments before meeting up with her.  After listening in on their conversation for a little while, it does not take Jack long to realize that Sally is with someone else other than Donahue, but the two take a train heading towards Franklin Bridge Express before the protagonist can warn her. Naturally, at this point, Jack jumps into his Jeep and begins speeding to the train station. 

 Undoubtedly, Jack picked a less than auspicious time to speed through Philadelphia in a goofy looking baby blue Jeep, as he finds himself nearly running over hundreds of people during the Liberty Day parade. Indeed, as a result of driving like a belligerent maniac, Jack eventually symbolically crashes his Jeep through the window of a storefront with a display in tribute to American Revolutionary war hero Nathan Hale and is knocked out cold. Meanwhile, after arriving at the busiest and most hectic section of the parade, Burke gets Sally to hand him both the sound recording and film, which he abruptly tosses into a nearby bay. When silly Sally responds by playfully stating, “Jack’s going to kill you,” Burke puts on a pair of white strangling gloves and the heroine finally becomes aware of her precarious situation. Not long after Jack finally regains consciousness and finds himself inside an ambulance on a stretcher, he hears Sally’s screams via the wire and proceeds running to look for her. Quite conveniently considering there are thousands of people around, Jack eventually manages to spot Sally standing on a large stage in front of a big America flag while screaming for his help. Somewhat tragically, although Jack manages to stab Burke to death with his own genital-mutilating weapon after sneaking up on him from behind, Sally has already been strangled to death. In what is indubitably Jack’s most intimate and emotional moment with the heroine, the protagonist holds Sally’s assumedly still warm corpse while Liberty Day fireworks explode in the background in what is a strangely darkly romantic yet simultaneously cheap and cynical scene that more or less epitomizes the essence of the entire film. In a sort of sickly ironic fashion, as a result of himself dying and his unidentified corpse being assumed to be that of the supposed Liberty Day killer, Burke ultimately manages to tie up every single important loose end of his criminal conspiracy. As for Jack, he seems to more or less succumb to psychosis and begins regularly listening to his audio recording Sally’s screams before she was murdered. In the end, in what ultimately proves to be a classically savagely cynical De Palma conclusion, Jack somewhat masochistically decides to dub the scream for the film Coed Frenzy with Sally’s piercing death scream.  Indeed, in what ultimately seems to be an act of self-imposed punishment for accidentally getting his would-be-love-interest killed, Jack uses her final scream in a film that he was not even serious about working on.

 Naturally, considering the steady rise in popularity of conspiracy theories as a result of the September 11 attacks and various other dubious events that have occurred in the United States and Western Europe over the past couple of decades, Blow Out has certainly stayed more relevant than it probably should have, especially when one considers the horrendous wardrobes and oftentimes obscenely outmoded music that plagues the film. Undoubtedly, it should be noted that De Palma—a virtual bourgeois moral barbarian that, in many ways, epitomizes the worst qualities of the dreaded Baby Boomers, even if he is slightly too old to be one—belonged to the first generation of young Americans that became seriously disillusioned with their country as a result of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and, not unlike many people of his era, the filmmaker developed a sort of fairly anti-WASP leftist worldview as a result. Indeed, the absolutely disgraceful degree of De Palma’s flagrant ethno-masochistic degeneracy is clearly revealed in his early extremely convoluted Godardian satire Hi, Mom! (1970) where a dorky yet surprisingly sleazy pre-fame Robert De Niro plays a sort of stand-in for the director (who curiously has the Judaic name ‘Jon Rubin’) and jovial psychopath who starts a phony relationship with a ditzy dame (who is notably played by blacklisted commie screenwriter Waldo Salt's daughter Jennifer Salt) in the hope of filming a porno of her without her consent. In the same film, there is a rather sick and spiteful pseudo-cinéma-vérité segment entitled Be Black, Baby where a black nationalist negro strips and brutally rapes a beautiful blonde in a highly realistic fashion that was more or less shot in real time. In other words, Hi, Mom! reveals that De Palma is not only a morally bankrupt self-loathing white wuss that would probably enjoy directing an interracial snuff film, but that he is also a conspicuous cuckold, but of course all of those things usually go hand-in-hand. Notably, when describing the film during its pre-production stage in an interview with Joseph Gelmis featured in the book The Film Director As Superstar (1971), De Palma stated, “This film is much more radical than GREETINGS. It deals with the obscenity of the white middle class. And we are white middle class, Chuck [Hirsch] and I and everybody we know. So we’re making a movie about the white middle class. And we’re using the blacks to reflect the white culture. Because the blacks stand outside the system and they see what we are […] It’s a film that says that the only way to deal with the white middle class is to blow it up.”  Of course, considering that Hi, Mom! concludes with the Jewish protagonist Rubin blowing up a large apartment building full of successful and attractive white Anglo-Saxons, there can be no doubt that De Palma is an emotionally and psychologically damaged dago cuck traitor.

 As a number of his films and early important relationship with Judaic producer Charles Hirsch (who co-wrote and produced the director’s most explicitly anti-white flicks, including Greetings (1968) and its quasi-sequel Hi, Mom!) clearly reveal, De Palma has unquestionably demonstrated that he is a committed philo-Semite and shabbos goy stooge, which is somewhat ironic when one considers that he has claimed to have read virtually every single book that has ever been written on the subject of the JFK assassination yet has not come to the natural conclusion that much of the evidence points to it being a largely kosher conspiracy that was ordered by Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, or, more specifically, as Michael Collins Piper wrote in his tome Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Controversy, it “was a joint enterprise conducted on the highest levels of the American CIA, in collaboration with organized crime—and most specifically, with direct and profound involvement by the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad.” Indeed, Israeli former nuclear technician and peace activist Mordechai Vanunu—a man that spent 18 years in prison, including more than 11 in solitary confinement, merely for revealing details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986—made the claim in 2004 that the assassination was Israel's response to “pressure [Kennedy] exerted on...Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona's nuclear reactor in Israel.”  Apparently, the Israelis were not too keen on the fact that JFK did not want them to have nuclear weapons. Of course, if the Mossad went to the trouble of luring Vanunu to Italy and then drugging and smuggling him back to the Hebraic nation to imprison him for nearly two decades simply because he exposed the fact that Zion has nukes, naturally they would not tolerate an inordinately handsome McCatholic goy president that had the chutzpah to tell them they could not have an apocalyptic weapon that their kinsmen originally designed in the hope of dropping it on Nazi Germany (after all, it was no coincidence that stern Zionist and warmonger Albert Einstein, who wrote a letter to FDR in 1939 that ultimately led to the Manhattan Project where he lied about Germany's potential for nuclear technology, was offered the presidency of Israel in 1952).

Admittedly, I have to give De Palma credit in one regard in that he portrayed the man that was responsible for filming the fictional assassination as a sleazy Hebraic character with a fittingly repugnant name like Manny Karp. After all, Abraham Zapruder, who made a lot of money off of his home movie of the president getting his brains blow out, was a Russian Jewish businessman and the JFK assassination has many obvious and not so obvious Jewish connections, not least of all Lee Harvey Oswald’s mob-connected strip club owner assassin Jack Ruby (whose real name was Jacob Leonard Rubenstein).  It should also be noted that De Palma's screenwriter for Scarface, half-Jew Oliver Stone, would renew interest in the assassination with his obscenely overrated epic JFK (1991), which was curiously executive produced by Israeli arms dealer and Mossad operative Arnon Milchan. As revealed in the rather sympathetic pro-Zionist book Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon - Arnon Milchan (2011) co-written by Hebraic tribesmen Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, Milchan's spy work involved gathering important nuclear documents by dubious means and “buying components to build and maintain Israel’s nuclear arsenal,” thus it should be no surprise that he would produce a piece of glossy misinformation like Stone's film, which is nothing more than the covert Judaisierung of the JFK assassination. Rather revealingly, while JFK is about former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison and his investigation into the cover-up of the assassination, it conveniently never mentions the fact that he eventually came to the conclusion that Mossad was the driving force behind the conspiracy.  Of course, as Blow Out reveals, De Palma, like his semi-Semitic pal Stone, believes the JFK assassination was some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy. As ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky revealed in his book, By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer (1990), which Israel tried to stop the release of via a preliminary injunction, the former motto of the Mossad was, “By Way Of Deception Thou Shalt Do War,” but of course that is the sort of thing that De Palma would actively ignore, as it contradicts his anti-WASP narrative. Notably, De Palma would symbolically demonstrate his solidarity with god’s chosen tribe in his horrendous black comedy Wise Guys (1986) where the protagonists, a low-level guido gangster and his Jewish pal, realize their mutual multicultural dream of opening the world's first Jewish-Italian delicatessen. 

 Of course, with its both overt and somewhat covert references to an eclectic range of films, including Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil (1958), Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running (1958), Antonioni's Blowup (1966), Michael Snow’s La région centrale (1971), Narciso Ibáñez Serrador’s Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), Jeff Lieberman’s Squirm (1976), Greydon Clark’s Without Warning (1980), and Ulli Lommel’s The Boogey Man (1980), among countless others, Blow Out is a proud piece of shameless pathological cinephilia, hence why alpha-fanboy Quentin Tarantino has described it as one of his top favorite three films of all time. Naturally, what somewhat differentiates De Palma’s film from Tarantino’s is that his characters are slightly less cartoonish and a tad bit more human, even if it is sometimes hard to think of Travolta as a tragic conspiracy theorist.  Of course, despite being slightly more talented at melodrama than Tarantino, when it comes to depicting melancholy and authentic human emotions in general, De Palma is certainly no Bergman or Cassavetes, as his attempts at portraying pathos oftentimes seeming more like unintentional bathos, especially in Blow Out where Travolta sometimes comes off looking like a poor man's Tom Cruise. In a clear demonstration of the fact that Tarantino watches way too many stupid kung fu flicks, he confessed to De Palma that he felt that the ending of Blow Out was, “one of the most heartbreaking shots in the history of cinema.”

As far as I am concerned, De Palma is, at best, a very capable slasher/giallo film director and hyper Hitchcock fetishist who is very adept at taking a sophisticated and elegant approach to largely mindless entertainment, thus putting him above most Hollywood directors.  With the possible exceptions of his underrated horror musical Phantom of the Paradise (1974) and pleasantly politically incorrect killer tranny classic Dressed to Kill (1980), I would have to argue that Blow Out is De Palma’s finest achievement as a filmmaker.  Indeed, had De Palma only died in a car wreck after making the film, I might have more appreciation for him as a filmmaker, but it is hard to like a self-loathing bourgeois leftist who, aside from directing films for the NAACP, had the audacious arrogance to direct a phony self-important film like Casualties of War where he displays his hypocritical class biases by portraying young white working-class soldiers as evil racist rapists and psychopaths (it should also be noted that, like all of his cinematic works, the film is derivative and is actually based on an event that was already depicted nearly two decades before in kraut commie Michael Verhoeven's scandalous anti-American film O.K. (1970), which hilariously stars one-time Fassbinder superstar Eva Mattes as a teenage Vietnamese rape victim).  After all, De Palma has made a career out of making sleazy films depicting women being brutally murdered by perverts, yet he had the gall to make an ostensibly serious anti-rape/anti-war.  One also cannot forget that De Palma is a proud draft-dodger, thus making his condemnation of white prole GIs seem like a craven act of projection where he condemns the very same unprivileged members of the European-American working-class that fought and died in the Vietnam War while he was making anti-American agitprop featuring negroes raping white women and Jewish psychopaths committing terrorist attacks like in his experimental agitprop piece Hi, Mom!, but of course it takes a special sort of hypocritical degenerate to truly thrive in Hollywood.

Right from the beginning of his filmmaking career with his surprisingly intriguing experimental horror short Woton's Wake (1962)—a low-budget black-and-white micro-epic with Expressionistic overtones that pays homage to films ranging from the original King Kong (1933) to Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece The Seventh Seal (1957)—De Palma made it quite clear that he had a special affinity for recycling his favorite films, as if he knew nothing about life outside of cinema. Of course, what makes Blow Out somewhat different from most of his films is that it is a borderline auteur piece where he actually dares to reveal something truly personal about himself, including his sense of disillusionment with love, life, politics, society, and even the filmmaking process. While David Thomson once wrote of De Palma, “He has contempt for his characters and his audience alike, and I suspect that he despises even his own immaculate skill,” Blow Out features a protagonist that he seems to completely identify with, thus making it all the more interesting that said protagonist is extremely bored with his job in the film industry and is left a complete and utter emotional wreck in the end. Indeed, De Palma’s “self-conscious cunning” (as Thomson described it) just seems to be a sort of sturdy protective shield for his own vulnerability and glaring negativity towards everything about life and humanity, which is more or less exposed at the conclusion of the film when Travolta’s characters opts to dub a schlocky slasher flick with the heroine’s death scream. In other words, De Palma’s signature polished prettification of murder, mayhem, and social decay seems to be a therapeutic means for him to cope with being a dead and impotent soul who, as a sterile self-loathing middleclass white boy that has probably never even ever gotten into a fist-fight, has nowhere to channel his seemingly well hidden inner rage and hatred. 

Needless to say, it is no surprise that De Palma and Nancy Allen divorced a couple years after the release of Blow Out, as it cannot be a good sign for the future of a marriage when a husband depicts his wife as a dumb broad that lives off her tits and ass who is ultimately brutally murdered in the end (not to mention the fact that the filmmaker had Allen portray a hooker in his previous film Dressed to Kill where the actress shows off her unclad carnal goods and talks dirty to Michael Caine in regard to his cock).  In fact, despite the fact that Allen is terribly claustrophobic and was completely petrified about shooting the segment, De Palma forced her to do her own stunts during the scene in Blow Out where she is trapped inside a car that is submerged in water.  In that one regard, De Palma has indeed transcended his cinematic hero Hitch, as a man with self-confessed mommy issues who advanced the art of semi-covert sadistic ‘high kitsch’ filmic misogyny, which arguably reaches its unintentionally zany twentieth in Body Double (1984).

With his most recent feature Passion (2012), De Palma proved he is not very good at remaking European pseudo-arthouse films or dealing with the subject of Sapphic psychopaths.  Personally, I think De Palma should just get it over with and finally realize his dream of remaking a Hitchcock film.  Considering De Palma's flare for deliciously stylized psychosexual degeneracy and the fact that Hitchcock's version is a little bit too tame and somewhat resembles filmed theater, I think it is about time that he remakes the Leopold and Loeb inspired Nietzschean classic Rope (1948).  After all, considering De Palma's philo-Semitism and fetish for crafty killers, it seems like the perfect subject matter for him to tackle.

-Ty E

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