From Hollywood (1989) - dir. Lynne Margulies, Joe Orr
In I’m from Hollywood, SEE! Andy Kaufman
invert the performer/audience dynamic. GASP! as he provokes the
crowd with the most offensive generalities you’ve ever heard
shouted from a television star. LAUGH! as the southern audiences
live up to the negative stereotype which he imposes upon them.
And finally, REJOICE! when you see just how easily the herd is
degraded, disgusted and manipulated, all in accordance with Kaufman’s
While he was a veritable carnival revivalist, Kaufman was certainly
no Satanist. The man himself was a devout member of the Transcendental
Meditation movement, a pseudo-religious organization that became
popular in the sixties largely thanks to the endorsement of the
Beatles. He was steadfastly dedicated to his daily meditation,
and was largely dependent on the organization to help sustain
his emotional well-being.
Despite a few non-Satanic personality traits, Kaufman could nevertheless
play the role of the villain so relentlessly that his act achieved
insuperable levels of discomfort, audience alienation and manipulation.
Parallels with Anton LaVey, Boyd Rice, and Marilyn Manson should
be clearly evident to the viewer. Kaufman could be as vitriolic
as Groucho Marx and as sociopathically self-absorbed as Hitler.
Translation: FUNNY AS ALL HELL.
What distinguished Kaufman’s performances from the ghetto
of stand-up comedy was his theatrical approach. Instead of telling
jokes, he brought them to life, and would coerce the audience
into playing a part in the event. Robin Williams is quoted in
the documentary, “It was like Andy was the premise, and
the entire world was the punch line.” The world was his
stage, and he practiced the magical art of actualizing the fictional.
He was an aesthetic terrorist who ruthlessly undermined the audience’s
sense of reality, and consistently profaned the available sacred
At a time (the early-80s) when mass commercial entertainment was
becoming ever more predictable, Kaufman was waging a one-man war
on two fronts: against the artistically vacant culture industry
as well as the uncultured mass audiences who didn’t know
when to applaud and when to boo unless they had a studio audience
doing it for them. What did he do to wake up the dregs? How did
he manage to recreate a carnival atmosphere of intense audience
Kaufman began openly challenging the female members of his live
audiences to wrestle him on stage. He would put his own money
at stake, offering it to any woman who could last five minutes
on the wrestling mat, without getting pinned by him. This portion
of his night-club act was inspired by Kaufman’s own fetish
for wrestling as much as it was a duly executed addition to his
oeuvre of radical performance art. To help encourage the ladies,
Kaufman would portray himself as an over-the top male chauvinist.
By pressing the hot button of sexism, he took the act beyond the
conventional norms of safe entertainment, and elevated it to the
realm of pure, live-action exploitation.
As satisfying as this was for Kaufman, he needed to up the ante
to quench his own insatiable thirst for innovation. After a couple
of years, the “Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion of the World,”
moved his wrestling act to Memphis, Tennessee. Kaufman was quite
a versatile villain. Here, the target of his verbal attacks shifted
from the entire female gender to the entire southern region of
the country. And this is where the documentary/short film begins.
Kaufman enters a feud with Southern Heavyweight champion Jerry
Lawler, and what ensues is sublime chaos. I don’t want to
give away much of the plot. I’ll just mention that your
sympathy for the villain will be rewarded. Lawler was such a hero
“of the people,” and Kaufman a veritable alien, that
their wrestling matches were more than mere choreographed battles;
they were battles over turf and culture, almost a religious experience
for the audiences. The southern audiences hated this Yankee Jew
who had no respect for them, and genuinely wanted Lawler to hurt
It should be stated that a couple portions (i.e., some interview
bits) of this “documentary” are just as staged and
preplanned as a professional wrestling match. The film was made
to support the entertaining notion that Kaufman was not in control
of himself, that he was compelled to wrestle despite the deleterious
effect it had on his career. Don’t be fooled; this is all
part of the show.
Wise Blood, one of John Huston’s later
films, portrayed southerners in such an up-front and unflattering
way that Dr. LaVey made the comment that the film was, “A
real misanthropic exercise.” It is my contention that I’m
from Hollywood is equally deserving of this Satanic endorsement.
Kaufman had mastered the Command to Look, and punished his audience
for their lack of perspective. Only the perceptive elite can enjoy
his brand of entertainment. This documentary is for the elite.
The Satanist will marvel at how it frames the events and serves
them, cut-n-dried, for the Schadenfreude connoisseur.
[- Miles Jacobsen]
Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) - dir. Don Taylor
An Englishman named 'Montgomery' is stranded with a lost companion
on a deserted tropical island where he is rescued by Dr. Moreau,
a genius in genetics, pursuing altruistic medical miracles to
alleviate mankind from incurable maladies -- although his methods
are questioned, but it is maintained that the ends justify the
means. He continues to make strides to this effect until perfidiously
antagonistic organisms deem to thwart his noble efforts, who eventually
become subjects themselves for his experiments, thus contributing
far more to his vision rather than merely complaining about it.
Down in the jungle outside of his compound reside some of his
genetic creations, man-beasts, veritable 'humanimals' of various
species, from a bearman, boarman, to hyenaman, lionman, tigerman,
bullman, and a monkeyman who is "The Sayer of The Law"
(small portion follows):
"Not to go on all fours: this is The Law. Are we not men?"
"Not to show our fangs in anger. Are we not men?"
"Not to snarl or roar. That is The Law. Are we not men?"
"What Is The Law? Not to shed the blood of another man. That
is The Law."
An obvious treatise on civility to temper impulsive feral proclivities.
Those beastmen who violate this law are taken to "The House
of Pain" for 'correction'... for Moreau elucidates that if
this discipline is not enforced, the beastmen would run wild and
surely kill their human counterparts. Much like the lion who must
not be allowed to overtake the master even in jest, lest he begin
to dominate the trainer.
What this film demonstrates is the necessary realization and connection
to one's natural animalistic state, lest imbalance tranform the
denier into a broken creature. Dr. LaVey's infamous quote comes
"There is a beast in man that should be exercised, not exorcised."
One particularly notable scene depicts the stubbornly independant
bullman fighting for his mental freedom, as he denies 'the law'
and questions what is so wrong with realizing that one is an animal?
Out in the bush, he vanquishes tiger with the obvious shedding
of blood, and thereby becomes subject to the punishments of The
House of Pain, but would rather run free and even die than suffer
that indignity. Sadly for him, the consequence is lethal at the
gunpoint of Montgomery, which then begins to raise other questions
in the minds of the beastmen, as they slowly begin to realize
the double-standards and hypocrisies enacted by the humans, in
a likened "do as I say, not as I do" scenario, which
does not sit well with them at all, and they begin to revolt.
Revolution is the first step to evolution.
Beautiful resident orphan Maria (the gorgeous brunette, Barbara
Carrera) who was also rescued by Moreau as a child falls in lust
with Montgomery, and remains with him through his transformation
into manimal at the hands of Moreau, after he displays inclinations
towards betrayal and becomes an experiment -- as his senses and
instincts sharpen, excellerated pilose generation, legs to haunches,
with an incessant desire to kill prey for food -- but he remains
in control of his civility nonetheless...
[- Draconis Blackthorne]