Hereditary

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In Ari Aster’s 2018 horror film Hereditary, we are treated to what seems to be a technologized retelling of a myth in Ovid. There’s a reason why I recall Ovid here. Ovid’s Metamorphoses was written in a lighthearted, almost sarcastic tone. The tone of the text was surely common in the historical context of the writer, who lived in an age when the foundation myths of Rome were regularly held up to ridicule, by people who had enjoyed far too easy lives, thanks to the hard work of the founders who took those myths seriously. Thus was the author able to record Rome’s foundation myths for posterity, all while he was in no danger of being thought unfashionable or ridiculous.

For better and for worse, this is how a serious man has to discuss the timeless truths of patriarchy. Whether that man draws from Roman or Hebrew sources, he had better mask them as some sort of modern, mechanized horror story. Otherwise his message won’t play in the ten-dollar cinema.

Like one of the stories in Metamorphoses, this film functions as a cautionary tale about the matriarchy. It is set in Utah, which I immediately found humorous. The filmmaker is not a Mormon from Utah. He’s a Jew from New York City. The similarities between these two American subcultures — both ideally monotheistic, collectivist, moral and patriarchal, and both currently succumbing to the rot which is American feminism — lead me to suspect that the film is part autobiography, part social criticism, set in a location simultaneously distinct and similar. While I’m sure that he wouldn’t admit it in print, I suspect Aster would find much of the material on our blog interesting, and he’d likely resonate with more than a little of it. I may go into more detail when I review his later film, Midsommar. Until then, I’ll just award Brother Ari honorary citizenship here, and get to a brief review of what I consider his best work so far.

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The film opens with an obituary, and its first scene is a funeral for the recently dead. Ellen Taper Leigh is shortly revealed to have been a loud-and-proud, empowered feminist wimminz, and we learn that her life was as pathetic as is typical of the sufferers of that neurosis. Mizz Ellen abandoned her family to pursue occultnik religious nonsense, was hated by her children and grandchildren, and died alone. At the packed funeral, we find her estranged kids shocked that anyone else showed up at all. It will shortly be revealed that Mizz Leigh’s friends are her co-confederates in a bizarre, matriarchal religious cult, who are bent upon inflicting unspeakable cruelties on her kin. This makes Mizz Leigh something of a cognate of Faust. Like him, our feminist heroine makes her deal with the devil. Unlike Goethe’s protagonist, she doesn’t deal with the consequences. She’s a typical feminist who skips out, and leaves her descendants to pay the bill.

The youngest girl, Charlie (played flawlessly by Milly Shapiro) notes in passing that she “should have been a boy.” This weirdness is, no doubt, thanks to her upbringing. Charlie is the only family member who has had contact with granny, and it rapidly becomes clear that she is not the better for it. She is presented to the viewer as a deeply troubled child, with tics and hangups that would immediately clue an observer in to the fact that she was raised by a disgusting feminist dyke.

Charlie’s brother, Peter (played by Alex Wolff) lies to his self-involved parents, telling them he’s going to a school function. He is ordered to take Charlie with him. Like the typical rootless young brother, he leaves his little sister alone with irresponsible schoolmates and wanders off to indulge in illicit drugs and sex with the high school hoez. This has the effect of bringing forth a series of tragic events, the sum of which Charlie does not survive.

Annie Graham, daughter of dead Mizz Leigh, mother of Peter and dead Charlie, will thus begin to doubly resent her son, who is saddled with a lifetime of guilt at the age of sixteen. Annie is married to Steve, a physician (played by Gabriel Byrne) who has given his emotionally absent wife everything a husband is expected to dole out: money, a fine home, the ability to stay home and concentrate on a failed career in art, and even a nu-male devotion to childrearing and housework. Annie is still not happy. Not to worry, though. Annie is about to make a new friend, named Joan. Joan is one of the town’s feminist harpies, and Joan will give Annie all the detailed instructions about how to achieve liberation, in the style of granny herself.

GramsciAs Uncle Tony would remind us: The first duty of a capitalist ideology (like feminism) is to reproduce itself across time. The reproduction of feminism is accomplished by painting all of its abuses and cruel excesses as normal, and proposing all of its vile values and corrupted norms as “just the way things are.” This has the effect of making granny’s dysfunction more than the unfortunate consequence of a lifetime of bad choices. It is truly hereditary, and it remains an ongoing process, that threatens us all.

Killer’s Kiss

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Killer’s Kiss is Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film. While it’s not a great movie, it is worth watching. Released in 1955, it foreshadows Kubrick’s greater, later works like Eyes Wide Shut and Full Metal Jacket, and I find it especially relevant to the question of female nature.

At some point, Davy Gordon left Seattle to go to New York and try to be a professional fighter. We meet him on a train platform, as he’s getting ready to leave town, disgraced. He starts telling the story of the last few days in the big apple.

Despite being the archetypical alpha male, Gordon has all the trappings of a simp. After getting his ass kicked for the umpteenth time in the boxing ring, he returns home to his fleabag apartment, where he indulges in his nightly tradition of peeping on his female neighbor, a wimminz named Gloria. On this fateful night, he sees the shade ramped up, and his neighbor screams for help. An unknown male is in her apartment.

A damsel in distress! Good lord! Davy shouts across the breezeway and thumps his chest, he quickly runs up the stairs to the roof, and comes down his neighbor’s staircase, where he meets Gloria, who has (predictably) fainted. Like a good little chump, he tucks the poor wimminz into bed, and sits all night nursing her back to sanity.

Gloria has been alternately fucking and rejecting her boss, a guy named Vinnie. Those of us who play with wimminz know this push-pull game well. Apparently Vinnie got sick of her shit, and decided to pay a visit to her house. That’s what actually happened.

A few twists and turns occur, and Gloria disappears. The sex-beast Vinnie has kidnapped our poor maiden! Clearly, it’s time for Davy to charge in to the rescue. He carjacks Vinnie at gunpoint, and demands to be taken to his love.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out so well. Davy finds Gloria, and once in the room where Vinnie’s thugs have her tied to a chair, he rapidly gets his ass beat into submission.

Once the score is settled, Gloria turns on the charm. What do you suppose she says to her kidnapper?

Gloria: Listen Vinnie, don’t kill me! I don’t want to die. I’ll do anything you want.

Vinnie: You love him…

Gloria: I’ve only known him a couple of days… We could go away…

Vinnie: Maybe we could get married, settle down…

Gloria: Sure…

Vinnie: What do you take me for? A 14-karat sucker? You and lover boy aren’t gonna put me in the hot seat!

What I love about Kubrick’s movies is the attention to detail. There’s much more to this film, including a very spooky fight in a mannequin factory, but I’ll stop here lest any of you boys want to dig it up for yourselves.

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The most important lesson to be gleaned from our Uncle Stanley is not to be a chump. Say ‘no’ to the ho’, and let these bitches shift for themselves.

Under The Skin

utsUnder The Skin is a 2013 feature, directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Scarlett Johansson. This film was originally billed as a sci-fi movie about an invasion by extraterrestrials, which is certainly the reason I (and the rest of America) ignored it at release. I caught it last night on one of the streaming services, and it is nothing like the tedious space alien faggotry we all hate.

The movie opens with an undefinable sequence of light and geometry. It might be a spaceship or an MRI machine. Micha Levi’s score evokes some hybrid of John Cage and industrial machinery. An unintelligible narration alludes to a female who is practicing elocution, trying to sound out simple English words. The scene fades into something a bit more sinister. A motorcyclist stops on a highway, and its driver bounds down a hill toward a culvert, shortly to return with a limp, lifeless female body, which he, unexplainably, places into a large white van, parked in the breakdown lane nearby.

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A female figure assumes the form of the dead woman. The female, wearing the dead chick’s skin, then goes out shopping, tarting up her new body with clothes and makeup. This unnamed wimminz (Johansson) proceeds to drive around Scotland, picking up random men, luring them to her scroungy little council flat, with the promises of fucking.

In the film, as in life, the protagonist never forces her male victims to their demise. She backs through her front door, unbuttoning her blouse, and they follow, drooling as they fumble with their zippers. As she backs further down a long hallway, with a blank expression, in the process of disrobing, her victims slowly, voluntarily, submerge themselves in a preservative oil.

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There in this strange, silent abbatoir, the sacrificial victim meets his predecessor. Who is he? We don’t know. The wimminz’ ex-husband is my guess.

One can apparently breathe in the oil, but he’s immobile and mute. The victim meets the previous male companion of the femme fatale only briefly, and he is shown bloated and lethargic in the solution. Mere seconds elapse before he is pulled, forcibly, out of his skin, and his body is processed into foodstuff. The captured male, now horrified, jerks and thrashes in silence. We get the sense that he is now being fattened up for the day when the object of his affection repeats the process with a new victim. We don’t know when harvest-time comes, but as the protagonist leaves her house to search out new dick, we’re sure it’s on its way.

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There are a number of allusions to the psychoanalytic tradition in this movie. Immolation as wish fulfillment… Deep water as the unconscious… This is an obvious hat-tip to Carl Jung. At one point, one opfer asks his mistress if he’s dreaming, as he takes that long walk into the void. “Yes,” she replies. “We both are…”

This is a very strange film that asks more questions than it answers. I enjoyed it, if only because of its obvious similarities to our contemporary culture, in which a series of expendable men sacrifice their lives, fortunes and selves for the same skank-ho wimminz.

In life, as in art, we must always be careful when the hot chick asks for directions. Think carefully before you get into the car with the next slut that bats her eyelashes. Always remember that other men have been on this ride before you. In your own participation, you’re volunteering to end up in the same straits as they.

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