In the Mouth of Madness Creeps Into the Cult of Personality

This week on the movie podcast, we watched In the Mouth of Madness, John Carpenter's final installment of his "apocalypse trilogy," starring Sam Neil.

This week on You Love To See It (our movie podcast!), Fernanda and I re-watched In the Mouth of Madness, John Carpenter’s final installment of his “apocalypse trilogy,” as a new twist on “Join us June,” our monthly theme. As we’re watching movies about cults, we thought we’d look at this surreal, bizarre meditation on the so-called cult of personality around an enigmatic horror writer and the ways his creations are affecting the world and the people around him.

As always, you can listen to the show in the embed, or find it on your podcatcher of choice here. I’m including our show notes here, which contain some creative capitalization and spoilers, but should give a good sense of our research and thoughts moving into recording day. You can also read the full transcription below our show notes, if you prefer your podcast in this format!

Our recap:

In the Mouth of Madness tells the story of what happens when you let a middle-aged white dude wield too much power and influence over people. In this case, the dude in question is Sutter Cane, a pulp horror novelist who mysteriously disappears just as his hysterical fans start getting on to some real weird shit. As insurance investigator John Trent sets out to uncover what he believes is simply a publicity stunt, his very idea of reality starts giving way to a much more disturbing one. The movie heavily references Stephen King and pays homage to the work of virulent racist and xenophobe HP Lovecraft.

And here are our must-discuss items:

Fernanda’s must-discuss items:

  • I will admit I was left grappling with the tie-in with Join us June after the movie ended. I could feel the cult-ish vibes, in a way, but this isn’t an obvious choice. Then I read that Michael de Luca, the writer, was inspired by both Stephen King and Ron L Hubbard to create the Sutter Cane character, and it felt more palpable. I mean, when you think of it, this *is* the story of what happens when a single individual has so much influence over the minds of his fans that he’s able to alter reality itself. And the whole conversation about how our very idea of normalcy is dependent on convention and on our surroundings, and therefore can change if such surroundings are also changed, does make me think about the power of group thinking. I’d like to pick your brain on that, Danielle, but here’s a little tidbit from Cinephilia & Beyond that I thought was interesting:
    • “But although Cane references the Bible as a work of fiction that provided fertile ground for the creation of one such shared reality, the very plot outline of In the Mouth of Madness (minus the elements of cosmic horror) greatly resembles the trajectory of L. Ron Hubbard’s claim to fame, just as De Luca had mentioned. Hubbard, a pulp fiction novelist of the 1950s, went as far as founding an entire religion based on his fictional material. And his readers followed suit.The repercussions, influences and dangers of one such phenomenon are obvious to everyone and anyone who took the time to learn about Scientology, its methods and belief system, as well as its SF endgame. In that respect, it is rather unsettling to realize that a great many people in today’s world are, in all actuality, living out the premise of In the Mouth of Madness, making De Luca and Carpenter’s 90s movie as contemporary as ever. Meaning that not only did Madness age well, but it was also way ahead of its time.”
  • What a weird little movie! But, like, in a good way. I think? This was one of the movies that I couldn’t just sit down and write notes on immediately because I needed a little breather just to let it all sit a little. From what I’ve read (and seen in the ratings), this is a movie that splits opinions, and I can totally see how people would have widely different experiences with it. It *is* convoluted, and there’s *a lot* going on, and the symbolism can feel both heavy-handed and underexplored. But it’s also incredibly creepy and unsettling, in a way that so many horror movies that try much harder fail to be, while simultaneously being quite fun. There are so many smart little choices — the way the ax scene unfolds and the naked husband tied to Mrs Pickman (who, by the way, is the same lady Jerry steals a rye from in Seinfeld) come to mind — and the effects and make-up are just truly delightful. I went on a twisted little journey that I wasn’t really expecting to go on when I started watching, which is in itself an accomplishment.in the mouth of madness poster for book
  • Sam Neill is truly spectacular. This to me really is one of those cases where an actor could have made or break the movie, and he definitely made it. 
  • This is an interesting quote by John Carpenter on the sort of satirical read on the movie:
    • “This is not a new thing. When I was a kid watching television there were these documentaries on TV asking “Are foreign movies too violent?” This not really a satirical film, but it’s based on the idea that Sutter Cane is being told what to write by these creatures from the beyond and so when people read this stuff they become possessed, paranoid schizophrenics and run around killing people with axes. So in that sense, yeah, it is a take the ridiculous premise that television, movies and books can create killers. Hopefully that isn’t the first thing on people’s minds. Hopefully you’re screaming rather than thinking.”
  • One scene I particularly like is when Sutter sort of “dissolves” into pages. The movie also brings this interesting ~provocation on the role of the author, and the idea that the adoration of authors is not about the author themselves, but rather their ideas and their work. In that way, the person author becomes the product author, and I think that scene is a very interesting way of showcasing that (interestingly enough, this scene was apparently also a plan b. They originally wanted to show the whole town swallowing itself, but didn’t have enough on the budget).

Danielle’s must-discuss items:

  • I’ve seen this movie a few times, though it was the latest in Carpenter’s “apocalypse trilogy” for me. I think The Thing is maybe one of the most unimpeachable movies ever made, it’s close to “perfect” but I love all three of these movies for different things — for me, Madness is the most surreal, the trippiest, maybe the weirdest of the three. It’s also the most concerned with… reality and the construction of reality AS horror, and honestly, I love that, as a concept and how creatively it’s conveyed here, visually.
  • This and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare have a lot of connective tissue, actually! About horror and the concept of writing/creating reality. Oh, and the truly terrifying French series Marianne. I guess I just love surreal, horrifying meditations on reality and how real life is hell, can you tell I have depression and OCD?in the mouth of madness movie theater laugh
  • Sam Neil is so fantastic here as a smarmy asshole skeptic who dives all the way in and finds just how deep the rabbit hole goes! It’s one of my favorite Sam Neil horror performances (of course, another is Event Horizon).
  • Re: the cult thing, I have always read the townsfolk as cultists (maybe it’s the whole cosmic horror thing, but it feels direct to me), as well as the “cult of personality” around Sutter Cane (which also feels close to Stephen king), AND the idea of a book or piece of fiction turning the whole world into a cult! I suppose Mandy, another choice here, has a more direct cult presence, but I’m glad we went here this week! Multiple cult interpretations! We contain multitudes!
  • For specific visuals, I will never get over the book covers sequence — there’s such a wild, video game ass logic/ FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE aspect to this that I just love! And Sutter Cane’s nightmare realm/book portal to hell and ALL BLACK ENSEMBLE! Just, absolutely delicious stuff.

Here’s the full episode transcript:

EXT. FANBYTE CITY – DAYTIME

Some very chill 80s-inspired music plays as we slowly move from an extreme wide shot of the sun setting on the city into a quiet main street revealing the You Love to See It store.

Through the window, a view of the carpeted store inside emerges. Shelves line the walls and form aisles full of bright red VHS tape covers.

INT. YOU LOVE TO SEE IT STORE – CONTINUOUS

Fernanda, store uniform rolled up to accentuate her cool tattoos, is reading a pulp horror novel and eating some popcorn. Danielle, in the perfect combo of workout gear and her store uniform, cuts up several VHS covers with a pair of scissors.

You walk through the front door and the bells chime, they both look over at you.

[00:00:00] Fernanda: Well, hi there. Welcome to You Love to See It. Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month we pick a theme, every week we watch a movie and then we decide where it’s VHS tape belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. We’ll judge if it’s got enough bite and tentacles to latch onto our distinguished staff pick shelf, if it’s got just enough ax skills to carve up a spot in our cozy middle aisle, or if it is nothing but a joker playing card stuck to a bicycle wheel and therefore earns a spot in our smelly unsanitary dumpster, where peanut butter is illegal and bucket hats are mandatory.

Stop trying to make bucket hats happen again, youths. Bucket hats are not happening. Working the counter today we have yours truly Fernanda “Oh no, not The Carpenters” Prates and my fellow, no nonsense fraud investigator Danielle “realistic depiction of New England” Riendeau. Hi, Danielle.

[00:01:35] Danielle: Hi, I’m, I’m real excited for this one! We’re going to have fun today.

[00:01:40] Fernanda: I am I’m confused and excited, which is the best state to be I would argue. I would also just like to clarify that I love The Carpenters. Okay? This was not a dig at The Carpenters. Karen Carpenter had the voice of an angel. A talent taken away too soon, but I digress that has nothing to do with the theme of this month.

(they both laugh)

[00:02:02] Fernanda: Everything has something to do with this movie if you think about it.

(Danielle: “It’s true!”)

in the mouth of madness page tunnel

[00:02:10] Fernanda: But, yeah, let’s, we’ll leave The Carpenters for another day. But first, before we get into the movie at hand, let’s remind our listeners of what we’re doing this month. For the next four weeks, we kindly request that you relinquish your current belief system on behalf of our fresher superior ideology. We request that you give up your individuality and basic human needs for the sake of fulfilling our higher level collective vision.

We kindly ask that you cut off the negative influences who are not yet enlightened enough to understand the power of our teachings and follow us: your kind generous leaders in a month we’ve been divinely inspired to call, Join Us June. In other words, let’s talk about cults, baby. And this week we are blurring the lines between reality and creepy crawly fiction with 1994’s In the Mouth of Madness.

(trailer plays)

We are about to fly into our very first segment called setting the scene in which we introduce the movie at hand and have a little spoiler free chat about our history, about our backgrounds with it. But first to those unfamiliar, with the story of this John Carpenter flick, here’s a brief summary. In the Mouth of Madness tells a story of what happens when you let a middle-aged white dude wield too much power and influence over people.

In this case, the dude in question is Sutter Cane, a pulp horror novelist who mysteriously disappears just as his hysterical fans start getting onto some real weird shit. As insurance investigator, John Trent sets out to uncover what he believes is simply a publicity stunt, his very idea of reality starts giving way to a much more disturbing one.

The movie heavily references Stephen King and pays homage to the work of virulent racist and xenophobe HP Lovecraft. Well, we’ll get into all of that in due time. First, we will move on with our setting the scene segment. And in order to do that, I will ask my wonderful co-host. Danielle, tell me about your story with In the Mouth of [Madness].

And since this was your, your choice, why did you feel like it would be a good pick for us, for our Join Us June month?

[00:05:38] Danielle: Yes. Yes. Well, thank you. I have a long and storied history with it, but I will make it brief. , I’ve seen it a few times. It was the third. I mean, it, it chronologically came out this way, but that’s not how I saw them, but this is the last one that I saw out of, , Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy, which is the thing, prince of darkness and into the mouth of madness, which are all movies that like surmise or like a way you can interpret the ending of each one is like, oh, the world ends. Like, that’s kind of the thing here.

(Fernanda laughs: “But like in a chill way.”)

[00:06:08] Danielle: In a chill way. And they’re not like, “oh, you have to interpret it this way.” But like, that’s kind of the, you know, the thing that appears to be happening, , sort of thing. I adore Carpenter. I adore these movies in particular. I love all three of these movies so much that it’s slightly ridiculous. And like, while I think the thing is maybe one of the most perfect movies ever made in the history of the universe and it’s probably like the best kind of easily.

I don’t know which one is my favorite on like a given day of these three movies. They’re all so deeply, deeply weird. And have such amazing visuals and have such amazing direction and are just such a pleasure for me to watch each one of these. Again, they’re all pretty deranged and scary, but in like a very fun way as a horror fan, I am a giant horror dork.

So, you know, it kind of goes with the territory. , but I think this is the most surreal of the three. And I, I honestly, I kind of love it a lot. And I figured this was like a slightly different way of looking at cults. Um, another movie that was like up for contention was Mandy, which is a little bit more of like a straight up horror movie, about a bad cult that does a bad thing.

Um, and that was really fun too. And we should do that at some point, but this is almost more. There’s a cult aspect to this. , I won’t spoil anything, but there’s like a straight up cult aspect to it, of like, oh, you know, cultist town folk kind of thing, which is like a very common sort of, , you know, Eldridge horror thing, like a Lovecraft thing.

But it also is very, very, very, very directly about like a cult of personality, which I thought was a fun twist maybe on kind of what we’re doing here and join us june so long story short. That’s how I, how I came to this. And I also realize we had done it before on the podcast way too late into the process, but I kind of want to do it with you because we do this so differently than the way they show used to run that I’m like genuinely very excited to do it, , this way with our new format in our video store.

[00:08:09] Fernanda: I, , I don’t really have a history with it, as you were saying, it’s part of the apocalypse trilogy, and the only one I had watched previously was the thing, which came into my life, like criminally late. I watched it like months ago and I was so like upset at myself that I, I was, I was delighted because I was like, oh, I’m 32.

You, you think at this point of your life, you’ve, you’ve seen all the wonders.

(Danielle: “You’ve seen all the good stuff.”)

[00:08:44] Fernanda: All the wonders of the nineties have presented themselves to you already. And I was like, happy that I got to experience that for the first time. But also I was like, how did it take me this long? Because like you said, I think it’s, it really is a damn like it’s a near perfect movie, but I am not a John Carpenter person.

What I, what I mean about that? Isn’t not that I don’t like John Carpenter. I do. I’m not a monster, but like, I feel like there’s people who can appreciate John Carpenter casually and John Carpenter people. Which you might fit into that category more. (laughs)

[00:09:20] Danielle: For half of his movies. Yes. And for the other half, I’m kind of like, “eh, I could take it or leave it.” But like this trilogy? Yes. (laughs)

[00:09:28] Fernanda: Because apparently there are some real stinkers that I haven’t like ghost of something

[00:09:35] Danielle: Ghosts of Mars. I’ve never even seen Ghosts from Mars. Ghosts On Mars? (laughs) I just said Ghosts from Mars?

[00:09:43] Fernanda: Whatever that is. I was just watching a YouTube video talking about this one and they mentioned it in a very unflattering way. And I’m in the mouth of madness is, , from what I understood kind of controversial, like some people, but it’s interesting.

Most things I saw were people who really like it talking about how there are a lot of people who don’t like it. I have yet to see the people who don’t like it. I saw Roger Ebert, , , at the time the, the, like the critique. Wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible either. It was kinda like, “yeah, I don’t love it.”

But anyway. Yeah. So I, I, I really didn’t, I didn’t even know of this movie to be perfectly honest. It’s very, like, I’m interested in our conversation, but I’m also like, I feel like I I’m lacking a lot of the cultural context to see this movie the way deserves to be seen. Like I’ve never read a Stephen King book in my life.

Obviously I’ve seen a lot of the, of the movies, but I’ve never read a book and, , With HP Lovecraft, like you can’t really escape his influence in horror. Like it’s, it’s very much just there. , but my knowledge of him specifically was that he fucking sucked like, that’s all I know. (laughs)

[00:10:57] Danielle: Yes, that’s correct. Yeah. I like, that’s very, very much worth saying, like with anything inspired by his work, like he sucks and there’s no two ways about it. He’s a horrible, horrible, horrible, racist. Like, there’s just no two ways about it. He sucks. It’s like they just say at the top here, basically. Yeah.

[00:11:17] Fernanda: I knew that he was like racist as shit , and, and everything else, like he was bigoted. But then yesterday, like as I got a little bit deeper, it was way worse than I thought. (laughs)

[00:11:32] Danielle: Oh yeah. So bad.

[00:11:33] Fernanda: He said some horrific shit.

I literally ran into this joke quiz that I didn’t take. , but I feel like I would fail called Lovecraft or Hitler, and it was like quotes. And you had to figure out who’s said which. Yeah, I came across it from an actually a very good Vox piece that was sort of talking about Lovecraft country, which I also have never watched that sort of subverts, , the overt, , racism that is not only, it was not only his personal view, but, , that a lot of people say that it actually is reflected in his work.

Which again, I can’t say, cause I’m not really familiar with the work itself. Only the reflections in pop culture, but I digress. Yes, that is. , so I, long story short, I had no history whatsoever with the movie came into it, not really knowing what to expect and I still don’t know what I watched. (laughs)

[00:12:33] Danielle: That’s okay. (laughs)

[00:12:34] Fernanda: I have questions. We were just discussing this before this show. , Talking about how I ended up as usual reading some things and watching some things with this movie. I feel like I played myself watching it just yesterday. I think I needed more time to kind of dig into it a little better, but

then I read a few things-

[00:12:55] Danielle: Well you can do that here, right? Like sometimes that’s, what’s fun about our show. Like there are times we go into a week and I’ve watched the movie and I’m taking my notes and I’ve seen your notes and I don’t know what I think about it. And then I know what I think about it once we talk about it. And sometimes it’s fun too!

[00:13:10] Fernanda: Yeah, you’re absolutely right.

Right. Um, that’s it, it is fun and like better than maybe just coming in with a bunch of preconceived ideas. If you’re stupid and I didn’t value your opinion that would probably be the case. But I happen to think you’re very smart, so… (laughs)

Yeah exactly. It’s because we have mutual respect that it works. (laughs)

But yeah, so I read a few things and watch a few videos and stuff on YouTube that are supposed to like, kind of help you unpack.

And I just got more confused. (they both laugh) Maybe because I think a lot of people have a lot of strong opinions that seem to vary widely among themselves. So this should be interesting. This should be interesting. Well, we’ll get it to all of that. We’ll get it all of that. Soon as we enter our second segment of the show, the segment that we like to call stripping it down.

Stripping It Down

[00:14:21] Fernanda: So stripping it down as a reminder, or for those of you who have not been here before. Um, so where the life will neighborhood video store. Stripping it down as the second section of the show. And it’s when we get into specific aspects of the plot of the characters, little things otherwise known as spoilers.

So if you haven’t watched the movie yet, and you don’t like being spoiled about the movie, maybe stop listening now, or don’t, we’re charismatic enough that I feel like we can get over that. Maybe go watch the movie. It’s not that long, it’s less than two hours. So it won’t take much to take up too much of your time.

, but yes, this is the section where we get into the nitty gritty of the movie and really dive into, um, The stuff. And there’s a lot of stuff with this one. There’s an abundance of stuff and embarrassment of riches of stuff, a very rich text so much so that I have a tough time even knowing where to begin. (laughs)

, As we mentioned since, this is the theme of the movie, and we talked a little bit about this, , in the intro, this is a month about cults. And I remember when you suggested the movie, I was like, oh, so is there a cult? And you’ll mentioned, oh yeah, the townspeople, , are cultists and I’m watching the movie and I’m like, I don’t see it.

Do I? I mean, are they? Because they’re kind of, so the story, basically, this writer, Sutter Kane who is kind of like a Stephen King-like figure. He, his fans are going freaking beserk , after reading his books. And there is a book that has yet to be released. And, , this investigator ends up in this fictional town, which again is a reference to Stephen King.

Cause he has castle rock. This is a Hobbs End. And um, he runs into this town that doesn’t really exist. And there’s an old lady who ties her naked husband to her feet, which go off queen. Live your truth. (they both laugh)

Yeah, hashtag girl boss, by the way, that’s the same mattress that Seinfeld steals a rye in Seinfeld. But I’m sorry to keep bringing Seinfeld references into the show, but I can’t help myself.

(Danielle: “Why would you be sorry?”)

[00:16:47] Fernanda: It’s one of my basic bitch, , aspects. I feel.

[00:16:50] Danielle: I live in Brooklyn. And I don’t know, Paul also lives in Brooklyn and maybe I just run in different circles, but I feel like people talk about Seinfeld, even if they were themselves too young to actually watch it. I remember actually watching it, like in the nineties as a kid, but like, I feel like people still have Seinfeld in their collective brain space.

So I don’t, I don’t think you should feel bad about it.

in the mouth of madness cafe axe guy

[00:17:12] Fernanda: I feel like I still have like, at least a good five years before Gen Z-

Maybe forever. Maybe Seinfeld it’s forever. I don’t know! (laughs)

Maybe Gen Z will come into it like they did bucket hats, um, which we’ve established. No. No, everybody talks about the low-rise jeans, but nobody talks about the problem of the bucket hats.

We need to address this as a society.

[00:17:39] Danielle: It really is a whole-ass thing, there was a bucket hat on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds recently and it was like a punchline and it was beautiful. And I thought that was the right way to handle bucket hats. But anyway, I know digress.

(They both laugh. Producer’s note: I love bucket hats. There are dozens of us. Solidarity.)

[00:17:53] Fernanda: So they’re back to the movie at hand. Um, they end up in this- he, when I say it’s, , John Trent played, , absolutely wonderfully by Sam, Neil, there’s just really no argument there. He’s just fucking spectacular in this movie, but, , he and a fellow and a person from the publisher. Get into the town, et cetera.

And they run into the towns people who are kind of monster/evil-like, but that’s the thing. When you said that their cultists, I was thinking, “but are they, or are they just figments of Cane’s imagination?”

[00:18:35] Danielle: Their both. And they’re also real because Cane has brought them into the world because the things he writes come to pass.

[00:18:45] Fernanda: Yes, but it’s funny. The more I dig into it, the more I’m like, oh my God, I should look there is I keep trying to get to a universal truth about this movie and I feel like that’s only going to lead me to frustration because it’s not what it’s about, but there is that aspect and obvious, and there is a bigger, more obvious aspect of the, sort of like what you mentioned in the intro, the cult of personality type thing, right?

Because this is a horror writer who basically leads his fans to craziness, , with his work. And, um, later I was reading up and apparently Michael De Luca, the writer, , was inspired by both, , Stephen King and Ron L Hubbard to create this character. And then it was like, it started clicking a little more.

Um, and a few other ideas. I feel like when Sutter, um, it’s talking about when the, when the, the, I forgot her name, the lady, the publisher lady.

[00:19:53] Danielle: Oh yeah, here- I’ll find it.

[00:19:56] Fernanda: The publisher lady who goes into Hobbs End with, , same Neil, even though he was very weirdly harass-y with her next to an elevator early in the movie.

Um, but he was, she has, they have this conversation about reality and the idea of how Linda reality’s kind of like a convention, right? Like what feels normal and real to us only feels that way because all the people around us act a certain way that that looks real. And then once that changes your, the very idea of reality kind of changes with it.

Um, when you kind of have that conversation with Kane himself, Kane doesn’t appear a lot, but he appears as sort of like profound character and he talks about. And you kind of get that sort of, and I think there’s an underlying theme about the power of group think, even though I’m grappling with kind of like how much of that is a criticism and how much of that is kind of like satire with this hysteria around pop culture.

It’s a lot to unpack, but, um, And on this specifically, this cult front , I found this little tidbit on a website called cinefilia and beyond, , that I thought was interesting and kind of spoke to that. And I’m going to quote:

“…But although Cane references the Bible as a work of fiction that provided fertile ground for the creation of one such shared reality, the very plot outline of in the mouth of madness, minus the elements of cosmic horror greatly resembles a trajectory of L Ron Hubbard’s claim to fame, just as De Luca had mentioned. Hubbard, a pulp fiction novelist of the 1950s, went as far as founding an entire religion based on his fictional material and his readers followed suit, the repercussions influences and dangers of one such phenomenon are obvious to everyone and anyone who took the time to learn about Scientology its methods and belief system, as well as, as its end game. In that respect, it’s rather unsettling to realize that a great many people in today’s world are in all actuality, living out the premise of in the mouth of madness, making the Luca and carpenters, nineties movie as contemporary as ever, meaning that not only did madness age well, but it was also way ahead of its time.”

And I wanted to pick your brain on that. , Danielle, because that to me feels like such a serious read of like, I can see it and it seems like insightful and legit, but at the same time, it feels like such a somber read of this, like in, at, at points I’m kind of like, I don’t really know if that’s a central critique. I think it’s less serious than that. I think it’s more of like, , commentary on people who take pop culture way too seriously. I dunno. What are your thoughts?

[00:22:39] Danielle: Sure, sure. Well, I think, okay, so I I’m of multiple minds here as well as of course, enjoying this movie as its own like pulpy ridiculous thing.

This is also like, to be clear, I want to situate this. This is also right around the same time as Wes Craven’s new nightmare, which I think was the year after, which was also a movie where a huge part of the plot is about the screenwriter writing the movie itself, like, and things coming to a head as reality is happening.

And there’s another really fantastic horror series called it’s French. I can’t pronounce anything in French, but it’s like Marianne like Marianne, but I can’t say anything in French. (they both laugh and try to say “Marianne” in French a couple of times. lol)

Which is about a horror novelist or graphic novelist? I think a novelist who is writing things and they come to pass, they become real. Like, this is very much like a thing in horror. It’s like a plot in horror of like, oh, the, you know, the balance between reality and fiction, not being as clear as we think they are.

And the fact that everything is perception. So you could absolutely perceive something and be completely, completely believing something absolutely wild, which is to me, like a really, really, really terrifying ideas, somebody with OCD, because what you do in OCD is you get caught in your worst thoughts and your worst nightmare thoughts, and think they’re real, basically.

Or are afraid that they’re real. Yeah. And also like the best thing in the world because then I get to watch that in a movie and feel like I’m not crazy because oh yeah. Other people have these ideas to look, I get to see this in a safe way. So again, I talked about this a little bit about horrors catharsis last week, and it’s usually important for me in terms of like the ideas about mind and seriality and construction of reality.

So this is part of why I love this shit so much. So that’s, that’s one part of it. Like I love that this movie is saying like, I don’t know what’s fucking real. Do you think it’s fucking real? We break the fourth wall. We have a bunch of that kind of going on and it’s not like extended fourth wall breaking, which I find really cloying and annoying.

It actually feels very purposeful and it really, really does feel like, okay, well, we’re creating reality here. This writer is creating reality is, is bringing four things into the world that came out of his head. And maybe that came from somewhere else. But like he came out of his head, his pen, whatever his typewriter, his creepy writing room. His creepy church writing room.

Right. Um, and into the world. And that is reality. It is part of reality as part of a shared reality that we all have. Um, so I, I’m very, very, very, very attracted to that idea. And I also see it as like, I think this movie is partially a critique of that and partially a critique of the sort of cult of personality, um, carpenter at this point was already like a big director.

Um, you know, he’s, you could see this as him making fun of himself a little bit. It’s obviously so much more, you know, the very direct influences about, you know, Stephen King and L Ron Hubbard and these things that are very, very obviously, um, you know, sort of referenced here, but you know, they also talk about movie deals a little bit in this, in this movie and things like that and making the movie and overdoing this with this, and also Sam Neill had already been, , in some horror performances.

Now his best horror performance you might say is event horizon. That will be a few years from here, but he had already been in, um, the omen- Is it the omen 3? All right. Well, Collin knows and a bunch of us know, but he was already like in a really, really scary movie. He’s a really intense actor. He was already in possession.

Like he’s, he’s so intense that he can pull this off. So there’s all these kinds of things working here, this idea of it being maybe even a little bit in fashion, , to do horror as reality or things that, you know, a creative person comes up with being real, um, which is inherently scary to a horror creative, right?

Like you make scary things. It’s probably scary to think about what if the scary things in my head are real? Like what have I done kind of thing, right? Like if I brought monsters into the world inadvertently, um, and again, like maybe not literally, but it working metaphorically, like did I bring something shitty into the world?

, on one level and on another level being a little bit funny and a little bit playful and a little bit flippant with some of this stuff, right. It does feel like, and this is something, um, Dia Lacina and Cameron Kunzelman had a really amazing column recently. And it was about Elden Ring, which is a video game, which has nothing to do with this, but they referenced this movie and they referenced a sequence in this movie when they’re talking about like pastiche and the sequence in this movie that they referenced was when, um, Trent figures out that the outfit, not the album courier, sorry.

The book covers themselves are like the key to figuring out the map to like finding something, which is such a video game ass thing. And like what a fucking idea, like you’re putting together puzzle pieces. Well, that’s what this movie feels like. Not like you’re sitting there putting together a puzzle piece.

But like carpenter himself put together a bunch of pieces, like, all right, we’ve got cosmic horror here. We’ve got, what is reality and horror writers here. We’ve got some statue higher here. We’ve got some gently poking fun at Stephen King here. We’ve got our creature feature kind of shit here. Like he’s throwing all this stuff into a delicious mix.

And I think for some people, it doesn’t gel together perfectly, but because I personally love all these ingredients so much, I fucking love it. And I think it’s a delicious chowder of horror.

[00:28:15] Fernanda: There even like a little sprinkle, like Charlton Heston plays this, , publisher who sees that, you know, the work of this author is wreaking havoc and his thought is very much like nobody’s going to consider not printing it.

Humanity is liking destroying itself, , maybe possibly who knows because of the work of this author. And all he can think about is retrieving this copy of the next book so he can make more billions. So there’s that too. And there’s an element also of the sort of author himself, right? Cause I was trying to figure out, is he a villain like a Sutter Kane, a villain?

Is he creating this reality that his send the manuscript with, , John Trent to warn people about what was going to happen. But then again, if that’s the thing that he wrote then, you know, like I was, that was me, the entire movie. I’m like, am I, am I stupid? Is this supposed to be ambiguous? , am I just reading too much into it?

, so I feel like, and that in itself is interesting because it’s a sh, like I said, it’s kind of a short movie that packs a lot, and I feel like it, it kind of. , kind of your own, like your choose your own adventure kind of mental trip, , in a way, but one aspect that I like about the, and, and interestingly enough, I saw one, , I was watching a YouTube video, , discussing sort of the, the, I think the name was the real horror of, um, in the mouth of madness and they compared it to adaptation the Nicholas Church movie and sort of like the horror of that kind of creation.

And it’s interesting. I can’t, I won’t do it justice, but like, it’s an interesting video to check out because it offers this avenue that I wouldn’t have thought of myself, but I kind of like this sort of the idea of the author, this kind of like concept of the author himself, , being less a person than the concept and the cult of personality, quote, unquote, being less about the personality and more about the product, right? Like the author becomes his work at that stage of his popularity, like his ideas. And that is very well exemplified in the scene where he kind of dies, dissolves into pages. Um, and from what I read, there was like a plan B type thing, because they wanted to like dissolve or like swallow up the entire city or something more grandiose, but they didn’t have the budget for it.

(they both laugh)

[00:30:56] Fernanda: So it was like their, their, , other solution. And I think it worked really well too. It’s another little thread that I feel like you can follow in the movie. I thought that the Sutter Cane character himself was very interesting, like very ambiguous, um, like the rest of the movie. , but like you said, I feel like what makes it a winner is that okay- even if you don’t want to go into all of those mental rabbit holes, you can just focus on how entertaining it is, because it very much is right. Like it’s a movie that really, um, I can understand why people would feel why it would be like divisive and opinions, because it is convoluted.

There is a lot going on. Like there are a lot of elements that, like you said, maybe don’t gel that well together. Um, but at the same time, like he has this very like creepy, unsettling factor that. It doesn’t feel forced, like a lot of movies try really hard to achieve an effect that seems very effortless, , here.

And it’s also fun. , so that is an achievement, right? Like, I dunno, I am obsessed with like these little details. Like I mentioned the scene where Mrs. Pickman this old lady who owns an inn has like a naked husband attached to her. Like I’ll never forget seeing that in my, life. (they laugh) What is, what is he? But also like one of the highlights of the movie.

And I saw a lot of people highlighting it. I think it’s very striking is the scene where we get the, , ax- the first ax murderer, , coming toward , John Trent when he is having a conversation. Like there’s this calm conversation going on in a coffee shop in a window. When you see this person with an ax as all like chaos and folds outside, and then these like this.

Calm scene, this calm, protected scene and the chaos collide violently when the axe like rips through the window. It’s very like that scene I thought was just like one of the touches that make this like very, , interesting. And of course it’s like, you can’t escape the visuals and it’s something that you have here on your notes.

And I want to talk to you about that sort of like the visual richness of it all, like the effects, everything else, like how do you feel like all of that holds up now in 2022?

[00:33:23] Danielle: Really well on the whole, um, a lot of these like practical effects just looks so fucking good and so gross sometimes. And so real slash surreal.

I almost feel like surreal is a better word to use here ’cause it’s like, it’s not like it’s real. It’s not like something that you think you’d encounter necessarily in your waking life, but it does look like it came out of an actual nightmare that you’ve had, like, that’s the sort of aesthetic, like it has texture and it has feeling, and it has weight and has things like that.

I love the, like the monster wall, like the poor, you know, like the ideas, portals and monster holes and things like that. Just, I kind of love it. And I also am always going to be interested in, down for movies that are trying to visualize things that are very difficult to visualize. Like how do you visualize reality breaking?

How do you visualize. Monster walls. How do you visualize, you know, like a lot of the ideas of, I mean, Lovecraft sucks again, just saying it love crashed, absolutely sucks. The ideas of cosmic horror or like it’s just unknowable to us. We don’t have the sensory ability to like fully imagine a lot of these, these kinds of monsters.

So like, you know, a lot of the stuff is like, oh, you know, Cathulu tentacle man or whatever, it’s like creatures of the deep of some kind, like some sort of alien thing that we can’t fully visualize. And that’s why I love watching a director who’s good. Um, visualizing absolutely banana pants, fucking things like the thing, or like Satan in the prince of darkness or like all kinds of evil and all kinds of fucked up things.

That’s why I like these three movies so much, because they are always, always, always entertaining even when they are not necessarily entirely coherent and they always are visually arresting it. They always look amazing to kind of be hold and they always kind of give you something to hang on to. Maybe that’s another thing I like about her is it gives you something to hang onto for all the bad feelings that you can’t necessarily name.

You can’t certainly visualize yourself. It’s like, here’s a visual to go with that. Not that it’s like comforting to think about these horrible things, but it’s comforting to attach something to these horrible things. It’s not just a feeling. Now you have something to kind of like associate with it.

[00:35:40] Fernanda: Um, I get that.

I agree. I think it’s, it is kind of comforting, right? Like, and you can also project it. It’s like sometimes the kids will leave verbalize exactly what it is that you’re , feeling or the twisted inner workings of your brain and you see that on screen and it gives you something to kind of like, it gives you a representation of that, that maybe you couldn’t have come up with yourself.

So that is comforting in a way I think.

[00:36:05] Danielle: And you could share that with another person. Like, I couldn’t necessarily share all of this. I’m a relatively creative person. I like to write stupid screenplays and all kinds of stuff, but I couldn’t necessarily share the way things look in my head sometimes with another person.

When, when we’re talking about like, obviously when we’re talking about concepts like this, not just like, oh, you know, walk down the street or something. Like, what is my fear look like? What does my anxiety look like? Here you go. Here’s shared visual language to like give to other people and be like that.

That’s what it feels like. They’re right there.

[00:36:35] Fernanda: “You see all of these tentacles?” (laughs)

[00:36:36] Danielle: Yeah, you see those tentacles!? That’s what it looks like!

[00:36:40] Fernanda: That’s the coldest, the teeth and the tentacles are wrapped around your brain. Like…

[00:36:48] Danielle: Yeah, exactly. Like, again, some of this does feel very, not grounded and part of what makes us go down so well is how entertaining, what movie it is.

And I do think if, um, I’d probably be down for this, even without all of that, because I’m me. But I, I think this is like a really fun and interesting horror movie for anybody who is interested in this type of thing, partially because of Sam Neill, and partially because of like, it moves pretty fast. We are moving right along and like each sequence kind of takes place in.

Again, I, I don’t want to say it feels like a real place, but it feels like a specific place the way each, each kind of area of the movie is like, if, you know, at first we’re in normal life in a town and then we’re in Hobbs End, that’s weird. And we have these trends, these like very clear transitions of when we move from one kind of psychic space to another.

And then obviously everything’s much more jumbled in the end. And obviously the asylum sets are very, very distinct as well, but it really does feel like you are moving through this with the speed of a roller coaster, but you know exactly what way you’re going. You know exactly where you’re heading to, you know, exactly when a transition has been made and something else is happening, you don’t necessarily know what it is, but you know, something else is happening and there’s something clear.

And again, kind of comforting about that, um, that I think is like a pretty nice guide through the madness, so to speak.

It is, , I was reading, , like a thing on film threat.com and it was an interview with John Carpenter that I don’t know if it’s there is cause like it was formatted all weird. , but he was saying that what attracted him, apparently he was supposed to direct it and then what like didn’t want to anymore and somebody else was gonna do it.

And then it was him, like there was a thing, but, um, he was talking about how, , he was interested in the sort of classic, , format of the script because it’s kind of like, you see the first thing you see is that John Trent, , has gone mad, um, And you jump from that scene to him being like the super straight-laced, like no nonsense guy who like specializes in cutting through the bullshit and seeing things in a very rational way.

So it immediately sets you your brain up to like, okay, what happened from this things went from zero to a hundred real quick with this guy. So this, , so it sets you up in a very classically, like, interesting way of like, You you’re curious to hear how this unfolds, right? It’s a very smart, and like you said, classic little setup that really gives you room to explore this and to move at the pace that it does, because we already know how it’s going to end.

And like you said, you’re never, I’m very easily bored doing anything. , well I think it’s part of my personality and part the fact that we exist in a world where being bored seems like the absolute worst thing that can happen to a human person, which is why we’re always scrolling through something and keeping our brains occupied.

’cause God forbid we’re left alone with our own thoughts for a single second, but (laughs)

let me scroll, let me just let me listen to my podcasts. They distract me from the pain of being just existing in this corporeal form. , but yeah…

You ain’t wrong, but please go ahead. (they both laugh)

[00:40:28] Fernanda: , but again, I feel like this is a kind of movie that really lends itself also to, to this kind of like existential projection as well, even in the mood, in the part where you can think about like, self-determination right in a certain way, you can go like up to religion, you can go up to all these things because there is this like idea of how it really doesn’t matter what these people do because they were written to do certain things.

Right. , there’s a, so there’s the scene where, um, Content warning, , here for a suicide, but yeah, there’s a scene where this guy, um, in the, the T one of the towns, folk who is trying to kind of try to warn John Trent that, you know, get out of here were all going cuckoo. Um, and he kills himself. And, , when John Trent tries to stop it, he’s like I have no option.

Like I was the Britain that he wrote me this way. And, , in a way John trend is also just doing what is written for him. Right. And that, to me, again, it’s very, , another very smart scene. And a lot of the, the richness of this movie for me, or these little smart choices is when he’s staring into the sort of a abyss, , with the pages and it’s dark.

And he’s like, um, fellow lady, publisher person. I’m so sorry, lady.

[00:41:53] Danielle: I think it’s Linda? Could be it?

[00:41:55] Fernanda: She looks like a Linda.

(they both laugh)

[00:42:00] Fernanda: She could pass for Linda. , let me look. It’s Linda, you are correct.

[00:42:07] Danielle: I was really going to laugh at myself if I’m just like “ooh it’s Linda!” and it’s not Linda.

[00:42:12] Fernanda: We should do this with movies moving forward. We just decide what they look like.

You’re Craig now, which is like the biggest punishment we can inflict upon a character. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, craig’s I’m sorry, Craig. I saw something mocking Craig’s recently and I haven’t been able to get the thought out of my mind then. That beam at Craig is just a curse, but I’m sorry for a cool Craig. Um, I’m not American. What do I know? (they both laugh)

I just get to randomly play the Brazilian card. , sometimes it’s a power. I feel like to think I will responsibly. , but yeah, so you have that, that sort of idea. He’s staring into the abyss and he’s getting this, like his fate sort of read into him and he understands that, you know, he’s not making his own choices.

The choices are being made for him. He was written in that way. And I don’t know. I was like, and then he goes back to reality and yeah, there’s nothing he can do about the impending doom and the movie ends with him in a movie theater watching the movie of his life, which is also the movie of the book, I guess.

And he just laughs hysterically. And I’m like, is he laughing? Because he realizes like, it’s all pointless and we’re all gonna die. And there really is no self-determination or is he laughing because he’s like, I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m confused. What do you think, Danielle? About that final scene of him in the movie theater just laughing hysterically as his very fucked up last few weeks days. I dunno. Unfold in front of him?

[00:43:56] Danielle: Yeah. I mean, so I always read this as like, well, this is the usual stand in for someone who is losing their minds so they’re laughing really hard. Like that happens in like so many movies. It’s like kind of like Twilight zone thing, like, , like, oh, I lost his mind, you know, like it’s like very ridiculous-

like, I don’t even know where it comes from. I I’m sure there’s like some sort of academic literature about like, why does madness equal laughter in movies? Like, why, why, why do we do this? I’m sure there’s like a deep history of it. I’m sure there’s something there to it. I do not know what it is. I, Paul went to film school.

I went to film school. I truly don’t recall ever encountering this, but I’m sure it’s a thing. Right? So I’ve always kind of read it like that. And also as a, like a stress response, I’ve done this before. Sometimes I cry sometimes when I’m the most stressed I’ve ever been in my goddamn life, everything is funny and I laugh at it and sometimes I just cry ’cause that’s, that’s the thing that I will do as well. And that’s like part of it, like, you’re just so stressed. You, your brain cannot handle the enormity of what you’re faced with and you just laugh at it. You just cry. They do this in Titanic or Billy Zane starts laughing ’cause he put the diamond on the girl and he puts the girl on the boat.

You remember this happening? He’s cracking up at that. It’s like, kind of feels like that to me. And again, I don’t know if it’s like, oh, the most like did carpenter say, listen, Sammy boy, you know, speaking to Sam, Neill, that’s just how I imagined he spoke to Sam Neill.

[00:45:29] Fernanda: (laughs) “Listen here, Sammy boy.”

[00:45:31] Danielle: Listen Sammy boy. I want you to lovely is the funniest shit you’ve ever seen in your life. The fact that your life is a joke in a movie. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know if that was like a specific direction or like Sam, Neil was like, I’ve done this horror thing before I’ve gone all the way to 10. I’ve gone all the way to 11.

Let me go all the way to 11 with a laugh. I don’t know. But it is worth thinking about. If I could get my, my, my dear friend, Sammy boy here for an interview, it is a question I would ask him. I would like to know, because that’s such a specific choice. Again, it feels like a lot of things that happen in these types of movies, this type of fiction, but like, was he specifically asked or did he just think, “Hey, that’s a great idea. I should laugh a lot.”

[00:46:11] Fernanda: Right. Like sometimes I wonder like, as we are packing and ascribing all these profound meanings to things, , of like directors and writers and actors and stuff are just sitting there, like, you know, I just, we didn’t know how to end the movie. (they both laugh)

just do whatever razzle dazzle them.

[00:46:36] Danielle: And then what they’ll do is what they’ve seen a thousand times before, right. In a thousand other movies, in a thousand other, or, you know, movie things where it’s like, oh, this just fits here. Like that could be it. Sometimes that could be all it is.

[00:46:49] Fernanda: Just let people, like, think what they want to think.

The budget ran out, like continue the apocalypse from here, so let’s just leave it. (laughs)

[00:47:02] Danielle: Sam, we need you to laugh really hard. Okay. We ran out, we ran out of budget. , we were supposed to, I feel like they were supposed to have what the city like collapsing on it. There was supposed to be some ridiculous visual.

I don’t remember exactly what it was and they just kind of ran out of budget. (laughs)

[00:47:16] Fernanda: Yeah, that’s what I was saying. Like, apparently that’s what happened when they decided to go with him, like sort of, , with Sutter Cane sort of devolve dissolving into paper.

[00:47:26] Danielle: Instead of the eating, whatever the, I don’t know why I think of it as a whole and eating that might not be correct, but yeah,

[00:47:32] Fernanda: Yeah,. I read something to that effect like that the idea was to have a more grandiose thing, but it works. So again, like just very smart little choices, but it’s always like whenever I go into these rabbit holes, especially with the show, right. Because sometimes when I’m just watching a movie, just watch a movie.

I’m not even like wasting a lot of my energy. Trying to figure it out. And then when we’ll move and when we do the show, obviously we have to talk about it and I’m like my brain, like how, where are we going to go with this? Like, and, and, and every now, and then I’m like, you know what? I bet if the director, whatever writer heard this, they’d be like, “what is this bitch even saying?” (they both laugh) Like, “I was just doing a thing that I wanted to do.”

[00:48:16] Danielle: I mean honestly, I there’s like a 50, 50 chance that it’s fucking, “no, we were tired. I had two hours left that day. We, you know, my cinematographer had the runs, like we had to go, dude.” Or, you know, I just watched a documentary with William Friedkin on the Exorcist and he goes into staggering excruciating detail about one scene where it’s like the conversation with the cop and the mom, like every, the tiniest, like glimpse over the shoulder, like had meaning for him.

So it’s like, it’s, it’s going to go either way for every single thing that’s ever been in a movie. Right. It’s either, you know, John had the runs and you had to go real fast, you know, or, oh, I put, you know, 15 years of thought into this, like one second sequence. Like it’s, it’s gonna go either way for every decision.

Um, and that’s another thing I truly love. Filmmaking, like it’s such a, , it is such a deeply, deeply, deeply, deeply problematic creative field because it’s so run by money and it’s so inaccessible to most people, right? Like most people cannot be Hollywood filmmakers. Obviously most people now actually have access to, I don’t want to say most, but a lot of people have access to some sort of video production now, which is pretty fucking cool and different from the way life always was.

But like in terms of like a commercial piece of film that will be seen by millions of people, it’s very, very, very inaccessible and very expensive and very problematic and very capitalistic. However, even within that horrible framework, There are all these millions of little decisions that go into everything that you see on a screen.

And again, some of them are just absolute compromises and absolute, you know, like the infamous, they’re supposed to be a whole thing in Indiana Jones and he was sick. So they just shot him, like things like that, right? Like they’re like, you know, everything sucked that day. The lighting wasn’t good.

Somebody was sick. Somebody threw up right before you just had to do it. Like every single other, yeah. Like anything could have gone wrong and goes wrong all the time on productions, because they’re such like pressure cookers of creative, um, like endeavors, because everything can and will go wrong because there’s so many moving pieces and it’s expensive.

Therefore some of these creative decisions will be terrible. Some of them will be amazing. And what we get is always some kind of combination of. I am going off the deep end on this movie I hope it’s appropriate because this movie is a deep end movie, but like, if I’m going way too far into space, let me know.

[00:50:51] Fernanda: No, I’m I’m with you because he literally like 10 minutes before we started.

I’m like, where are you? Am I even like taking this? Because as you’ll have noticed, we take turns hosting, right? As you listeners, may or may not have noticed, we take turns hosting the show. And I was like, okay, I have to pretty sure you’ve realized that by now. Um, You know, like, you know, when we, when we host, we sort of guide the conversation and usually like, I have a clear idea of where to go.

And today I was like, you know what, fuck it. Let’s do like this movie. And just like, go unexpected places. One part of this, , this will, you’re talking about the sort of tension and the compromises and to just the, the backstage of the creative process. And now I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent, but that I I’m watching the offer.

[00:51:37] Danielle: Okay. Yeah.

[00:51:38] Fernanda: Which is about the making of the godfather. I will have to read up to know how much of it is like true. , it’s obviously based on true events, but I’m sure they fictionalize some of it to make it more interesting. But, um, there is a lot of that, of this element that you were just discussing Danielle, that I find very interesting.

And it will, it’ll also boil down to the creative minds behind it, right? Like in the show they portrayed Francis Ford coppola’s like this guy who was there like set on his vision and set on his ways and had, you know, very deliberate, , thoughts behind every scene. And I’m sure not all. And it talks a lot about the tension the producer played by miles Taylor, trying to help make this vision come to life and reconcile it with the money reality with the studio, with the actual literal mafia. Um, So that’s, , very interesting. , the shows very interesting, but I’m sure that’s not a lot. , that’s not how every director producer, creative mind go about their processes.

I’m sure there are directors who are much more micromanagers and others who just kind of let the things, let things go. And one to keep things more open. , my understanding is that John Carpenter is like a more ambiguous director in the general sense. Um, so this, this kind of comes across in this. I’m actually curious to see I’m going to watch a prince of darkness for sure.

Um, but also a little more of what he did to kind of like, and then I’ll, I want to go back and revisit this in my mind and be like, what makes more sense? I like to think that the final laughing scene is kind of like him being freed of sort of. The prison, a prison of his own created reality because he was this super uptight stuffy guy who, you know, like just had things very much under control and fancied himself, a person who, you know, was very much like had a very good grasp on his surroundings and then that, you know, letting go of all of that and just like accepting the absurdity and sort of the doom of it all was kind of freeing in a way.

So that’s kinda like where my mind goes with that final scene.

[00:53:55] Danielle: Honestly, I love it. I love it so much. Everything to him was a scam. Everything to him was a construction and it’s like, Nothing’s that, that literal of a construction, everything is constructed by something far more terrifying and absolutely incomprehensible so fuck it, man.

Let’s laugh. Let’s go with it.

(they both laugh)

[00:54:15] Fernanda: Chill. Nothing’s real. And we’re all doomed.

It’s covered in this kind of nihilism. I feel like I’m an optimistic nihilist in that sense, you can look at things depressingly like nothing makes sense. Or you could be cheerful about it. (cheerful tonee) Nothing makes sense!

[00:54:35] Danielle: Nothing makes sense, but we can laugh at least, you know, and, , maybe we can hang out with hot Linda. I don’t know.

[00:54:44] Fernanda: Even if she’s like turning her head and like her body in various strange ways

I mean, it’s just flexible. Good on her. (laughs)

[00:54:52] Danielle: That would be really useful in jiu jitsu, ok? This is what I think of that every time, every time something’s supposed to be horrifying with somebody who’s flexible. I’m like, oh, it’d be so useful for omoplatas. It’s like, oh my God, that’d be so fun.

[00:55:05] Fernanda: This lady could get out of anything!

[00:55:08] Danielle: That’s what I think of- can’t help my brain, I suppose that’s another big one here. We just can’t help our brains. Okay. We should be nice to each other, however, we can’t help our brains. So let’s, let’s keep that in mind as we move forward through the world.

[00:55:25] Fernanda: And if you can avoid, , writing a book that turns into reality and destroys humankind, I don’t know, maybe…

[00:55:32] Danielle: Right. Like just destroy capitalism. Like, can you just write that book and be like, listen, everybody shares resources in a, in a nice way. Nobody’s an asshole. Wow! What a cool reality that would be thanks, Sutter.

[00:55:44] Fernanda: (laughs) That’s the main takeaway. If you do have the power to, , bend reality use it to destroy capitalism and bucket hats, the end.

, before we actually get to the end, Danielle. Is there anything else you want to discuss about the movie?

[00:56:07] Danielle: No, I’m very happy with that. I like that we did a freeform one and I feel good about the conclusions that we reached. Like the one that you just made.

[00:56:17] Fernanda: We went places.

[00:56:18] Danielle: We really did, and I’m, I’m always very happy for the ride. It’s always a fun ride here at our, , delightful neighborhood video store.

[00:56:28] Fernanda: , and we’re not on acid. This is us sober, I don’t know if that’s better or worse. I don’t know I’m on monster, which is a drug in itself. , but nothing illegal, FBI person listening to this.

(they both laugh)

[00:56:45] Danielle: Our listeners from the FBI.

[00:56:48] Fernanda: Yes. Along with our magical book, writing listeners and the shy millionaire listener who has yet to shower us, , with great fortune, um, and monetary, cause we can’t want to abolish capitalism and also be showered with great fortunes. We contain multitudes as we’ve established.

[00:57:07] Danielle: It’s like if we have to live in capitalism, you can give us the money. But if we don’t, then we won’t need it anyway, so it’s fine.

[00:57:17] Fernanda: (laughs) We’re cool. We’re flexible. , so I guess with that, we are ready to move into our third and final segment of the show, which we’ll like to call shelf life.

Shelf Life

[00:57:45] Fernanda: So here we are at shelf life, which is where we decide where this movie belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. We decide if it’s a bonafide staff pick to be displayed proudly for all, to see if it’s a, a totally fine, totally cool middle aisle placement, or if it needs to be sent straight into the dumpster out back. I kind of have a feeling where you’re gonna go, Danielle. I must ask. Anyway, where are you putting this in our video store?

All signs point to me, ripping up all the book covers and putting them together and putting it at our staff picks shelf, baby! For me, it’s a staff pick, but I will absolutely respect it if you’re feeling really middle aisle, I will respect that. But for me, I really love this movie. So, um, it’s a, it’s a pick for me and we ha we have a thing for this too. Like we have the little like stamps of approval from each of us. So just in case, you know, nobody has to be left out.

I would put it in a middle aisle with the stamp or the Danielle stamp.

Cause then I feel like people it’s like people know what a Danielle pick entails. Yes. They just like, they’ll know what they’re getting themselves into. And if somebody comes to me to ask about it, I’ll be like, you know what? I could tell you, but we have the expert right here. You know. Come enlighten our renter and they’ll probably leave with like the whole trilogy could be a cool experience.

So I, yeah, for me, it’s a middle aisle with a distinction.

[00:59:21] Danielle: Yeah. I’m good with that. As long as I get to put my little stamp on it, I’m happy.

[00:59:25] Fernanda: You have the little stamp we need to, we need to come up with the stamps. If I was like, it’s true. If I had any graphic designing skills whatsoever. I mean, like any, , I would do it

[00:59:40] Danielle: Honestly, we could ask Sanam to do it. Maybe we will, our graphic designer at the site. We might, I don’t want to give her too much to do, but like, Hey, you know, maybe…

[00:59:51] Fernanda: Just a little stamp. We’ll think about it. We’ll think about it. So, yes, I like, I like that. We came to a somewhat, um, Easy conclusion to a very complicated movie.

I hope you guys enjoyed this very weird journey with us. I feel like it prepares it too for the movie itself. Cause it is, it is also a very, , confusing and meandering journey. That can be very satisfying if you just. And go with it. So that is all for this week our dear, dear listeners, but please stick around after I’m done with our outro for mail time, when we will get to read some discord highlights and a brand new listener email.

Yes. We had a bit of an issue with our email, , for a little time there, but it’s been fixed. So, if you want to send us an email, we are YLTSI@fanbyte.com.

I repeat YLTSI@fanbyte.com. We would love to get your reviews, your recommendations, your comments, your general feedback. Um, maybe we’ll get to read it on our show and we would also love it. If you join our discord channel, like a sad it’s poppin’. I always say like a very, how do you do fellow kids term to describe our Discord, but I promise it’s not as pathetic as they make it sound. We’ll have a lot of cool chats about the show there. So we would love it. If you could join us there before we move on. I’d like to thank you. My beautiful co-host for joining me today. I want to thank you at home for listening. I want to thank our producer, Paul “brains flushed down the toilet” Tamayo for all the help in making the show not only not suck, but also kind of rule other than joining the conversation via email or discord, you can also do as a solid by going over there at apple podcasts and rating and reviewing us or rating us on Spotify. It really goes a long way in helping us all out. I guess that is all for this week. As far as the show goes again, stick around for a little bit as we read our mail, but until next time, you love to see it.

EXT. FANBYTE DAYTIME – YOU LOVE TO SEE IT

The camera glides backwards out of the door while Fernanda and Danielle clean up inside. We move back to the extreme wide shot in front of the store.

Fanbyte City sits on the horizon, its skyline lit up beautifully. A man with an ax resting over his shoulder stops to admire the window display.

[Fade to black]

[01:02:50] Fernanda: It is mail time. We got this email from Hans. , talking about our episode on once upon a time in Hollywood, also a part of join us June and here is this lovely email:

“great episode. I agree that overall it’s a pretty good movie, but yeah, the Bruce Lee scene is crap, It really doesn’t develop Cliff’s character outside of showing his cocky and can fight both of which get covered plenty elsewhere in the movie.”

“All it gives you is a cheap ‘hey that guy’s tough.” And makes Lee look bad for no reason. Plus, the other problem to move you have is has is being a bit too long? So cutting that scene kind of kills two birds with one stone. I do wish you had brought a Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham though.” Needham, is that how you say it?

See, this is why I shouldn’t have brought them up. Dear listener Hans, because I don’t even know who the person is. , but continuing with the email “they are loosely the basis for Rick and cliff, Hal was Burt’s close friend and frequent stuntman. And when Hal’s wife at the time kicked him out, he didn’t kill her. Just got divorced-” honestly, a better, a better alternative if you’re asking. (Danielle: “Yeah, a little better.”)

You know, , as a general rule, “he ended up leaving with Burt for several years. Burt was an aging cowboy actor in the dying days of TV, Western. So struggled for awhile, taking bit parts on other shows and headed to Europe to start in a spaghetti Western. Burt was originally cast in once upon a time in Hollywood, as George Spahn, but died before filming started, they even made sure to use the episode of the FBI, that Brett gets started, where they edited Leo into that old footage.”

, and then, , this wonderful listeners sent us a link with a side-by-side that someone put together a little video. “Anyway, I love the show, keep up the good work” and they recommended, um, an episode of you must remember this, another podcast, which I actually have, , listened to quite a few times. Um, and they recommended a well-produced.

They called “a well-produced in-depth series on Manson, the family, their connection to Hollywood through the beach, boys, Tate and Polanski, the murder, his trials and everything else.” So if you’re interested in that, there’s an episode of, you must remember this, um, on Charles Manson, whole stuff. We really appreciate this email.

Like we have limited time, obviously we can’t discuss everything. Um, I wasn’t really familiar with the story, so I appreciate you bringing it up. Wonderful listener, , wish we had many, many hours, , to talk about cover every aspect of it, but this is appreciated. , and we have a little discord comment.

Danielle, do you want to read this one by Carlos?

[01:05:29] Danielle: I would absolutely love to read this. This one is from Carlos, , from the discord pronouns. He, him, and this is on the Midsummer episode that we just did also enjoy. , so Carlos says:

“just finished the episode and something that y’all touched on, but I did want to bring up a bit more was actually how much of this cult was rooted in Nazi-ism and basically fascist ideologies about capital M mothers and capital w women. , there’s a scene in either the director’s cut or the regular cut, where Josh jokingly points out that one of the runes used by the cult is a Nazi swastika, which is like the most overt ‘yeah. These people are Nazis’ thing, but the Nazis have also been shown in popular media like this, , this sort of wild fascination with mysticism and the occult. Think like Raiders of the lost Ark, the spear of destiny, Hellboy, Andy Wolfenstein games. But the huge thing that tipped me off after like my third watch this movie was how they viewed women and mothers, , not only how they viewed women and mothers, but also old people.”

“First, there’s the very obvious gendered approach to the culture that they have, where men are made to be field laborers and women are doing cooking and cleaning type stuff, but also in the exalted status of women. , but specifically the home and hearth type of women, they may queen which, yeah. Okay. So many pagan things have a mother earth type figure is quite literally one of the most important things to these people and is given to women.”

“the role is of course, connected to nurturing, et cetera, et cetera. It’s like the very conservative and fascist idea of exalting women, but specifically making sure it is a single type of existence that is connected to the home. , one of the big leaders in the cult is a lady which is also connected to the exaltation, but boy, the way old people are treated, , so like any fascist power structure, , you’re only as good as the labor you’re able to produce.”

“So of course, when somebody is 72 years old and can’t be a laborer for the men or have kids slash raise kids for the women, you’re of no use to the system and have to be killed, it’s wild, how much this is like any fascist system. But so much of the movie is like, damn, look at these folks who are basically Nazis is so, so wild.”

“And I also think adds to the insidious nature of the ending. Yeah. She’s fallen into a cult, but she’s also fallen into a fascist structure. It’s so wild. Other than that loved this episode.” Thank you so much, Carlos. Huge agree there. And I feel like on our second or third watch, whatever it was for all of us, we all kind of were like, yeah, especially by the end, like just how fascist and just how absolutely fucked up.

And that’s really, really good context. And we appreciate you pointing that out for us. , thank you very much, Carlos!

[01:07:57] Fernanda: He did a very good job ’cause we kind of went into sort of like, is this the white supremacist cult? Like the fascism…?

[01:08:03] Danielle: Yeah we were like “I think it is. I think it is…” Like, this is very good to have the actual, you know, here it is written out.

This is exactly how it is. So yes. Thank you!

[01:08:12] Fernanda: Exactly. Very, very good insight. There’s a lot more good insight at Discord by the way, where you can find over at fanbyte.casa. And again, you can reach out via email, YLTSI@fanbyte.com. It’s all going to be in the show notes. So don’t worry if you didn’t memorize all of it, please keep in touch.

We love to- we love to see it! We love to hear it. We’d love to talk to you and we would love to read your comments on our next show. So please send them over and that’ll be it again for this week. See you next time until then, you love to see it .

RELATED ARTICLES