Thursday, May 21, 2009

LIFE AS WE SHOW IT: WRITING ON FILM contributor Elizabeth Hatmaker keeps a film journal, day 2..."Blood Mania"

Blood Mania
incest in the context overlaid by credits in the first 2 minutes then we’re ask to forget it matters.
The secret blood is abortion we find out although there is no blood in much of the film.
Only nice house and women that maybe abortion allows. It’s the chiaroscuro that
tacky houses produce,
crazy shit going down around the dying father. A woman slashing away at an unseen picture, lesbians outta Bannon and Taylor, lonely and outside of lonely,
a lined incantation of what het boys dig.
“hybridity of the feminine,” blood mania
is her name.

It’s surrealism w/o class. I’m building a proxy w/
words rhythms because I want to avoid
what surrealism implies, like being found wanting always.
A new friend asked me, “are you gurlesque?” and I wasn’t sure what she
meant and felt bad about that but instinctually thought
probably not. No one’s ask me to be, if that’s what’s at
issue. Is there money in it? A month later, in a bed and breakfast that felt like
a boarding house for snazzy folks slumming cozy
in the Midwestern university town where I live, I told another friend about
it. I’d looked up what the it meant, read some stuff, saw that, yeah, shit, I
suppose I’m the right lonely nerdy age and all the stuff
had the right rhythm of barbie fucking, “girls in the shadow
of feminism said with quivery voice” and I liked the work and writers and
realized I’d met a few here and there. We rock the right splatter pop
making up words something or other. Hey there, lonely girl.
Are other girls asking me anything, I often wonder? My friend, a man
by the way, in Midwestern b&b house
said that folks like us are watchers and that we tend to sit
back from groups of all kinds.
We drank good liquor quietly after that and I wondered if
the proprietors of that goodly house were awake and wide-eyed,
staring at the ceiling.

Blood Mania makes me want to avoid
surrealism because folks will
laugh and I associate that laughing
with the sense not of watching but that
watching isn’t particularly productive and
instinctually I get defensive. The economy of the
film makes fools of women and money. Here’s surrealism without class:
1. a wife assumes if she fucks a guy blackmailing her husband for $50,000
money in pre-Roe/Wade America that he’ll let it slide. There’s a nice
candle on the table while she does it.
2. The tit-ular star assumes that she’ll inherit money from her ailing
father because he’s fucked her and she swims topless in his pool
and he fantasies about her and she managed not to become a lesbian
like her sister, who does inherit all the money and, I realize, appeared in the opening credits with
a rope around her neck. Titular winds up inheriting “access” to the house w/pool, money towards upkeep of said house, and a $250 a week allowance. That’s a sweet deal I think. A good divorce. You could live Norma Desmond swank on that money, tool around town in a cool car, go to some record stores, get an abortion or two, try on make-up you buy based on TV commercials, watch folks from short distances, watch their faces and admire them.
3. There’s a lesbian who talks tough and ballsy to the roguish male lead and then, tenderly,
leaves the scene after a sexy discussion about being the type of woman who can only
live lonely in New York with other lonely women. She doesn’t take anyone’s money
and she’s muy classy. Nobody has to ask her to leave.
4. The sisters have a moment of sanity. Agree to share the house and expenses. Maybe
hang out, seduce the pool boy together, whatever in the sunshine.
5. There’s a lonely nurse who inherits $1500 and plans to spend it on colorful
clothes that we never get to see her buy.
5. There’s a renaissance fair, soft focus photography about everything but sex,
there’s sadism and guys who get off on it in women, there’s art, there’s a murdered father who
raises up like a pale erection with red lips in his death throes.
6. At one point there’s a pause in the film conversation where I was led to believe the
titular staring woman huffed glue.
7. Electronic music was by Wurlitzer!
8 And it ends like the environment of Scorpio Rising.

And its an economy not favoring surrealism.
And I’m supposed to talk about feminist aesthetics, and gurlesque
and failure and surrealism and the 1970s when I was just a kid; I’m supposed to
talk in another Midwestern university town about it.
So in the end, the titular woman’s painting is
of herself as a skeleton and
the roguish male star stares at her painting
after she’s hacked her sister to death.

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