1327 – In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

timespace coordinates: 1990’s New Hampshire

reality isn’t what it used to be…”

In the Mouth of Madness is a 1994 American horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter and written by Michael De Luca. It stars Sam NeillJulie CarmenJürgen ProchnowDavid Warner and Charlton Heston. Informally, the film is the third installment in Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy, preceded by The Thing and Prince of Darkness.

The film pays tribute to the work of seminal horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, with many references to his stories and themes. Its title is a play on Lovecraft’s novella, At the Mountains of Madness, and insanity plays as great a role in the film as it does in Lovecraft’s fiction. The opening scene depicts Trent’s confinement to an asylum, with the bulk of the story told in flashback, a common technique of Lovecraft. Reference is made to Lovecraftian settings and details (such as a character that shares the name of Lovecraft’s Pickman family). Sutter Cane’s novels have similar titles to H.P. Lovecraft stories : The Whisperer of the Dark (The Whisperer in Darkness), The Thing in the Basement (The Thing on the Doorstep), Haunter out of Time (The Haunter of the Dark/The Shadow Out of Time), and The Hobbs End Horror (The Dunwich Horror), the latter also referencing Hobbs End underground station from Nigel Kneale‘s Quatermass and the Pit.

The film can also be seen as a reference to Stephen King, who, like Lovecraft, writes horror fiction set in New England hamlets. (wiki)

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1324 – Strange Days (1995)

timespace coordinates: 1999, turn of the century (near-future) Los Angeles (racial war zone / New Year’s Eve party) 

MV5BODFkMTBmNjktMjM1Yy00MjY5LTliMGEtM2FhYjE2YjRmN2RkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzkwMjQ5NzM@._V1_Strange Days is a 1995 American science fiction thriller film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, written by James Cameron and Jay Cocks, and produced by Cameron and Steven-Charles Jaffe. It stars Ralph FiennesAngela BassettJuliette Lewis, and Tom Sizemore. Set in the last two days of 1999, the film follows the story of a black marketeer of SQUID discs, recordings that allow a user to experience the recorder’s memories and physical sensations, as he attempts to uncover the truth behind the murder of a prostitute.

Blending science fiction with film noir conventions, Strange Days explores themes such as racismabuse of powerrape, and voyeurism. Although the story was conceived by Cameron around 1986, Bigelow found inspiration after incidents such as the Lorena Bobbitt trial and the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict.

Strange Days was a commercial failure and almost derailed Bigelow’s career (…) Nevertheless, the film’s critical standing has improved over the years, with many fans feeling that the film has been overlooked by a casual mass audience and misguided critics.

The scene where the crowd celebrates the turn of the new century at the end of the film was shot at the corner of the 5th and Flower streets, between the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and the Los Angeles Public Library. Over 50 off-duty police officers were hired to control an assembled crowd of 10,000 people, who had to pay $10 in advance to attend the event. The film-makers also hired rave promoters Moss Jacobs and Philip Blaine to produce performances featuring Aphex TwinDeee-Lite, as well as “all the cyber-techno bands they could garner”.

In 2015The Washington Post editor Sonny Bunch felt that Strange Days was still relevant, comparing the imagery captured by the SQUID units to that of first-person shooters or cellphone videos on YouTube. He added that events such as Jeriko One’s murder and the subsequent coverup of the crime contribute to activist movements like Black Lives Matter, and that their media documentation amplifies their reception and consequences. (read more: Themes)

Strange Days_02_0

wiki   /   imdb

1311 – Southland Tales (2006)

Southland Tales is a 2006 science fiction comedy-drama thriller film and the second film written and directed by Richard Kelly. The title refers to the Southland, a name used by locals to refer to Southern California and Greater Los Angeles. Set in the then-near future of 2008, as part of an alternate history, the film is a portrait of Los Angeles, and a satiric commentary on the military–industrial complex and the infotainment industry. The film features an ensemble cast including Dwayne JohnsonSeann William ScottSarah Michelle GellarMandy Moore, and Justin Timberlake. Original music was provided by Moby. The film is an international co-production of the United States, Germany and France.

Southland Tales postertimespace coordinates: On July 4th, 2005, in a fictionalized United States alternate history reality, two towns in Texas (El Paso and Abilene) were destroyed by twin nuclear attacks, killing thousands and triggering a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions, sending America into a state of anarchy and hysteria, as well as a Third World War (a fictionalized version of what the nation may have become under the War on Terror), with the US government re-introducing the draft. The PATRIOT Act has extended authority to a new agency known as US-IDent, which keeps constant surveillance on citizens—even to the extent of censoring the Internet and requiring fingerprints to access computers and bank accounts. In response to the recent fuel shortage in the wake of global warfare, the German company Treer designs a generator of inexhaustible energy, which is propelled by the perpetual motion of ocean currents, called “Fluid Karma”. However, its inventor Baron von Westphalen and his associates are hiding the fact that the generators alter the ocean’s currents and cause the Earth to slow its rotation, and that the transmission of Fluid Karma to portable receivers (via quantum entanglement) is ripping holes in the fabric of space and time.

In near-future 2008, Los Angeles (referred to as “The Southland” by locals) is a city on the brink of chaos overshadowed by the growth of an underground neo-Marxist organization. The film follows the criss-crossed destinies of Boxer Santaros, an action film actor stricken with amnesia; Krysta Now, a psychic ex-porn star in the midst of creating a reality TV show; and twin brothers Roland and Ronald Taverner, whose destinies become intertwined with that of all mankind.

Southland Tales was initially planned to be a nine-part “interactive experience”, with the first six parts published in six 100-page graphic novels that would be released in a six-month period up to the film’s release. The feature film comprises the final three parts of the experience. A website was also developed to intertwine with the graphic novels and the film itself.  The idea of six graphic novels was later narrowed down to three. The novels were written by Kelly and illustrated by Brett Weldele. Kelly wrote them while making the film and found it very difficult as it pushed him “to the edge of my own sanity”, as he remarked in an interview. 

They have been collected together into one single volume:

The titles of the parts in the film are:

  • Part Four: Temptation Waits
  • Part Five: Memory Gospel
  • Part Six: Wave of Mutilation

The film remains enigmatic to many viewers and even some of its makers. In a 2011 interview, Justin Timberlake himself said, “To me, Southland Tales is performance art. I still don’t know what that movie is about [laughs].”

In a 2013 interview, Kelly said he considered this work as “the thing that I’m most proud of, and I feel like it’s sort of the misunderstood child or the banished child.” (wiki)

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[Southland Tales Soundtrack] tracks Aerial/Snowball -Moby / Southland Tales – Full Soundtrack (Score & Songs)   /   Sarah Michelle Gellar – Teen Horniness is Not a Crime

1295 – The Keep (1983)

timespace coordinates: 1941 Dinu Pass, Romanian Alps, somewhere north of Ploiesti

MV5BOWMzOGFiZjQtMmQxZS00Yzg3LThiNDEtYjdiNGM1YTFkYzAyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_The Keep is a 1983 supernatural horror film directed by Michael Mann and starring Scott GlennGabriel ByrneJürgen ProchnowAlberta Watson and Ian McKellen. It was released by Paramount Pictures. The story is based on the F. Paul Wilson novel of the same name, originally published in 1981. The theme and music was composed by Tangerine Dream.  (wiki)

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1289 – Akira (1988)

timespace coordinates: AD 2019 Neo-Tokyo (31 years after ww3)

Akira (Japanese: アキラ Hepburn: Akira) is a 1988 Japanese animated post-apocalyptic cyberpunk film directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, based on Otomo’s 1982 manga of the same name. The film had a production budget of ¥1.1 billion ($9 million), making it the most expensive anime film of its time.

Set in a dystopian 2019, Akira tells the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, a leader of a local biker gang whose childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident, eventually threatening an entire military complex amidst chaos and rebellion in the sprawling futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo. While most of the character designs and settings were adapted from the manga, the plot differs considerably, and does not include much of the last half of the manga. The soundtrack, which draws heavily from traditional Indonesian gamelan as well as Japanese noh music, was composed by Shōji Yamashiro and performed by Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

Akira premiered in Japan on July 16, 1988 by Toho, but was initially unable to recoup its budget. It was released the following year in the United States by pioneering animation distributor Streamline Pictures. It garnered an international cult following after various theatrical and VHS releases, eventually earning over $80 million worldwide from home video sales. It is widely regarded by critics as one of the greatest animated and science fiction films ever made, as well as a landmark in Japanese animation. It is also a landmark film in the cyberpunk genre, particularly the Japanese cyberpunk subgenre, as well as adult animation. The film had a significant impact on popular culture worldwide, paving the way for the growth of anime and Japanese popular culture in the Western world as well as influencing numerous works in animation, comics, film, music, television and video games. (wiki)

imdb   /  live-action adaptation

1286 – Idiocracy (2006)

timespace coordinates: 2505 Washington, D.C.

Idiocracy is a 2006 American science fiction comedy film directed by Mike Judge and starring Luke WilsonMaya Rudolph, and Dax Shepard.

The film tells the story of Joe Bauers (Wilson), an American soldier who takes part in a classified military human hibernation experiment, only to accidentally awaken 500 years later in a dystopian society where mankind has embraced anti-intellectualism and commercialism has run rampant, and which is devoid of intellectual curiositysocial responsibility, and coherent notions of justice and human rights.

The film was not screened for critics, and distributor 20th Century Fox was accused of abandoning the film. Despite its lack of a major theatrical release, which resulted in a mere $495,303 box office, the film received positive reviews from critics and has become a cult film. (wiki)

imdb   /  Themes   /   Commentary   /   Spin-offs

1281 – The Loved One (1965)

timespace coordinates: LA, 1964

714HJogGrsL._SL1210_The Loved One is a 1965 black and white comedy film about the funeral business in Los Angeles, which is based on The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy (1948), a short satirical novel by Evelyn Waugh. It was directed by British filmmaker Tony Richardson and the screenplay—which also drew on Jessica Mitford‘s book The American Way of Death (1963) —was written by noted American satirical novelist Terry Southern and British author Christopher Isherwood.

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The film stars Robert MorseJonathan WintersAnjanette Comer and Rod Steiger. Among those making appearances in smaller roles are John GielgudRobert MorleyRoddy McDowallJames CoburnMilton BerleDana Andrews and Liberace. (wiki)

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