The outline of “Lake Mungo” is how an Australian family, its neighbors and acquaintances suffer through the sudden loss of a 16 year old daughter, the unraveling of secrets, and perceptions turned into enmity close to hatred.
The incident is a drowning.
What follows are detailed, keenly observed reactions of all who were touched by Alice Palmer’s (Talia Zucker) death.
“Wasting away” is also available under the alternate title “Aaah! Zombies!!” and takes a page from “return of the living dead”, scripted and directed by Dan O’Bannon whose prolific career includes collaboration with John Carpenter on “Dark Star”, Ronald Shusett on “Alien”, adapting and scripting “total recall” and another obscure little film titled “screamers” based on a Philip K. Dick story “second variety”. “Wasting away”, then, begins with a military transport dumping its load of chemical containers filled with failed research fluids, originally intended to create super-soldiers, but really turning them into raving zombies.
Two girls from New York (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie) find themselves stranded in the German countryside after getting a flat tire. Seeking refuge from a leering local and the rain, they knock on Dr. Heiter’s (Dieter Laser) front door, asking to use his phone.
Unfortunately for them, Heiter, an expert on the surgical separation of Siamese twins and dedicated misanthrope (Heiter, get it?), has decided to “create” rather than “destroy”, and plans to stitch the girls and a Japanese man end to end, as it were, mouth to nether region (get it?) forming a continuous digestive system… A Siamese triplet.
You pretty much know what “the human centipede” is about going in, you’re just not sure how bad it’s going to be. You also know ten minutes in that whatever’s coming to the two girls, they deserve it: they would make Darwin spin in his grave. They are the first stereotypical characters of the movie, and pretty much scream from beginning to end.
The two cops who appear towards the end also are clear stereotypes, virtually identical in both look and clothing. The thing about stereotypes is that they can actually be funny, as in biting satires, but more often than not, they’re just lazy.
“Die 3 Groschen Oper”… Of late, we have been going through several films of significance, centering around the evil men are capable of. I am thinking mainly of “the killer inside me” and “Wolf Creek”, but there’s more: “Psycho”, “M” and much more.
If you are familiar with “threepenny opera” you might think the comparison to be strange, but it really isn’t.
“Threepenny opera” began as a stage play written by Bertolt Brecht, a playwright of vision and talent who was also very difficult to work with, focusing as he did on differences rather than goals. Basically an egotistic prick with talent, Brecht’s history is fascinating in itself but is not the focus of this piece.
One of the protagonists (antagonists?) of “threepenny opera” is Macheath “Mackie” Messer, a psychopathic killer, in modern terms. You are probably familiar with the song “Mack the knife”, which has seen several interpretations over the years, by Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra among others.
But the original version is not quite so… watered down, and we actually owe its existence to Harald Paulsen, another egotistic you-know-what who was cast as Macheath before Rudolf Forster replaced him, and most likely for the better.
The fact remains, however, that if not for Paulsen’s demands to have a song introducing his character, we would not have this classic today.
Some places remain within you forever, that is a fact. The Oceanographic Institute in Monaco Ville is so deeply embedded in my mind, I had no clue where this image I photoshopped came from, until reading an article recently:
This year, I realized only this week, marks the 100th anniversary of the Institute. The impressions it left upon me 40 years ago are much more than memories.
Le Pétomane was the stage name of the French flatulist (professional farter) and entertainer Joseph Pujol (June 1, 1857 – 1945). He was famous for his remarkable control of the abdominal muscles, which enabled him to fart at will. His stage name combines the French verb péter, “to fart” with the -mane, “-maniac” suffix, which translates to “fartomaniac”. The profession is also referred to as “flatulist”, “farteur”, or “fartiste”. […]
Soon after he left school he had a strange experience while swimming in the sea. He put his head under the water and held his breath, whereupon he felt an icy cold penetrating his rear. He ran ashore in fright and was amazed to see water pouring from his anus. A doctor assured him that there was nothing to worry about.
When he joined the army he told his fellow soldiers about his special ability, and repeated it for their amusement, sucking up water from a pan into his rectum and then projecting it through his anus up to several yards. He then found that he could suck in air as well. […]