Jan 5, 2018

Barton Fink

While I would not exactly call myself a true Coen Brothers connoisseur, I feel confident enough in my appraisal of their somewhat uneven oeuvre to say that Barton Fink (1991)—a cinematic work that has been eclipsed in terms of popularity by probably half a dozen or so of their other, oftentimes glaringly inferior, films—is their unequivocal magnum opus. Indeed, fuck the autistic acting and quirky Cagisms of Raising Arizona (1987), nauseatingly nice Amero-Swede musicality of Fargo (1996), and sophisticated sunbaked stoner humor of The Big Lebowski (1998), the Coen brothers’ 1991 period piece, which is set in 1941 on the eve of America's entry into World War II, has the most to offer in terms of sheer aesthetic potency and curiousness, thematic intricately, meta-cinephilia, and eccentric esoteric Judaic self-loathing. A virtual ‘Jewish Eraserhead’ featuring John Turturro portraying a sort of kosher commie intellectual equivalent to the David Lynch protagonist Henry portrayed by Jack Nance in terms of obscenely absurd haircut and Fremdscham-inducing awkwardness of character.  In fact, the film was even executive produced by Hebraic cineaste Ben Barenholtz who was responsible for popularizing Lynch’s debut feature by screening it as part of the midnight movie circuit. Indeed, the film even features a number of blatant Lynchian shots juxtaposed with ambient noise, not to mention the fact that it is arguably the brothers’ most hermetic film. While undoubtedly somewhat overlooked compared to many of the Coens’ other films, it managed to snag three major awards at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, including the coveted Palme d'Or, thus underscoring its somewhat preternatural arthouse quality. Of course, as a film that dedicates much time to ruthlessly mocking both egomaniacal far-leftist Jewish intellectuals and the distinct Ashkenazi immigrant flavor of the Hollywood's Golden Age studio system, it is easy to see why modern academics and film critics seem to suffer amnesia when it comes to discussing the film and comparing it to the filmmakers’ other work.  Needless to say, Barton Fink makes for a great double feature with the Coen brothers' most overtly Jewish film A Serious Man (2009) and one can only hope that the siblings will finally get around to achieving their projected goal of directing an adaptation of Michael Chabon's hyper Hebraic detective novel The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007), which they have already adapted into a screenplay.

Notably, Jewish American film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote an entire article entitled Crass Consciousness featured in the August 23, 1991 issue of the Chicago Reader where he expressed in his strange misreading of the film a certain highly personalized uneasiness, complaining, “A final point should be made about the broad, comic-book-style Jewish caricatures in the film — Barton, Lipnick, Geisler, and Lipnick’s assistant Lou Breeze (Jon Polito). Spike Lee was lambasted on the op-ed page of the New York Times and by Nat Hentoff in the Village Voice (among other places) for Jewish caricatures in MO’ BETTER BLUES that employed one of the same actors (Turturro), occupied only a fraction as much screen time, and were if anything less malicious than the caricatures in BARTON FINK. So I assume the reason Lee was singled out for abuse and the Coens won’t be to the same extent is that the Coens happen to be Jewish. For whatever it’s worth — speaking now as a Jew myself — I don’t consider any of the caricatures in either movie to be racist in themselves, and it seems to me somewhat absurd that Lee should be criticized so widely for something that the Coens do at much greater length with impunity. Being white, having the minds of teenagers, and believing that social commitment is for jerks are all probably contributing factors to this privileged treatment.”  The grandson of a wealthy businessman that owned a small chain of movie theaters in Alabama, Rosenbaum notably comes from a far-leftist background and was involved with organizing with negro communists during the civil rights era.  Although just speculation, one can only assume that he takes personal offense to the less the flattering of the eponymous protagonist—a Jewish leftist writer like himself—and his hypocritical quasi-Marxist politics.  While Rosenbaum makes the assumption that the Coens are just philistine jerks that are simply too selfish and immature to embrace the oh-so precious social justice warrior lifestyle, Barton Fink demonstrates that the brothers have a keen understanding of the Jewish leftist mindset and all of its hypocritical idiosyncrasies.

Notably, in his book The Jewish Mystique (1969), Dutch-born American sociologist Ernest van den Haag, himself an ex-commie activist that spent nearly three years in one of Mussolini's prisons, made the wise observation in regard to the questionable nature of Jewish left-wing activism, “Since the Jews suffered for so long from oppression by dominant groups, laws, and traditions, their sentimental identification with minorities, underdogs, the poor, the humiliated, the shunned, the maltreated, the outlawed is quite understandable. Yet, explanation is not justification. And unfortunately, the Jews have not used their intellectual powers to analyze Utopian, reformist, and revolutionary doctrines as effectively as they have used these powers to analyze traditions and ideologies supporting the status quo. Wherefore, within the Jewish cultural establishment, Jewishness as an entrance ticket has tended to be fused with vaguely leftist, pro-underdog attitudes. Jewishness alone merely gets you into the lobby.”  While they might use somewhat aberrant humor as their weapon of choice as opposed to some turgid academic text, the Coens demonstrate with Barton Fink to be, quite unlike Rosenbaum, the sort of genuinely intellectual curious Jews that a great sage like van den Haag could have appreciated.

 Although one of the more intellectual and culturally refined film critics that America has produced as a protégé of iconoclastic artist and film critic Manny Farber, Rosenbaum seems to suffer from the stereotypical Judaic trait of a lack of self-awareness, especially on the collective racial, as opposed to personal, level. Not surprisingly, the eponymous protagonist of Barton Fink—an ostensibly ‘revolutionary’ far-leftist that, despite being a pretentious navel-gazing prick intellectual that has probably never did an hour of real physical labor in his entire life, claims to be fighting for the so-called “common man”—is plagued by a certain infuriating degree of a lack of self-awareness, but luckily reality eventually ruthlessly smacks him in the face in the form of a literal fiery holocaust of sorts and a grotesquely obscene Semitic studio mogul that reminds him that a communist is really just a failed kosher capitalist that seeks power via different, albeit similarly materialistic (and anti-goyim), means. While Rosenbaum describes the characters in the film as “comic-book-style Jewish caricatures,” I think they more clearly represent perennial post-religious Jewish archetypes that most Jews, like Rosenbaum, probably wish did not exist yet are ultimately quite clear to anyone that is familiar with Hollywood—both of the past and present as Harvey Weinstein has recently highlighted with his Philip Roth-esque sexcapades in shiksa-defiling.

In fact, the Jewish lack of self-awareness is depicted in a cleverly allegorical fashion at the conclusion of the Coen brothers' A Serious Man in a scene at the end of the films where a group of young Hebrew students absurdly stand helplessly as a tornado begins to make its way in their general direction. Undoubtedly, Israeli-born jazz musician and anti-Zionist activist Gilad Atzmon probably said it best when he wrote in his review of the film, “The Coen film ends with a chain of scenes initiated by a tornado alert given during a Hebrew class in a Jewish orthodox school. The young Bar Mitzvah kids are ordered to evacuate the class immediately. Next we see the storm rapidly encroaching towards the boys and girls who are now standing in the open school yard. Paralysed by awe, perplexed they gaze towards their own inevitable disaster. They stare at it, they are hopeless on the verge of impotence. Their elder teacher is right behind them, frantically struggling to find the right key for the synagogue shelter. The key to life should be in his hands, but he is obviously not going to find it. At the same cinematic time Larry Gopnik, the protagonist of the film, receives an urgent call from his doctor, his X-ray diagnosis is back. Apparently, something is horribly wrong with his body. Prior to the call, Larry was obviously totally unaware of his affliction and is thrown into a state of profound shock. Allegorically, this is the meaning of Jewish detachment and alienation according to the Coens. The People of the Book consistently fail to detect when something is going horribly wrong. They somehow fail to anticipate the storm that is coming or brace themselves for its devastating impact. They fail to interpret some minor signs of resentment before it turns into a tide of hatred. And even when they do manage to notice a rise in antagonism, they somehow employ the wrong strategy to placate it. As we often read, Jewish ethnic campaigners and institutions (ADL, AJC, BOD etc’) are always flagging up statistics, they prefer to present numbers of ‘anti Semitic’ incidents instead of wondering why these incidents occur in the first place.”  In Barton Fink, the eponymous protagonist also fails to process danger after unwittingly befriending a serial killer who he initially pisses off after complaining to the front desk of a hotel they were both occupying despite said serial killer also being the sort of goy “common man” that that he oftentimes speaks so reverently about.  Of course, as the Coen brothers reveal, the working-class is nothing more than a mere abstraction to the protagonist, or so he assumedly learns when it is already too late.

Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that the Coen brothers are such great filmmakers is their sort of razor sharp racial self-awareness and intricate and nuanced approach to the Jewish question, whether it be the exploiting a goy's empathy by an insufferably slimy bookie Bernie ‘chisellin' Little Yid’ Bernbaum and his femme fatale sister Verna in Miller's Crossing (1990), the completely spiritually cuckolded Milius-esque neocon Jewish convert Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, or the titular kosher cuckold and his cryptically corrupt Minnesota community in A Serious Man. While it is indubitably true that the Hebraic duo have created their own fair share of uniquely unflattering goy bad boys and unsavory shiksa sluts, it can certainly be argued that the Coens’ most pathetic and repugnant characters are swarthy Israelites that love the smell of their own kosher farts. In Barton Fink—a film with a protagonist that was modeled after kosher commie playwright and screenwriter Clifford Odets who, not unlike the film's protagonist, left for Hollywood after the production of his play Clash by Night (1941) in the 1941–1942 season—the viewer is exposed to the innate hypocrisy and phoniness of the bourgeois-bred Jewish Trotskyite intellectual and how such a figure is even more loathsome and grotesque than the miserly ‘happy merchant’ archetype. Indeed, after watching the film, it is easy to see why Uncle Joe Stalin went to such absurd extremes to have an ice axe driven into Trotsky’s diseased gray matter, as there is no greater threat to a real lumpenprole revolution than a comfortably smug intellectual in unstained worker’s clothing. Of course, the great irony of the film is that it was directed by two intellectuals that look like they could by the dope-smoking grandsons of rabid postmodern rebben Trotsky. Indeed, forget Lubitsch and his all the more cynical protégé Billy Wilder, the Coen brothers are the two true kosher kings of subversive Semitic comedies. While racist alt-Israelite Douglas Rushkoff—a bombastic dork with an unintentionally humorous god complex that once bragged regarding his race, “In a sense, our detractors have us right, in that we are a corrosive force . . .”—proudly argued in his book Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism (2003) in regard to the innately iconoclastic nature of Judaism, “Iconoclasm destroys all man-made symbols and leads to abstract monotheism, which in turn leads to an ethos of social justice,” the Coen brothers go all the way and smash both Judaism and its post-religious metaphysical affliction of SJWism.

 Notably, in his book The Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Jewish self-hatred, and the Jews (2006), right-wing Jewish Zionist playwright and sometimes filmmaker David Mamet makes a somewhat dubious claim in regard to mainstream zio-ganda flicks like Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) and Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002), stating in a somewhat paranoid (yet quite stereotypically Jewish) fashion, “I wrote, years ago, that Holocaust films are ‘MANDINGO for Jews,’ and that the thrill, for the audience, came and comes from a protected indulgence of anti-Semitism: they get to see us killed and to explain to themselves that they feel bad about it.” Judging by his quote and by the fact that he is also a Jewish writer, I would love to hear Mamet’s thoughts on Barton Fink, which, on top of featuring a number of greedy and/or otherwise grotesque Jewish characters, features a Judaic writer protagonist that probably epitomizes everything that he  abhors in his race as a mensch with strong Zionistic tendencies. In the same book, Mamet complains in regard to his kinsmen, “Why do some Jews reject their religion and their race? For two reasons: because it is ‘too Jewish’ and because it is not Jewish enough.” While I have to assume that Mamet would deride the Coen brothers’ film as the work of unabashed self-loathing Jews, I would certainly argue that—for better or worse—it is, culturally speaking, one of the most innately Jewish films ever made as a cinematic works that follows in the grand culturally kosher tradition of Franz Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Hermann Ungar, Carlo Michelstaedter, Harold Pinter, and David Cronenberg in terms of being an intricate and highly idiosyncratic expression of Jewish neurosis, albeit of the slightly more immature sort. Despite the fact that they work in very different (sub)genres, the Coen brothers are somewhat comparable to Canuck body horror maestro Cronenberg in the sense of their subversive post-Talmudic intellects and somewhat detached affinity for the curiously morally depraved and/or preternaturally pathological. Similarly, just as only a member of god’s chosen tribe could have directed a werewolf flick as dementedly darkly humorous and shoah-stained as John Landis' An American Werewolf in London (1981) and a film as unabashedly perverse neurotic and aesthetically autistic as Todd Solondz Palindromes (2004), only a Jew (or two Jews, in this case) could have dreamed up a film as intrinsically and intricately Jewish despite being a film where the word “Jew” is only used once and “kike” is flagrantly used about half a dozen times. 

 Although a decidedly distastefully swarthy four-eyed geek with an eccentrically elevated jewfro, titular protagonist Barton Fink (John Turturro)—a pretentious playwright that just received somewhat of a hit with a painfully banal social realism oriented play entitled ‘Bare Ruined Choirs’—seems to secretly believe that he is the most revolutionary writer since Marx, so naturally he is somewhat hesitant to take a job offer as a scriptwriter under contract at a big Hollywood studio named Capitol Pictures. Despite his semi-cryptic commie sympathies, Fink finds a $1,000-a-week contract to be rather appealing since it is 1941 and he is somewhat unsure what to do with his life, or as he complains to his manager with a certain glaring lack of self-confidence and authenticity, “I’m not sure anymore. I guess I try to make a difference.” Immediately upon arriving in Hollywood, Fink is greeted with an ominous atmosphere when he meekly checks into a quasi-gothic and painfully dilapidated Art Deco dump named Hotel Earle—a building that clearly has seen better days, as if it lost what was left of its initial extravagance the same year that a janitor tossed the cut footage from Erich von Stroheim’s magnum opus Greed (1924) into a MGM studio dumpster—that is run by a eerily emasculated and and merrily masochistic bellhop named ‘Chet’ (Steve Buscemi) who seems to derive great pleasure at the thought of shining the shoes of his hapless tenants. Despite the sorry state of the rotting hotel, Fink, who refuses an offer from his studio to pay for a nicer hotel, seems to have an instinctual and almost ascetic attraction to the building, as if he knows that it is his own little special piece of purgatory where he will have a spiritually luminous experience and be forced to truly find himself and mature as both a man and artist. Assigned to pen a script for a b wrestling movie that he has nil interest in, Fink is, not surprisingly, almost immediately plagued with writer’s block, as if he cannot bear to write something that he believes is so innately beneath him.  Indeed, while Fink acts like he has a great big hard-on for the working man, he cannot even be bothered to take interest in the perennial prole sport, but luckily a jovial fat bastard will soon give him so much needed pointers.

 As Fink discovers in a rather rude fashion, Capitol Pictures, like most studios of that era (and today), is an almost 100% kosher studio that is lorded over by absurdly rude and grotesquely loudmouthed chosenites. Unfortunately for Fink, he is forced to work with a cynical producer named Ben Geisler (Tony Shalhoub)—a character clearly inspired by revolutionary Judaic Hollywood producer Irving ‘The Boy Wonder’ Thalberg (Camille, Mutiny on the Bay)—who makes it quite clear that he cannot stomach the pansy pretenses of artsy fartsy NYC intellectual types like the protagonist. Although the studio’s founder and head Jack Lipnick (Michael Lerner)—a grotesque beast of a man that bears a striking physical resemblance to MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer (who, like Lerner’s character, is also a Belarusian-born Jew) and possesses a revoltingly arrogant and bombastic personality worthy of disgraced Miramax cofounder Louis B. Mayer—takes an immediate liking to Fink, the hapless screenwriter will soon discover that the obsession while ultimately lead to his artistic downfall. While Lipnick does everything he can to kiss Fink’s ass, including literally kissing his feet and gleefully stating, “The writer is king here at Capitol Pictures. Don’t believe me, take a look at your paycheck at the end of every week. That’s what we think of the writer,” he also reveals himself to be a megalomaniacal mad man by boasting with a certain degree of otherworldly chutzpah, “I’m bigger and meaner and louder than any other kike in this town.” Undoubtedly, there is a certain sickly sardonic irony in the fact that Lipnick loves throwing around the classic anti-Semitic slur “kike,” as Fink will ultimately become the victim of what a Jewish (anti)hate group like the ADL might describe as stereotypical ‘financial canards’ in terms of the ruthless abuse of business power and materialism that the protagonist will suffer at the hands of the studio head. Indeed, Fink might to be a self-deluded prick and hypocrite that loves the smell of his own farts despite incessantly pontificating on his ostensible respect for the “common man,” but he does seem to have a certain genuine respect for art and the process of artistic creation. As for Lipnick, he seems to pride himself on profiting handsomely from incessantly producing formulaic philistine motion-picture entertainment for the most mindless of knuckle-dragging goyim, hence the popularity of the sort of kitschy boxing pictures that his studio regularly defecates out. Supposedly illiterate and relying on his meek assistant Lou Breeze (Jon Polito) to read scripts for him, Lipnick judges a film’s quality as to whether it is “fruity” or not. Needless to say, Fink’s script is ultimately judged to be “fruity,” but first the protagonist must go to virtual metaphysical hell and back before he can create what he will eventually personally judge as his greatest work. 

 Despite being a quasi-hipster-esque Jewish NYC intellectual that only works with other Jews, Fink somewhat ironically develops a relatively close and tender relationship with a bawdy and somewhat boorish goy insurance salesman of the rather rotund sort named Charlie Meadows (John Goodman). Not surprisingly considering the Fink’s somewhat strange luck, his friendship with Charlie develops under somewhat awkward circumstances after he calls the front desk of his hotel to complain about the fat mensch for making too much noise while he is trying in vain to write. When Charlie swings by his hotel room to make amends for the noise, Fink initially seems somewhat scared but eventually gets the gall to bring up his favorite subject, himself, and arrogantly remarks when his new friend asks about what kind of writing he does, “Strange as it may seem, Charlie, I guess I write about people like you – the average working stiff, the common man.” Indeed, Fink practically suffers from diarrhea of the mouth and won’t let Charlie speak as he is pathetically pontificating about stereotypical commie gibberish, including stating that he wants to, “create a theater for the masses based on a few simple truths, not on some shopworn abstractions about drama that don’t hold true today, if they ever did.” While working stiff Charlie—a rather agreeable insurance salesman that proudly proclaims that he loves working with the public—selflessly offers to help Fink with his writing and chimes in with remarks like, “Hell, I could tell you stories,” Fink just continues to passionately proselytize and spout bullshit that he doesn’t even truly believe like, “The hopes and dreams of the common man are as noble as those of any king.” Of course, whether he wants to admit to himself or not, Fink sees himself as a sort of messianic king of abstract intellect and he cannot help but treat virtually everyone he meets as if they were servile paupers that are lucky to be in his presence. 

 One day while taking a leak at a urinal at a local restaurant, Fink hears the gratingly grotesque sounds of a drunk puking his guts out in a nearby stall, so naturally he is delightfully shocked to discover that the shameless dipsomaniac in question is his writer hero W. P. Mayhew (John Mahoney)—a character inspired by William Faulkner—who also works as a Hollywood screenwriter, or as he states himself with a certain inebriated elegance, “All of us undomesticated writers eventually make our way out here to the great salt lick. That’s probably why I always have such a powerful thirst.” While Fink somewhat breaks character and gleefully proclaims to the elder writer like an excited schoolboy with a fan-boy crush, “You’re the finest novelist of our time,” the protagonist will soon discover that his great hero is a deranged boozer and pathetic artistic fraud who has his long-suffering servile secretary-cum-girlfriend Audrey Taylor (Judy Davis) ghostwrite all of his work for him. While Audrey proudly proclaims to love Mayhew, who is old enough to be her father, and even demonstrates it by passively accepting his constant verbal and physical abuse, that does not stop her from eventually seducing Fink when she is supposed to be helping him write his screenplay. Rather unfortunately, the next morning after their carnal session, Fink is absolutely horrified to discover Audrey’s bloody corpse lying next to him.  Rather absurdly, Fink only discovers that Audrey is a lifeless corpse after he makes a valiant attempt to swat a mosquito that is feasting on her cold unclad body.  Luckily, Fink’s good old buddy Charlie, who was able to hear the ill-fated lovemaking session the night before via a pipe, is curiously more than willing to help get rid of Audrey’s corpse, though Mayhew’s dead body is, somewhat strangely, also found a couple days later.

Needless to say, Fink, who has no other friends in Hollywood, suffers a virtual emotional breakdown when Charlie informs him that he temporarily leaving town. Somewhat unfortunately, Fink makes the mistake of giving Charlie the address of his parents and beloved “Uncle Maury.” Unbeknownst to Fink, who, despite his ostensible formidable intellect, is plagued by a certain socially autistic naïveté, Charlie is a deranged serial killer and his real name is the chillingly Teutonic Karl ‘Madman’ Mundt. Indeed, Fink is somewhat taken about when a wop-American cop named Detective Mastrionotti (Richard Portnow) and his kraut-American partner Detective Deutsch (Christopher Murney), who both insult him from being a Jew, inform him that Charlie is a crazed killer and show him a goofy mugshot of his pal.  Notably, before leaving town, Charlie shows Fink some wrestling moves and even violently pins him down on the ground in a manner that is probably more passionate than the protagonist's coital encounter with Audrey.  While Charlie undoubtedly demonstrates that he could probably effortlessly kill Fink with his bare hands, he opts to teach him a lesson in respect and humility instead.

 Before leaving town, Charlie drops off a dubious wrapped package that looks like it would be a nice fit for a decapitated female human head and asks Fink if he would be so kind enough to watch it for him since the box ostensibly contains everything that is important to him. Somewhat inexplicably, the package, which manages to spark his curiosity, seems to cure Fink’s writer block, as he manages to finish his entire script, which he previously only had written a mere couple words of, in a single night. Indeed, not only does Fink finish the script, but he also calls his producer Geisler the same night and proudly boasts that “I think it’s really big” and “This may be the most important work I’ve ever done.” In fact, Fink’s creative accomplishment gives him such a massive ego boast that he manages to cause a small riot at a dance hall after boasting to a group of sailors while possessed by delusions of grandeur and screaming twaddle like, “I’m a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I’m a creator! I’m a creator! This is my uniform! [points to head] This is how a serve the common man.” As to what caused Fink to act in such an unbecomingly hysterical fashion, a sailor dared to kindly asked to “cut in” and dance with the same girl he was dancing with because he was “shipping out tomorrow” and probably wanted a little female warmth before going to war.  Undoubtedly, Fink probably deserved the same treatment that was unleashed on Kenneth Anger's character in Fireworks (1947) by a couple of suavely dressed sailors, but luckily for him he only received a single punch to the face.  Arguably, in no other scene does Fink’s hypocritical contempt for the so-called “common man” become so unbearably glaring, especially since the young military men are going to risk their lives in a war that involves rescuing European Jewry, so it is only fitting that the viewer receives the therapeutic relief of seeing one of the prole sailors punching him in his loudmouth.  Of course, it will take more than a punch to knock Fink down a couple pegs, as he is a mensch that has a hard time suffering humility.

 If the punch did not bring Fink back to reality and force him to confront his innately counterfeit Marxist metapolitical Weltanschauung, Charlie’s rather abrupt and quite literally explosive holocaust-esque homecoming certainly does. Indeed, not long after Detective Mastrionotti and Detective Deutsch come by his hotel room and prepare to arrest him for mysterious murders that he clearly did not commit (as the menacing detectives make quite clear, they are no friends of the Jews), Charlie announces his arrival by setting the hotel on fire and then dispatching both of the overtly fascistic cops, who are completely unprepared for the final showdown, with a shotgun.  Indeed, after blowing away Mastrionotti and sardonically screaming “Look upon me! I’ll show you the life of the mind!” while running down the inflamed hotel hallway, Charlie, who seems to be fueled with homicidal glory, wounds Deutsch and then finishes him off with a close-contact blast to the brain, but not before relatively calmly declaring with a strange foreboding fatalism, “Heil, Hitler,” as if he is concluding a symbolic ironical performance art routine that sums up the outcome of the Second World War.  Indeed, fat and jovial yet homicidal and unhinged Charlie's scorched-earth routine can certainly be seen as a sick allegorical depiction of America's dubious role in WWII.

Somewhat calmer after killing the cops, Charlie has a little post-rampage chat with Fink where he justifies his pathological homicidal tendencies by declaring, “They say I’m a madman, Bart, but I’m not mad at anyone. Honest, I’m not. Most guys I just feel sorry for. It tears me up inside to think about what they’re going through, how trapped they are. I understand it. I feel for them. So I try and help them out. Jesus. Yeah. Yeah. I know what it feels like when things get all balled up at the head office. They put you through hell, Barton. So I help people out. I just wish someone would do as much for me. Jesus, it’s hot.” When Fink dares to ask “why me?,” Charlie goes completely berserk and screams in his face, “Because you don’t listen!” and then adds, “Come one, Barton. You think you know pain? You think I made your life hell? Take a look around this dump. You’re just a tourist with a typewriter, Barton. I live here. Don’t you understand that? And you come into my home and you complain that I’m making too much noise.” Luckily, Barton seems to truly listen to another human-being for the first time in his entire life and seemingly sincerely declares in almost a whisper, “I’m sorry,” to which Charlie gratefully replies, “Don’t be.” While Charlie manages to spare Fink’s life by freeing him from a bed frame that the dead detectives previously handcuffed him to, the sympathetic serial killer also informs him that he paid an unexpected visit to his parents and uncle in NYC. On top of everything else, Charlie also confesses that he “lied” about the wrapped package and simply declares that it is “not mine.” Needless to say, Fink subsequently has trouble contacting his parents and uncle over the telephone.  As for Charlie, who previously expressed a desire to be put out of his misery, one can only assume that he commits suicide via avant-garde self-immolation, as he simply goes back to his room while the hotel is burning down.  Of course, one can only speculate that Fink managed to give Charlie the comfort and security he needed to commit suicide after managing to temporarily put aside his ego and apologize for his rude behavior.  Needless to say, all the pain and suffering that Fink suffers probably could have been avoided were he not a insufferably narcissistic twat, just as World Jewry probably could have avoided a pogrom or two had members of its leadership respected the wishes of its host population and not double-downed and incited more antisemitism with its actions.  Indeed, it is no coincidence that Charlie declares to Fink, “You're just a tourist with a typewriter, Barton.  I live here,” as the protagonist is surely symbolic of the iconoclastic wandering Jew who, lacking in self-awareness and consumed with unwarranted hubris, proceeds to immediately shit on the place and people he has invaded.

 If Charlie was not able to teach Fink a lesson in humility, fellow Israelite Lipnick, who now demands to be addressed as “Colonel Lipnick” because, as he states with a hint of unintentionally hilarious arrogance, he was “commissioned yesterday in the army reserve. Henry Morgenthau arranged it. Dear friend,” certainly does as he cannot stomach the pretenses of intellectual yids that do not know their place. Indeed, Lipnick verbally tears both Fink and his prized script into pieces, declaring, “We don’t put Wally Beery in a fruity movie about suffering. I thought we were together on that.” When Fink meekly protests, “I tried to show you something beautiful. Something about all of us,” Lipnick becomes enraged and declares, “You arrogant son of a bitch. You think you’re the only writer that can give me that Barton Fink feeling. I’ve got 20 writer under contract I can ask for a Fink-type thing from! You swell-headed hypocrite, you just don’t get it, do you? You think the whole world revolves around whatever rattles inside that little kike head of yours.”  Although Fink seems to think he is some sort of precious intellectual revolutionary that is worthy of being treasured and adored by some kosher literary elite, he clearly does not understand the true harsh reality of the Eastern European ghetto realm of Lipnick, who simply cannot abide his self-absorbed intellectual onanism.

Undoubtedly, the difference between Fink and Lipnick is somewhat summed up by Ernest van den Haag in his book The Jewish Mystique where he argues in regard to the innate difference between poor Jews and their somewhat more spoiled American-born sons and grandson, “His children now can afford the radicalism the father had to relinquish—at least as an active pursuit—to bring them up. The father became a liberal. He was once upon a time radical because he was poor. He felt he had nothing to lose, everything to gain. The children once more are radical—but this time because they are rich enough not to worry about earning money. Whereas the father’s and grandfather’s motive for radicalism was poverty and oppression, the marginal existence they were compelled to lead, the son’s is a product of his parent’s suburban success. The son discovers that ‘money isn’t everything.’ It isn’t. He is bored by money, by making it and by spending it. Money shelters him materially; but for that he had to pay a price: he feels mentally uncomfortable, psychologically anxious, bored, restless, aimlessly rebellious—what is he to do with himself, with his life?” Undoubtedly, van den Haag's description of the “son” certainly describes Fink, at least in a superficial sense.  Maybe if Fink had to do a week or two of real hard labor, he might appreciate his lot in life, drop his unconsciously condescending attitude toward the proletariat and rethink his pinko idealism and fetish for the “common man.” Additionally, while Lipnick seems to be a proud “kike,” Fink seems to be the sort of post-Yiddish kosher cosmopolitan that would argee with Marx's words, “The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.” Indeed, while Fink is certainly hopelessly Jewish in terms of appearance and psychology, he is probably behind on his Talmud studies.

 In the end, a rather defeated-looking Barton takes a walk on the beach while carrying Charlie’s package and is somewhat taken aback when he happens up a beauteous babe that resembles the image a woman in a kitschy beach painting that was hanging in his hotel room.  As demonstrated by his obsessional glaring at it throughout the film, Fink undoubtedly developed a strange infatuation with the painting, so he naturally finds the young lady rather appealing. After Fink asks her, “Are you in pictures?,” and she bashfully replies “Don’t be silly,” and then positions herself on the beach in a manner that, rather surreally, more or less perfectly duplicates the image from the painting, though a seagull randomly drops dead and falls into the ocean, thus assumedly demystifying the scenic splendor that it originally had for the protagonist and thereupon probably adding to his growing cynicism and disillusionment with art and life in general.  In short, both Fink's political and idealism have died an undignified death just like the lone seagull that fell into the ocean.  Surely, Fink has had an exceedingly Ernüchterung experience in Hollywood, but luckily he might rethink his fetish for Trotsky. 

 While Barton Fink was generally well received among all the right mainstream critics up on its initial release, a couple of them were not so happy with the film’s portrayal of certain Hebraic characters. Indeed, as noted by Jew Josh Levine in his book The Coen Brothers: The Story of Two American Filmmakers (2000), Jewish The Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman—a lifelong far-left cheerleader that incidentally co-wrote the somewhat worthwhile text Midnight Movies (1983) with Jonathan Rosenbaum—would complain, “At the period when BARTON FINK is set, the virtual acme of worldwide anti-Semitism, America’s two most potent Jewish stereotypes were the vulgar Hollywood mogul and the idealistic New York communist. . . . BARTON FINK locks these stereotypes in sadomasochistic embrace.” Of course, what Hoberman is ignoring is that these so-called stereotypes are based on real individuals that are far less sympathetic than the characters that the Coen brothers created. Notably, good goy media critic James Wolcott was no less critical of the kosher elements of the film, complaining in his Vanity Fair review, “What makes the movie such an audacious sickie is that the Coen brothers – themselves Jewish – never attempt to make us identify with Barton’s plight. They keep him and his attitudes in a jar.” Judging by Wolcott's review, it seems as if he failed to even watch the movie and/or he could not image a Judaic film character that was not portrayed in a 100% positive light like the insufferably sagely social justice Jewish character Sol Roth portrayed by Hebrew film noir icon Edward G. Robinson in fellow Judaic Richard Fleischer's SJW sci-fi classic Soylent Green (1973), but such groveling shabbos goy thinking goes with the territory when you're a mainstream American film critic. To Wolcott’s credit, he did not go as far as accusing the the Coen brothers of being self-loathing chosenites but instead argued, “I never felt watching the movie that the Coen brothers were indulging in something as obvious and personal as Jewish self-hatred. The movie has too much conscious effrontery. . . .It satirizes the Jewish sense of victimization, without denying that victimization exists.” Naturally, like virtually every Coen brothers film, the Semitic siblings approach their characters in a certain detached fashion, hence one of their greatest strengths as filmmakers.  Naturally, the Coen brothers do not believe that the titular protagonist of Barton Fink deserves the torment and suffering that he ultimately faces, but they also acknowledge that Fink was also at least partially responsible for said torment and suffering due to his arrogance, narcissism, and quite literally laughable lack of self-awareness.  After all, most of Fink's misery could have easily been avoid had he pulled his head out of his ass every once and while.

 While the Coen brothers are probably not exactly stereotypical self-loathing Jews despite what certain Zionistic JDL types might think, they have certainly demonstrated in past statements that they are not the sort of hysterical Jewish leftist agitpropagandists or neocon Zionist war-pigs that can be found working in Hollywood, but instead a sort of American filmic auteur equivalent to great Jewish Viennese satirist and wordsmith Karl Kraus. Indeed, Viennese novelist Stefan Zweig might as well have been speaking of the Coen brothers when he once wrote regarding fellow Austrian Jew Kraus that he was “the master of venomous ridicule.” As the brothers’ films surely demonstrate, they are equal-opportunity offenders who, quite unlike other members of their race (e.g. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer), are willing to be just as ruthless when it comes to depicting Judaic characters. Also, like Kraus, who attacked prominent Jewish (pseudo)intellectual movements like Zionism and psychoanalysis and its lead figures like Theodor Herzl and Sigmund Freud, the Coen brothers have also attacked certain Jewish types that they find deplorable, most notably the titular kosher turd of Barton Fink. Needless to say, the siblings are no mindless Zio-bot propagandists, but the foremost cinematic critics of the most repugnant elements of their ethno-cultural group.

As recounted by Josh Levine, despite having an older sister named Debbie that moved to Israel after becoming a physician, the Coens originally refused to visit the Jewish state because they feared it would be like an “armed Jewish summer camp,” which is surely something that no sane individual would want to experience (incidentally, the Coens were practically bribed to travel to Israel in 2011 under the dubious pretense of receiving a million-dollar award from Tel Aviv University, though the two did not do any shilling for Israel while there as demonstrated by Joel's remark, “We grew up in a Jewish community, but we never thought to make a story that deals with Israel. We don’t really know Israel — we write American stories. That's what we know”). Although the Coen brothers got their start in filmmaking working with fellow Midwestern Jew Sam Raimi on The Evil Dead (1981) and the siblings would approach the Zionist fundraiser Hadassah so that they could obtain a list of the 100 wealthiest Jews in their state under the pretense of approaching said wealthy Jews about becoming investors for their debut feature debut Blood Simple (1984), the two were apparently not swamped with Jewish influence growing up and never became part of hermetic Hebraic suburban neo-ghetto culture, or as Joel Coen’s blonde shiksa wife, actress Frances McDormand, once noted, “They grew up pretty isolated as the only Jewish kids around and they’re pretty big on loyalty and dependability,” hence their lack of racial chauvinism. In short, Barton Fink could have never been created by stereotypical American Jews that have fond members of Hillel college events or a Birthright Israel pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Likewise, the film could have never been directed by someone that is deluded enough to take intellectual inspiration from the demented scribblings of Wilhelm Reich or Herbert Marcuse like Herr Fink probably would. 

 While the Coen brothers have completely denied in the past that the film has any sort of specific esoteric allegorical message, Barton Fink is unequivocally a film that begs for deep and creative analysis, especially when it comes to the perennial ‘Jewish question.’ For example, the scene where Charlie Meadows dispatches the kraut and wop detectives—characters that are clearly symbolic of the Axis Powers as indicated by their names ‘Mastrionotti’ and ‘Deutsch’—can be seen as symbolic of the semi-feral white Americans saving the European Jews during the so-called holocaust. Notably, it is interesting that Charlie’s real name is the quite Germanic ‘Karl Mundt’ as German-Americans, somewhat ironically, made up for the largest single ethnic group to fight in the American military during WWII.  I would not be surprised if the Coen brothers—in their jaded kosher cynicism—see the white American goyim saving the Jews as both a sick irony and a potentially dangerous situation, as if they expect the same whites that saved their as being just as capable, if not more capable, of carrying out a fully successful shoah after meeting too many whiny subversive Jews like Fink (after all, the film hints that Meadows aka Mundt has exterminated Fink’s family).   Naturally, it is no coincidence that American Jews were at the forefront of promoting the flooding of the United States with non-whites from the Third World.  Indeed, the so-called Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (aka Hart–Celler Act), which is directly responsible for the browning and third worldization of America, was the demented brainchild of Jewish politicians that include NY Senator Jacob Javits, Congressman Emanuel Celler, Leo Pfeffer (Former President of American Jewish Congress), and Norman Podhoretz (Writer and Member of The Council of Foreign Relations). As to why the Jews would want to the U.S. to degenerate into a third world hellhole, American Jewish Congress (AJC) and World Jewish Congress (WJC) bigwig David W. Petegorsky made it quite clear when he declared in 1948, “Jewish survival can only take place within the framework of a progressive and expanding democratic society, which through its institutions and public policies gives expression to the concept of cultural pluralism.”  Of course, like Fink, none of these Jewish politicians seemed to have the self-awareness to consider that the fruits of their actions might eventually result in an antisemitic backlash.

 Of course, another sick irony of the film is that it is ultimately Hollywood studio mogul Jack Lipnick—a man that cannot help but use the word “kike” in every single sentence—is ultimately a true, if mostly symbolic, savior of the Jews as a military officer and propagandist while far-leftist Fink is never depicted even contemplating the Third Reich, WWII, or European antisemitism despite the film taking place in 1941. In fact, Lipnick even mentions that he is a good pal of Jewish U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau Jr. who, on top of working hard to rescue Jewish refuges during WWII, was the creator of the so-called ‘Morgenthau Plan,’ which was designed to completely de-industrialize and more or less destroy German and turn it into what Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels described as a giant potato patch (undoubtedly revealing his completely anti-Christian/anti-American semitic sense of justice, Morgenthau also suggested to FDR in the summer of 1944 that the top 50 or 100 German “arch-criminals” be immediately exterminated upon being captured). Surely, it is no coincidence that Lipnick comes off seeming like a sort of fascistic dictator, as he is like the illiterate hate-child of Martin Bormann and Harvey Weinstein. Surely, as artists and writers, the Coens see Lipnick—a loudmouth philistine that boasts of virtually enslaving writers under contract yet refusing to use their work—as something more monstrous than Hitler. 

 As far as I am concerned, Barton Fink is an unmitigated masterpiece that, cinematically speaking, manages to offer a little bit of everything despite being a period piece that takes place during a very specific time and place.  Indeed, both a mix of kitsch and high-kultur, Lynch and Polanski, Künstlerroman and buddy flick, comedy and horror, antisemitism and philo-Semitism, Art Deco and dime store, arthouse and Hollywood, surrealism and realism, heaven and hell, Southern Gothic and Vaudeville, The Twilight Zone and the History Channel, and the grotesque and gorgeous, the film might not be seen by many film critics as brothers' magnum opus but it would be very hard to deny that it is their most aesthetically and thematically ambitious film to date (I think the Coens might believe this as well as they are considering directing a sequel entitled Old Fink).  In terms of innate Jewishness, the film is only second to the Coens' later work A Serious Man.  Of course, both of these films reveal a rather reluctant and highly self-critical Jewishness, or what David Mamet would probably describe as ‘The Wicked Son’ mindset.  Indeed, as Mamet once wrote, “This is the wickedness of the wicked son.  He feels free to enjoy his intellectual heritage, the Jewish love of learning, and reverence for accomplishment; he enjoys, aware or not, a heritage of millennia of Jewish law and values; he enjoys his very life, which would have been denied him and his ancestors in the Europe they suffered to leave; he enjoys the right to protection from the community he disavows and, through it all, parrots, ‘My parents were Jews, but I do not consider myself a Jew.’”

Although not staunch Zionists, the Coen brothers would never deny their kosher credentials, just as they would never direct a film as personally self-loathingly Jewish and strangely Zionistic as Mamet's Homicide (1991), but I digress.  On the other hand, if he had a greater sense of humor and flare for aesthetics, the great so-called self-hating Jew Otto Weininger might have directed a film like Barton Fink.  After all, Weininger, who lived a lonely and haunted purgatorial existence not unlike Herr Fink before killing himself in the same Viennese rented room that Ludwig van Beethoven died in, believed that “The Jew is an inborn communist” and he saw Judaism as a nihilistic belief in nothing, which is certainly how the religion seems in A Serious Man due to its depiction of mindless rabbis.  Unequivocally 100% kosher in terms of both appearance and psychology and sharing a kohanim surname of the Judaic Aaronic priesthood, the Coen brothers indubitably represent the best in terms of aesthetic and intellectual post-religious Judaism, with Barton Fink indubitably representing a ‘Hebraic Eraserhead’ as a poetically paranoic expression of a Jewish protagonist in an insufferable semi-cryptically kosher world.  Undoubtedly, one of the innate ingredients of Judaism is iconoclasm, which is one of the Coen brothers greatest talents.  Of course, what makes Barton Fink so paradoxically Über-Jewish and antisemitic is that it takes an iconoclastic approach to an intrinsically Jewish world and contains Hebraic characters that are easily more repugnant than those featured in National Socialist classics like Veit Harlan's Jud Süß (1940) and even mischling Fritz Hippler's agitprop piece Der Ewige Jude (1940) aka The Eternal Jew.  Indeed, when watched through a Jew-wise lens, the film offers Nicholas Donin-tier condemnation for Hebraic Hollywood and Jewish left-wing politics yet, at the same time, the Coen brothers' greatest films are more innately kosher than anything ever directed by Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.  In short, the Coen brothers are probably the only filmmakers that can be easily loved or loathed by both Kahanite terrorists and National Alliance members alike.

-Ty E

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