Does Lynch match up to Kubrick's creep powers?
We’ve got a great line up on Sundance Channel this month, but one film that we’re really excited to be showing is EYES WIDE SHUT – so excited, in fact, that we’re airing it three times (which, if you’re like me, means you’ll be watching it three times, too). But thinking about EYES WIDE SHUT – Kubrick’s final, posthumously released film – got me thinking about what other movies can possibly compare to Kubrick’s surreal vision of bottled up fantasies that drive the men that obsess over them to the fringes of society’s underground? The story is based on Arthur Snitzler’s 1926 novella, Traumnovelle or “Dream Story,” about a doctor who goes on a two-day psychological bender of mind-alteration that culminates in a masquerade ball, which, like Kubrick’s film, involves that old fashioned combination of masked men and orgies.
Schnitzler’s other controversial works (many of which seem to involve wealthy men in illicit and perverse affairs) have been adapted into films, like LA RONDE, directed by Max Ophuls, whose film can be said to be said to have dreamlike qualities, but none match the surrealist nightmare that is EYES WIDE SHUT. There is one director, however, who’s work is comparable: David Lynch. MULLHOLLAND DR., anyone? BLUE VELVET? Talk about dark, weirdo sex (actually, that could be said of a lot of Lynch’s films). Betty’s (Naomi Watts) psycho, wig-swapping, jealous rage always leaves me unsettled, and just thinking about Dennis Hopper’s sadomasochistic, gas-huffing Frank Booth scream “Baby wants to fuck” is enough to give me the creeps for the whole day. And after thinking about that, I think I’m ready for some Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise weirdness. Luckily, the first screening is tomorrow night.