You know what’s a crazy movie? Fitzcarraldo. At any cinematic age, that is one crazy old time movie. There’s nothing quite like it.
I remember seeing Fitzcarraldo in an art-house theater in one of the hip, BoHo-esque neighborhoods in Northwest Portland. It was the kind of theater where older people pay to go see movies that they’ve already seen, that they can easily rent at even Blockbuster, in theaters as old as their parents in the vain attempt to feel like movies are still exciting to them.
My friends were into weird shit. Weird bookstores. Weird music. Weird food. We would drive downtown to gather armloads of yellowed, tobacco-scented vintage magazines from Cameron’s Cooks, pile up $3 cassettes from 2nd Avenue Records, and get sick on Indian cart food we couldn’t pronounce.
The excitement of discovery was teeming in our circle, and one autumn evening, Fitzcarraldo was the cultural ore we set out to mine. My folks were New Yorkers. I would be lying if I didn’t say that going up to that theater wasn’t reminiscent of childhood trips to the Big Apple: little bodegas, smells from open kitchen doors wafting onto the sidewalk, buildings steeped in an essence vaguely out of time. The theater was similar. We found a line of patrons in black sweaters and sunglasses at night.
The movie? Fitzcarraldo was weird. I mean, it was as weird as I have ever seen. I had seen Oliver Stone’s The Doors and The Wall, but those movies felt like jaws full of pink bubble gum in comparison. I mean, Klaus Kinski looks mad enough that he could chew through iron, and the other actors look borderline afraid of him when they share the screen. It’s strange to pinpoint, but that night I realized that art is a series of choices. Everything you see and hear and feel is the product of someone’s vision.
Of course, Fitzcarraldo is the product of one crazy man’s vision, Herr Werner Herzog.
So, you’re sixteen years old and you’re watching this…. madness, and in that two hours you don’t care if your girlfriend kisses you, or lets you put a hand on her knees, because this isn’t a Richard Greico or Corey Haim movie. I mean, look up at the screen girl; they’re dragging a boat over a damn mountain. A boat. A mountain. Over.
I mean, it’s insane. You knew it was going to be going in, but you’re sixteen years old and sometimes you have to see that kind of thing for yourself.
Slaves Of The Shadow Realm by Legion of the Damned is kind of like that. Just take a look at the cover. It’s full of wicked stuff. I wouldn’t want to bump into those guys in a bar bathroom. You know the record is going to be badass, but nothing prepares you for badass like this. Some madness is good enough that you anticipate it, recognize the groove of it, and none of that diminishes the thrill of thrashing about with it.