Dec 13, 2017

This World, Then the Fireworks

As far as neo-noir is considered, you probably cannot get more gorgeously grotesque and, in turn, debasingly aesthetically indelible than Michael Oblowitz’s fairly unknown Jim Thompson adaptation This World, Then the Fireworks (1997) starring virtual walking-and-talking-human-genitals Billy Zane, Gina Gershon, and Sheryl Lee. In fact, I have no qualms about confessing that I believe that it is easily the greatest Thompson adaptation ever made and I say that as someone that is a fan of both Bertrand Tavernier’s Coup de Torchon (1981) and James Foley’s After Dark, My Sweet (1990). Both a hyper histrionic homage and misanthropically deconstructive mutation of classic film noir, the film takes a surprisingly refreshingly heavy-handed approach to depicting fraternal twin incest, la mort d'amour and accidental necrophilia, matricide, Mexican back-alley abortions, opium addiction, prostitution, posttraumatic stress, and a variety of other mostly salacious subjects that auteur Oblowitz—a South African Jew that was once loosely associated with the largely artistically bankrupt No Wave Cinema scene—clearly loves wallowing in. In short, the film is an innately immoral cinematic work directed by an innately immoral filmmaker who, not surprisingly, worked as a cinematographer on a number of Rosa von Praunheim films, including aberrosexual agitprop like Army of Lovers or Revolt of the Perverts (1979) and fiercely retarded feminist drivel like Rote Liebe (1982) aka Red Love. While I can only assume Oblowitz is heterosexual, he must have learned a thing or two from the corrosive kraut queen as his Thompson adaption features more than one fat naked dude and a preteen boy getting the shit beat out of him while wearing nothing but tighty whities.

While depriving the viewer of full bush, the film does thankfully features some nicely styled nudes of Gershon and Lee, though one gets the sense that the auteur sees sex as being about as special as a bonafide bowel movement. Indeed, instead of presenting coitus as something intimate or possibly even spiritual, Oblowitz depicts it as a sort of base demonic energy that can be used as either a weapon or form of currency, though it has very little true intrinsic value otherwise. In fact, in the film—a dark noir romance featuring an incest-fueled bizarre love triangle—sex is depicted as the true root of all evil, especially as far as the forsaken male protagonist and his similarly vulgarly tragic twin sister are concerned. Undoubtedly, if there is anything else that rivals carnality in terms of sheer weaponized nefariousness in the film, it is family, as familial matters are the direct source of the main characters’ untamable malevolence and crippling metaphysical and psycho-emotional maladies. As the son of a purported holocaust survivor, Oblowitz—an auteur that is obsessed with style and form but seems a little handicapped as far as deep human emotions are concerned—indubitably takes a curious approach to interfamilial trauma, but I digress. 

 Apparently, the genesis for the film dates all the way back to 1982 after Oblowitz first read a bootlegged Xeroxed copy of Jim Thompson’s pulp classic The Killer Inside Me (1952) and became completely obsessed with directing a cinematic adaptation of the novel. After failing to acquire the rights to the novel and a couple failed attempts at adapting other Thompson novels, Oblowitz thankfully finally settled on the author's posthumously released short story This World, Then the Fireworks, though he would get fellow Judaic Larry Gross—a fairly unknown writer that is probably best remembered in the Hollywood realm for doing last minute (and oftentimes uncredited) polishes and rewrites of high-profile scripts, most notably Walter Hill’s fairly successful buddy cop flick 48 Hrs. (1982)—to pen the project. Not surprisingly, both Oblowitz and Gross reveal in featurettes on the 2017 Kino Lorber blu-ray release of the film that they regard it as among their greatest artistic accomplishments. While Oblowitz originally gained notoriety for his gritty No Wave flicks Minus Zero (1979) and King Blank (1983)—the latter of which had the honor of playing on a double bill as a midnight movie with David Lynch’s masterful debut feature Eraserhead—he subsequently artistically degenerated into a for-hire music video hack and is probably best known nowadays for directing such rather unrefined direct-to-video Steven Seagal action-schlock as Out for a Kill (2003) and The Foreigner (2003), among other similarly embarrassing efforts. In short, there is no question that This World, Then the Fireworks is Oblowitz’s crowning achievement as a filmmaker, though only a malevolently morally bankrupt man could sire such a gleefully unhinged, intoxicatingly nihilistic, and lunatically libertine magnum opus.  Of course, it goes without saying that the film has one of the coolest and misleadingly poetic titles in cinema history, hence my initial (admittedly largely superficial) interest in seeing it.  Luckily, the film lives up to its preternaturally poesy title.

 While Oblowitz shares next to nil similarities with Robert Bresson, I think he would appreciate the French master auteur's cinematic aphorism, “Master precision. Be a precision instrument myself.” Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks is by no means an immaculate film yet nearly every single scene feels perfectly constructed with the fanatical meticulousness of an OCD-addled locksmith, thus underscoring the director’s obsession with extensive storyboarding and longtime experience as a music video director that was obligated to construct very precise and calculated tableaux. For better or worse, many of the scenes manage to leave an indelible mark on the viewer; whether it be a cockeyed low-angle shot of a bloody yet beauteous post-abortion corpse lying on a dirty metal slab in some Mexican hellhole or a big gob of blood splattering across the smiling face of a seemingly innocent 4-year-old child. In fact, the lack of empathy or any other emotion in these scenes leads me to conclude that Oblowitz is either an unabashed sociopath or at a Tarantino-esque level of emotional retardation, but luckily the film somehow manages to be both darkly humorous and even somewhat romantic.  In short, it is anything but banal. If I didn’t know better, I would assume that the film was a romantic-comedy for killer couples like Bonnie and Clyde and Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco, but of course that is one of the things that makes it so strangely intriguing, if not largely psychologically and emotionally deleterious. Personally, as a somewhat antisocial individual that has always been in relationships with relatively asocial chicks, I am always a sucker for a certain sort of mad love and This World, Then the Fireworks certainly delivers in that regard, even though I am not into incest or brutal coldblooded murder, among other things. To put it simply, Oblowitz’s flick is the sort of cinematic work Georges Bataille might have directed had he been a psychotic redblooded stud instead of a wimpy degenerate intellectual. On the other hand, I would not exactly call the murderous male antihero featured in the film an alpha-male, as he is a mentally cracked chap that is practically led around by the scent of the cunt of the twin sister that he loves, at least until he falls under the spell of another scenty snatch, albeit of the non-sibling sort. 

 Notably, in his classic philosophical novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, Teutonic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche—a fellow that was not exactly that successful when it came to the so-called fairer sex—wrote, “Man is for woman a means; the purpose is always the child, But what is woman for man? The true man wants two different things: danger and diversion. He therefore wants woman, as the most dangerous plaything. Man must be trained for war, and woman for the relaxation of the warrior; all else is folly. Two sweet fruits – these the warrior does not like. He therefore likes women – even the sweetest woman is bitter.” While woman is indubitably “the most dangerous plaything” in This World, Then the Fireworks, the male antihero is certainly no warrior, at least not in any conventional sense.  Additionally, the two main female characters, who are beyond bitter, are only interested in the monetary and material and hardly the maternal, as they unequivocally embody the ‘prostitute archetype,’ at least in the Weiningerian sense. In fact, the male antihero played by Billy Zane is too much of an emotionally erratic pretty boy ponce to even compare to the lean and mean hardboiled stoicism of a great film noir star like Humphrey Bogart. Additionally, the film features two very different femme fatales, including a fiery Mediterranean-like literal whore of the sensually unhinged sort and a cryptically killer lady-cop of the naggy Nordic ice queen variety.  In fact, it could be argued that these lethal ladies are symbolic dichotomous reflections of the quasi-schizophrenic antihero's considerably conflicted personality.  Undoubtedly, Oblowitz’s loves these fatally frisky femme fatales as much as he loathes the white picket fence morals and wholesome WASP cultural supremacy that defined the 1950s, but one should not expect anything less from a man that directs holocaust-themed vampire flicks like The Breed (2001) that feature the nasty (and uniquely improbable) novelty of a negro-chink miscegenation (if that wasn't distasteful enough, the film also features a literal Judaic vampire that accuses the same negro of being a ‘racist’ because he is immune to his Hebraic bloodsucking charms).

Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks is not so much a ‘neo-noir’ as a sociopathically sardonic tribute to the fact that film noir did the most, at least cinematically speaking, to demystify the American dream and piss on the white Christian majority population that greatly valued said dream. Undoubtedly, Oblowitz’s film is as nostalgically American as anthrax-laced (kosher) apple pie. In short, Oblowitz’s film does for 1950s America what Harmony Korine’s directorial debut Gummo (1997) did for poor contemporary crackers in terms of its aesthetically Talmudic approach to tearing at the moral fabric of the white American goyim until there is nothing but a single weak thread. 

 As shamelessly incestuous siblings that have practically been attached at the genitals since birth and seem to sometimes share the same mind in terms of their particularly perverse thoughts and carnal (and killer) desires, Marty Lakewood (Billy Zane) and his sister Carol (Gina Gershon) are virtual ‘psychosexual Siamese twins.’ Aside from sharing the same rotten white trash womb, the fraternal twins were also victims of the same traumatic childhood event that occurred on their fourth birthday in July 4th 1926, which involved their mindless mother abruptly aborting their b-day party to drag them over to a house across the street just in time to witness their completely naked fat fuck father, who was rudely interrupted while fucking his mistress, blowing out the brains of the angry armed fellow that he had just so brazenly cuckolded, or as Marty nostalgically narrates in regard to the impact of the event on his life, “It was funny. It was funnier than Charlie Chaplin or Krazy Kat. The man on the floor didn’t have hardly any head at all. And dad and the women – they were naked. Dad went to the electric chair and the women committed suicide. Mom was scarred for life but . . . they were naked and it was funny. It was so funny, I remember. I remember that night well.”

 A sort of bargain bin nihilist philosopher that might have read Mencken but never Nietzsche and who absolutely loves living dangerously as a perversely invasive yellow journalist, Marty lives by the personal Weltanschauung, “Nothing really happens for a reason, it just happens,” as if it was the only logical conclusion that he could come to after witnessing his papa commit coldblooded post-coital murder when he was just a wee lad. While it is now 1956 and three decades have passed since his deadly daddy destroyed the psychological and emotional integrity of his entire family, Marty, his sister Carol, and mother Mrs. Lakewood (Rue McClanahan of The Golden Girls fame) have clearly never recovered and have instead degenerated into psychological grotesque human monsters with great sex appeal. Needless to say, when Marty moves back in with his beloved sis and mental mommy after being forced to flee Chicago, old wounds are opened up and old incestuous desires are acted upon, though a bizarre love triangle eventually threatens the sanctity of the extra special brother-sister relationship. 

 Despite always loving one another, the twins made a rather revealing childhood pact to both marry unlovable losers, or as Marty narrates, “Carol and I did what we said we were going to do back when we were kids. We chose to marry someone that no one else wanted. Someone scorned and shamed and cast aside.” Indeed, while Carol married some rich abusive loser that later dropped dead and resulted in her less than prestigious career as a lowly street hooker, Marty married and even sired a son with a big bloated 400-pound beastess that, in terms of sheer physically attractiveness, is not even worthy of lapping up his rancid excrement. Not surprisingly, when Marty is forced to flee Chicago after his junky pal ‘Joe’ (Richard Edson)—a doped up ex-journalist that provides the dirt on dirty cops in exchange for morphine—is killed by a group of corrupt cops and he becomes the next target due to the incriminating info he has on local law enforcement, he does not think twice about completely abandoning his wife and similarly obscenely overweight son. Of course, considering his rather ambivalent attitude cops and undying love his twin sister, Marty probably never suspected that moving to California to be with his family would eventually lead to himself falling in love with a cop, albeit one with a rather wicked blonde cunt. As Marty proudly narrates in regard to his homecoming, “It did not matter being broke. Carol and I were together again. After three long years—the longest we had been separated. Nothing else seemed to matter.” Rather unfortunately, Carol—a beauteous yet irreparably broken babe that makes her living as a pussy-peddler that seems to specialize in using her womb to suck up the semen of violent rape-obsessed sailors—is somewhat of an emotional wreck. Of course, the same can be certainly said of fairly deranged Marty’s drug-addled mother, who cannot live with the fact that her darling children are lifelong lovers. Rather unfortunately but not surprisingly, Marty will be the only one that is still alive at the end of the film, as Carol and their mother seem to be too ill-equipped to confront past traumas and move on with their lives. As for Marty, he gets involved with some somewhat sinister stuff, but he also discovers a true love—or something resembling it—that does not share the same tainted blood. 

 Not long after moving back home with his sister and mother, Marty manages to snag a position at the biggest newspaper in town and becomes such a good journalist that he compels his co-employees to live in constant fear and even succumb to alcoholism due to not being able to compete with his inordinate diligence and singular workaholic ethos. Although devilishly clever and a rather ruthless employee, Marty is also plagued with a certain vehement irrationalism that inspires him to quit his job after he has virtually risen to the top of the ladder of the local daily rag. Indeed, Marty might be a virtual moron when it comes to morals, but he lacks the sort of sociopathic careerism that defined the reporter played by Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder’s desert noir Ace in the Hole (1951) aka The Big Carnival. Indeed, when his prick boss—a cynical scumbag that seems to be able to develop a hard-on at the mere thought of debasing his employees—dares to offer him a nice new position after firing a co-worker, Marty becomes completely deranged and both physically and verbally assaults his considerably shocked employer because he is paranoid that the man has figured out his wants and motivations, which makes perfect sense when one considers that he is a mensch that carries around the deep dark secret that he is in love with his own twin sister and has dedicated virtually his entire life to serving and protecting her. In fact, the film features a childhood flashback scene where a preteen Marty brutally beats a couple young boys with a large stick that dare to attempt to gang-rape his sister in a bittersweet scenario that concludes with an inordinately tender shot of the incestuous twins holding one another during the twilight of the blue hour. As Marty candidly states in regard to his relationship with Carol, “We felt each other’s feelings. We thought each other’s thoughts. We didn’t care what anyone thought of us and that was unforgivable. For that, we had to be punished.”  Somewhat ironically, it is only when Marty begins to love someone else just as much as his sister that he is truly punished for his carnal crimes.

 In what ultimately proves to be almost too conveniently auspicious of circumstances, Marty almost immediately spots the wanton woman that, for better or worse, will completely change his life shortly after quitting his job. Indeed, upon first seeing delectable dame Lois Archer (Sheryl Lee)—a busty blonde bombshell of the law that is as socially awkward as she is sexy—Marty gets a little bit too excited and quite literally manhandles her in broad daylight right outside of a semi-busy public courthouse. While initially awkwardly defensive to the point where she acts like she is going to arrest him, it soon becomes rather apparent that lusty Lois is desperate to jump Marty’s bones and that she is quite smitten with the proudly aberrant antihero's Lothario-like brand of lunacy. While Marty asks her rather sleazy personal questions like, “Are you blonde all over or just where it shows?,” Lois soon comes to the conclusion that she wants to engage in a little bip-bam-thank-you-ma’am with him and rather firmly demands, “I want you to come home with me right now.” Notably, not only does Marty go to Lois’ house and engage in heated carnal session with her, but he also soon becomes obsessed with her and her humble abode, which is a scenic beachfront property. While Marty seems to genuinely like Lois, he also immediately begins plotting to swindle her out of her beach house, which is worth a whopping $30,000 (keep in mind, this is the 1950s) and is unfortunately co-owned by her estranged soldier brother. Indeed, as he soon tells his sister, Marty hopes to kill Lois’ brother and own the house within a mere month. Rather unfortunately, Marty might be a sick sociopath of sorts, but he also soon finds himself falling in love with luscious Lois, who seems to almost immediately dominate him in the bedroom as demonstrated by the fact that she is almost always laying on top of him during their intimate post-coital discussions in a manner that makes it seem like she just finished ravishing his rectum him with a sizable strap-on dildo. Undoubtedly, Lois’ sexual dominance is ultimately a form of fetishistic foreshadowing. 

 As demonstrated by the fact that he gleefully murders a grotesquely morbidly obese ‘private dick’ named Jake Krutz (William Hootkins) that dares to keep tabs on his sister, Marty can certainly be described as a sadistic sociopath yet he, like so many of his psychologically defective kind, is so damn undeniably likeable. Of course, Marty wears a rather handsome mask of sanity that hides a scared little boy that more or less regresses to an infantile state anytime his hyper hysterical mommy says mean things to him. In fact, he does not even try to deny it when his sister says to him, “I know you like to play the big old rough, tough guy, but deep down you’re just a sentimental slob.” When Marty suffers a mental meltdown after his mother accuses him and his sister of engaging in incest and then states hateful things to them like, “You both should have been strangled at birth,” Carol opts to kill her by personally feeding her an intentional overdose of her favorite bedtime drug in a twisted scene of morbidly ironic matricide where a grown daughter feeds her borderline elderly mother in a mock maternal fashion.

While Marty is an unrepentant murderer and debauched degenerate of the quite consciously remorseless sort, his sister Carol, who seems to be largely driven by a certain fierce feral-like instinct, is even more ruthless as a decidedly deranged dame that nonchalantly brags about fatally poisoning men, though her cuntlet seems to be her most killer weapon as demonstrated by the fact that manages to unwittingly fuck a man to death. Indeed, when Carol becomes so electrically aroused upon remembering the tragic event from her 4th birthday, she causes an insurance salesman named Barnett Gibons (Larry Clarks) to become a victim of ‘dying in the saddle’ as she violently rides his cock whilst in a seemingly demonic state. Somewhat surprisingly, Carol, who is not one to cry about dead johns, acts as if she is completely traumatized as a result of committing unintentional necrophilia, but that does not stop her bro from crudely quipping, “I’ve got to hand it to you, dear. You’re probably the first hooker in recorded history to induce seizures and cerebral hemorrhage.” Clearly emotionally troubled, Carol acts as if she is on the path of orgasmic self-obliteration. Luckily, Marty now has Lois to take Carol’s place. 

 While Marty still intends to rob Lois and her brother of their cute little beach house, he cannot seem to stop himself from falling hopelessly in love with his self-described “copulating cop.”  Needless to say, sister-fucker Marty also expresses guilt and confusion at his love for Lois, as if he cannot even bear the thought of emotionally devote himself to any other woman aside from his twin.  Aside from incessantly fucking her, Marty also enjoys engaging in non-sexual recreational activities with Lois like shooting framed family photos on the beach.  In fact, the rather senseless shooting of the photos foreshadows the end of both Marty and Lois' little families.  Eventually, Marty even finds himself unable to confront Lois about selling the house because he is “afraid of spoiling that sweet wildness” of their hot and heavy romance, thus hinting that the antihero might not have the spirit of a psychotic gigolo after all. Of course, like every single woman that seems to be too good to be true, Lois eventually becomes rather bitchy and attempts to emotionally manipulate Marty by strategically stating to him, “I only love you. I love you more than anyone else in the whole world and I want to hear the exact same thing back from you.” Not surprisingly, when Marty fails to give Lois her desired response, she becomes exceedingly enraged and accuses him of engaging in incest, screaming at him in regard to Carol, “I think you’re fucking her! I think you’re fucking that little tramp!” Naturally, Marty finds the seemingly phony drama queen to be fairly insufferable and he soon finds himself emotionally and physically abusing Lois, though she seems to enjoy it.  Although clearly somewhat masochistic, Lois, like most masochists, is clearly the one that is in control of the relationship. Of course, as an ice cold femme fatale with a nice warm pussy, Lois has ulterior motives and is ultimately playing Marty like a pawn. Indeed, unbeknownst to Marty, Lois’ so-called brother is really her estranged husband and she actually wants the antihero to murder him. Meanwhile, a local cop named Detective Harris (Seymour Cassel)—a rather ruthless asshole that knows a scumbag when he sees one—brings Marty to the local police station for questioning and informs him that he is looking for Carol as he believes that she is responsible for the death of both the private detective Jake Krutz and insurance salesman Barnett Gibons.

Somewhat ironically, most of Marty’s problems are solved after Carol dies under grisly circumstances as a result of a botched morphine-fueled back-alley abortion in Mexico. Not surprisingly, Marty, who seems to be still slightly grieving over the death of his mother, does not take the quite unexpected news of Carol's death too well. Indeed, when the Mexican abortionist, who acts rather remorseful, calls him on the phone to inform him of his sister's death, Marty is initially in denial and proceeds to scream in regard to Carol's corpse, “Throw it in the ocean. Throw in a garbage dump. Throw it in an alley so the little dogs can piss on it.” When Lois tries to comfort him about his sister's death, mad Marty gives her a swift punch to her pretty little face and then screams with the visceral rage of a dozen AIDS-ridden queens, “Don’t EVER feel sorry for me. Ever! Ever!” In the end, Marty’s seems to soon get over Carol's death and his big criminal plans also workout, as he kills Lois’ ‘brother’ and gets her to sell the beach house.  As it turns out, Lois more or less had the same exact plan as Marty in regard to cashing in on the beach house and the two ultimately revealed to have used each other.  Of course, the great irony is that Marty was an unwitting pawn and that Lois used him to execute the murder so that she could liquidate her unwanted husband and sell the house. Now a completely emasculated ‘kept man,’ Marty is symbolically told to “move over” in a rather bitchy fashion at the very end of the film as the two get in a car and leave town for good to start a new life together. Indeed, now relegated to the passenger seat, Marty is no longer in control of his entire life. On top of everything else, Marty is met with disdain when he warmly tells Lois “I love you,” but at least he no longer seems perennially trapped in the same grotesque figurative womb as his belated twin sister and thus can quite worrying about the possibility of siring an inbred demon seed.  In that sense, it is only fitting that sister Carol dropped dead while in the middle of receiving a third world grade abortion.

 While This World, Then the Fireworks—a cinematic where, at least thematically speaking, madness is the method—is not exactly a ‘message movie’ and it has very little to offer in regard to the stereotypical Hollywood-esque realm of the ostensibly morally redeeming, it does provide male viewers with an insight or two in regard to the mystique of the so-called fairer sex. Indeed, the film’s antihero Marty learns the hard way that, no matter how angelically beauteous and seemingly passive and faithful a woman may seem, women are innately manipulative subspecies and a woman will always reveal her true ugly self and ulterior motive(s) over time when she finally achieves what she secretly wants. As innately fucked up as it is, antihero Marty’s twin sister Carol was the only person that selflessly and organically loved him for who he actually was while his platinum blonde cop girlfriend Lois—a vamp tramp with a venomous vag and crooked badge that makes Rita Hayworth’s character in Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947) seem rather sweet and sensitive by comparison—is a chillingly cold cunt that will probably have him killed one day under dubious circumstances. In fact, despite spending a good portion of the film sweaty and unclad, actress Sheryl Lee does such an excellent job portraying a cunning cunt and all around loathsomely insufferable bitch that even the most die hard of Twin Peaks fans might find themselves losing empathy for her famous TV character Laura Palmer after watching Oblowitz’s film (on the other hand, no heterosexual men wouldn’t want to sexually ravage this busty blonde bitch).

Of course, despite being a violent killer with a propensity for completely pointless gleeful sadism, Marty—an oftentimes hysterical and irrational pen-pusher that is prettier than most women—does not exactly embody any sort of great masculine ideal. Undoubtedly, when I think of mad mensch Marty and his covertly feminine attributes, I cannot help but be reminded of the great self-loathing Viennese Hebrew Otto Weininger’s wise words, “The meaning of women is to be meaningless. She represents negation, the opposite pole from the Godhead, the other possibility of humanity. And so nothing is so despicable as a man become female, and such a person will be regarded as the supreme criminal even by himself. And so also is to be explained the deepest fear of man; the fear of the woman, which is the fear of unconsciousness, the alluring abyss of annihilation.” Indeed, Marty is hardly your typical film noir (anti)hero, but instead the sort of violently emotionally erratic and wickedly narcissistic virtual male gigolo that could easily be the son of some sociopathic femme fatale that waited too long to get an abortion. Despite his fiercely fatal flaws, Marty is certainly portrayed in a more positive light than the film’s authority figures, thus underscoring semitic auteur Oblowitz and fellow chosenite Gross’ deep-seated hatred for authority, or, more specifically and importantly, WASP American pie authority.  Needless to say, I do not think it is a stretch to assume that Oblowitz sees swarthy Marty as a sort of crypto-Jew (of course, one also cannot forget that the character's sister Carol is played by seductive Jewess Gina Gershon).

 As the uniquely uneven oeuvre of suicidal (anti)auteur Tony Scott (and, to a lesser extent, his brother Ridley) demonstrates, starting a filmmaking career as a music video director can be an aesthetically deleterious thing as it can cause a filmmaker to become more obsessed with style, form, and especially editing than narrative constructive, among other things, yet Oblowitz’s pre-Hollywood background certainly seems to have been to his benefit for at least his magnum opus. Indeed, This World, Then the Fireworks certainly echoes the dark fragmented mind of its demented dipsomaniac source writer Jim Thompson, as it is a gleefully nihilistic film that could have only been spawned from the mind of an individual (or individuals) that has surrendered their morality and self-esteem to the figurative hell of addiction. Notably, in the featurette The Straight Dope (2017), Oblowitz happily describes previous affinity for cocaine and how it fueled his filmmaking.  In the same short doc, Oblowitz also makes the somewhat lofty claim that pulp auteur Samuel Fuller’s widow Christa Lang, who was personal friends with the The Killer Inside Me writer, once confided to him that Thompson regarded his film as the best of the cinematic adaptations of his stories (notably, Oblowitz is not the first chosenite to adapt the pulp writer's work, as Kubrick's The Killing (1956), which Thompson co-penned, and Jewess Maggie Greenwald's The Kill-Off (1990) both predate Oblowitz's film). According to Robert Polito in his biography Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson (1995), Mr. Fuller was so obsessed with adapting Thompson’s novel The Getaway that he once half-jokingly stated that he would be fully willing to use the novel as the shooting script (unfortunately for Fuller, it was Sam Peckinpah that ultimately adapted the novel, though it is, rather unfortunately, much tamer than its source material). Speaking of Fuller, even his darkest and grittiest films seem like works of cerebral optimism compared to Oblowitz’s semi-oneiric odyssey in white picket fence obscenity. Indeed, while Fuller was obsessed with crime and criminals, Oblowitz’s film is virtual criminality in cinematic form as a feverishly fucked flick that demonstrates a certain innate and strangely organic lawless spirit as if it was directed by a serial killer that wanted to boast about all the crimes he committed but was too morally bankrupt and narcissistically unaware to see how unflattering of a portrait that he painted of himself. In short, it is no surprise that This World, Then the Fireworks was directed by a man that was so obsessed with intimate ‘first-person serial killer narrative’ structure of The Killer Inside Me that he waited about 15 years just to have the opportunity to adapt one of Thompson’s novels. 

 As a thematically dark and grim film that has about as much organic pathos and pangs as an erratically shot homemovie of a pink poodle vomiting, This World, Then the Fireworks is certainly from the Norman Mailer School of aesthetically autistic neo-noir filmmaking. Indeed, aside from Mailer’s swansong Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987), the only other ‘neo-noir’ film that I can really compare it to in terms of sheer moral bankruptcy, vulgar dark humor, counterfeit pseudo-Lynchian posturing, spasmodic storytelling, and Southern Gothic influence (although set in California, Oblowitz’s film was actually shot in North Carolina) is Dennis Hopper’s clearly flawed but somewhat underrated Don Johnson vehicle The Hot Spot (1990). Surely, what all of these films have in common aside from being deeply flawed yet equally enthralling is that they seem to have all been helmed by genuine sickos and sociopaths, though one can certainly argue that Hopper’s moral retardation and offbeat megalomania was the natural result of decades of alcohol and drug consumption and wild orgies (notably, The Hot Spot features a surprisingly tasteful rear-view pussyshot of a very young and nubile Jennifer Connelly in a sensitive Sapphic flashback scene). As for Oblowitz and Mailer (the latter of whom once made a rather violent attempt at murdering his second wife, Hispanic painter Adele Morales, by stabbing her with a pen-knife and was subsequently deemed “both homicidal and suicidal” by a judge after an involuntary stay in a mental institution), I think it is safe to say that their films are the product of unfiltered narcissistic pathology in sexually steamy yet sardonic anti-shiksa cinematic form.

Despite all the endless Hebraic Hollywood films that attempt to portray whites, especially poor white lumpenproles, as being inbred hicks, incest is indubitably a perennial Judaic obsession.  Indeed, from Freud (who popularized pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo about Oedipal mommy-fucking) to Einstein (who married his maternal first cousin/paternal second cousin Elsa Löwenthal) to the eponymous family of Andrew Jarecki's dubiously sympathetic Capturing the Friedmans (2003) to Oblowitz, incest is undoubtedly an obsession, if not practiced behavior, among many prominent Jews throughout history. Collectively speaking, Ashkenazim are among the most inbred people in the entire world and carry a number of distinct genetic and mental disorders, but I think that Oblowitz's obsession with incest probably has more to do with the (meta)political than the sexual. As Georges Bataille noted in his work Erotism: Death and Sensuality, Hebraic frog anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss argued that the banning of incest by society is, “ . . . the primary step thanks to which, through which, and especially in which, the transition from Nature to Culture is made.”  Needless to say, This World, Then the Fireworks is an assault against culture, namely white America culture, hence the importance of hot and steamy incest.  Notably, Olbowitz's Judaic ethnocentricism becomes rather obvious in interviews, including one where he remarked that when comparing working with goyish South African novelist J.M. Coetzee and Hebraic laywer turned novelist Thane Rosenbaum, “It was the difference between dealing with an Afrikaner and a New York Jew." It is also somewhat curious that a man that would take a rather a gleeful approach to cinematically depicting the horrific childhood trauma of 4-year-old twins witnessing their naked father blowing out another man's brains with a shotgun in This World, Then the Fireworks to state that his own father's personal shoah stories were responsible for leaving, “a tattoo from the Holocaust engraved on my heart.”  To Oblowitz's credit, his vampire flick The Breed, which was actually shot in real WWII era Jewish ghettos, does not exactly take a respectful approach to paying tribute to the holocaust. In a sense, Oblowitz's film is a sort of anti-Blue Velvet as antihero Marty Lakewood is like a younger version of archetypal Lynchian villain Frank Booth.  Of course, whereas Booth epitomizes pure and innate evil, Marty is depicted by Oblowitz—a kosher culture-distorter with a clear hatred for the small suburbans town of Lynch's youth—as an audacious antidote to the cultural sterility and sexual repression of 1950s American suburbia.  Judging simply by his unequivocal magnum opus, I can only come to the conclusion that Oblowitz sees fraternal twin incest as being highly preferable to the typical WASP nuclear family, but I digress.

For all its decided degeneracy and seemingly anti-Europid meanderings, I think I could accept the prospect of endearing This World, Then the Fireworks for eternity were I to be so irrevocably forsaken as to fall out of favor with god and his Jewish bastard son and be cast into hell.  While I am not a merry murder of the incestuous sort that delights in giving my twin sister bubble bathes like antihero Marty, I can certainly relate to the antihero's grotesque outlaw romanticism and lack of empathy for the greater part of humanity, not to mention his self-destructive affinity for bat-shit-crazy (and beach-friendly) blondes and fiercely frisky Mediterranean bitches.  As a sort of unconventional aesthete that prefers my pulchritude to have a sort of dark yet passionate perversity, I also appreciate the film for being the virtual cinematic equivalent to a debauched dream prom date with Karla Homolka that concludes with an orgy with the more attractive of the Manson Family sluts.  In that sense, This World, Then the Fireworks—a film that basks in the recklessly hedonistic—is an evil erotic fantasy set somewhere between heaven and hell.  Undoubtedly, the spirit of the film can probably be summed up by Judaic Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey's somewhat reasonable words, “There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised."

-Ty E



Max Ribaric « Blood Axis » éditions Camion Noir, 2012

Le groupe Blood Axis existe depuis 1990, il a remplacé le précédent Coup de Grâce et il a été fondé par Michael Moynihan, co-auteur du livre « Seigneurs du Chaos » aux même éditions ci-dessus. Nous avons pris l’initiative de présenter ce livre pas seulement pour son sujet mais aussi pour le fait que Moynihan est devenu aussi le mari de Annabel Lee, une ancienne actrice de notre idole Richard Kern. L’auteur Max Ribaric de cet ouvrage est italien et c’est en Italie que résident aujourd’hui les deux membres fondateurs du groupe.

Le nom du groupe a été plusieurs fois parodié par les gens méchants comme »White Axis » (op.cit. Page 208) et ses premiers concerts ont été annulés à Paris. Pour un concert de 1998 : « l’affection et l’enthousiasme du public participant à l’événement confortent les esprits en vue de la seconde date française » (op.cit. page 213).

James Mason et son « Universal Order » est une influence importante pour Moynihan qui dira lors d’ une interdiction d’un concert à Seattle le 29 septembre 1998 : « nous n’avons pas organisé le concert à l’occasion de la fête hébraïque (Yom Kippour, note explicative de la rédaction), en fait c’est le club qui a choisi une date au hasard » (op.cit. Page 207).

Moynihan était dans le comité de rédaction de la revue néo-paganiste « Tyr« , une revue qui avait aussi Alain de Benoist comme rédacteur. Le nom du groupe est très fort émotionnellement puisque « les deux mots sont déjà puissants par eux-mêmes mais réunis ils acquièrent encore plus de connotations. Le sang est une substance aux nombreux sens ésotériques. Il est certainement un élément très fort. Quand j’étais enfant il y avait un jour à l’école où les gens pouvaient donner leur sang. Je me trouvai à coté d’une fille qui perdit connaissance seulement à sa vue. Je pensais qu’il était incroyable qu’un liquide puisse avoir tant de pouvoir» (citation de 1995 reprise ici op.cit. page 75).

Les mots du philosophe important Jean Mabire peuvent servir de conclusion et vous donner encore une raison d’entendre les morceaux du groupe Blood Axis disponibles sur internet et de mieux comprendre leur penchant pour le paganisme, très évident aussi sur le film « Nymphomania » de Tessa Hughes Freeland (avec laquelle Lee avait collaboré) et sur les autres films du Cinéma de Transgression : »Dans la confusion de la décadence, les antiques Dieux reviennent en force et les anciens mythes retrouvent une vigueur exceptionnelle » (op.cit.281). Dans le film en question c’est Pan le protagoniste et chez Blood Axis les Dieux chantés seraient Hadès et Zoé. Mais cette dernière avec une vision nouvelle et libératrice.

Écrit par Dionysos Andronis

teddy crescendo said...

Gina Gershon and Sheryl Lee were 34 and 29 respectively at the time of filming, pity. When they were both 18 however i would`ve loved to have performed literally every concievable and possible sex-act in the known universe on both of them. BTW, Billy Zane is a pile of shit (although i do of course respect his rampaging heterosexuality obviously).

Jennifer Croissant said...

Ty E, you could reveiw GREMLINS for Christmas, (a), because it has a Christmas setting, and, (b), because its a marvelous film.

Tony Brubaker said...

Sheryl Lees next film after this one was John Carpenters VAMPIRES and even though the bird was 30 at the time of filming the birds arse did look quite stunning in that film (unless it was another younger bird posing as a body double, i was`nt sure). But anyway whichever birds arse it was it was quite incredible and defined the joys of anal-sex at its finest. If it was Sheryls arse it was lasting quite magnificently for a 30 year-old bird. BTW Ty E, why not reveiw John Carpenters VAMPIRES its such a nauseating and irritating film (the only nice thing in it is Sheryls arse), perfect for this site!.

teddy crescendo said...

Sheryl Lee and Pauline Hickey were born around the same time so they would`ve both been 17 in 1985, imagine having access to them both at that time with Sheryl as the ultimate arse-fuck and Pauline as the ultimate tit-fuck, you could bugger Sheryl for an hour and then unload a massive wad of spunk up her amazing arse-hole, then over to Pauline for an hour of astonishingly perfect tit-fucking and then unloading another massive wad of spunk over arguably the greatest pair of tits of all-time (and pearl necklace the bird as well!), then back to buggering Sheryls stunning arse-hole for another hour, then back to Paulines astounding tits for another hour, and alternating between those two unbelievable sex-pots non-stop for a year, would`ve been like 10 lottery wins every day ! ! !.

teddy crescendo said...

I wish Pauline Hickey had done some hard-core back in 1985 especially the kind where the geezers come in one by one and spunk over the birds tits (provided the lucky bastards had kept their accursed arses out of the shot obviously), to see Pauline Hickey with her perfect tits drenched and dripping with 10 massive wads of spunk would`ve been one of the greatest masturbation-aids of all-time.

Jennifer Croissant said...

Ty E, for Christmas you could reveiw the 1964 Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special.