Thursday, February 17, 2011

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

So, as I revealed in the bio, love this movie. Well, to be honest, love the first 40-50 minutes of this movie. The sci-fi bits at the end leave me cold. But I do so adore Brad and Janet's descent down the rabbit hole to a world that is totally unfamiliar (the only way the "alien" trope is meaningful for me), and their response is not to "other" (see my piece on Lovecraft for a definition) or colonize that world, but embrace it completely.

Don't get me wrong--this is not a "great" movie. But should it be seen? Absolutely. Its campy send-up of the alternate sexualities that were, at long last, becoming legible in the 70s is for me, exhilarating to watch. It's a sort of queering of The Wizard of Oz. The staid minister and acolytes officiating the straight-laced wedding at the beginning show up in the alternate universe of Frank's castle to strip (literally!) Brad and Janet of their heteronormativity. The night in the castle is comprised of perverse versions of a wedding (the awesome "Time Warp" party), a birth, and a honeymoon.

I also love how the criminologist attempts to make Brad and Janet's odyssey fit into neat little boxes--the maps and diagrams and statements (very Foucault) that are wildly and hilariously contrasted with the delightful and sensual experience itself. The movie manages to tread the line between suggesting that a "crime" has been committed, and demolishing the worldview that would label the sexual shenanigans the film documents as such.

I was struck during this viewing at the importance of film and performance to the story. Nat, do you think the movie is arguing that movies provide a subversive space to explore these sorts of alternative lifestyles? Also, for those of you wondering, still have a mad crush on Riff-Raff.

No comments:

Post a Comment