“The so-called 'Left-Hand Path' - that of Kaulas, Siddhas and Viras - combines the... Tantric worldview with a doctrine of the Ɯbermensch which would put Nietzsche to shame... The Vira - which is to say: the 'heroic' man of Tantrism - seeks to sever all bonds, to overcome all duality between good and evil, honor and shame, virtue and guilt. Tantrism is the supreme path of the absolute absence of law - of shvecchacarÄ«, a word meaning 'he whose law is his own will'." ― Julius Evola, The Path of Cinnabar.

“It is necessary to have “watchers” at hand who will bear witness to the values of Tradition in ever more uncompromising and firm ways, as the anti-traditional forces grow in strength. Even though these values cannot be achieved, it does not mean that they amount to mere “ideas.” These are measures…. Let people of our time talk about these things with condescension as if they were anachronistic and anti-historical; we know that this is an alibi for their defeat. Let us leave modern men to their “truths” and let us only be concerned about one thing: to keep standing amid a world of ruins.” ― Julius Evola, Revolt Against the Modern World: Politics, Religion, and Social Order in the Kali Yuga.

“We are born into this time and must bravely follow the path to the destined end. There is no other way. Our duty is to hold on to the lost position, without hope, without rescue, like that Roman soldier whose bones were found in front of a door in Pompeii, who died at his post during the eruption of Vesuvius because someone forgot to relieve him. That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one that can not be taken from a man.” ― Oswald Spengler, Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life.

Monday, June 30, 2008

VISIONS OF HELL: THE FILMS OF JIM VANBEBBER (4-Discs)

Imagine a character from Beavis & Butthead who is really into smoking pot, drinking beer, doing karate, and going to film school and you will approximate Jim Vanbebber. I mean that in the best possible way. He is the kind of independent film-maker I like insofar as he is making films for his own satisfaction without trying to fit a niche of "indie" or "art" films; he just makes films he wants to see, or that he wants to see himself in.

The two main features of this set are THE MANSON FAMILY and DEADBEAT AT DAWN but the real treasures, in my opinion, are the short films on the companion disc to DEADBEAT AT DAWN.

Most people are familiar with Vanbebber's THE MANSON FAMILY, a low budget, but extremely elaborate, gratuitous reenactment of the Manson murders and recreation of scenarios from the Spahn Ranch. It is obvious that his main info sources were the 1973 Robert Hedrickson documentary MANSON (still my favorite) and Ed Sander's book THE FAMILY, while taking some aesthetic cues from Kenneth Anger. This set features the unrated version of the film, which includes extended orgy and murder scenes, as well as more prolonged scenes of the latter-day murderous Manson aficionados patched in by Vanbebber because the original was unfinished. The special features include amusing interviews with Vanbebber and his crew of actors recounting anecdotes about how he persuaded them to drop acid an reenact the orgy in a field in the middle of the night drenched with fake blood made from food coloring and karo syrup. Apparently the actor cast as Manson eventually grew too disturbed by the scenes Vanbebber was making him perform and dumped the whole project. The unfinished film sat in Vanbebber's refrigerator for several years before he decided to bring it up to date by including a sub-plot about some creepy post-punk Manson fans committing a Manson Family-like "assassination" of a TV producer making a documentary about Manson, he also amusingly enough got the same actors from the original to play their original "family" characters being interviewed in prison. Vanbebber plays Bobby Beausoliel. As I said above, most of the scenes are literal reenactments of scenes from Hendrickson's MANSON documentary. I admit I didn't really like this film when I first watched it a couple years ago, but seeing Vanbebber's other films and getting a sense of where he is coming from with his movies, made me appreciate it more. I'll give it a B+ for effort.

DEADBEAT BY DAWN is a deeply low-budget-lame New York street gang drama/revenge film wallowing in exaggerated teenage karate school violence, simulated drug consumption, and absurd costumes that seem to be vaguely inspired by Walter Hill's THE WARRIORS (1979). Possibly the least interesting film in the set, but I'll watch it again before committing to that. At this point I'll give it a C+ for effort.

MY SWEET SATAN is by far my favorite film in the set. Basically a reenactment of the Ricky Kasso story, which again wallows in the basest elements of the original scenario. A bunch of drugged out teenage pseudo-satanists scarf drugs and listen to shitty music, gathered around the Kasso character who sets himself at center of the scene by being the biggest drugged out loser of them all (and by passing out free Acid). The story culminates in a brutal murder fuelled by Beer, Acid and death metal music, depicted in blade-chunking, blood spurting, flesh perforating, bone crushing detail. I'll give it an A+

ROADKILL: THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN MARTIN
This was my 2nd favorite in the set. Just a short scenario portrait of a batshit insane shut-in and his private world of schizophrenic home decorating, inner voices, a cheap TV set, and a steady diet of raw flesh that graduates from dead possums to kids stranded on the highway. Cues seem to be taken from Richard Trenton Chase, Ed Gein, and Tobe Hooper's original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but this is short and has its own ideas and its own special "vibe." I'll give it an A+

DOPER
A tediously long short documentary about loser druggies whose lives center around their daily consumption of drugs. Truly drives home how worthless compulsive stoners are. For that it has some value, but it was an effort to sit through. F.

KATA
Very brief film of an Asian karateka performing a traditional kata in a dojo setting. Combat moves of the kata are juxtaposed with corresponding fight scenes vs. yakuza type characters in a jungle. Set to shakuhachi music. This should be a cult classic among traditional Japanese martial arts enthusiasts, but I doubt many of them even know it exists. I'll give it an A+ for thoughtfulness and sincere respect toward the subject matter.

INTO THE BLACK
This film just cracks me up. I really want Jack Malebranche to review this film for a number of reasons. A silent 8mm film, complete with misspelled inter-titles written with sharpie pens on pieces of cardboard, depicting a vaguely ROAD WARRIOR like future world that consists of nothing more than a prison and an urban city run by gangs. This has to have been one of Vanbebber's earliest films. They deserve credit for doing all of their own stunts, some that could have easily resulted in severe road-rash, broken bones, stitches, or cracked skulls. Lots of ULTRA-cheap costumes, kung fu action fight scenarios, weird unconsciously homophilic sadomasochistic male-on-male "action" (to the near-total neglect of the female in distress). Also worth noting is one scene obviously ripped off by Tarantino for KILL BILL. Really funny stuff. I'll give it an A for amusement!

JDS

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