Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Rocky Varla Picture Show

(Or: Faster, Frankenfurt! Kill! Kill!)

Respectfully dedicated to all my friends at Sins o' the Flesh and Girlwerks Media

Sometimes, the unexpected pleasures of watching your favorite films more than, well, the average person revisits a favorite film, is that you begin to see wild symmetries and convergences among them that make you appreciate them even more.

If you watch THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW enough times, you'll notice that someone on the production was a Russ Meyer fan. After all, I don't think anyone at 20th Century-Fox was thinking about corporate synergy in such a fashion to pressure the art director into putting a BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS soundtrack album in Columbia's bedroom. This was intentional homage. For that matter, there's certainly a case to be made for kinship between the two counterculture musicals, what with both telling a tragicomic saga of nice kids in a wild new environment of sex and drugs being manipulated by a sociopath of fluid sexuality. At the very least, they're a dynamite double feature.

However, upon a recent viewing of Meyer's other stone classic, FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, I began to see connections that had eluded me before, little things that made me speculate as to whether just maybe, amidst all the direct allusions to monster movies and Old Dark House mysteries, there was also some buried homage being paid to this chronicle of go-go girls gone-gone amok, at a time when only seriously savage film lovers would have picked up on them...

"I would like, if I may, to take you...on a strange journey..."

"...two young, ordinary, healthy kids..."

"...there were dark storm clouds - heavy, black, and pendulous - towards which they were driving."

"It was a night out they were going to remember...for a very long time."

"Say, do any of you guys know how to Madison?"

"This isn't the Junior Chamber of Commerce..."

"How forceful you are...such a perfect specimen of manhood. So...dominant!"

"That's no way to behave on your first day out."

"Do you want her to see you, like this?"

"He had a certain naive charm, but no muscle."

"You better wise up..."

"Suddenly, you get a break."

"All the pieces seem to fit into place."

"And Paradise is to be mine."

"It's not often we receive visitors here, let alone offer them hospitality."

"I'm sure you're not spent yet."

"Such strenuous living I just don't understand..."

"This in itself was proof that their host was a man of little morals..."

"...and some persuasion."

"What further indignities were they to be subjected to?"

"How did it happen? I understood you were supposed to be watching!"

"Food has always played a vital role in life's rituals: The breaking of bread, the last meal of the condemned man... and now this meal ."

"However informal it might appear, you can be sure that there was to be little bonhomie."

"I loved you...and what did it get me? I'll tell you. A big Nothing!"

"Now the only thing that gives me hope is my love of a certain dope."

{"Rocky doesn't give a fuck, he's hungry!"}

"That's a rather tender subject."

"'Emotion: Agitation or disturbance of mind; vehement or excited mental state.'"

"It is also a powerful and irrational master."

"Oh come on...admit it, you liked it didn't you? There's no crime in giving yourself over to pleasure."

"If only we hadn't made this journey...If only we were among friends...or sane persons."

"Even smiling makes my face ache."

"Well, unfortunately for you all, the plans are to be changed."

"I ask for nothing..."

"And you shall receive it..."

"... in abundance!"

"You won't find [me] quite the easy mark you imagine."

"What a sucker you've been, what a fool. The answer was there all the time."

{"Chest of steel! Back of steel! Shoulder of steel!"}

"And now...your time has come. Say goodbye to all of...this..."

"...and oblivion!"

"I made you, and I can break you just as easily!"

"And then she cried out..."


"The game has been disbanded."

"You should leave now while it is still possible."

"And crawling...on the planet's face..."

"...some insects...called the human race..."

"...lost in time..."

"...lost in space..."

"...and meaning."


acknowledgements to blogger/Tweeter @jodamico who, independent of me, previously had a similar inkling, and to Al Ewing and Sarah Peploe at Freaky Trigger, where many of the best images for this essay came from