Starring: Peter Weller, Judy Davis
Director: David Cronenberg
So, this is a film by the body horror king, David Cronenberg, starring the guy who played Robocop, and based on the writing of a book by a beat poet. It’s an odd one.
William S Burroughs wrote a book called Naked Lunch, and this film is kind of hallucinatory trip through his writing of the book and aspects of the book itself. It follows a man who has given up writing and taking drugs with his friends, and has taken up working as an exterminator. But when his yellow bug killing powder runs out, his friends admit that his wife has been using it to get high. He ends up trying the drug himself, accidentally shooting his wife, and is told by a giant cockroach that he’s actually an undercover agent, and it sent to a mythical African province called Interzone, where he meets his wife’s doppelganger and his new friend, a typewriter that is also a giant cockroach which talks.
It’s a must see because: it’s one of those films that you’d never see being made today. It’s unusual, both in tone, plot and subject. Set in the mid fifties, all the beat poets are rather dead pan, whilst the other characters are cartoon like, the cops and doctors and everyone else. It’s hard to tell whether the whole thing is meant to be occurring in a drug induced hallucination or whether it’s all real and literal, and perhaps that is the best part of the film.
Being a Cronenberg film, it also has quite a lot of cockroach and bug related grossness. It feels kind of like a horror in that respect, though IMDb has it listed as a drama. I’m not sure entirely how to categorise it. I did really like the way the main character was really unaffected by anything that occurred, much like in Robocop, he’s a wooden, introverted man. He’s kind of different, separate from the world and his emotions. It’s interesting. I don’t mean to say that he’s a wooden actor, Peter Weller is very good, I mean that he’s very internalised, depersonalised.
But, that said, I didn’t entirely get this film, what it was all about, what it all meant on a larger level. The bugs design, as well as the weird characters are amazing effects, I was impressed. But why are they there, and so prominently, in the sense of creating meaning? I’d love to hear what you all think of it if you’ve seen it or you end up watching it.
See It If: you’re a Cronenberg fan or like gross out type horror, it’s a weird film. Def not a date night flick…