Blog News

This is just a small notification to recognise that the flow of posts from the blog is going to be a little off for a short while. The series have been suspended so that I could finish off the screenplay and put up the sample, and they will kick back in gradually over the next week or so. This means more from the World Cinema Series, the final few posts from the Ghibli Series and the next post in the Bastard Cinema series. And, of course, the next Every Year post will be up - hopefully by the end of next week. On top of this, we'll soon be starting the series on the screenplay before the full thing can go up on the blog. If you've not checked out the sample yet, please check it out. The End Of The Week Shorts will be up tomorrow and more posts the beginning of next week.

Thanks for reading. Look forward to a proper post tomorrow.


The Red Kaleidoscope Rainbow sample

Book 8 of The DSU is out on amazon, available to download, own and read in full as an ebook. Please check it out here:

This is a sample of the book. If you are reading on a mobile device follow the link to a mobile friendly page...

Just before we jump into the sample, this is what the book is about:

Imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital's basement, Mike, unable to communicate with his psychiatrist, Dr. Row, is tortured by delusion and put in constant violent tangles with a Woman in Red.

Before we start...

This is a story told in the rough form of a screenplay - a movie.

This format works best with lower font sizes, especially on smaller devices.

If you've never read a screenplay, you'll need to know the following:

EXT - Exterior. Found in scene headers to indicate we are outside.

INT - Interior. Also found in scene headers, but to indicate we are inside.

(O.S) - Off screen. Found next to character names.

(V.O) - Voice over. Also found next to character names.

(CONT'D) - Continued. Used to indicate continued speech next to character names.

SUPER: - Superimpose. To indicate text is seen over images.

The rest should be self-explanatory.


The air trembles with manic reverberation.

Screams pierce the darkness, bringing forth with them throat-torn, searing cries for cessation.

The terror-pleas get closer and louder, overwhelming...




A heavy iron door tainted with thick and flaking rust stands ominous, its contaminate orange glow crawling across the brick textures that embrace it on either side.


The door flies open, an orange mist sizzling against the gush of air as a scrawny naked man soars through, thrown by two pairs of burly, rough-haired arms into the room.



Entrapment reverberates within the sealed walls.

Sobs begin to itch past the man's scabbed and blistered lips as he curls up, hugging his bleeding knees, his bruises resting against the thinly puddled stone and concrete floor.

The man is MIKE, his age indiscernible from an inspection of his frame; his body frail, emaciated and brittle like that of an old man, but, with the taut and grubby skin around his brow that gives way to young eyes, there seems to be a late teen lost somewhere within.

His bruises tread back from the once soothing puddles as goosepimples shiver their way across his flesh. Mike's hand skims over the concrete, finding cotton sheets - a thin mattress he stains with murk as he crawls onto it.

Laying his head down, Mike mistakes three white hospital robes for his pillow - which is a thin rag with half an inch of cotton inside at the bottom of his bed.

He closes his eyes.



Fine light spills through a crack under a door.


Chains are taut.



Senseless terror bleeds past crooked brown teeth.

Splintered toenails kick against brick walls.

Wiry grey hair, tainted red--


--smashes against the wall--


A deranged figure batters his skull and pounds his feet against the walls of his tiny cell, screaming.

The light under the door cuts dead.


The screams remain... resounding... the voice... distorting...



Mike winces, the yells louder in his room than anywhere else.

The cacophony slowly thins... modulating... revealing itself to be the howl of wind.


The shadow of a swinging light bulb ebbs and arcs to the crescendos of the wind's cries.


Mike's eyes blink open.

His body is rattled with intense shivers. He turns his eyes up, seeing the window above his bed, the crying breeze tearing through.

Fingers curling under the cotton sheets, Mike pulls, scattering his 'pillow'. Somewhat confused, Mike unfolds the sheets, holding the fabric open to realise that he has three hospital gowns.


The warm texture of wood, patterned with dark rings, emanates a natural sheen.


Sandpaper rips against the surface.


Mike pulls the first of the robes over his peeling skin.


The orange flakes on the door hang precarious.


Finger joints screech against one another as they are jammed and wiggled into a clasp.


Mike's quivering fingers work the strings to his third and last hospital gown.


The biting wind fights through the hinges of his cell door.


Stood, his toes kneading against the springless mattress, Mike's gaze turns to the window again - a barred hole in the wall, no glass.

Dulled moonlight streams in on him as tears roll free from his blinking eyelashes and down his cheeks, cleaning off the grub.

Head bowed, he places his palms on either side of the square opening, watching his jagged ribcage expand and contract under his gowns.


The silver moon burns against the black skies.


A furry, green caterpillar edges its way into Mike's window, along the inside wall and towards his fingers.

Glanced by the convulsing, tufty body, Mike pulls his hand away and then watches as the caterpillar moves down the vertical face of the cell porthole.



Where did you come from?


Embedded in underground grime, the caterpillar slithers.



You're lost... you're alone... Who misses you?


Hundreds of caterpillars writhe in a mass of mulch: dead, wet leaves.



They all think you're insane... alone; the concrete walls... the stone... the metal.

The caterpillar moves through the metal bars, closer to the edge of the glassless window.


... careful...

He brushes the caterpillar away from the window's edge and keeps his palm before it, a wall that it retreats from.

Lost in thought, Mike looks over his shoulder to his cell, to the glowering door, then up to the moon, a distant, pointless beacon. Meanwhile...

The caterpillar crawls around his fingers, out of the window and down the outer wall.



... gone.

Rubbing his hands together, Mike leaves the window to lie down and rest his frame.


Wind shakes the caterpillar as it moves down the brick wall...

A sharp cry of wind sways the brittle air.

... blown loose, the caterpillar plummets through the voidal darkness, falling inches from the blur of rock--


--lost in a thin puddle on the muddy ground, the ripples along its surface the only remaining perturbance of the night. Soon...



Alone, Mike sighs.

He brings his hands out from the cover of the sheets to rest them under his face, but in doing so he sees the RED BAND strapped to his wrist - one that couldn't have been there before.

He is confused as he puts his wrist into the light to inspect the band with an adjusting gaze...

Fear glazes over Mike's eyes.



Panicked, he tries to rip the band off, first with his fingers, then with his teeth, then by slamming it against the wall.

The band doesn't give.

Helpless, Mike starts screaming again, wrapping himself up in the covers as to hide from his wrist that he holds outstretched.


Mike wakes, his arm under the mattress, pressed against the stone floor, as to hide the band.

A film of dust embraces the morning beams that streak through the cell.

At the foot of the door is a tray; buttered toast and a glass of water. Mike looks at it and then at his arm hidden by the mattress, hungry.

He bites his lip then pulls his arm out from under the mattress with closed eyes.

Holding his arm out in front of his face he quakes with anticipation, muttering indiscernibly.

He forces his eyes open.

Upon seeing the band, Mike immediately breaks into tears. He slams his wrist against the bed moaning 'No, no, no' over and over...

... the sheets suddenly shift...

... the fabric around Mike concaves...

... he dissolves into the mattress...

... his sobs soon lost.


Calloused, reddened fingers pick up the tray. The arm, a pillowcase wrapped around the wrist, retreats away from the cell door.

Sitting back on the bed Mike bites the corner off of a piece of toast, an ounce of cheer finding its way to his lips.


The door opens, revealing a young psychologist, DR. ROW.

She stands in the doorway holding her breath, the corridor behind her engulfed by darkness. Exhaling, she edges into the room.


The door slams shut.


With slow measure Dr. Row steps across the room, eyeing Mike as she goes. She is cautious, but intrigued, an air of self-awareness and control brought in by her light footsteps.

Stood before Mike, she waits for his gaze to raise; he either hasn't recognised her or is so far refusing to as he stares through her white, flat-soled shoes.

She clears her throat. He looks up.



Her voice fades into silence; her lips move but nothing comes of it.

Mike watches her with apparent attention. When she smiles so does he, when she nods so does he; when she pauses, he looks down until he thinks her lips are moving again.


The surrounding walls crumble, a web of fractures surging around the room, the brick and stone collapsing, leaving a void of darkness to loom about the periphery of Mike's spotlit cell.

Dr. Row is oblivious to the change in environment. Mike keeps his shifting eyes on the ground or her shoes as to distract himself from the change.

Approaching vibrations quiver across the floor and towards Mike's mattress.

From the dark shroud storms forth a huge man with crimson eyes, his top off and his muscles bulging.

He screams and shouts, consumed by an immeasurable rage, but, like Dr. Row, is stricken to quietude. He approaches, beating his head and chest like a territorial gorilla, inflamed gaze locked onto Mike.


Dr. Row taps Mike's shoulder then hands him a piece of card with string attached to it.

He turns the material over to see a photograph of eyes facing downward printed on the card. He simply looks at her, confused.


Mike's SHADOW steals the contraption from his hand and straps it onto his head, over his eyes.

Dr. Row smiles with a thumbs up toward the shadow.

Mike looks at it, flat on the wall, facing his way, the print eyes on the ground, then turns to Dr. Row, who continues to talk as if nothing happened.


With the man marching closer and closer...


... Mike begins to whimper, hugging his legs. Dr. Row kneels down with patient inquiry.

The man's beetroot feet slam to a stop behind her.

He bellows...

Nothing but silence.

Enraged further, the man stoops with a piercing glare directed at the side of Dr. Row's face. She still chats away.

He roars in her ear... but to no effect.

Slamming his fists against the ground, beating a futile tantrum into the indifferent stone, the furious figure exudes incomprehensible anger.

Peeping past Dr. Row, Mike whimpers helpless--



He's suddenly swamped with the violent cacophony, and so snaps his eyes shut, kicking out at Dr. Row with fear, sending her stumbling backwards, toward the figure, with shock.


Mike opens his eyes back on Dr. Row.

The angry man has vanished. But, someone else is coming; soft footsteps approach.

From behind Dr. Row, who has recomposed and is reassuring Mike (still muted), appears a sleazy skinny man wearing a suit with a red rose in the breast pocket.

His loafers slide to a stop.

He looks Dr. Row up and down from behind and then caresses her hips, lightly pecking her neck with puckered lips.

Only able to watch Dr. Row obliviously talk on, Mike grows infuriated.

The sleazeball grabs her breasts, extending a wet tongue to lick her face.

Mike bolts to his feet, fist cocked.

Dr. Row steps back in fear.

The man pulls away and backs off with a grin.

Mike steps forward, ready to push past Dr. Row, when a bald man with red skin appears behind her holding a six-foot samurai sword--


Blood sprays out of the gaping, spluttering hose that was her neck.

Mike falls back on the bed, blasted by the red haze.

Sobbing into his pillow and cursing with feeble refrain, he tries to stop hyperventilating, his body quivering with emotional over-activity.

With apprehension, Mike turns to the dead body, opening his eyes...

Dr. Row is talking again, stern, unimpressed. She continues to do so as Mike catches his--

Dr. Row glitches.

--for a second she's is gone, replaced by a WOMAN IN A RED DRESS.

Mike watches her closely as she continues to talk, rubbing his wet face with the sheets.

She glitches again.

Mike cocks his head to the side, confused and trepidatious.

Dr. Row stops and mouths: 'what's wrong?'. In that instant, she is gone, replaced by the Woman In The Red Dress who looks down at Mike with disgust.

More a skeleton with skin, wrapped in loose fabric that should be tight, the Woman has hard, impenetrable black eyes and a man's haircut.

The figure begins to grow, stretching into a lanky giant, pummeling her hands down on either side of Mike as he shrivels, dwarfed.

The Woman chortles menace as he, again, starts to cry.

With Mike's back turned on her, she begins to shrink down to her normal size again. Quickly growing annoyed by his shielded sobs, the Woman starts beating him with open hands.

Mike can only curl up tighter and bear the beating.

Teeth grit, eyes wild, she slaps her palms down on his back, disquieting insanity imbued into her frame as her arms fly and spindly legs wobble over her impractically high heels.

The pounding stops.

Rattled and distraught, Mike turns over and opens his eyes, expecting the delusion to have ended, but the Woman isn't gone. She stands by his bedside. Her face is soft, forgiving, warm. She opens her arms.

Infantalised, his stature meek and submissive, Mike stands and embraces her.

She pulls him in tight and whispers in his ear. He listens with a growing smile until, weakly:



Mike pushes her away with resentment.


I -


She strikes his face, expecting him to pull away, but he doesn't.

Staring down at his toes, Mike's hanging arms tense, his veins beginning to throb, muscles taut, a scream itching to escape his lungs--

Mike lunges at her.

They hit the floor, Mike on top of her.

He gets his hands around her neck and starts squee--

From the darkness Dr. Row's hand touches his shoulder.

He jumps off the Woman, trips backwards, and...


... is back in the cell, sitting on the bed unnervingly staring at Dr. Row's shoes with heavy, panting breath.

Returning to apparent consciousness, Mike looks up at Dr. Row's understanding smile.

She seems to have finished talking and so leaves the room.



Mike stares at the rust and then looks around at the solid walls, still catching his breath.

Thanks for reading the sample. If you would like to read the full story, check out the ebook on amazon...

To all the blog followers, we shall now open the Kaleidoscope Series where we will explore some of the films that inspired and informed this story. Keep an eye out for the first post and thanks again for reading.

Amélie - The Crystaltype

Thoughts On: Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain, 2001)

A discussion around the movie and the construction of character.

One of the most beautiful things about art is the fact that it can capture a mode of being, contrive a person and a character, that is simultaneously infinite and singular, that is potential and is a moulded idol. Great characters, our favourite characters - one of mine is Amélie - are just this; they are human and they are pawns. They transcend both ourselves as a sloppy, confused and lost beings, stuck within ourselves with too much potential and not enough capacity, as well as themselves as idols and ego-projections meant only to massage our shortcomings and basic desires. Great characters are not human like you and me, but nor are they subservient to our humanity.

What seems to make me me and you you is our position in both space and time. We are bodies in one certain state. Because we exist in the physical world, there is a continuity in our being - we can come to see this as 'the self'. But, because we also exist in time, our mode of being is in constant flux; the persona emerges. Thus, the self is not just who we are, but the part of us that is preserved as who we are changes over hours, days, months, years and decades. You are that little piece of you that has always been apart of you and will continue to be apart of you until you are not only gone off of this earth, but pass from all memory.

Characters on film exist in space and time. However, their space and time is not infinite like ours. As a result, they can only ever be so much, and they can only ever change so much. They can only be what is put on screen, and they can only change over the course of a run-time. This is somewhat true with real people who are not ourselves; we know them only from what we see of them and for as long as we know of them. Ourselves, however... we have been there for and seen almost every moment of our being; our conception of self is incredibly deep, transcendent of the infinite space around us and the infinite time around us because we also recognise the infinite depth within us; we know our mind. Other humans have minds, we tell ourselves this--we try to as a means of getting along with them and moving forward in life. Characters don't necessarily have minds.

There is a fallacy about much of film criticism whereby we talk about characters as if they are human; as if they are free of us and we recognise their humanity. But, how easy this is to do with even the real people around us is debatable. There then emerges a Lacanian philosophy of character, one that suggests that what is on the screen is only a reflection of ourselves. This perspective bears much truth; the humanity we assign to characters is very much so us walking in their shoes, seeing them as ourselves, their humanity as, in fact, just an appropriation of ours. There is something crucial missing from this theory, however, and that pertains to the fact that we are in infinite space and time and feel that we also have infinite depth within us. If we do not know ourselves completely, and always have the potential to surprise our past self with how much we change in the future, then how can our reflections be just reflections? Do they not bear some of this potential too? Humanity is inclined to think of itself and that around it as inexacerbatable potential. Because characters are very much so a reflection of ourselves, they then do take on their own autonomy to a good degree; we assign to them what we assign to ourselves: potential. And thus characters seem to have a free will, a gift of the spectator who believes they have free will themselves, or, at the very least, some autonomy and much potential.

So, whilst characters are on screen, trapped in finite space and time, they also have limited access to the vaults of our potential. They can then awaken within us emotions and ideas that we would not have been able to access without them. And much of this is a consequence of the fact that characters are a construct of another human being. To follow this thought, in many ways, we may just be seeing through characters - through the medium of film - and communicating directly with the humanity of a filmmaker. However, there still remains the fact that all humans have potential that human constructs - films, characters - inherit. And so not only do characters have an autonomy and potential given to them by the spectator, but they also gain something from the filmmaker. From the communication between the spectator and filmmaker through character comes even more potential on top of this. This is why characters and art in general bear a transcendent quality. If humans can feel the presence of the transcendent, then we can and will assign it to our greatest constructs; and story and character are certainly some of the greatest human constructs.

Who, then, are characters? They are what we desire, they are created, they are a construct, a reflection, but simultaneously somewhat autonomous and transcendent of ourselves and their creators. Characters, great characters in particular, characters that evoke the most complex of emotions and thoughts within us, are crystaltypes.

The crystaltype is the archetype manifest; it is the plastic conceptual human. Jung deals with archetypes as mental projections, as incredibly close to conceptions of self and psychological being. Archetypes seem to be trapped in the mind. Archetypes also exist between ourselves and art. Some characters in films, for example, are shells for an idea that we provide - that idea is archetypal and they are archetypes. Archetypes are medium-level-complexity constructs of cinema. We have discussed elsewhere that impressionism can manifest archetypes. However, impressionism's limits exceed the archetype. Beyond the archetypes subjective and objective impressionism can construct are 'symbols' and 'characters':

We have previously described 'characters' in this context as having the illusion of humanity and autonomy due to their complexity. We can describe characters of this sort now as 'crystaltypes'. In being archetypes manifest, crystaltypes, great characters such as Amélie, walk around a finite space and in a finite time endowed with great potential by the spectator and filmmaker who creates them. They are then very much so contrived objects without autonomy and real potential - they are solidified in their capacity - but are solidified in such a way that they become crystals; intricate, precious constructs that reflect humanity and thus bear a transcendent quality.

Whilst the archetype is a shell, the cystaltype is a precious stone - caricatures may as well be plastic figurines. Understanding great characters as crystaltypes begins to clarify their position in art as simultaneously subservient to our desires and also out of our hands, too precious to call our own and a projection of us alone. To love someone, to believe you are in love with another, is to perceive them as both idol (a crystal object) and subjective, individual, conscious human. The idol you bear of those you love - your mother, sister, brother, father, wife, husband - is bound to the archetype. To perceive them as only the archetype, Jung may suggest, is an indication of un-individuation. To perceive them correctly, as an individuated human, requires an acceptance of their subjective being, free of our ego and desires. However, growing up and individuating doesn't mean we lose a mother, a father, brother, etc. In my view, philosophies of complete disembodiment, of entirely relinquishing desire and possession, would inform such a faulted view as this. To grow up doesn't mean we are to let go of archetypes entirely. I would question if this is even possible, to not see our mother as a mother, to see our wife as just another human and so free to operate as a stranger to us may. To grow up is to see their humanity and archetypal role merge, which leads to the creation of the crystaltype.

The human crystaltype and the fictional crystaltype are incredibly different, but are built in a similar way; archetypal role meets individual humanity. What separates character from human is the act of creation. Human-to-human relations are relations between two true selves, we create and project our own images. Human-to-character relations are relations between ourselves and the screen as a one way mirror with a filmmaker projecting behind it. Characters cannot create themselves, they are created via committee and art as communication. As a result, the crystaltype character is far more solid and unchanging than a human, they are confined to finite space and time and have limited potential: just as much as we and their maker can manage to give them. Nonetheless they can shine with transcendent meaning, and such a quality is what we describe when we label certain cinematic constructs 'great characters'.

I have discussed the intricacies of what builds Amélie into a great character previously and so won't provide this analysis again. However, for the fact that she operates as both archetype and character, object and subject, makes her a crystaltype. But, with Amélie as a crystaltype I hold close, I'll leave things with you. What are your favourite characters? What makes them crystaltypes?

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We Are Not Afraid - Look Back

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We Are Not Afraid - Look Back

Quick Thoughts: We Are Not Afraid: Inside The Coup In Honduras (Quién Dijo Miedo, Honduras de un Golpe, 2010)

Made by Katia Lara, this is the Honduran film of the series.

We Are Not Afraid is a very dense and highly chaotic documentary about the 2009 Honduran coup d'état. The coup was an offshoot of the constitutional crisis which, itself, was a political conflict between the government in power and the masses who wanted reform. It was set off when the Honduran military forced then-president Manuel Zelaya into exile after he pushed for a constitutional referendum. We Are Not Afraid exists in the direct aftermath of the exile, and it follows a selection of activists who are in support of Zelaya and who want the coup (his exile) to be internationally recognised. In addition to this, We Are Not Afraid documents human rights abuses committed upon protesters by the military and attempts to voice their struggle to the surrounding world.

This is a pretty powerful documentary, one that, as said, is chaotic and dense but nonetheless captures the atmosphere and climate of what we can only perceive to be hectic times. So, though the coup was almost 10 years ago now, this is well worth looking back upon as expressively capturing a significant moment in time for Honduras as it unfolded:

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The Immoral Mr. Teas - Soft-Core Surrealism

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Amélie - The Crystaltype

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The Immoral Mr. Teas - Soft-Core Surrealism

Thoughts On: The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)

A salesman can't escape dreams and visions of breasts.

After WWII, in the 60s and 70s especially, there was an explosion of degeneracy across popular media in America. Film was profoundly impacted by this debased proliferation of counter-cultural fervour. And the waves of independent and underground movies that this insubordinate movement rode upon is characterised as 'exploitation'. We have spoken about this a few times before, mainly with a focus on horror and gore. Today, however, we will be looking at an early moment of 'sexploitation' via Russ Meyer.

Meyer is known in the modern day largely through Tarantino and the fact that his film, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! influenced the likes of Grindhouse and Kill Bill. And it is Faster, Pussycat! that is one Meyer's most iconic films nowadays despite the fact that it was not popular at the time, a box office flop and, unsurprisingly, critically lambasted.

Faster, Pussycat! is said to be one of the best representatives of Meyer's style as an auteur. If you've seen the trailer - which is honestly one of the best trailers you can ever watch - you don't really need to see the film. What defines the film, and what the trailer captures perfectly, is that Meyer was almost the Robert Crumb of cinema; he loved powerful, cartoonishly proportioned (b-b-b-big-breasted) women.

What Meyer's films then give incite into, like a lot of pornography does - but certainly in a more articulate and mad-cap manner - is the psychology of (what you might call ordinary) men via the mind of a fetishistic, hyper-sexual, not-too-normal deviant. Meyer's Kill, Pussycat! is seemingly in conversation with his childhood, with the fact that he (like Tarantino, it must be mentioned) was raised by a single mother who was abandoned by his father at an early age. Meyer's mother is said to have not only sold her wedding ring to buy her son his first camera, but also loved every one of his films. That, in itself, says a lot considering that Meyer's was quite obsessed with domineering women, with their bodies and sexuality, their loud and unbridled personalities, and put this on film.

Having learnt how to rapidly shoot 16mm film in the army during WWII - during which he is said to have met Hemingway in Paris, who took him to a brothel to lose his virginity - Meyer moved to L.A. There he was a still photographer, who shot some of the first photos for Hugh Hefner and Playboy. He didn't remain on this career path for long, however, and decided to start making his own films.

Meyer's vision and philosophy as a filmmaker was seemingly to just give an audience what they wanted. However, this is very clearly only one dimension of his 'artistic' being. Not only was Meyer exploiting sex and the image of women, but he was serving himself and actually making somewhat competent movies. It is undeniable that Meyer's style is very clunky and unclean, but, he developed his own kind of montage, moving through a space via extreme close-ups at a rapid pace. This, combined with his lighting and brilliant writing skills (you've heard samples of his dialogue), formulates the Meyer aesthetic that really distinguished - and continues to distinguish - his films from an awful lot of the trashier trash, or, as John Waters may say, movies of bad bad taste, not good bad taste, that he inspired.

Whilst there is much you could say about the chaos that emerges from later on in Meyer's career, I find his first feature-length film, The Immoral Mr. Teas, to be incredibly fascinating - not to mention, quite alien in terms of form and content when compared to his later movies. The Immoral Mr. Teas is considered one of the very first nude films that actually had a plot and was also one of the first (soft) pornographic films to have been widely seen and exhibited outside of private, underground circuits in America. The silent era let loose quite a few semi-pornographic films, but, with the rise of even stronger, systematised censorship in America after the move into the sound era, there was no chance nudity would be finding its way to the big screen. There would have definitely been pornography of all kinds circulating in private, but the most public examples of pornography to emerge between the 30s and 50s were nudist films. These were documentaries of sorts that were shot in nude camps, and were, in some respect, promotional tools for the camps and the nudist lifestyle; they were about freedom, nature and other hippy stuff. Nudist films were... boring. What can be refereed to as 'beach ball' films, these would have featured men and women without any clothes on frolicking in fields and swimming in ponds, hitting inflatable beach balls to one another. The camera work was basic, lighting was often natural, and there was almost never any story. By the 60s, there emerged nudist films that had plots and tried to break established conventions. One example of such a film would be Nude On The Moon, which features a nude colony... on the moon - except it's very clearly Florida. However, Nude On The Moon would have rode on the wave of nude films that The Immoral Mr. Teas would have set off 2 years prior in 1959.

Again, The Immoral Mr. Teas was not like anything that it inspired, and nor was it much like that which came before it. Whilst you can see a very clear 'beach ball film' aesthetic in certain sequences that all gravitate towards ponds and leisurely activities, any one familiar with avant-garde cinema will immediately feel a strange sense of familiarity with The Immoral Mr. Teas.

The Immoral Mr. Teas fleetingly looks, and sounds, like surrealist films such as L'Age D'Or and Un Chien Andalou. Not only is Meyer's film shot as a silent picture, but it features dream sequences, dark comedy, satire, deviant sexuality, unorthodox camera angles, a repetitive Tango-esque song, a hapless man riding a bike and a kind of l'amour fou (mad love) that characterises almost all Surrealist films. I do not know if Meyer was even aware of Buñuel, but The Immoral Mr. Teas bears an uncanny resemblance to, most certainly, Un Chien Andalou. And when you watch The Immoral Mr. Teas as more of an experimental film than basic pornography, it becomes very clear that there is an irony and commentary designed into the narrative, one that picks up upon the pathological self-suppression of a man in fear of his own sexuality. What we then see across this surreal narrative is a man in a new kind of America - an America that is economically expanding via advertisements, consumerism and the tireless efforts of puny businessmen. In the spirit of nudist films before and after it, The Immoral Mr. Teas pushes back against this 'unnatural' way of being, but does so with an embrace of deviance. This isn't about accepting the human body, instead, it is about lusting after the female body, about not being able to control ones imagination, about not being able to talk to, to interact with, women. All sexual imagery in this film is then either a form of torture or a form of placation; it doesn't do anything for the man but arose and massage his frustrations.

As I watched The Immoral Mr. Tea as a film very much so about frustration and utter patheticness, it appeared to me to be quite sad. And this rather pitiable representation of the male as subservient to impulse whose needs can never be met seemingly runs throughout Meyer's films. However, it is in The Immoral Mr. Teas that Meyer actually interacts with this perception he has of men - of male sexuality and himself maybe. In his other films, Faster, Pussycat! for example, he has long given up on men. He cares only about women and their ability to dominate and smother men completely. And whilst he quashes these dominatrix archetypes in many of his films, he always does so with a clear pretence of morality; he does not believe in the educational voice-overs and the moral turn-arounds that censors would require, they only seem to serve his point. And never is this more clear that in The Immoral Mr. Teas. There is no redemption, there is nothing learnt, there is no success; a man falls prey to his sexuality and finds a way to numb away the pain of enslavement.

If you are interested in seeing this film, and even Meyer's more famous pictures, certainly keep this subtext in mind and his work may appear to have more dimension than you would have initially anticipated. Here's a link to a documentary on Russ Meyer, a link to The Immoral Mr. Teas, and here's a link to Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

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