Tag Archives: Eyes Wide Shut

Crispin Glover, Hollywood Materialism, and 9/11 Predictive Programming

What is It Cover Art

“The United States has it’s own propaganda, but it’s very effective because people don’t realize that it’s propaganda. And it’s subtle, but it’s actually a much stronger propaganda machine than the Nazis had but it’s funded in a different way. With the Nazis it was funded by the government, but in the United States, it’s funded by corporations and corporations they only want things to happen that will make people want to buy stuff. So whatever that is, then that is considered okay and good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it really serves people’s thinking – it can stupefy and make not very good things happen.” – Crispin Hellion Glover

Recently, I had the distinct opportunity to see “Crispin Glover Live”, where he gave a series of slide show presentations that left me in a state of what I would describe as bemused confusion at what exactly I was witnessing. After all, how does one begin to fully explain what a reading and rendering of a book about the intricacies of rat catching and cadavers from a professional in the field of dissection and listing of anatomical features interspersed with what appear to be a series of drawings, book passages, and black-and-white photographs from the 1950s really mean? Next, he showed his surreal movie “What is It?”, a Jungian-like exploration of the unconscious adventures of a motley cast of characters, mostly with Down Syndrome, that involved a white guy in black face, a running motif of a dissolving snail being salted, and Crispin Glover himself playing some kind of cruel king of the underworld surrounded by a bevy of topless women with animal heads and one grown man in a diaper lying a crib. Honestly, you can’t make this crazy shit up! But, Crispin Glover can and did make this up…creating what I’m sure was one of the greatest WTF moments in many warped peoples’ minds that were lucky enough to be there that night with me at the Alamo Drafthouse.

Most of you, however, probably remember Crispin Glover not from his personal surreal film oddities like the aforementioned “What is It?” but rather his acting in idiosyncratic roles like Dale in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. It was his breakthrough role as the nerdy and socially-awkward George McFly, who is able to rise to the occasion against his arch nemesis Biff with the help of his future son played by Michael J. Fox, where Crispin Glover became a recognizable actor in Hollywood. Unfortunately, one gets the impression that Hollywood never really fully appreciated his decidedly bizarre choice of characters that were to follow and nor especially the anti-corporate ethos regarding his own creative work. Even on the celebrity talk show circuit, Glover was quickly typecast as a dangerous weirdo, as his appearance on Letterman would clearly show when he was kicked off the show for well…”kicking on the show”.

Crispin Glover in Shades

However, behind the largely unpretentious, darkly humorous, and quirky character turns of Glover lay a much overlooked critical and very perceptive mind that saw the Hollywood system for what it really represented to those unfamiliar with its inner workings. This came out during an enlightening session of Q&A at the end of the movie where Glover talked about the creative straight jacket of Hollywood and how experimental movies such as his own are essentially locked out of any commercial distribution through the main theater chain outlets. This obviously isn’t that surprising given that the commercial theater chains only real objective is to maximize profit on a per screen basis and will quickly cut anything that isn’t pulling in the numbers they want, which is why you rarely see any documentaries playing on the silver screen except in a handful of small theaters that also play indie and foreign films. It was during this Q&A that Crispin Glover spoke about what became something of a defining moment for him. He was working on the set of Back to the Future that would soon make him into a household name with director Robert Zemeckis. Originally, after Marty McFly returned to his new and improved family that now lived in a wealthy neighborhood where the kids all had great professions as opposed to low-paying jobs, the McFly family had a black servant. Glover politely mentioned to the director how this might appear racist to black audiences, and Zemeckis wisely changed the servant to a newly humbled Biff putting a second coat of wax on George McFly’s fancy car. However, the underlying assumption of the movie remained unchanged in Glover’s mind as he relates in this interview on the Opie and Anthony Show where he speaks about the controversy surrounding his feud with Robert Zemeckis.

Back to the Future

So, just what is the subtext of Back to the Future’s ending? “A self-realized and happy existence equals a rich and materialistic life.” Is this the message? Or, am I oversimplifying the underlying message of Back to the Future? Could the onetime yuppie star of the greed obsessed 1980s, Michael J. Fox, who started out as a teenage Reagan wet dream in the sitcom “Family Ties” and graduated to movies that celebrated the ego-centric corporate ladder climbing purpose of life in movies such as The Secret of My Success really be about nothing more profound than the joys of materialism? When Crispin Glover probed the question further, Robert Zemeckis told him point blank- “Listen, I don’t care about artistry. I want to be rich!!” There you have it. And, no doubt with such blockbusters as Forest Gump under his belt, Robert Zemeckis would indeed become rich beyond his wildest dreams as he knew all too well how to cater to audiences’ expectations in terms of what makes for mass entertaining movie. This blockbuster formula would be followed to a “T” even better by Hollywood’s Golden Boy director of the last 40 years, Steven Spielberg, beginning with Jaws released back in 1975.

It is a formula that has been followed perhaps a bit too well over the years, and Glover reserves some particularly pointed barbs for Spielberg that you can see in a classic chapter that he wrote in the brilliantly subversive book, Apocalypse Culture II. Interestingly, the book was edited and published by Adam Parfrey of Feral House, who also just so happens to play the Minstrel character in Glover’s “What is It?” movie mentioned previously. I specifically asked Crispin Glover about the comments he made in Apocalypse Culture II and Spielberg (in particular) for those in attendance that were unfamiliar with the book, and he reiterated again how he didn’t like Steven Spielberg movies at all and thought that they were totally subservient to the corporate ethos. In fact, he said that the only movie he somewhat liked of Spielberg’s entire oeuvre was A.I. that was released as something of a homage to Stanley Kubrick after he died and never got the chance to do the film. Kubrick told Spielberg that he thought he should do the movie instead given his worries that he might make the movie too cerebral, whereas we all know we needn’t worry about Spielberg making something too intellectually probing. However, while I would agree with Glover that A.I. had some rather interesting philosophical themes, I too wish that Kubrick had been the one to make the movie, since I’m sure he would have made a much more profound and interesting film.

At one point in Apocalypse Culture II, Glover chastises Spielberg for completely missing the point of Kubrick’s philosophy as when Spielberg calls Kubrick’s movies “hopeful”. He then rhetorically asks, “Was A Clockwork Orange hopeful? Was Full Metal Jacket hopeful?” Clearly, one begins to wonder just how Spielberg was seeing these movies if indeed he was seeing them at all. Kubrick was often criticized for portraying humanity as too dark, too unethical, and too morally ambiguous…but hopeful? Hardly a word I would use to describe his work. This isn’t to say that there weren’t little moments in his pictures like his future wife, Christiane, singing a German folk song to a group of hardened WWI French soldiers in Paths of Glory that didn’t tap into a kind of universal sentimental zeitgeist, but (unlike Spielberg) he was not a “sentimental” director in the sense of mawkishly milking emotionalism within his movies to garner greater appreciation and recognition. In other words, he saw deeply into much of the dark abyss that lies within men’s souls and wasn’t afraid to portray it on screen without apology and without the usual formulaic redemption scene that accompanies most Hollywood movies that touch on the darker aspects of humanity these days. That shows real courage, in my opinion, instead of merely skillfully manipulating an audience’s emotions to love the hero, hate the villain, and be roused from their seats with a John Williams score and “happily ever after ending”. Even the late, great director Sidney Lumet once quipped that he couldn’t stand American audiences because- “They are totally sentimental.” I would wholeheartedly agree with at least this sentiment and add (due to this) also highly predictable in their tastes.

Apocalypse Culture II

What is even more interesting, however, about a movie like Back to the Future is that it has scenes of predictive programming woven into the plot that (if you watch carefully) actually predict what will occur on September 11th, 2001. How does a movie that came out in 1985 predict perhaps the single most important geopolitical event of the last 40 years some 31 years in the future? It would certainly seem highly unlikely that scenes in the Back to the Future franchise foreshadowing 9/11 were mere coincidence. So, for instance, the mall where Marty and Doc meet to test the Delorean time machine took place at Twin Pines mall, a reference to the Twin Towers. Also, if you turn the clock upside down, it reads 9:11. Later in the movie, the Twin Pines are replaced with a Lone Pine. Why? Also, when Doc sets up a rig to wire the electricity from a lightning strike into the time machine so that Marty can leap back into the future from 1955 to 1985, the hands on the clock tower are set at 9 and 11. Marty then tries to warn Doc about the future where he will be shot by Muslim terrorists at the mall for stealing plutonium. Get that last part? Something sounds awfully familiar and fishy about this plot. In Back to the Future I and II, there are also similar signs and symbols throughout that act as a form of “psychic programming” about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As an example, there is the town square that is an exact replica of the layout of Dealy Plaza in Dallas where in a storefront window has a severed head of JFK. This is also the same block where the Delorean time machine is struck by lightning, which is symbolic of the assassination itself in the motorcade. Finally, just to drive the point home, the movie Back to the Future II was released on November 22nd. Ring a bell, anyone?

Hollywood movies are notorious for “predictive programming” that I believe act like subconscious triggering mechanisms that both condition the public for what is to come and signal to those “in the know” what could be described as a kind of sick inside joke for the cabal orchestrating these false-flags and psy-ops. It’s their way of absolving themselves through a kind of occult admission and public submission through hiding their handiwork in plain sight, as it were. Or, as Stanley Kubrick would have it, you watch these films with Eyes Wide Shut whereas they can read the subtext, programming, symbolism, numerology, and sorcery behind the overt plot of the movie. Granted, not all movies are embedded with such layers of meaning and predictive programming, but those that are would certainly be popular enough to do their job on the public psyche at large, which by now is global. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of Americans, this would be considered virtual lunacy to bring up in mixed conversation and naturally most all movie critics are completely oblivious to this topic. That is because we are “symbolic illiterate”, whereas secret societies like the Scottish Rite of Freemasons (especially in the higher degrees) are symbol literate.

Albert Pike

All symbols be they corporate logos, political emblems, or religious iconography has layers of meaning that can be traced through time immemorial and throughout various historical cultures, each one of which may have imbued it with their own particular nexus of meaning and purpose. And, as Carl G. Jung spoke about, there are those ancient and archaic symbols that stir in us what some have referred to as genetic memory to the point where they might as well be etched onto our very DNA. This is what he called “archetypes of the collective unconscious”. Naturally, it would behoove us greatly to know from whence these symbols first arose and what their deeper occult meaning is as understood by the mystery schools throughout the ages, but we are woefully uneducated about these matters and can therefore be triggered (and consequently manipulated) with certain symbols that are used by adepts within the media. This need not be the case, however, and I would urge you to take a crash course in “Symbolic Literacy” by either picking up a few books on the subject, checking out the work of modern symbolist and mythologist Michael Tsarion, and/or reading some of the excellent articles on the subject at http://www.vigilantcitizen.com/

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Scientology, Cult Sociopathology, and the Many Masks of the Hollywood Elite

“We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were implanted in his imagination, no matter how utterly his reason may reject them.” -Oliver Wendel Holmes

Going Clear Scientology Book Cover

Recently, I’ve been reading a book that I’d been waiting to pop up on a Half Price book shelf, ever since I saw the author speak at a book signing event a couple years ago. The title of the book is Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by local Austin writer, Lawrence Wright. At one point, the book shot to #4 on the New York Times Best Sellers List for Non-Fiction, which is an astounding achievement for a book that digs deeply into a notoriously litigious and quite often dangerously vindictive cult. Now, award-winning director, Alex Gibney, has turned it into a documentary to air on HBO. Scientology has targeted just about any investigative reporter, whether they hailed from the National Inquirer, Newsweek, or Time Magazine with libel suits, harassment, intimidation, surveillance, and any number of other tactics from their bag of dirty tricks. So, it is with admiration and amazement that such a high-profile author as Lawrence Wright, who had previously won a Pulitzer for his book The Looming Tower about the 9/11 hijackers wrote this detailed account of Scientology. As he said during the talk I saw, he has been primarily interested in the nature of belief systems (particularly fanatical and fundamental styles of belief) that cause them to go to extreme lengths, including willing to die, in order to promulgate them the world over.

As you’re probably aware, it all began with an eccentric, insatiably driven, prolific author, and charismatic megalomaniac/conman by the name of L. Ron Hubbard, who was the infamous founder of Scientology just as he’s spoken of as a god by Scientologists, ever since he died back in 1986. This sea-faring adventurer was a voracious writer of stories of all kinds, an experimental technological tinkerer, con artist, a womanizer, and could be a tyrannical perfectionist willing to smash to bits all who dared get in his way or unwilling to do things his way. With any controversial figure, it’s extremely difficult to separate the man from the myth, the fact from the legend, especially when much of the myth and legend was printed by L.R. Hubbard himself. The truth, however, often lies somewhere in the middle between the demi-god that Hubbard was fashioned into by the church and the complete degenerate asshole that his staunch enemies would paint him as. However, by most accounts, L. Ron Hubbard was his own worst enemy in the end, when you fully consider the sordid saga of his rise to notoriety through a kind of ruthless paranoia and perfectionism that was able to create a fanatical following among his people. This handful of followers were no doubt taken by his cocksure bravado, imagined self-importance, and desire to clear themselves of their own characteristic shortcomings through the so-called E-Meter auditing sessions that they felt would eventually “clear them of suppressive behavior” (SP) as Hubbard called it. Plus, the radical experimentation with novel and bizarre religious beliefs were at their peak in the late 1960s and early 70s when the church of Scientology really took off in terms of numbers.

L.Ron Hubbard

However, according to L. Ron Hubbard’s own son, Scientology was merely another scheme and ruse of Hubbard’s to make money by starting his own religion…or at least what passed for one using its own unique abbreviations and linguistic mysticisms in their lavishly furnished offices around the world. Hubbard’s particular pseudo-psychological psychobabble was tailor made for those wannabe actors, screenwriters, directors, singers, and entertainers of all stripes trying desperately to gain an edge over their formidable competition to become “known” in showbiz. Scientology was new, high tech, glamorous, hip, and above all knew how to cater to the shallow insecurities of Hollywood celebrities, who would eventually become its biggest spokesmen over the years. Naturally, if you actually rise through the OT ranks in order to gain their so-called secret wisdom to learn what Scientology claims is the origin of humanity to OTIII, it’s absolutely hysterical as the awesome show South Park depicted it. However, even the fearless satirical show of South Park would pay the price of losing Issac Hayes (who played Chef) given that he was a Scientologist along with Comedy Central and the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, being spied upon for a potential smear campaign that is like trying to smear shit on snot.

Now, we know that the church of Scientology uses coercion, threats, intimidation, beatings, blackmail, and even imprisonment in what’s known as the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). In what was a watershed moment for the church, a major raid was conducted by the FBI in 1977, when they learned about what is known as Operation Snow White. Just what, exactly, was Operation Snow White? Apparently, on April 20th, 1973, L. Ron Hubbard wrote a secret order codenamed “Snow White”. Its goal, in part, was to find as many damning files in government intelligence offices that it felt was being used in order to suppress the church from further expansion. Hubbard tasked the Guardian’s Office with this special mandate that included intelligence gathering, filing lawsuits to intimidate opponents, and attacking mental health professionals. According to the book Going Clear, in just “a few years, as many as five thousand Scientologists were covertly placed in 136 government agencies worldwide. Project Grumpy, for instance, covered Germany, where the Guardian’s Office was set up to infiltrate Interpol as well as German police and immigration authorities. In addition, there was a scheme to accuse German critics of the church of committing genocide. Project Sleepy was to clear files in Austria; Happy was for Denmark, Bashful for Belgium, and Dopey for Italy.” Given how extensive were the operations against Germany, it’s little wonder that the government moved to ban them at one point from the country for being a subversive cult rather than a religion.

Seven Dwarfs Target Game

Wright continues with, “Projects Witch and Stepmother both targeted the UK, the source of Scientology’s immigration problems. Project Hunter was the United States, where Scientologists penetrated the IRS, the Justice, Treasury, and Labor Departments, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as foreign embassies and consulates…” They also infiltrated several newspapers that were critical of Scientology in the past including the Washington Post. It didn’t end there, however, as Wright describes how- “In an evident attempt at blackmail, they stole the LA IRS intelligence files of celebrities and political figures, including California governor Jerry Brown, LA mayor Tom Bradley, and Frank Sinatra. Nothing in American history can compare with the scale of domestic espionage of Operation Snow White.” [Italics my emphasis]

When the FBI raided what was called the Scientology’s Advanced Org building in Los Angeles, they were shocked at what they found down in the darkened corridors of the basement. As Wright describes it, “They found a warren of cubicles, each occupied by half a dozen people dressed in black boiler suits and wearing filthy rags around their arms to indicate their degraded status. Altogether, about 120 people were huddled in the pitch-black basement, serving time in the Rehabilitation Project Force. The ranks of the RPF had expanded along with the church’s need for cheap labor to renovate its recently purchased buildings in Hollywood. The federal agents had no idea what they were seeing. Within moments, a representative of the church’s Guardian’s Office arrived and began shouting at the agents that they were exceeding the limits of their search warrants. Seeing that the Sea Org members posed no threat to them, the agents shrugged and moved on. It is instructive to realize that none of the Sea Org members consigned to the RPF dungeon took the opportunity to escape. If the FBI had bothered to interrogate them, it’s unlikely that any of them would have said that they were there against their will.”

They were what you could truly call “dyed in the wool” believers and would therefore never leave. However, even if they wanted to leave, fear of reprisal and severe punishment by the church hierarchy was often enough to prevent them attempting escape. Once L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986, the current head of the church took over and is certainly the most feared of all in the church hierarchy…David Miscavige. According to whistle-blower accounts of Scientology by defectors, Miscavige makes up for any lack of charm and charisma that L. Ron Hubbard had through his penchant for sadistic terror and unpredictable rage at his underlings. Although he showed sociopathological behavior early on (at one point even beating up his Pre-Clear auditor when he was only 13-years-old), David advanced quickly through the ranks of the Sea Org due to his energy and commitment to Scientology. He credited the church with curing his asthma, even though it really never did. Regardless, he joined the Sea Org at 16 and was thought to have filled the spot that might have typically been reserved for Hubbard’s son Quentin. Wright aptly describes Miscavige (who you can see in a very rare interview back in 1992 on Ted Koppel’s Nightline) as, “tough, tireless, and doctrinaire.”

David Miscavige Photo

However, most of the public knows Scientology not by its head figure, David Miscavige, or even by its patron saint and founder L. Ron Hubbard but rather by some of their more glassy-eyed followers that have achieved a degree of fame. The most conspicuous and fanatical follower is, of course, Tom Cruise. Probably next on that list would be John Travolta, who began going to Scientology before he became a household name with TV sitcoms like “Welcome Back Kotter” and movies like “Saturday Night Fever”. Besides these two, however, are many other celebrities of varying degrees of fame, who have walked through the doors of Scientology at one point or another. Some of those that kept coming back and no doubt spending a small fortune in the process were such notables as Priscilla Presley, Kirstie Alley, and director Paul Haggis. Scientology, like Hollywood, breeds the in the murky waters of the desire for omnipotence and its attendant self-importance and vanity. Both are, likewise, a carefully crafted illusion that reflect nothing nothing except perhaps the hollow desperation of their respective beliefs.

Scientology Time Magazine Cover

The Academy Awards are emblematic of the vacuousness of fame where actors’ innate need for admiration and attention, given to a politically select few decided upon by other actors and directors, make up the Academy. The pomp and sanctimonious gala is mediated through the exchange of little golden idols called Oscars that represent in miniature what the actors hoped to be all along, the object of worship for millions in this country and the rest of the world. For Scientology, the illusion of its promise takes on a far more dangerous imprimatur beginning with its students signing a contract for “a billion years of service” to the church of Scientology. At what point, one may ask, does the illusionary masks worn by both thespian and Scientology alike become the master of the persona and not merely another face fitting the function of the occasion?

One of the stranger phenomenons that I’ve noticed is actors affiliated with Scientology being in a disproportionate number of movies where the mask has been a major motif. Think about it. John Travolta in the movie “Face Off”. Tom Cruise in “Vanilla Sky”, “Mission Impossible”, and the incredibly beguiling “Eyes Wide Shut”. All had depictions of masks as literal and symbolic manifestations within the movie that were key elements in the plot. What might be the significance of the mask symbolism to those within Scientology, given what we know about its inherent duplicity and ability to hide from public scrutiny behind the celebrity faces that make up its roster of adherents? Hollywood, as we’ve come to learn from former child actors like Corey Feldman and his late best friend Corey Haim, hides a dark secret behind the glitz and glamor in front of the camera. As a previous post that I wrote alluded to an interview Feldman gave and perhaps elaborates in his autobiography “Coreyography”, there are a few major Hollywood moguls, directors, and actors that are known to be pedophiles. He wouldn’t comment in terms of names, but there are some clues as to who they might be that were we to follow up on them might lead us to their door. At that point, as the FBI clearly isn’t going to do anything about it, we might as well give “To Catch A Predator” a call.

Putting the Mask On


Stanley Kubrick’s Genius, “Eyes Wide Shut”, and his Artistic Legacy 15 Years After his Death

Imagination of Stanley Kubrick

For me, today is an auspicious and important anniversary. That is because today (March 7th, 2014) marks the 15 year anniversary of the tragic and mysterious death of the man that many consider to be the greatest film director ever (myself included), Stanley Kubrick, who died on March 7th, 1999. Given what an enormous artistic influence Kubrick has been on me and the countless others that admire and respect his work, I felt compelled to write a few words in commemoration and in memory of his superb body of work and of the man himself, whom even the legendary Orson Wells once quipped- “has always appeared as some kind of giant to me.”

The $64,000 question that I suppose those for whom Kubrick has remained either a puzzling enigma or simply just another director might very well ask, “Just what was it that made Stanley Kubrick so unique in the annals of filmmakers?” Were I to have to give a short declarative answer to what is sure to be a much more complex answer, I would have to say that (for me), “Kubrick was unique precisely because he was a purist and perfectionist of the movie medium, for whom film was not merely a commercial commodity for Hollywood escapism so much as an art form in its own right…collaborative, to be sure, in the sense that all the elements had to come together under the exacting eye of the director whose aesthetic vision must predominate.” Ultimately, it is (or rather should be) the director of a picture that has final cut, and for it to have integrity and/or unadulterated merit as a work of art should not be meddled with by producers, third-party hatchet re-writes, test audiences, or the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). And, for the most part, Stanley Kubrick maintained a rather unique relationship with Warner Brothers, wherein his films weren’t unnecessarily meddled with, particularly after his arguments with Kurt Douglas in the shooting of “Spartacus”. This is why in practically every film that followed…Stanley Kubrick was able to direct, shoot, write, and edit films his way more or less.

Clearly, “Lolita” posed some problems for him with the MPAA, in terms of how much he could show audiences in the early 60s, which were more restrictive sexually than they are today especially as it was in the Vladimir Nabokov novel. You can learn more about Nabokov’s thinking with regards to his controversial masterpiece, Lolita, by reading the Playboy interview he had with Alvin Toffler. However, certainly by 1971 and the release of the ultra-violent subversive movie, “A Clockwork Orange”, these earlier strictures had given way to the more libertine experimental artistry of the 70s and what I consider the true “Golden Age” of cinema with the freedom afforded by studios such as United Artists, which allowed the filmmaker far greater leeway in making movies his/her way prior to the blockbuster gold rush that began with Spielberg’s “Jaws” and Lucas’ “Star Wars” two years later in 1977.

Clockwork Shadows

In analyzing the Kubrick mystique, we can see that is wasn’t necessarily the subject matter that he chose (that while variable would inevitably touch upon similar themes of existential alienation, Murphy’s Law like contingencies, and dehumanization such as that brought about by control and war as depicted in “Full Metal Jacket”). What always stands out as the most dynamic characteristic of his oeuvre is the nature of his masterful cinematography technique. For the uninitiated, this technique will perhaps be unconscious, but it is there nonetheless guiding the eye shot by shot in every mise-en-scene. It is there in the long tracking shot through the trenches of WWI in “Paths of Glory”, in the perfect symmetry of the enigmatic black monolith in “2001”, in the dynamic steadi-cam work following Danny on his trike as he rides through the labyrinth-like hallways of the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”. So much of Kubrick’s choices in cinematography and skillful use of sound compel the viewer into rapturous attention and (on occasion) into a dreamy trance-like state due the languid, decadent, and richly-hued color palate that Stanley Kubrick uses in his pictures.

Kubrick's Odyssey Part 2

This was particularly evident in his last movie, “Eyes Wide Shut”. It is this swan song of Kubrick’s that I would like to focus on in particular, since it is my belief that Stanley was releasing certain key aspects of the power elite (primarily in the scenes involving a sinister secret society) that got him into very hot water with the same. This has been speculated about on certain websites like Vigilant Citizen, and in order to have a proper understanding of just what is taking place…a working and cogent knowledge of occult ritual, symbolism, mind-control, music, history, and human psychology are all going to be exercised. So, given that this is merely a ode to the memory of Stanley Kubrick, I won’t delve into the entirety of my symbolic and theoretical analysis of this film but rather mention but a few elements that will point towards just how deep this rabbit hole goes.

EWS Official Movie Poster

First, let’s consider the names. “Eyes Wide Shut” is based on the novella Traumnovelle and deals with the inherent artifice and falsity of marriage and a sexual odyssey of sorts that results from an admission of sexual desire by the woman played by Nicole Kidman in the movie. However, the title makes no logical sense were one to stop with this nominal plot outline and appears as a kind of linguistic paradox. You want to complete the phrase “eyes wide open”, but if they’re open…how can they also be shut? Again, Kubrick is employing paradox, not simply as trickery or in the Zen sense but, to inform the audience as the proceedings that follow, insofar as they will “look” at the sumptuousness of the movie (especially with regards to the explicit sexuality), but they will not “see” beyond this to the heart of what is actually being relayed about the thin veneer of civilization’s masks that people wear in so-called polite society behind which lurks the raw pursuit of greed, power, and lust. The Hartfords are being initiated.

Bill Being Led to Where the Rainbow Ends

This is my take on it, and I’m not presumptuous enough to think that my word is final or even wholly correct. However, I merely suggest it as something to consider, particularly when you watch the Red Cloak character confront Bill Hartford at the Somerton mansion. Now, look at the characters, and you’ll see that the almost caricature nature of their persona is by design in order to act as symbolic stand-ins for what Kubrick intents to say about the falsity and pathology of consumer society in using a young, beautiful, “well-to-do” couple living on the Upper West Side of New York City. Clearly, Nicole Kidman’s character, Alice Hartford, is the more complex and sexually honest of the two, and that is why she is named “Alice” as in the Lewis Carrol heroine Alice in Wonderland. She’s the one that will lead her husband, played by Tom Cruise, out of his rigid, patriarchal normalcy and stodgy bourgeoisie lifestyle and into one that must, by necessity if their marriage is to survive, become more thoughtful and self-examined. In the “Eyes Wide Shut” special features section on the DVD, you can watch Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Steven Spielberg speak about their memory of Stanley Kubrick. Tom Cruise comes off as fairly self-absorbed (as he usually does), Spielberg is naturally very complimentary but rather boring, and Nicole Kidman (to her credit) is the only one that shows what I would characterize as real genuflection and heart-felt emotion for the loss of Stanley Kubrick, who had become something of a father figure for Kidman. This will perhaps become important in a future article but for now, take note.

Bill Hartford is the one whose eyes are “shut” to the sexual fantasies of his beautiful wife’s inner psychic depths as well as to the covert and dark power that lies behind the wealthy clientele of this rather boorish doctor’s house calls to Eastern Establishment aristocracy men like Ziegler. Incidentally, Ziegler (played by the late Sydney Pollack) means “Mason”. Could Kubrick have used this character as a leitmotif in order to depict the dangers of Freemasonry? In the case of the Bill Hartford character, he is totally materially-oriented and uses the power of his wallet to impress upon others his “status” as a doctor to open doors at every turn and pay the “Bill”. However, for all his money and success, his wealth is but a pauper’s pittance compared the opulence of the super elite that he comes into contact with at the private masked orgy. Again, symbolism is predominate throughout, and he ends up fearing for his life (and that of his family’s), when he tries to pursue his nocturnal discoveries the following day.

Caricature in Triplicate

Kubrick, as always, gives no easy answers as to what it all means. What exactly happened to the girl that stepped in to “redeem” him? Why is the costume shop owner pimping his daughter out to cross-dressing Japanese men after having acted so outraged at catching them initially? And, just who (as Ziegler puts it) are these “not just ordinary people”? All is left for the audience to attempt to decipher for themselves, as it ought to have to, in order to finally open their eyes to what is really taking place. Also, there are questions concerning the final film not yet being completed. Given that Kubrick showed a “work in progress” to Warner Bros. execs 4 days before his death and was still editing the film when he died, we can be fairly certain that the movie wasn’t completely finished, and (unfortunately) we’ll never know what the completed film would look like. We do know that the MPAA apparently forced Warner Bros. to install CGI people into the orgy sequence in order to garner an R rating, which is an obvious desecration to the film that was released without the CGI tampering for the European market.

Usually, you go into a movie with preconceived biases, expectations, and the barest attention needed to see everything you need to with the typical formulaic Hollywood fare. They’re usually at least somewhat entertaining, perhaps comfortingly sentimental, and fairly predictable, with the mind getting no more of a workout than if you were playing checkers. Contrast that with a Stanley Kubrick film, where you are confronted by a master film craftsman, a multi-layered storyline with often unsympathetic characters, and a gorgeously-composed film that nonetheless sometimes utilizes an unnerving use of color, sound, and camera work and hides more than one can perceive upon a first, second, third, and maybe even fourth glance. That is surely the lasting legacy and testament of Kubrick’s idiosyncratic style, wherein you go in thinking checkers and end up having to play 3-D chess.

Kubrick Face at Time of Death