KLAATU YOU (34)
August 19, 2020
One in a weekly series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of our favorite pre-Star Wars science fiction movies.
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE | d. STANLEY KUBRICK | 1971
In 2020, writing an appreciation of A Clockwork Orange seems like a near transgressive act. Despite its moralistic underpinnings, the 1971 film by Stanley Kubrick is a visual celebration of the worst that humanity can conjure. Ultraviolence. Gang rape. An innocent couple terrorized in their home. A yoga enthusiast and cat lover executed by having a giant phallus sculpture slammed into her head. With our self-proclaimed “friend” and not-so-humble narrator Alex DeLarge as our host and guide, we’re taken on a dystopian tour of a futuristic land in which every ruling force — the law, the government, the religious institutions — is corrupt, and no one can escape its mendacious interests.
In theory, Alex and his merry band of droogs are bad. But with Kubrick behind the lens, the eye delights in the scenery. Behold the wildly misogynist yet incredibly cool Allen Jones-inspired tables-in-the-form-of-women that decorate the milk-plus bar where the boys hang out and upon which they rest their feet and drinks. The home in which the couple is savaged is terrifically chic, and Alex’s deconstruction of his female victim’s red jumpsuit — cutting out the fabric that covers her breasts and then slicing the entire thing artfully up the middle — is almost couture-esque.
Yet, we know, our hero is a monster. After he’s locked up for murder, Alex, desperate to get out of prison, agrees to undergo an experimental behavioral modification treatment that will turn him from bad to good. Or so it seems. With a little cranial meddling, the process is reversed. As he lays in his hospital bed, we see the world from his point of view. His base impulses have returned. Like Alex, we can’t help but love the horrorshow. Sure, we may claim to be big fans of Ludgwig van, but we’re pigs rooting in the mud. Kubrick’s artistry is in taking us to this dark conclusion about our true nature by such a beautiful route.
KLAATU YOU: INTRODUCTION by Josh Glenn | Matthew De Abaitua on ZARDOZ | Miranda Mellis on METROPOLIS | Rob Wringham on THE INVISIBLE MAN | Michael Grasso on THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN | Gordon Dahlquist on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | Erik Davis on DARK STAR | Carlo Rotella on THE OMEGA MAN | Madeline Ashby on KISS ME DEADLY | Adam McGovern on SILENT RUNNING | Michael Lewy on THIS ISLAND EARTH | Josh Glenn on WILD IN THE STREETS | Mimi Lipson on BARBARELLA vs. SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS | Vanessa Berry on THE FLY | Lynn Peril on ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN | Peggy Nelson on SOLARIS | Adrienne Crew on LOGAN’S RUN | Ramona Lyons on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH | Kio Stark on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Dan Fox on FANTASTIC PLANET | Chris Lanier on IKARIE XB-1 | Devin McKinney on IDAHO TRANSFER | Mark Kingwell on THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO | Luc Sante on THE TENTH VICTIM | William Nericcio on DEATH RACE 2000 | Rob Walker on CAPRICORN ONE | Gary Panter on ANGRY RED PLANET | David Levine on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Karinne Keithley Syers on ALPHAVILLE | Carolyn Kellogg on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE | Sara Ryan on ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN | Lisa Jane Persky on PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE | Adam Harrison Levy on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES | Gerald Peary on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON | Susannah Breslin on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE | Seth on WAR OF THE WORLDS | James Hannaham on GOJIRA/GODZILLA | Lydia Millet on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED | Matthew Daniel on FANTASTIC VOYAGE | Shawn Wolfe on ROLLERBALL | Erin M. Routson on WESTWORLD | Marc Weidenbaum on COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT | Neil LaBute on 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA | Vicente Lozano on DAY OF THE DOLPHIN | Tom Roston on SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE | Katya Apekina on A BOY AND HIS DOG | Chelsey Johnson on THE BLOB | Heather Kapplow on SPACE IS THE PLACE | Brian Berger on THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS | Anthony Miller on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
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