September 5th, 2009

Into the Bay

Edge of the Land

Twitter Sonnet #57

I'm recycling now broken snack boxes.
My wine bottle's left me a room of bread.
Watching from my closet are three foxes.
I need a little caffeine before bed.
French fry effects sometimes precede the meal.
I find vegetables almost everywhere.
With endless organisms some can't deal.
There are always Smurfs floating in the air.
The rabbits are getting bold around here.
Good bourbon is the final spice of life.
The big lizards seem to be in good cheer.
Christopher Lee would make quite a good wife.
Truth is in the apples worth killing for.
And Satan's best girl was an omnivore.

I was in the mood for an atmospheric horror movie with gratuitous nudity last night. I was thinking about Hostel, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and possibly Re-Animator, though that's not very atmospheric. I ended up going for The Wicker Man, which I hadn't watched in a couple years.

Since last night I'd been thinking that this dinghy that appears at the beginning of the movie

was a reference to this ship's hull from the beginning of the 1940 version of The Thief of Bagdad;

I'd been thinking about what the connexion could possibly mean--the opening of Bagdad is meant to show the strange majesty of the Bagdad harbour, and establishes the film's mild running theme of voyeurism, connecting the ship's eye with the villain's eyes with a dissolve. Is it a meant to reflect just the villagers of Summerisle seeing more about Howie, Edward Woodward's police sergeant protagonist, than he knows, manipulating him without his knowledge as Jaffar's magic manipulated Ahmed and Abu? Maybe.

But then I read on The Wicker Man's imdb entry to-day that the "'evil eye' rowing boat, which takes Howie to and from his plane, was not constructed for the film. It belonged to a resident of Plockton. Upon seeing it, the producers decided it would suit the film."

So much for that theory. Maybe that resident was a big fan of The Thief of Bagdad.

I got to thinking about The Wicker Man as a reflection of the culture war between left wing and right wing, with the villagers being left wing and Howie being right wing. It's interesting to see that neither one comes off as wholly "correct". We come to think of Howie as unhealthily uptight and the villagers as having weak morals. Which I guess reflects the absolute worst ends of the spectrum. But the very end of the movie crystallises the story into something a little more fundamental than an ideological clash--it's about the value of roles people having chosen to adopt when it comes to life and death. The horror is in the realisation of the precariousness of both, and therefore any, belief systems.

I watched the freshly subbed ninth episode of Zan Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei to-day with breakfast. Very nice episode with two gratuitous Evangelion references. I can't believe we're already past the halfway point on this season.
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