!The Rebellion Strikes Black!
Looking back on STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, it is easy to see why the film caused such outrage. While sharing a New Hollywood love of docufeature realism unusual in a sly fi film, the exuberantly and shamelessly upbeat, light hearted, gee whiz bang, comic bookish and child oriented nature of the film was in complete contrast to all of the more sombre, serious, down beat and adult oriented cinematic offerings from New Hollywood up to that time. Indeed, and ironically, the film that strove to fight off the blockbuster menace of JAWS was even more blockbuster than that film, switching the ire of film artists from Spielberg to Lucas. Despite this newly directed fury of film artists, Lucas immediately discovered that young audiences at least eagerly embraced the healing and harmonizing Ozian Force. Indeed, happily for his dreams of artistic and financial independence, the exuberant sons and daughters of the Baby Boomers rallied to the healing Ozian Force of STAR WARS with the same enthusiasm that they welcomed AMERICAN GRAFFITI in theatres and THE WIZARD OF OZ on television. In fact, May 25, 1977 was forever after a seminal date as important to the children of the Seventies as June 6, 1944 was to a previous generation-Operation Hyperdrive!
Clearly, an upbeat, healing and liberating Ozian themed film that summed up the sunny Skywalking hopes of the post-Vietnam President Carter era and allowed young audiences to vicariously triumph over their own dark Boomer fathers and blast triumphantly into a hi-tech and spiritual but non-denominational future was an essential prescription for the health of a new generation. This longing to leave Vietnam behind, embrace a fantastic hi-tech and spirituality fused future and triumph over Dark Fathers was also clearly universal, as the film was a worldwide success. The film’s gripping and moving story, dazzlingly innovative special and visual effects, innovative sound effects, cool creatures and gadgets, believable cinema verite sets and worlds, inspired acting, and courageously melodic, romantic and uplifting symphonic music courtesy of Maestro Williams were also eagerly embraced by the new generation. In addition, the film’s rebellious commitment to a freedom loving and women’s liberated multi-religious and cultural society that was not a post-apocalyptic, fascist or communist dystopia ruled by sexually diseased alienated mutants, cruel machines or machine men was also a popular message amongst youth.
In fact, young male viewers liked STAR WARS so much, they watched the film over and over again, a curious new phenomena that contributed to the film’s fittingly phenomenal success. With the exception of the poor old Gardevil, whose Grinch parents refused to take him to the movie, who was not old enough to see the film on his own and who fell asleep when he went with friends to the drive-in, as the midnight start time of STAR WARS was hours past his bedtime in those days. Indeed, Canadian youth studied the Light saber strokes on celluloid of STAR WARS as intently as they studied the blade strokes on water of hockey. This repeat baptism in the healing Force made STAR WARS one of the highest grossing films ever, reaching the $100 million mark faster than any previous film in history and blasting the predicted sly fi hit of the year, the allegorical film, DAMNATION ALLEY (1977)-ironically and eerily directed by Jack Smight, he of a Fourceful four directorial credits on the original TWILIGHT ZONE-out of the water.
Even the august Academy reluctantly noticed the popular fervour, nominating the film for ten Academy Awards. STAR WARS won six of those awards the following Spring for Art Direction, Costume Design, Editing, Musical Score, Special Effects, as well as a Special Achievement Award for Special Effects. The awards hit home for Lucas, for the Editing Oscar was shared by his Editor wife Marcia with her co-editors Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch. This goldenrod Oscar underlined her own contributions to the films of Lucas, for Marcia had helped edit THX 1138 and had edited AMERICAN GRAFFITI with Verna Fields. Ironically, however, Lucas did not win an Oscar. Nonetheless, Lucas and the healing Force had struck back, stinging the competition at this Academy Awards like THE STING had stung AMERICAN GRAFFITI in 1973 (Pollock, pp. 183-222).
Not surprisingly, with this overwhelming reception, financial success and newfound status as a special effects machine courtesy of ILM, Lucas decided to expand upon his classic and allegorical film and turn it into an allegorical and Classic Trilogy. Indeed, he fittingly retitled the film STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE to underline that his pessimistic belief that STAR WARS was his last hope to make a successful film that would allow him to become an independent J.D. Jedi film artist had been replaced by its wish fulfillment success with the Jedi courage and determination needed to keep on making a multi-part saga. This allowed him to resolve the threads that were left hanging at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and continue the allegorical and liberating Journey of Self Discovery of young Skywalker with further symbolic tilts at Dark Fathers, incestuous Kid monsters, Warner Brothers and other evil film studio empires and cookie cutter Hollywood films, aided by a symbolic Han Coppola.
The decision to forge ahead with a multi-part saga also allowed Lucas to continue his own healing artistic and psychological liberation, and to reaffirm his commitment to art, creativity, faith, film, friendship, hard work, health, and J.D. Jedi film art independence. Significantly, Lucas also decided to create a digital effects wing of ILM to improve upon the few primitive CGI enhanced sequences seen in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, hiring Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith to head the digital effects group (for more insight into the development of CGI, see Creativity, Inc. by Catmull and Droidmaker by Michael Rubin).
This decision was greeted with delight by young viewers, who amazed the Hollywood film studios by urging their parents to buy them all of the STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE movie tie-in merchandise they could get their hands on-from action figures, bed sheets, books, comics, curtains, posters, the soundtrack, t-shirts and toys-and anything that reminded them of the film-like the first video games-in a desperate bid to tide them over until the arrival of the next film. This about face from traditional toys to toys linked to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and anything else hi-tech was so famous that it caused digital animators-digiteers?-to nostalgically look back at this switch and their own Seventies childhoods in a digitally animated story about toys to come. While surprising and relieving, youthful audience appreciation was one thing, attention from your J.D. Jedi film artist peers was another. And, given that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was an even bigger and more commercial blockbuster beast than JAWS, and given the roasts Lucas-and Coppola-had also implicitly received from their fellow film artists-particularly in BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, DEATH RACE 2000, DERSU UZALA, FREEBIE AND THE BEAN, and THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING-Lucas would not have long to wait.
Indeed, many furious serious film artists now saw 1977 rather than 1975 as the real year that serious film art was taken over by the crassly commercial blockbuster beast, and laid all of the blame for that takeover on the slight shoulders of Lucas. No cynical observer more memorably and despondently summed up the conviction of the anti-commercial artists of the era that the heady, idealistic and triumphant free spirit of the Sixties had crashed and burned, the rebel angel heroes had all sold out, and everything had gone straight to banal and money obsessed Hell by 1977 than Michael Moorcock in his fantastic and thought provoking quartet of allegorical novels, The Cornelius Chronicles (1977), with The Condition Of Muzak (1977), the title of the last of the incredible quartet, saying it all for the pessimists. In fact, 1977 was also the year that boomers and boomer brats began to turn against New Hollywood film artists in general, beginning in June of ’77 with the release of the twilit, allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood roasting Friedkin film, SORCERER (1977).
Significantly, the film featured four criminals implicitly linked to Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg and Vilmos Szigmund, director of photography for THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS-that is, Manzon, Nilo, Kassem and Scanlon, played by Bruno Cremer, Amidou, Scheider and Francisco Rabal, respectively-who flee the police in their own countries and wind up in a desolate, dispirited and dead end town in an unnamed Central American country. Desperate to earn the money needed to leave, they volunteer to drive two transport trucks each carrying a twilit trio of boxes of explosives on an epic and suicidal 218 mile journey-a distance that gave the journey an ominously twilit cadence, as it brought the fateful number 82 to the film-through rutted dirt roads and dense jungles and over precarious rope and wood plank suspension bridges for a petroleum company. As the dangerous journey physically and/or spiritually killed off the four men, Friedkin implicitly warned Coppola, Huston, Lucas and Spielberg that they would be destroyed by their embrace of equally epic blockbuster film art. Ironically, however, it was Friedkin who was destroyed by SORCERER due to audience disapproval of the dangerous transportation and use of the film’s explosives, dangerous use that again ominously forewarned of the equally dangerous location shooting during the filming of the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE in a real life memory of the twilit and explosive future-dangerous transportation and use of on set explosives that ‘Wild Bill’ Friedkin insanely wrote unapologetically about in his memoir, The Friedkin Connection (2013).
An explosive, disastrous and fatal future that did not trouble Lucas much in the Skyrocking year of ’77, allowing him to enjoy the surprising and gratifying success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. However, life was not entirely implicitly trouble free, for in August of ’77 Sir Ridley Scott implicitly roasted Lucas in the form of the Napoleonic officer and insanely obsessive duellist Gabriel Feraud-played by Harvey Keitel-in the allegorical artbuster film, THE DUELLISTS (1977). In October ’77 Coppola and Lucas were again implicitly roasted in the form of Mirza and Mir-played by Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey, respectively-two chess loving Moslem noblemen of Lucknow, the capital city of the independent and implicitly New Hollywoo linked kingdom of Oudh, who were swept away when the implicitly Huston linked General Outram-played by Sir Richard Attenborough-took control of the indie kingdom from King Wajid-played by Amjad Khan-for the British Raj in the mid-nineteenth century in the allegorical Satyajit Ray film, SHATRANJ KE KHILARI aka THE CHESS PLAYERS (1977), implying that Ray believed that Huston would win out in the end over Coppola and Lucas, an implication affirmed by the film’s evocation of THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.
For their part, Disney also appeared in the Temple Theatre in early November of ’77 and implicitly likened Lucas and his mystic Jedi Force to a snake oil salesman named Doctor Terminus-played by Jim Dale-trying to rip off the Hollywood linked town of Passamaquoddy with Forceful snake oil elixirs in the allegorical Don Chaffey animaction film, PETE’S DRAGON (1977). Last but not least, Lucas was also implicitly roasted in the implicit form of shy and troubled scientist, Doctor Bruce Banner-played by Bill Bixby-who transformed into the huge, green, righteously furious and unstoppable Hulk-played by Lou Ferrigno-whenever anyone fucked with him in the allegorical telefilm series THE INCREDIBLE HULK, which appeared on the small screen in November of 1977.
Luckily for Lucas, however, given that most allegorical film art took at least a year to create and that SORCERER, THE DUELLIST’S, PETE’S DRAGON and THE CHESS PLAYERS just happened to be released in ’77 after STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, he was mostly able to relax in 1977, bop with the blues and let the good times roll and enjoy the adulation of audiences. This enjoyment was no doubt enhanced by the fact that most of the allegorical films released that year also implicitly roasted Spielberg and JAWS, like Lucas implicitly did in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and Gilliam and Silverstein implicitly did in JABBERWOCKY and THE CAR. In fact, in the sight of the implicitly Spielberg linked shipwreck survivor, Andrew Braddock-played by Michael York-almost turned forever into a blockbuster manbeast by the insidious and implicitly Roger Corman linked Dr. Moreau-played by Burt Lancaster-Don Taylor also implicitly warned Spielberg to not make more films like JAWS when his allegorical film, THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977), arrived in the Temple Theatre on July 13, 1977. Indeed, the fact that two of Moreau’s blockbuster manbeasts, Lionman and Tigerman-played by Gary Baxley and John Gillespie, respectively-evoked the MGM Lion and the Universal Wolfman, respectively, implicitly affirmed the link of the blockbuster manbeasts to blockbuster film beasts and beastly blockbuster films-and perhaps to the directors of New Hollywood (such as Bartel, Coppola, Dante and Martin Scorsese) who started off their career with Corman. And, while JABBERWOCKY and THE CAR implicitly directed the rage of New Hollywood at Spielberg, perhaps no film artist best implicitly summed up the furious frustration and dismay many film artists felt for Spielberg by July 22, 1977 than Anderson in his allegorical film, ORCA (1977).
Indeed, the sight and sound of angry and anxious fishermen driving the implicitly Spielberg linked Captain Nolan-played by Richard Harris-and his fishing boat, the Bumpo, out of a small and tight knit fishing port after Nolan’s attempt to draw in and capture a male killer whale for the fortune and glory that would come with selling it to a Sea World by killing its female mate led to the killer whale attacking the port and its fishing fleet no doubt implicitly and perfectly summed up the angry and anxious frustration of the tight knit young film artists of New Hollywood that they could not expel Spielberg for falling prey to a lust for fortune and glory that led to the creation of JAWS. Anderson also implicitly agreed with the sentiment already expressed in the implicitly Spielberg squishing end of KING KONG the previous year that embracing the blockbuster beast would not just destroy everything New Hollywood was trying to accomplish with film art but destroy Spielberg too, for the relentless and determined orca hunted down Nolan in the Arctic where he had fled, and killed him, in the end. The title of ORCA supported this interpretation of the film, as it reminded us that Brody, Hooper and Quint sailed after the great white shark on the feisty and intrepid Orca.
Curiously, even Roger Moore’s James Bond implicitly took on Spielberg in the implicit form of the shark loving and Maestro Williams resembling Karl Stromberg-played by Curd Jurgens-and his nasty bite-hand-man, the JAWS evoking Jaws-played by Richard Kiel-which implicitly linked Stromberg and Jaws to Williams and Spielberg in the twilit and allegorical Lewis Gilbert film, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), a film that saw two helicopters blown out of the air in two more eerily prescient memories of the future. Speaking of eerie memories of the future, Landis also unexpectedly returned with Folsey jr. in early August of that year with his twilit, scattershot and Monty Python-like film and telefilm roasting allegorical film, KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977). Literally returned, as the film featured Landis in another cameo as a television producer attacked by a KING KONG and SCHLOCK evoking ape in one of the sketches. Ominously, on top of a Morrow anticipating decapitation in the ‘A Fistful Of Yen’ sketch, which gleefully roasted the allegorical Robert Clouse film, ENTER THE DRAGON (1973), the film also mentioned Beaumont, Texas in the first ‘Argon Oil’ sketch, a town which reminded us that the top three writers for the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series were Rod Serling, Richard Matheson and Charles Beaumont. Significantly, Spielberg also returned to the Temple Theatre on November 25, 1977 that year with Dreyfuss, Williams and Zsigmund with a higher minded film to assure audiences and New Hollywood that he was not a greedy and insidious despot obsessed with beastly blockbuster fortune and glory and implicitly strike back at Coppola with his heady but twilit allegorical artbuster, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977).
Significantly, the film began with extraterrestrial investigators led by the possibly Spielberg linked Claude Lacombe and possibly Lucas linked David Laughlin-played by Francois Truffaut and Bob Balaban, respectively-finding a War War II era U.S. Navy Reserve fighter plane numbered 82 in the Sonora desert of Mexico, immediately and ominously linking the film to the TZ disaster. This lent a twilit ambience to the sight of a boy named Barry Guiler-played by Cary Guffy-being taken from his home in Muncie, Indiana by aliens, for it anticipated Chen and Le being led away to their doom on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982. While Barry was returned by the aliens to his mother, the implicitly Liana Boyd linked Jillian Guiler-played by Melinda Dillon-when their Mother Ship landed on the summit of Devil’s Tower, Wyoming at the end of the film, this safe return to his loving mother’s arms still had a twilit tinge. For the Frank Marshall anticipating US Navy Reserve Pilot Frank Taylor, Lieutenant J.G., had strolled out of the Mother Ship just before Barry.
Significantly, intercut with the moving story of Barry and his mother was the story of the implicitly Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau resembling and implicitly linked power line repair man, Roy Neary-played by Dreyfuss-whose son, Brad-played by Shawn Bishop-had a model train locomotive numbered 123 that reaffirmed the twilit ambience of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. Curiously, Neary’s obsessive and extraterrestrial implanted quest to reach and scale Devil’s Tower in Wyoming while evading twilit U.S. Army helicopters and the memorable sight and sound of him meeting up with E.T.’s on the summit and leaving Earth with them on their Mother Ship, in the end, implied the hope of Spielberg that the popularity of PM Trudeau had peaked and that he would soon fade away into obscurity and take his alien idea to encourage film production in Canada with a generous tax rebate scheme that allowed Canadian, American and world film artists and investors to claim 100% of their Canadian film production costs on their income tax-a scheme that essentially allowed film artists to make films for free and keep all of the profits, causing film artists to abandon California and head to Canada.
Alas for Spielberg, while heady and transcendent, the film’s spectacular visual effects reaffirmed the suspicion that he was more interested in escapist blockbuster entertainment than serious and thought provoking film art. The success of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND also brought Lucas and himself on a collision course with each other in the Star Director Wars. Indeed, the success of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND made clear that, far from being swept away by the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Spielberg and his insidious and beastly blockbuster Empire had struck back and were again threatening the freedom and peace and harmony of the Lucas Rebellion. Significantly, Milius returned on May 26th, 1978 and surprisingly scored a big win for film art with his fine and prescient allegorical film, BIG WEDNESDAY (1978).
While an excellent film full of twilit memories of the future, BIG WEDNESDAY’s tale of a trio of top surfers named Leroy, Matt and Jack who were linked to Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg-and played by Gary Busey, Jan-Michael Vincent and William Katt, respectively-noticeably had their time in the sun with their admirers, before they, their audiences, and their era faded away. Thus, Milius implicitly warned Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg that they too would have their time in the sun, before fading away along with their New Hollywood film art watching generation, and being replaced by a new generation of film artists and audiences who would not remember them. Significantly, given this fine film’s lack of success, this sobering and moving message was probably too blunt and frank for Skyrocking audiences at the time, who no doubt wanted to celebrate the end of the Nixon era and the Vietnam War with another rousing and celebratory film like ROCKY or STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
Ominously, while audiences flocked to celebratory film art, a dark date with the TZ disaster edged unknowingly closer in the summer of ’78 with the arrival in the Temple Theatre of two of the film artists who worked on TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. The first to appear in late July with Folsey jr. and Deborath Nadoolman-costume designer on KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE-was Landis, who implicitly linked the Coppola inspired cinematic assault on snobby European film artists to the assault inspired by the implicitly Coppola linked Delta Tau Chi House anti-hero, John ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky-played by John Belushi-on the snobby and implicitly Werner Herzog linked Dean Vernon Wormer-played by John Vernon-and the equally snobby and implicitly European film artist linked toffs at Omega House at Faber College in the allegorical film, ANIMAL HOUSE (1978).
Humourously, Landis also implied that he was roasting Lucas and Spielberg in the film in the implicit forms of the two Delta House geeks, Larry ‘Pinto’ Kroger and Kent ‘Flounder’ Dorfman-played by Thomas Hulce and Stephen Furst, respectively-and Cronenberg and Ivan Reitman in the implicit forms of the smart assed and funny Delta Housers, Eric ‘Otter’ Stratton and Donald ‘Boon’ Schoenstein-played by Tim Matheson and Peter Riegert, respectively. Unfortunately, the sight of the armless and headless torson of a mannequin being tossed through the attic window of Delta House as Dorfman and Kruger walked towards it at the beginning of the film was yet another eerily twilit memory of the future that presaged the decapitation of Morrow and the mutilation of Le in the TZ disaster. The fact that Landis did not tell actors when objects were being thrown at them in order to get them to react really surprised also eerily foretold the refusal of Landis to tell helicopter pilot Dorsey Wingo where and when the last fateful explosion would be detonated in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 in the last shot for his segment of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Alas, the surprise success of ANIMAL HOUSE also allowed Landis, an equally rebellious student and high school dropout who never got past Grade Nine, to join the bearded New Hollywood brat pack ranks and make more independent films. Curiously, Spielberg implicitly returned to the Temple Theatre again on August 2, 1978 less than a week after the release of ANIMAL HOUSE with the equally ominous and twilit memory of the future haunted, ‘Eyes’ evoking and implicitly Spielberg roasting allegorical Irv Kershner film, EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978).
For the film revolved around a serious, edgy and Kennedy resembling fashion photographer named Laura Mars-played by Dunaway-who was haunted by visions of murders as they were being committed, murderous visions seen through the eyes of the implicitly Spielberg linked and split personality suffering NYPD Detective John Neville-played by Tommy Lee Jones-haunting murderous visions that ominously presaged the possibility that three snuffu murders were committed in the TZ disaster and also forebode the murderous precognitive visions that haunted a lonely and troubled Department of Pre-Crime detective in MINORITY REPORT-and anticipated the obsession with murders and watching murders in the post-1982 film art of Spielberg, particularly in MINORITY REPORT, his murderous and mysterious twentieth anniversary meditation on the TZ disaster, which alluded to ‘Eyes’ and EYES OF LAURA MARS. All of which made it implicitly clear why Kershner was a perfect choice to direct the second implicitly anti-Spielberg STAR WARS film, despite the ironic fact that amongst the victims of Neville was the driver of Mars, the implicitly Lucas linked Tommy Ludlow-played by Brad Dourif.
Significantly, eerily prescient and twilit memories of the future appeared in horrific print as well as in horror films in the Temple Theatre in 1978. For a character named Bigelow, a creepy and haunted old house with 23 rooms and a dread of creatures that lived in twilight shadows between life and death all appeared in the allegorical and implicitly Frank Herbert roasting King weird tale of terror, ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’ (1978), an original story included in the King allegorical short story collection, Night Shift (1978). The fateful address of 237 East 46th Street also appeared in the equally original and allegorical weird tale of terror, ‘Quitters, Inc.’ (1978), in the same collection, openly and ominously linking King and his macabre literary to the 23782 date of the TZ disaster. Curiously, not long after the release of ANIMAL HOUSE in late July of ’78 and a day after the release of EYES OF LAURA MARS on August 2, 1978, Dante teamed up again with Dick Miller-who played the wacky talent agent Walter Paisley in HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD-and reappeared in the Temple Theatre to implicitly roast Lucas and Spielberg in the twilit and allegorical film, PIRANHA (1978).
Indeed, the film began with the implicitly Spielberg linked David-played by Roger Richman-being eaten alive by voracious and genetically modified piranhas, and ended with the implicitly Lucas linked Paul Grogan-played by Bradford Dillman-almost suffering the same fate as he tried to save others from being gobbled up, implying that Dante was warning Spielberg that his attempt to slay the blockbuster beast in JAWS would lead to him being consumed by the blockbuster beast and also warning Lucas that his attempt to slay JAWS in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE could lead to him being consumed by the blockbuster beast if he did not watch out, implications affirmed by the film’s allusions to JAWS and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Ominously, the implicit warnings were eerily twilit, as Kevin McCarthy co-starred as the mad scientist, Doctor Bob Hoak. For not only had Dr. Hoak created the genetically altered cold water piranhas for the U.S. military to use in the rivers of Vietnam for the Vietnam War under the codename Operation RAZOR TEETH, but McCarthy openly linked the film to the Twilight Zone via his character Professor Walter Jameson in the allegorical Anton Leader telefilm, ‘Long Live Walter Jameson’ (1960), in the first season of the TWILIGHT ZONE. The prescient resemblance of female lead, Maggie McKeown-played by Heather Menzies-to Jennifer Jason Leigh, one of the daughters of Morrow, eerily reaffirmed the ominously twilit nature of PIRANHA.
For their part, a month after the release of PIRANHA, Spielberg’s studio, Universal, joined forces with producer Glen A. Larson in an implicit and unsuccessful attempt to turn audiences against Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE with their allegorical and brazenly lookalike television series, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (1978-79), which turned up on the small screen in mid-September of ’78. For BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was always more interested in being a crass, cynical, undisguised and unapologetic filmmercial for its own STAR WARS evoking telefilm tie-in merchandise than it was in roasting Lucas.
However, while not as successful as STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the determined struggle of the Wasserman and Spielberg linked Commander Adama and Flight Officer Omega-played by Lorne Greene and David Greenan, respectively-and their alligator shaped Battlestar Galactica to lead a plucky and determined space wagon train containing the last surviving members of the twelve tribes of humanity on a desperate journey to Earth plagued by constant attacks by Lucas linked Cylons, a determined struggle that evoked the equally desperate attempt by Spielberg and Wasserman to lead audiences away from theatres and back to the small screen-a desperate battle aided by excellent special and visual effects and more early CGI-clearly had a big impact on Lucas, as he alluded to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA to make it clear that he was turning the series against Spielberg and Universal in the next two episodes of the Tragic Trilogy.
Ominously, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA also contained memories of the future that warned of the TZ disaster. For the approximately 220 ships of the space wagon trained eerily evoked the 2:20 am time of the TZ disaster again. In addition, the 2368-542 readout on a computer screen in the cockpit of Apollo’s Colonial Viper spacefighter at the beginning of the allegorical and Richard A. Colla directed two hour pilot telefilm, ‘Saga of a Star World’ (1978), eerily augured the TZ disaster right from the opening scenes of the series. The fact that the Cylons preferred to pilot their spacefighters with a twilit trio of pilots also eerily forewarned of the disaster.
Significantly, in October of ’78, Errol Morris reminded us that documentary film art was as allegorical as fictional film art when he likened the main players in New Hollywood at the time to the pathetic dreams and lives of a group of forlorn people behind the creation and maintenance of an equally pathetic pet cemetery on a scraggly piece of land in the middle of nowhere, a commitment so futile and tragicomic that the audience was unsure whether to laugh or cry, in the devastatingly sarcastic and allegorical documentary, GATES OF HEAVEN (1978). Louis Malle implicitly agreed, suggesting that New Hollywood had led film art astray in its short time like the adults who led the girl Violet-played by Brooke Shields-astray in his allegorical film, PRETTY BABY (1978), a concern no doubt inspired by TAXI DRIVER, given the similarity of PRETTY BABY to that film. Eerily twilit premonitions and twilit blockbuster beast menacing a lead character implicitly linked to Lucas that returned in November of ’78 in the timely and allegorical Sir Attenborough film, MAGIC (1978).
Fittingly, the film implicitly addressed the insidious and beastly new commercial direction in film art and the pivotal role that Lucas now played in that insidious direction with the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. For the film revolved around a shy, sensitive, ‘weirdly timid’ and troubled ventriloquist magician named Charles ‘Corky’ Withers-played by Anthony Hopkins-who was implicitly linked to the equally shy, sensitive, weirdly timid and troubled Lucas. Indeed, the fact that Corky’s profession reminded us that the logo of ILM featured a magician affirmed his implicit link to Lucas. The sight and sound of Corky bombing on a nightclub stage in his first appearance as a stage musician and then succeeding on his second appearance a year later when he returned with a ventriloquist dummy with big Lucas ears named Fats-also played by Hopkins-reaffirmed his implicit link to Lucas, reminding us that Lucas also failed on his first appearance in the Temple Theatre with THX 1138 but succeeded on his second attempt with AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
Significantly, over the course of MAGIC, the increasingly troubled and insane Corky was slowly taken over by his Dark Side, a Dark Side personified by Fats the dummy, a pint size blockbuster beast that slowly grew in size and Dark Force. Eventually, Lord Fatuous took over Darth Corky, ordering him first to kill anyone who stood in the way of his indie career-like Corky’s cynical but shrewd and Kershner anticipating agent, Ben Greene (played by Meredith)-and eventually ordering him to kill himself. The sight of Corky dying of a self-inflicted knife stab, in the end, implicitly affirmed Sir Attenborough’s conviction that turning away from film art for film art’s sake and embracing the blockbuster beast would lead to the death Lucas as a film artist. A timely warning indeed, as the famous Kenner STAR WARS figures had finally appeared in the Spring of 1978, tiny dolls that would also grow in size and significance due to Skyrocking sales.
Curiously and ominously, whether Sir Attenborough realized it or not, the growing control of a dummy over its master evoked similar cautionary tales in the form of the allegorical Abner Biberman telefilm, ‘The Dummy’ (1962), and the allegorical Robert Butler telefilm, ‘Caesar and Me’ (1964), from the third and fifth seasons of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series, episodes that featured the equally sentient and controlling ventriloquist dummies Willie and Caesar, respectively, reaffirming that a twilit date with destiny was getting closer for film art. This twilit date was reaffirmed by the presence of Meredith and the appearance of Ann-Margaret as love interest Peggy Ann Snow, for she resembled Kennedy, complete with auburn hair.
As for Bakshi, how fitting that he would return in mid-November of ’78 with WIZARDS artist Mike Ploog and continue the battle in his last film between Good and natural dwarves, elves and wizards and Evil creatures and wizards in the twilit and allegorical hand animated film, THE LORD OF THE RINGS (1978). For the sight and sound of the naïve young hobbit, Frodo Baggins-played by Christopher Guard-accepting the One Ring of Power from his uncle, Bilbo Baggins-played by Norman Bird-at the urging of the bearded and Kenobi evoking wizard, Gandalf the Grey-played by William Squire-reminded us that Lucas had also naively taken up the Old Hollywood blockbuster cause with the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, the return of Daniels as Legolas the Elf openly linked THE LORD OF THE RINGS to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Thus, the sight and sound of Frodo agreeing to take the One Ring of Power to Mordor and destroy it in the fiery depths of Mount Doom implied the hope of Bakshi that Lucas would not make another STAR WARS film and would instead return to more serious film art like THX 1138.
Significantly, the War of the Ring between the Light Forces and Dark Forces of Middle-Earth also eerily anticipated the dread allegorical Zone Wars. The sight and sound of Frodo and his sturdy Hobbit companion, Samwise ‘Sam’ Gamgee-played by Michael Scholes-taking the One Ring of Power to Mordor and Mount Doom to end the Dark Age of Sauron and the war between Good and Evil for control of Middle-Earth also anticipated the sight and sound of Gen X film artists taking on Landis and the TZ disaster in their exorcising film art in order to end the Twilight Age and the dread allegorical Zone Wars. Ominously twilit premonitions linked to beastly blockbuster film art that continued the following month when the allegorical and implicitly Kubrick roasting and toasting Richard Donner super satirical film, SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE (1978), soared into the Temple Theatre on December 15, 1978 with the largest movie tie-in merchandise campaign in the history of film art and did more to turn film art into simple entertaining and escapist filmmercials for movie tie-in merchandise than CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
Indeed, eerily twilit forebodings immediately appeared at the beginning of film on the doomed and implicitly Old Hollywood linked planet Krypton. For at a sombre trial that evoked the sombre speeches in the Roman senate in the allegorical and implicitly Lean roasting and toasting Kubrick film, SPARTACUS (1960), the implicitly Hitchcock linked Jor-El-played by Brando-banished a sinister and twilit trio of criminals, the implicitly Coppola linked Non-played by Jack O’Halloran-General Zod-his attempt to lead a rebellion to establish a new order with himself as leader implicitly linking him to Lucas, and played by Terence Stamp-and the implicitly Marcia Lucas linked Ursa-ominously twilit indeed due to a hatred of all mankind that ‘…threatened even the children of the planet Krypton’, and played by Sarah Douglas-to the implicitly television linked and Twilight Zone evoking Phantom Zone, a prologue ironically enhanced by a soundtrack by Maestro Williams.
Soon after, Jor-El and his wife, Lara-played by Susannah York-sent their baby son, Kal-El-played by Lee Quigley-to Earth in a starship to escape the destruction of Krypton, a starchild returns to Earth sequence that evoked the Star Child form of Bowman that returned to Earth at the end of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, implicitly linking Kal-El to Kubrick. Significantly, the implicit link of Kal-El to Kubrick was reaffirmed after his starship slammed into the ground near Smallville, USA on Earth and the older Star Boy-played by Aaron Smolinski-was taken in and christened Clark Kent by loving parents, Jonathan and Martha Clark Kent-played by Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter, respectively. For the Alberta filmed pastoral Smallville interlude was captured with natural light, evoking the Irish landscapes captured with natural light in BARRY LYNDON. Kent’s implicit link to Kubrick was reaffirmed after the troubled teen Kent-played by Jeff East-travelled to the North Pole and created his Fortress of Solitude. For the sight and sound of Kal-El returning to humanity and the bustling city of Metropolis as shy, bespectacled and timid new ace DAILY PLANET reporter Clark ‘Superman’ Kent-played by Christopher Reeve-reminded us that Kubrick began his career as a New York photojournalist.
Significantly, ominously twilit memories of the future returned at the offices of the DAILY PLANET. For we found fellow reporter Lois Lane-played by Margot Kidder-at her desk at the prominent Metropolis newspaper writing the first of what she hoped would be a series of articles on murder cases full of bloodletting and massacres collectively called ‘Making Sense Of Senseless Killings’. This twilit prescience was reaffirmed soon after when Superman saved Lane from falling off the roof of the DAILY PLANET building from an out of control helicopter-and then saved her from the falling helicopter! Thus, an ominously twilit shroud overshadowed the film long battle between Superman and his arch nemesis, the Evil and implicitly Prime Minister Trudeau linked criminal mastermind, Lex Luthor-played by Hackman. Significantly, his mad quest to destroy the film making coast of California with two nuclear strikes and create his own presumably film making Costa Del Lex reminded us again of PM Trudeau’s generous film production tax deduction scheme created at the time to spur film creation in Canada was working so well it was not only destroying film making along the California coast, affirming the implicit link of Trudeau to Luthor, it had also ironically lured Donner and his cast and crew to Canada to make SUPERMAN. At any rate, the battle betwixt Supe and Luthor reaffirmed the implicit link of Superman to Kubrick, given that Supe’s desperate attempt to stop two nuclear missiles from slamming into the fault lines of California evoked the desperate attempt to stop nuclear Armageddon in DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB.
Incidentally, this was a fitting link of a Jewish film artist to Superman. For it reminded us that two Jewish teenagers, Baltimore born and raised Jerry Siegel and Toronto born and raised Joltin’ Joe Shuster, created Clark ‘Superman’ Kent in the depths of the Dirty Thirties. A super satirical character who was probably linked to then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, given that almost all of the letters needed to create ‘Kal-El’ and ‘Lois Lane’ were hidden in his three names-and a ‘Krypdon’ could be created from the letters of his birthplace, Hyde Park, New York-while a ‘Lane’ was also hidden in the name of his wife, Eleanor. If so, the two teens followed in the footsteps of E.C. Segar, who was having all sorts of implicitly satirical fun with the implicitly Franklin and Eleanor linked Popeye and Olive Oil. Indeed, the jauntily corn cobbed pipe smoking sailor, his insistence that injections of spinach would kill all ills and his tall and plain girl always evoked President Roosevelt, the jaunty cigarette he always smoked in a cigarette holder, his insistence that lettuce aka US dollars would kill all ills in the American economy in the Dirty Thirties-‘I’d gladly pay you tomorrow for a public works project today!’-while the tall and plain Olive always evoked the equally tall and plain Eleanor.
In fact, there was an implicit link between Supes and Popeye, as the green and leafy vegetable kale hidden in plain sight in Kal-El evoked the equally green and leafy herbal spinach Popeye ate to get super strength, bash the baddies and bring harmony back to the universe. Thus, given the implicit links between Franklin and Kal-El, Shuster and Siegel implicitly encouraged President Roosevelt to drop the isolationist stance of the United States and take a super stand against fascist ‘ubermenschen’ like Superman. Of course, it was also possible that Shuster and Siegel imagined Supe to be a Super Jew who fought a desperate two front allegorical battle against the ‘Lex’ or ‘word of law’ of Martin Luther and his Protestant majority followers in the United States of America, and the evil tyranny of the Holocaust obsessed Adolf Hitler and his Nutzi ‘ubermenschen’ in the Third Reich.
At any rate, right from the first appearance of Superman in the allegorical pages of ACTION COMICS in 1938, readers of all backgrounds have always reimagined themselves as Superman, explaining the universal popularity of Kal-El and other storied superheroes such as Gardevil, the fan with no fear, who, like Daredevil, the man with no fear, did not rely on his sight to help him, instead preferring to use inner qualities like intuition working with imagination insight and intelligence to truly see through the murky twilight of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. A murky twilight ironically helped along by the director of SUPERMAN, for Donner had also directed six allegorical episodes-‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ (1963), ‘Sounds and Silences’ (1964), ‘The Brain Center at Whipple’s’ (1964), ‘The Jeopardy Room’ (1964), ‘From Agnes-With Love’ (1964) and ‘Come Wander with Me’ (1964)-for the fifth season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE. Tragicomically, with the surprise success of the STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE movie tie-in merchandise, the attempt by Universal to crash the STAR WARS party with their BATTLESTAR GALACTICA telefilm tie-in merchandise and the attempt by Warner Brothers to triumph over BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE with an even larger movie tie-in merchandise campaign for SUPERMAN, the time was all too ripe for the Temple Theatre to be taken over by the eerily twilit and allegorical Philip Kaufman film, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1978).
For the sight of extraterrestrial body snatching pods being frantically shipped into every family apartment or home in San Francisco over the course of the film evoked only too well the money snatching movie and telefilm tie-in merchandise now being frantically shipped into every family apartment or home by this time so as to milk Boomers and Boomer brats of as much money as possible, making it all too fitting that the film was created in the Lucas stomping grounds of San Fran-and even had a cameo by Nalbandian-and was released just before Christmas of ’78 and the unwrapping of all of those BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, STAR WARS and SUPERMAN prezzies. The disturbing sight of San Franciscans like Matthew Bennell-played by Donald Sutherland-being turned into soulless pod people, in the disappointing end, affirmed the implicit link of the pods to movie and telefilm tie-in merchandise, for the sight and sound affirmed only too well that film artists like Donner and Lucas were leaving behind their heady and reassuringly human rebel Sixty roots and turning into soulless and blockbuster loot lusting money snatcher salesmen who created merchandise promoting filmmercials and telefilmercials for equally soulless Hollywood corporations. Significantly, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHES was also filled with more eerie and ominous memories of the twilit and disastrous future.
Indeed, one of the first scenes of the film saw San Fran bus 23A driving along its route, linking yet another pre-TZ disaster film to the fateful number 23. The arrival of Sutherland as Bennell openly linked the film to Landis via his appearance as Mr. Jennings in ANIMAL HOUSE. The appearance of Veronica Cartwright as Nancy Bellicec openly linked the film to the Twilight Zone by way of her character Anne in the allegorical James Sheldon and William Claxton telefilm, ‘I Sing the Body Electric’ (1962), in the third season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series. Co-star Leonard Nimoy-who played the psychiatrist, Doctor David Kibner-also increased the twilit forebodings, for Nimoy played an American G.I. named Hansen in the allegorical Buzz Kulik telefilm, ‘A Quality of Mercy’ (1961), in the third season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series. Nimoy was also a good friend of Morrow, and had co-produced and co-starred in Morrow’s first allegorical feature film, DEATHWATCH (1966). The return of McCarthy, who played Dr. Miles Bennell in the original version of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, in a cameo as a frantic citizen warning his fellow San Franciscans of the invasion reaffirmed that the film was another ominously twilit memory of the future.
And so 1978 ended on a dark and disturbing note which was somehow fitting given that 1979 would go on to be an unexpectedly dark year with the Iranian revolution and American Embassy hostage crisis, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and election of the Thatcher Conservative Government in the United Kingdom, a darkness captured in the allegorical Pink Floyd recording, THE WALL (1979). 1979 was also an unusually and ominously twilit year which saw three of the four directors of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE reappear in the Temple Theatre. Miller was the first to arrive with his twilit and allegorical film, MAD MAX (1979), a film that implied that he had liked DEATH RACE 2000 and other New Hollywood road films like EASY RIDER, THE CAR, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP and VANISHING POINT as little as Lucas.
Indeed, he implicitly affirmed his dislike by having the Clint Eastwood evoking and implicitly Scarecrow linked Main Force Patrol Officer, ‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky-played by Mel Gibson-lead a MFP triumph over a biker gang led by the nefarious and implicitly Owen and Wicked Witch of the West linked Toecutter-played by Hugh Keays-Byrne. In another eerie and prescient memory of the future, MAD MAX also anticipated trouble with Landis. For Rockatansky’s opening triumph over Vince Gil’s black clad and implicitly Wicked Witch of the East linked Nightrider-who must die at the beginning of all good Ozian themed films in order to allow the healing Ozian dream to occur-and his black muscle car recalled the Deathmobile at the end of ANIMAL HOUSE only the year before. The exuberant violence of the clean cut, well dressed and psychotic Johnny Boy-played by Tim Burns-kind of a wannabe member of Toecutter’s gang, evoked the equally clean cut, well dressed and disturbed New Hollywood wannabe Landis even more.
The sight of a vengeful Rockatansky trading in his Yellow Brick Road 1970 Pontiac GTO evoking MFP patrol car for a black blockbuster beast of a V8 Ford Falcon XP GT Coupe Interceptor and hunting down and terminating Toecutter, his gang and, last but not least, Johnny Boy, for killing his wife and son, the Dorothy linked Jessie and Sprog-played by Joanne Samuel and Brendan Heath, respectively-like a more nasty Milner in his Yellow Brick Roadster or an equally vengeful Frankenstein in his Monster also anticipated audiences turning against young film artists like Coppola, Friedkin and Landis for all of their wild behaviour and film art in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Significantly, not long after the release of MAD MAX, Sir Scott reappeared to implicitly roast Lucas and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE with the healing Ozian themed nightmare, ALIEN (1979), a film whose release on May 25, 1979 implicitly affirmed its Lucas roasting intent.
A dark roast, indeed, given that the implicitly Lucas and Great Oz linked space freighter Captain Dallas-played by Tom Skerrit-and almost all of the crew of the space freighter Nostromo were hunted down and killed by a huge black and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West biomechanical blockbuster beast of an alien-played by Bolaji Badejo-over the course of the film in a way that implied that Sir Scott believed that Lucas had foolishly unleashed a blockbuster beast of a film that would destroy him and film art when he released STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Ominously, along with this bleak implication, ALIEN was filled with a number of eerie and prescient memories of the twilit and disastrous future.
Indeed, the return of Cartwright as the implicitly Glinda linked ship’s navigator, Lambert, openly linked the film to the original Twilight Zone telefilm series. In addition, Captain Dallas chose Interface 2037 to communicate with Mother, the computer that ran the space cargoship Nostromo, soon after being awakened from hibernation at the start of the film. The fact that the numbers 7:23 were the last numbers seen on a computer screen being monitored by Ash before the Nostromo’s shuttle landed on the twilit and forbidding moon of planet LV-426 at the beginning of ALIEN were another ominous reminder of the twilit and disastrous future of film art. The number 723 stamped on the glass bubble of the sleeping beauty hibernation cocoon of the film’s implicitly Dorothy linked Science Officer Ellen Ripley-played by Sigourney Weaver-at the end of the film also eerily and correctly anticipated the July 23, 1982 date of the TZ disaster. Thus, it was all too fitting that the corporation that owned the Nostromo was more interested in saving the implicitly Wicked alien than the crew of the ship, anticipating the lust for blockbuster loot and indifference to safety and human life that led to the TZ disaster. A fateful trip into the Zone eerily anticipated by another film released on May 25, 1979 that year, the allegorical and eerily twilit Andrei Tarkovsky film, STALKER (1979).
For the film revolved around a twilit trio of men-the Stalker, the Teacher and the Writer, played by Alexander Kaidanovsky, Nikolai Grinko and Anatoly Solonitsyn, respectively-who explored a mysterious and maze-like area called the Zone that had suddenly appeared in the U.S.S.R. Significantly, the film acknowledged that memories of the future were haunting film art, for at one point the Writier forlornly noted that ‘…now the future’s a part of the present’. Twilit memories of the future, indeed, for the Writer made this comment while ‘breaking the fourth wall’ by addressing the camera and the audience, a famous characteristic of the films of Landis. And so twilight continued to fall on Lucas and the other New Hollywood film artists of the day. The dark and bleak new mood was affirmed by Screamin’ Stephen King, who implicitly affirmed in July of that year that he was taking on New Hollywood in general and Coppola and Lucas in particular in his literary art in the form of the implicitly Coppola and Lucas linked and murderously competitive teens Garraty and McVries in the allegorical and pseudonymous Richard Bachman novel, The Long Walk (1979).
Indeed, the deadly non-stop long walk that the one hundred teen protagonists tried to complete over the course of the novel and that killed them off one by one was implicitly linked to the equally grim and deadly competition between the film artists of New Hollywood that was beginning to kill them off by 1979-a process that accelerated with the TZ disaster. That Garraty outlasted McVries and the implicitly David Cronenberg linked Gary Barkovitch to win the deadly long walk was eerily prescient, given that Lucas would be hurt more by the TZ disaster than Coppola. The inclusion of characters like Art Baker, Charley Field and Bobby Sledge affirmed the implication that King was addressing New Hollywood in general and Coppola and Lucas in particular in The Long Walk, for these characters evoked Kenny and Rick Baker, Charlie ‘Terry Fields’ Smith and reminded us that Morrow directed A MAN CALLED SLEDGE. A fitting reminder of Smith, for after Moore’s Bond and John Glen-editor and second unit director on THE SPY WHO LOVED ME-returned to the Temple Theatre on June 29th of that year to take on and take out the space loving and implicitly Lucas linked Hugo Dax-played by Michael Lonsdale-in the twilit and allegorical Gilbert film, MOONRAKER (1979), Smith he reappeared in early August of that year with Brent, Clark, Ford, Hopkins, Howard, Jack, Le Mat, Padilla, Phillips and Williams along with more ominously twilit memories of the future in the Lucas executive produced Norton film, MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI.
‘We’re hit! Get out of here!
We’re goin’ down! We’re goin’ down!’
Indeed, ominously twilit memories of the future kicked off the film with the gritty 16 mm hand held combat camera shot of a group of olive green U.S. Army Huey helicopters that anticipated the lone olive green Huey that crashed in the TZ disaster thundering across the screen and down a winding river in a California location that resembled Vietnam. After this eerily foreboding prologue, Norton then continued the Lucas tradition of using an allegorical film to address other film artists and their film art, as in THX 1138, AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Unusually, however, Norton did this by weaving together four different stories involving characters from AMERICAN GRAFFITI happening on four successive New Year’s Eve day and nights from 1964-67. In another duelling Western narrative on the last day of December 1964, a full throttle and implicitly Lucas linked Milner-played again by Le Mat-as a struggling indie but legal competitive drag racer, first beat the implicitly Cronenberg linked drag racer, Roger Beckwith-played by Ken Place-in a drag race, in implicit retaliation for the implicit roasting Cronenberg gave Lucas in the implicit form of Phil Adamson-played by John Saxon-in the allegorical film, FAST COMPANY (1978). Milner then capped this quick and dismissive victory with a thorough thrashing of the dastardly and no doubt Warner Brothers linked Hunt brothers in the last drag race of the film, to rub it in that, with the successes of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, Lucas had left Black Thursday in his Forceful dust-and was already dreaming of death pod racers to come in the Tragic Trilogy.
In the second story, told again in gritty combat 16 mm film, a literally embattled Fields-played again by Smith-struggled to survive a tour of duty near An Loc, Vietnam on the last day of December of 1965, in a Journey of Self Discovery that implicitly addressed the allegorical Michael Cimino film, THE DEER HUNTER (1978). For her third part, on the last day of December 1966, his AMERICAN GRAFFITI sweetie, Dunham-played again by Clark-struggled to lead an equally embattled but more groovy love child life in San Francisco, in a raucous and musical Comedy narrative told in psychedelic split-screen that implicitly addressed Landis and the equally raucous ANIMAL HOUSE, and the allegorical John Carpenter film, HALLOWE’EN (1978). Finally, in the last story, the now unhappily married Steve and Laurie Bolander-played again by Howard and Williams, respectively-and Laurie’s other and implicitly Allen linked brother, Andy-played by Will Seltzer-struggled to save their tempestuous marriage in Modesto in the midst of an even more raucous student riot and battle with police officers who evoked the THX 1138 robocops at a local community college-with another twilit police helicopter hovering overhead-on the last day of December of 1967, a riot that evoked a similar student riot at a college in the allegorical Rush film, GETTING STRAIGHT (1970), implying that Lucas and Norton were addressing Allen and Rush in this embattled Romance.
Curiously, while a fine film, MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI was not a success, which boded ill for Lucas prior to the release of the next installment of the Classic Trilogy. Maybe it was the sound of a US Army Huey helicopter being ominously blasted out of the sky in the Vietnam War segment that stirred audiences so uneasily on an all too presciently twilit memory of the future level and openly and eerily linked Lucas to a downed Huey helicopter three years before the TZ disaster. Perhaps it was the ominous badge number of 54362 of the THX 1138 robocop evoking San Fran motorcycle cop Falfa-played again by Ford in an uncredited cameo-which helped turn off audiences, as the number contained a fateful 23. Or maybe it was the even more eerie and prescient L321702 seen on the rear license plate of the trailer Milner used to haul his drag racer, as the 732 of the date of the TZ disaster on prominent display was-as at the end of ALIEN that same year-a chilling reminder that Lucas, Norton and the rest of the world were still racing towards a fateful collision with the Twilight Zone. A fateful collision with the Twilight Zone that was also anticipated a week and a half after the release of MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI when Coppola returned to the Temple Theatre with Brando, Coppola, Duvall, Ford, Murch, Roos, Tavoularis and Frederic Forrest and G.D. Spradlin-who played the implicitly Friedkin linked Mark in THE CONVERSATION and Senator Pat Geary in MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER PART II, respectively-and more crashing Huey helicopters in the presciently and ominously twilit and surreal allegorical Coppola film, APOCALYPSE NOW (1979), inspired as much by a scenario by Lucas as by the allegorical Joseph Conrad novel, Heart Of Darkness (1899).
‘I’m hit! Mayday! Mayday!
I’m goin’ in. My tail rotor’s out!’
Significantly, the film began with the surreal sight and sound of helicopters drifting across the screen in front of a Phillipine jungle standing in for Vietnam to the sound of the haunting and allegorical Doors tune, ‘The End’ (1967), evoking and linking the film to the similar beginning of MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI. A fitting link to the Lucas executive produced film, as APOCALYPSE NOW saw the implicitly Lucas linked U.S. Army Captain Willard-played by Martin Sheen-sent up river during the Vietnam War into Cambodia to hunt down and kill the implicitly Huston linked Colonel Walter E. Kurtz-played by Brando-an implicit Huston roasting intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING and the allegorical Huston film, THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1954). Indeed, the name of the renegade Walter Kurtz reminded us that Huston’s father was Walter Huston, affirming that implication.
Curiously, however, the name of Walter Kurtz also reminded us that Walter Murch was the sound designer on THX 1138 and AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and that Gary Kurtz was the producer of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, implying that Coppola was actually blasting Lucas in APOCALYPSE NOW for refusing to return to the American Zoetrope fold after the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. Indeed, the fact that Kurtz was linked to Special Forces evoked the mysterious mystic Force of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, while his private compound in Cambodia evoked the Skywalker Ranch film facility that Lucas had announced that he was going to create with his STAR WARS money, affirming that Kurtz could just as well be linked to Lucas as Huston.
Or perhaps Coppola started making the film with the intention of roasting Huston and then things got confused because of the conflict in his own heart of darkness that overcame the better angels of his nature, causing Coppola to slowly start blasting Lucas as the film went on after the huge success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise suddenly and unexpectedly transformed Lucas into a new Disney. Indeed, it was noticeable that a letter written by Kurtz and signed ‘Walt’ in the trademark style of Disney that was pondered by Willard at one point in the film linked Kurtz to Disney, and, hence, Lucas, confirming that implication. The memorable and mayhem filled voyage up river to terminate Kurtz ‘…with extreme prejudice’ also often came across like an Disney Adventureland Jungle Cruise gone straight to Hell or the Twilight Zone-whichever came first-reiterating that possibility...
Significantly, with its Vietnam War setting, its rotoring ceiling fans, its constant sight and sound of olive green U.S. Army Huey helicopters buzzing around like big olive green biomechanical flies and wasps, and the decapitation of Forrest’s Chef, in the end, APOCALYPSE NOW was one long, eerie and ominous memory of the twilit and disastrous future, like DEMENTIA 13. Nothing summed this up more than the famous U.S. helicopter Cavalry attack on a Vietnamese village, leading to one of the Huey helicopters being downed by a hit on its tail rotor in a way that openly anticipated the back rotor hit that downed the same type of Huey helicopter during another attack on a simulated Vietnam War village set on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. The fact that Hopper and Duvall, who reappeared as a wacked out American photojournalist and as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore, respectively, linked the film again to the original TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series, reaffirmed only too well that we were all edging closer to a fatal encounter with the Twilight Zone. Indeed, the sight of Lt. Willard grimly and relentlessly hunting down and killing Col. Kurtz anticipated the attempts by many film artists to use their film art to exorcise Landis and the TZ disaster after 1982.
Humourously, a few days after the release of APOCALYPSE NOW, Jones and company did their best to lighten the mood that year by implicitly roasting the Empire fighting Lucas in the form of the Roman Empire fighting Brian-played by Chapman-in the allegorical film, MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979), a film whose Middle Eastern location affirmed that it had become a Python world, indeed. Then September of ’79 brought the sight and sound of Gil Gerard’s William ‘Kirk’ Shatner evoking NASA astronaut Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers disappearing in space in his deep space shuttle Ranger 3 in 1987 and reappearing five hundred years later in the another implicitly Lucas roasting and allegorical Larson and Universal series, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (1979-80), presciently anticipating the disappearance of Lucas in the affections of audiences by the tenth anniversary year of the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in 1987 and reappearance in 1999. Scientifictional allegorical telefilm adventures that continued when the famous crew of the storied USS Enterprise openly took on the big screen and implicitly took on Lucas in the twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical Robert Wise film, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979), which arrived in the Temple Theatre at the beginning of December 1979.
Indeed, the sight and sound of a powerful and aware luminescent cloud that called itself V-ger relentlessly approaching Earth and threatening the fragile planet’s destruction throughout the film evoked the sight and sound of the equally powerful Death Moon relentlessly approaching and threatening the destruction of the fragile Rebellion at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, implicitly affirming the Lucas addressing intent of the film. The primitive CGI of the luminescent cloud on Federation computer monitors and the photon torpedoes used to frantically blow up an asteroid encountered in a worm hole as the USS Enterprise warped away from Earth on its desperate mission reaffirmed the film’s Lucas addressing intent, evoking the primitive CGI of the Death Moon on Rebellion computer monitors and the Skyrocking two photon torpedoes that young Skywalker used to terminate the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
Thus, the sight of the young and Hamill resembling Captain Decker-played by Stephen Collins-and the chrome domed and THX 1138 resembling, Leia evoking and V’ger possessed navigator from the Forcefull planet of Delta IV, Lieutenant Ilia-played by Persis Khambatta-merging and disappearing with the blockbuster interstellar V’ger beast in an evanescence of light like a bad dream in the end-an ending that recalled the similar end of the surreal, dreamy and allegorical David Lynch moving painting, ERASERHEAD (1977)-implied that Wise, Gene Roddenberry and company tried to use STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE to dispel the threat of Lucas and the STAR WARS films and clear the way for further cinematic voyages of the USS Enterprise-and presciently anticipated the merging of live action film with CGI after the TZ disaster. Significantly, when it wasn’t implicitly addressing Lucas, the film was also filled with more eerie omens of the twilit and disastrous future.
For along with the return of Nimoy as Science Officer Spock-a curious character who was part arch and knowing Elf, part silent Tonto, and part intimidating Frankenstein monster-the film also featured the return of William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. A truly twilit return, for Shatner played Don Carter in the allegorical Richard L. Bare telefilm, ‘Nick of Time’ (1960), in the second season, and Bob Wilson in ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’-soon to be revisited in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE-in the fifth season of the TWILIGHT ZONE telefilm series. In addition, George Takei aka Mr. Sulu played Taro in the allegorical Robert Butler telefilm, ‘The Encounter’ (1964), in the fifth season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE. Last but not least, James ‘Scotty’ Doohan had played a father in the allegorical Perry Lafferty telefilm, ‘Valley of the Shadow’ (1963), in the fourth season of the original TWILGHT ZONE, laddy. Curiously, even Matheson was linked to the original STAR TREK and TWILIGHT ZONE shows, for he had written the fifth episode of Season One, ‘The Enemy Within’ (1966).
The fact that the voyages of the starship Enterprise took place in the 23rd century also reiterated the ominous links of STAR TREK to the TZ disaster, as the 23rd century anticipated the July 23, 1982 date of the disaster. A fateful and twilit allegorical cinematic trek indeed, and one whose indomitable space commander with the first name of James and linked to Canada by way of Shatner accurately presaged an equally indomitable and commanding Canada linked film artist named James to come. An allegorical odyssey on the big screen that also carried on the allegorical tradition of the original STAR TREK television series. For soft core porn director Meyer was mocked in the symbolic form of Roger C. Carmel‘s Mudd in the allegorical Harvey Hart telefilm, ‘Mudd’s Women’ (1966), in the first season. In addition, the arrival of the Old Hollywood invading young Turks of New Hollywood was presciently anticipated in the symbolic form of the pug nacious young Klingon invaders of the planet Organia in the allegorical John Newland telefilm, ‘Errand of Mercy’ (1967), near the end of the first season. Curiously, another twilit attempt by commercial television to conquer film art was made in mid-December ’79 a week after the release of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE when Spielberg teamed up again with Backlinie, Hamilton, Lorraine Gray-who played Mrs. Ellen Brody in JAWS-and Michael Kahn-editor of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND-and used up all of the good will he had created with CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND by implicitly mocking Old Hollywood’s implicit attacks on New Hollywood and New Hollywood’s implicit attacks on Old Hollywood and on himself and JAWS in the frantic, madcap, snafu plagued, Ozian themed and allegorical film, 1941 (1979), an A-Team Production which evoked the implicitly Old Hollywood roasting Stanley Kramer film, IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD (1963).
For a number of talented and energetic young stars from such allegorical telefilm shows like LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and SECOND CITY TELEVISION like Belushi, Dan Akroyd, John Candy, Joseph P. Flaherty, Michael McKean and Cindy Williams featured prominently in the riotous and slapstick film. A frenetic film that began with the same young, beautiful and Leigh anticipating blonde that kicked off JAWS-played again by Backlinie-again running naked across a beach and into the ocean-this time the Pacific instead of the Atlantic-and swimming off alone to her destiny early one morning six days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941.
This time, however, instead of being attacked by a crafty and beastly blockbuster great white shark, the lone female swimmer was caught and pulled up into the air by the rising periscope of a Japanese sub skippered by the implicitly Kurosawa linked Captain Mitamura-played by Toshiro Mifune-implicitly affirming that on one level Spielberg was using 1941 to mock JAWS and the fury the film had stirred up in the bodies, hearts, minds and souls of New Hollywood. Indeed, the sub broke down as much as Bruce the shark, affirming the implicit link to JAWS, an implicit link made open by the use of Gray and Hamilton. On another level, Spielberg also implicitly mocked the allegorical film battle that had erupted between Lucas and himself after their Skyrocking successes in 1977 in the implicit form of the film long battle between the implicitly Lucas and Scarecrow linked Wally, the dancing Latino Zoot suiter-played by Bobby Di Cicco-and the Spielberg resembling and implicitly Spielberg and Nikko linked US Army tank trooper, Corporal Chuck ‘Stretch’ Sitarski-played by Treat Williams-for the affections of the implicitly Dorothy linked and beautiful young New Hollywood blonde, Betty Douglas-played by Dianne Kay.
Curiously, this frenetic, snafu filled and television fuelled farce that reaffirmed that Spielberg was more interested in escapist entertainment than serious and thought provoking film art was rejected by audiences, as if the many ominous and eerily twilit memories of the future that had featured prominently in the films of 1979 had finally made audiences uneasy on a subconscious level. An subconscious uneasiness helped by the ominous memories of the future that continued in 1941, for the film began with a montage of scene establishing shots of the California coast that evoked the montage of scene establishing shots that began ANIMAL HOUSE, in an affectionate nod by Spielberg to Landis. Indeed, Spielberg openly affirmed his affection for Landis by having the unusually clean shaven film artist appear in the film as a hapless U.S. Army motorcycle dispatch rider named Mizerany, an altogether too fitting surname that ominously foreboded all too well the twilit and disastrous misery that Landis was soon going to inflict on Chen, Le, Morrow, audiences, film art and film artists with the TZ disaster.
The use of Belushi and the sight and sound of his madcap U.S. Army Air Force pilot, Captain ‘Wild’ Bill Kelso, crashing his P-40 Tomahawk fighter plane on a main drag in downtown Los Angeles reaffirmed the ominously twilit undercurrents of 1941. The sight of sailors, soldiers and zoot suiters fighting in the streets of L.A. also anticipated the implicitly brutal battles of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. In addition, the arrival of Kennedy as the assistant to Spielberg and the use of Deborah Nadoolman, the wife of Landis, as Costume Designer on the film, reaffirmed that twilit Forces were indeed drawing all of the principal players of the TZ disaster together. Indeed, two of the actors, Akroyd and Dick Miller-who played a police officer-would soon reappear in TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, literally affirming that all of the principal players were being drawn together. Significantly, a week after rejecting 1941, audiences also rejected the equally and eerily prescient and twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA evoking and implicitly Kubrick toasting and Lucas roasting Disney and Gary Nelson film, THE BLACK HOLE (1979), when the film arrived in the Temple Theatre on December 21, 1979.
Curiously, the film saw the deep spaceship USS Palomino commanded by the Bowman and Poole resembling and Kubrick evoking Captain Dan Holland and Lieutenant Charles ‘Charlie’ Pizer-played by Robert Forster and Joseph Bottoms, respectively-come across the notorious and implicitly sickness linked USS Cygnus commanded by the Lucas resembling and implicitly linked and Moreau, Morbius and Nemo evoking mad scientist, Doctor Hans Reinhardt-played by Maximilian Schell-parked near the event horizon of a black hole. After venturing into the Cygnus and slowly discovering that Dr. Reinhardt was indeed possessed by insane Cygnus, Capt. Holland and Lt. Pizer and the rest of the crew of the Palomino triumph over him and his humanoid robots-who implicitly symbolized the humanity destroying world of CGI enhanced film art Lucas was striving to create-and fully robotic minions, but got sucked into the black hole as they tried to escape in a spacecraft. Fortunately, however, Holland, Pizer and company survive their trip through the black hole and reach a brave new world, implying the hope of Disney and Nelson that film art would also escape the CGI enhanced clutches of Lucas and kick off a whole new world of non-CGI enhanced film art.
Significantly, despite its fine special and visual f/x and CGI enhancement, the film was unpopular, perhaps due to the fact that THE BLACK HOLE also implied that effects filled films like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE were cinematic black holes that would suck the life out of film art as surely as the film’s titular black hole sucked everything into it, which was a blasphemous message in those Skyrocking times when Lucas was loved by all. Ominously, audiences may have also been uneasy by the fact that the Roddy McDowell voiced robot V.I.N.C.E.N.T. brought the world of film art closer to the Twilight Zone again, as McDowell played Sam Conrad in the allegorical Michael Leisen telefilm, ‘People Are Alike All Over’ (1960), from the first season of the TWILIGHT ZONE. Even more ominously, some of the first lines of the film-‘…2130, Day 547…unscheduled course correction due at 2200’-were not only spoken by the twilit McDowell, they exactly anticipated the unscheduled course correction the world of film art would be forced to take after the fatal helicopter crash at 2:20 am in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982-a disaster also anticipated by the whirling and deadly rotors on the end of two of the Forcefull four arms of Maximilian, the sinister and Robby the Robot evoking red robot bodyguard of Dr. Reinhardt.
However, while the twilit film had little effect on audiences and was quickly forgotten despite some impressive CGI-CGI enhancement on impressive display in the form of a black hole and its event horizon that accompanied the opening red digital titles, which was the most advanced CGI ever seen in film at that time-THE BLACK HOLE was clearly remembered by Lucas. For decades later when Lucas was old, embittered and world weary, the film’s surreal and dreamy ending, which saw Reinhardt drifting through space before merging with Maximilian to become a four armed manbot last seen ruling a flaming and hellish netherworld-an ending which subtly implied that the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was going to send Lucas straight to Hell!-returned in the form of the equally four armed-and Gary Oldman voiced-manbot General Grievous and the equally flaming and hellish landscape of the planet Mustafar in STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.
Curiously, the same day that THE BLACK HOLE was released also saw the release of the allegorical Pollack film, THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN (1979). A film which saw the implicitly Hamill linked former rodeo star and current AmpCo cereal huckster, Norman ‘Sonny’ Steele-played by Redford-leave behind his degrading rounds of cereal promotions for the implicitly Lucas linked Hunt Sears-played by John Saxon-and his AmpCo and ride off into the Jundland evoking Navadan Wastes with his corporate sponsor’s twelve million dollar winning race horse, Rising Star, weaning it off steroids, nursing it back to health and releasing the stallion to roam free in the wild, implying the gently satirical hope of Pollack that rising star Hamill would leave behind Lucas and the degrading use of Luke Skywalker to sell cereal, lunch kits, posters, calendars, bedsheets, pillow cases, curtains, t-shirts, soundtracks, comics and trading cards and ride off into a film art for film art’s sake career free of twelve million dollar cybersteroid enhanced allegorical films like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
Significantly, ominously twilit memories of the future continued with the arrival in the Temple Theatre on February 15, 1980 of one of the first big releases of the darker new year and decade, the twilit and allegorical Friedkin film, CRUISING (1980). For the film revolved around a gay New York serial killer named Stuart Richards-played by Richard Cox-who was implicitly linked to film artist Richard Brooks, who was implicitly being roasted for his nasty and implicitly New Hollywood roasting allegorical film, LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR (1977). Intriguingly, Richards liked to hunt down and kill other gay men in New York who were implicitly linked to New Hollywood film artists, eerily anticipating the death of Morrow on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, a grisly death that Richards was eerily linked to by the whirling and helicopter evoking rotors of the fan in his apartment window.
Ominously, the link of Landis to the murders of men implicitly linked to film artists was reaffirmed with the discovery at the end of the film of another bloody corpse of a gay man-Don Scardino’s Ted Bailey-whom NYPD undercover cop Steve Burns-played by Pacino-had become acquainted with while posing as the equally gay John Forbes. For this unanticipated murder left the audience wondering if Burns was a killer now, a suspicion seemingly confirmed when Burns acknowledged the film camera, cameraman and everyone else behind the camera, the art of making film art and the audience with a significant look in the camera via the mirror while shaving at the end of the film. An eerily prescient look that linked Burns to Landis, given that breaking the fourth wall by looking into the camera was already an established tradition in the film art of Landis, particularly in SCHLOCK. Thus, the final look yet again prepared audiences all too well for the fatal mayhem of the TZ disaster, and the possibility that Landis was a real life directo.
A month later, on April 11, 1980, the implicitly Lucas linked Alfred Matzerath-played by Mario Adorf-duelled with the implicitly Sir Scott linked, Jan Bronski-played by Daniel Olrychski-for the affection and attention of Angela Winkler’s beautiful, brunette and Adele and Leia evoking Agnes Matzerath, also turned up in the implicitly Lucas bashing and allegorical Volker Schlondorff film, DIE BLECHTROMMEL/THE TIN DRUM (1979). Ominously, in yet another eerie memory of the future, on May 16, 1989 only a week before the J.D. Jedi Force returned to the Temple Theatre at the end of May 1980, Morrow’s Rush resembling, indigenous hating and CanCo Inc. loving Noyo village fisherman character, Henry ‘Hank’ Slattery, was almost killed as he desperately saved a Chen and Le anticipating boy and girl from violent, rapacious and ‘humanoid’ blockbuster beasts from the ocean depths terrorizing the fishing village of Noyo-beasts that killed a boy, and decapitated one of the men of Noyo village in two more ominously twilit scenes-at the end of the twilit, allegorical, PIRANHA evoking, implicitly THE STUNTMAN addressing and tragicomic Barbara Peeters film, MONSTER aka HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP (1980).
Luckily and ironically for Slattery, he was saved by the indie, indigenous and implicitly Dante linked Johnny Eagle-played by Anthony Penya-causing him to have a change of heart and embrace Eagle, implicitly allowing Rush to embrace Dante, in the end. And implicitly embrace indie American film art, for MONSTER/HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP was another film that implicitly joined CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and SUPERMAN in lashing furiously out at the generous tax rebate scheme that was drawing American film artists up to Canada at that time to create film art. For the rampaging, rapacious, DNA-5 evolved, beastly blockbuster and inhuman humanoids-more alienated than the aliens at the end of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND-arrived at the fishing village of Noyo at the same time that the Prime Minister Trudeau resembling and implicitly linked president of CanCo Inc., Charles Borden-played by Al N. Smithee-arrived to corporatize and monopolize the fishing and canning industries in Noyo Harbour, a takeover that implied the fear of Peeters that the generous tax rebate for creating film art in Canada would take over Hollywood film art by causing American film artists to flee up north to create blockbuster beasts for free and keep all of the profits in Canada.
Significantly, while hilarious, the gleefully violent and explosion filled film brought a fearless female film artist to the Temple Theatre, preparing the way for a decade that saw equally fearless female film artists finally storm the Temple Theatre and never leave, at last. Literally fearless and female, as the film ended with the Sofia Coppola resembling Carol Hill-played by Cindy Weintraub-wife of the implicitly Coppola linked James ‘Jim’ Hill-played by Doug McClure-using a trusty carving knife to stab to death all of the inhuman humanoids who dared to invade the Hill house and threaten the Hill baby-played by Shawn Erler-in the end, allowing indie film art to triumph over inhuman, tax rebated cannery-factory film art. Filling Temple Theatres with an irrepressible female Force when executive producer Lucas returned on May 21, 1980 with Baker, Daniels, Fisher, Ford, Guinness, Hamill, Kurtz, Lawson, Mayhew, Prowse, Purvis, Williams and Ben Burtt and Ralph McQuarrie-sound designer and conceptual artist, respectively, for STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-for another desperate and determined clash with the insidious and implicitly Spielberg linked Emperor and his Evil and beastly blockbuster Empire in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Kershner film, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, a release that was this time accompanied by a movie tie-in merchandise campaign that rivalled and perhaps even topped those for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and SUPERMAN.
‘Then I’ll see you in Hell!’
Significantly, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK began with the same soothing Ozian fairy tale preamble that promised healing and harmonizing eucatastrophe, the same explosion of STAR WARS logo and Main Theme, and the same triumphantly rising, Yellow Brick Prologue as at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. However, while apparently soaring on the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and continuing the optimystic trend of the latter film, STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK immediately reinforced the dark new mood of the times by returning to the dark spectre of incest and sexual disease that haunted STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This reiterated that Lucas was not making another childish film, but using STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK like STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in part to heal the wounded child within. For after noting in another three paragraph Yellow Brick Road preamble that the Empire was furiously searching for young Skywalker and the Rebellion and their new hidden fortress on Hoth to wreak revenge for the destruction of the Death Moon, the film started with another SD spaceshark filling the screen and launching a number of space pod-like probots. These small pods tumbled through space like Vader’s custom TIE at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, immediately linking the two films in Lucas fashion.
One of these pods fell down on to the wintry white and Ozian planet called Hoth-the bitter Winter that must be endured before one could experience Spring-like a Kansas farmhouse, reminding us that STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE truly began when an escape pod containing C3P0 and R2D2 fell down to Tatooine near the beginning of the film. This restarted the Ozian dream on an evil robotic note rather than the good robotic note of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, establishing the dark and evil theme of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK right from the beginning. The crash on Hoth also implicitly affirmed that Lucas was using the second STAR WARS film to triumph over BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. For the winter planet of Hoth evoked the winter planet of Arcta in the allegorical Alan J. Levi directed telefilm, ‘Gun on Ice Planet Zero’ (1978), from season one of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The episode revolved around a desperate and Apollo led effort-aided by planetary clone slaves whose male clone looked like Jim Henson-to destroy a Cylon pulsar cannon on the planet that had the power to blow up passing spacecraft like a miniature and planet bound Death Moon. In typical reversed, healing and exorcising Lucas fashion, in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the cannon was a Rebel held ion cannon used by the Rebellion to help aid the escape of Rebel ships from the planet in the event of an Imperial attack. While a determined strike back at BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Lucas need not have worried. Most young audience members abandoned the show after the first season, and completely forgot it after bathing in the healing and uplifting Force of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Curiously, while forgotten, the episode was linked to the dread Zone Wars, as a young Larry Cedar, who played a Colonial Viper pilot named Shields, returned as a monster in the fourth episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE.
Significantly, the meteor-like crash of the probot also evoked the other seminal crashes in the films of Lucas, reiterating the link to what had gone before. Rising up from its impact crater like another evil and alienated mechanical brain from Arous, this black probot also evoked the floating Death Moon and the equally black floating mind probot of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This reiterated the link of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and also returned inhuman sexual disease to the Classic Trilogy. Indeed, the probot’s meteor-like crash and impact crater also reminded us that Gor had landed in the deserts of the US southwest in a meteor-like crash of its spaceship and had also risen out of an impact crater to cause his insidious mind controlled mayhem, confirming its link to Gor and underlining that alienated sexual disease had immediately returned to the Classic Trilogy. Seeing the probot rise out of a crater on a frozen and lunar-like world also evoked the sentinel lurking beneath the dust of Tycho crater on the moon in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and the North Pole of THE THING FROM ANOTHER PLANET, linking the film to two other films full of alienated sexual disease and wicked machines right from the beginning. Floating up out of a cloud of smoke also linked the probot to Vader’s first appearance in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and to the Wicked Witch of the West’s first appearance in THE WIZARD OF OZ, reaffirming its sexually diseased and Wicked nature, reiterating the Ozian structure of the film, and preparing us for the arrival of the Dark Lord Vader.
The probot’s black colour also recalled Robby the Robot in FORBIDDEN PLANET, making it Probby the Probot. An ominous link, as no sooner did it float away from its impact crater like Gor than the POV switched to the sight of Hamill’s young Skywalker-back after surviving a Great car Crash of his own on January 11, 1977-immediately linking Luke to insidious and alienated machine brains right at the beginning of the film. Soon after, Luke was attacked by a Wampa Kid monster-which uncannily resembled me after waking up in the morning, in one of the most eerie and nightmarish memories of the future of the entire dread Zone Wars-which rose up out of nowhere like the Tusken Kid monster that attacked Skywalker on Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This attack occurred immediately after Skywalker told Solo over his Dick Tracy wrist communicator that he was going to check out the probot ‘meteor’ crash on his tauntaun charger-a horse-like creature with a Totoish name that confirmed that the Western narrative as well as the Ozian structure had both returned to STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-for Skywalker and Solo were travelling on their own paths on Hoth like C3P0 and R2D2 initially did on Tatooine at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Coming so soon after Skywalker saw the aroused and alienated probot land on Hoth, this Wampa Kid monster attack confirmed Probby’s insidious link to FORBIDDEN PLANET, and also confirmed that incestuous undercurrents continued to haunt Skywalker in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Forcing Luke to continue the Journey of Self Discovery in order to come to grips with these undercurrents. Indeed, the ‘pa’ at the end of Wampa evoked the Dark Father of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and prepared us for the arrival of Darth Vader on Hoth-and for the later 3D holocast arrival of the Wicked Emperor Palpatine on the Executor. Significantly, Des Webb’s Wampa Kid monster also dragged Skywalker off to its underground wamp rat lair after assaulting him, the first of four subterranean, THX 1138 and tomb-like labyrinths that Skywalker descended into in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK that implied that Lucas was fighting off fears of another THX 1138 disaster as well as exorcising incestuous nightmares in his latest film.
Seeing Skywalker hanging upside down from the roof of the Wampa’s cave by ice shackles and unable to escape also confirmed that he was still the Tin Luke and in need of further Forceful lessons. A Journey of Self Discovery that soon restarted, for Luke luckily proved that he was worthy of further training by defeating-but not killing-this larger Kid monster by breaking free from his frozen feet shackles and hacking off the ironically right arm of the Wampa-a neat dismemberment that evoked Ben’s quick work in Mel’s Cantina on Tatooine-and clambering out of its subterranean underworld lair. To be reborn in the THX 1138-like lunar limbo of Hoth, where Kenobi returned as a Glinda the Good Force ghost and advised him to go to Dagobah, a planet name which evoked a dagoba, a dome-shaped shrine for sacred relics of the Buddha and his Saints, preparing us for Luke returning to his Journey of Self Discovery with a mysterious new Great Oz Jedi Master named Yoda who instructed Kenobi. This was a curious development, for it was unclear who was symbolized by Yoda. For while Kurosawa was a student of Ford, linking him to Vader, Ford was a student of no one, as he became involved with film art as a gopher in the early years of Hollywood silent film art when there were still no significant mentors…
Significantly, while young Skywalker successfully fought off and escaped from the Wampa Kid monster and communed with Kenobi the Good, Solo returned to the new hidden fortress of the Rebels on his own tauntaun. Here we quickly discovered that while still with Leia, Luke and the Rebellion, Solo still had to pay off his debt to Jabba the Hutt. This reaffirmed his link to Coppola, and underlined that Lucas was still obsessed with Black Thursday despite flying high on the success of AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, this reminder of the repayment to Warner Brothers reiterated that Lucas was worried that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK would be as unsuccessful as his other sequel MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI, causing a new THX 1138 disaster that would financially ruin him, end his dreams of J.D. Jedi film artist independence and prevent him from completing the Skywalker Ranch film facility that he was constructing north of San Francisco. A significant implication, and one that implied that Lucas looked on Coppola as comrade rather than foe in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, no doubt due to the fact that the film had been written and filmed before Coppola released and possibly attacked Lucas in APOCALYPSE NOW.
Luckily for Leia and the Rebellion, insidious television transmissions sent by the eastward floating Probby the Probot to Vader-played again by Prowse-onboard his new and truly blockbuster Super SD Executor-its colossal size evoking the Mother Ship of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and the huge aid Spielberg received with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, reaffirming the film’s implicit interest in Spielberg-led Vader to order the Imperial fleet to attack Hoth. This attack prevented Solo from breaking up with Leia and the Rebels, keeping the sweeping sweeping Romance alive and well in the Classic Trilogy. Not that sexual disease was also not present on Hoth, despite this Romance. In fact, incestuous disease was unknowingly confirmed by Leia when she innocently kissed her twin brother Luke in his hospital bed after he had been rescued from the lunar limbo by Han. For, prior to ambushing the probot-its self-destruction ironically making it the symbolic Wicked Witch of the East figure whose death restarts the healing and harmonizing Ozian spiritworld dream-Solo had rescued Skywalker on tauntaun back.
Significantly, Han had emerged from out of the snowswept wastes like SRT in the lunar limbo of THX 1138, confirming that the Afro-mojo Force flowed naturally in him. The rescue of Luke also evoked Uzala’s rescue of the Lucas linked Arseniev in DERSU UZALA, preparing us for the arrival of another unusual little fellow wise in the ways of the universe. The rescue also evoked Chewie and Han’s rescue of Luke at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, linking the two films together again in Lucas tradition. However, while saved by Solo again, the ideous Wampa and the kiss underlined that Skywalker still needed to work hard to free himself and his sister from his inner Kid monsters. Indeed, this hospital sequence began with the scar faced and Scarecrow linked Skywalker floating underwater in a bacta tank in his second descent into the underworld in the film, evoking the machines that probed THX 1138 at the beginning of his reprogramming in THX 1138, underlining that young Skywalker had yet to free himself and Lucas from the troubled inner labyrinth.
However, there was still hope that Lucas and Skywalker would succeed in their quest, as the Imperial invasion of Hoth was a new Kansas twister that drew the Ozian dreamers deeper down into the healing Ozian dream. Indeed, the famous battle that broke out between the Imp snowtroopers and their huge and Toto-like All Terrain Armoured Transports (AT-ATs) and the Rebels and their snowspeeders, and between the fleeing Rebel spacecraft aided by their huge planet based ion cannon-allowing the Rebels to blast orbiting spaceships in a way that confirmed that Kershner and Lucas were triumphing over BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, as the Cylons were the first ones to be able to blast fleeing human spaceships with a planet based supergun in ‘The Gun on Ice Planet Zero’-and the SD spacesharks hungrily waiting in orbit evoked the inner battles that took place in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and THE WIZARD OF OZ. Clearly, the solid and earthy Rebels were human white blood cells again, rising up to fight off another diseased bacterial invasion of Leia and Luke. In particular, the full throttle struggle between Rogue Squadron Rebels in smaller and faster snowspeeders-their ‘Rogue’ appellation evoking the rogue shark of JAWS, and their attack pattern Delta evoking Delta House of ANIMAL HOUSE, implying that Kershner and Lucas were also using the film to triumph over and exorcise that Universal release-and the Imps in the larger and slower lumbering AT-ATs also recalled the Rebel spacefighter attack on the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, seeing young Skywalker and his Rebel snowspeeder colleagues in their orange flightsuits underlined the link to the climatic battle at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. These orange flightsuits also transformed Skywalker into a Cowardly Pilot again, a transformation from Wampa frozen Tin Luke that returned Ozian transformations to a Lucas film and reiterated that Skywalker was still on his Journey of Self Discovery in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Indeed, the snowspeeder of young Skywalker crashed at one point in the battle, another seminal crash in the films of Lucas that reiterated Luke’s link to Lucas and THX 1138 and their Journeys of Self Discovery. However, while Skywalker and his fellow Rebels fought well, this time the battle was only a partial victory for the Rebels. For while their transport spacecraft escaped Hoth, the new hidden fortress and its second mystic and protective energy shield for Solo was overrun and blown up by Julian Glovers Lean resembling and implicitly linked General Veers in his AT-AT. This ended the Rebel sojourn on Hoth, and scattered the Rebellion to the stellar winds, underlined by the sight of Vader striding through the ruins of their wintry base in another cloud of smoke like the Wicked Witch of the West and another alienated Thing. This destruction of the new hidden fortress also split up the story again, with Chewie, Leia, Solo and Threepio taking their Comedy, Romance and Western narratives and fleeing Hoth in the Milnerian Falcon with the Imperial fleet in hot pursuit, while Arttu and Arthurian Skywalker in his orange Cowardly Lion spacesuit fled Hoth for Dagobah and Yoda in their X-broomstick to continue the Journey of Self Discovery and their own Comedy away from the others like Henderson in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. Significantly, this split in the story also linked the lunar female energy of Artoo to Skywalker and the solar male energy of Threepio to Leia for the first time in the Classic Trilogy, filling and balancing each with the energy of the other.
After escaping Hoth in the Falcon, Solo and company were immediately pursued by four more TIE fighters and by even more huge and voracious white spaceshark SDs than those that had chased the Falcon after blasting out of Mos Eisley on Tatooine or after fleeing the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This link reminded us that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK was in many ways an evil remake of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, with many of the situations in the first film reappearing but being dominated by the Empire or bad luck in the second, implicitly affirming that Lucas was confirmed about the possible failure of the film. Indeed, in a tragicomic case of the latter, Solo soon found to his impotent frustration that the hyperdrive of the Falcon was not working and would not allow the heroes to escape the pursuing SD spacesharks as in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This transformed Solo from hunkish Scarecrow, escaping Cowardly Pilot and Great Oz Captain of his own space balloon to frozen Tin Han, implying again that Solo was also on his own Journey of Self Discovery in the Classic Trilogy. Significantly, this hyperdrive impotence problem also linked Solo to Vader, for Anikkostein was also unable to capture the fleeing Falcon. This led Vader to furiously full throttle Imp officers like Michael Culver’s Captain Needa and Michael Sheard’s Oz evoking and perhaps Donner linked Admiral Ozzel, Nikko evoking names that reiterated Vader’s link to Nikko. Vader’s new links to Solo also raised the question of whether Solo was on the side of Bad or Good again, underlined by the fact that he was unable to fully commit himself to the Rebellion despite his growing love for Leia-the third mystic energy shield in the films for Solo.
After discovering that his hyperdrive was not working, Solo and company found themselves in an asteroid field that evoked the fragments of sylvan Alderaan that were left after the planet was destroyed by the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Significantly, this asteroid field again evoked the magnetic storm that battered Barbarella and her living ship Alfie at the beginning of BARBARELLA, preparing us for the Sogo and Tau Ceti-like cadence and presence of Cloud City on Bespin. This time Solo used the huge hurtling asteroids as cover to weave in and out of-despite being warned by Threepio that the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field were 3720 to one, another ominously accurate memory of the future that exactly predicted the 723 date of the TZ disaster-in order to successfully escape from the four pursuing TIEs. Of course, these four pursuing TIEs evoked the four TIEs that attacked the Millenium Falcon after the spacerod escaped the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, four TIEs that again centred the Falcon between them in a way that underlined the Fifth Elemental nature of Leia. A fitting link, as these four anti-Ozian TIEs were dispatched with equal Fifth Elemental ease by Chewie and Solo’s deft piloting of the Falcon. Unfortunately, this successful piloting led Solo to cockily hide the Falcon from impious sight in the subterranean tunnelled depths of a cave at the bottom of a crater on one of the asteroids, a cratered and tunnelled cave that evoked a similar cratered and tunnelled cave created by the crash of Gor’s spaceship in THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS.
Significantly, as Solo and company descended into aroused and insidious depths, young Skywalker descended into his own insidious depths on his Journey of Self Discovery. Indeed, he fell from space down onto the wild, wet, lush, overgrown, permanently twilit and Vietnamese jungle-like surface of Dagobah with Artoo in his X-broomstick like Dorothy and Artoto in their falling farmhouse, restarting the healing Ozian dream on an ominously twilit note. They crash landed into a misty swamp in another seminal crash in the films of Lucas, a crash landing that evoked the sight of Richard Hatch’s Captain Apollo crash landing his ailing and triple engined Colonial Viper space fighter on an equally fecund planet after a Cylon ambush in space in the allegorical and SHANE evoking Rod Holcomb telefilm, ‘The Lost Warrior’ (1978), from the first season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The crash landing also evoked the unceremonious dump into the garbage compactor in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, to remind us of that garbage compactor, Artoo was quickly pulled under by a swamp monster as she swam to shore. This huge beast evoked the dianoga that pulled Luke under in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and prepared us for the space slug that soon tried to swallow the Falcon.
Significantly, the cascade of spinal bones on the back of this diving monster recalled the cascade of spinal bones on the skeleton of the sand dragon that Threepio discovered on his trek into the desert after crash landing on Tatooine, linking STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE again and preparing us for the arrival of a new Jawakin-like Munchkin. Prior to being swallowed by the monster, Artoo swam underwater to shore with a robotic eye poking up on a shaft. This humourously evoked the phallic dianoga again, confirming Dagobah’s link to the dianoga and the surrogate garbage compactor nature of this swamp. The sight of Artonoga also prepared us for the sight of young Skywalker getting his virile mojo going again here on Dagobah as he had after the baptismal dunk with the dianoga. Luckily for Luke and Artoo, the swamp monster did not find her particularly appetizing, spitting her out onto land in a way that reminded us that Skywalker had been released after his baptismal dunk in the living Force by the dianoga in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
This humourous rejection of Artoo was a good sign, affirming that Skywalker’s dreaming and intuitive lunar side would be awakened still further on water filled and hence moon ruled Dagobah. This lunar awakening quickly began with the arrival of the Classic Trilogy’s new Munchkin Great Oz, the Uzala evoking Jedi Master, Yoda-his name also evoking the Noga pigmen of the allegorical Christian I. Nyby II directed telefilm, ‘The Magnificent Warriors’ (1978), from the first season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, his green skin evoking the Incredible Hulk, and performed and voiced by the appropriately named Frank Oz. Humourously, Artoo squawked uneasily at her first sight of the Great Yodakin, just as she had at her first sight of the Krayyt Kenobi in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. And with good reason this time, for the arrival of the Great Yodakin created an ominously twilit trio of one female and two male characters on the Vietnam jungle evoking planet.
The green skin, brow folds and the puppet nature of the dimunitive J.D. Jedi Master also recalled the Wicked Witch of the West, a lizard seen in the main computer control centre of the underground labyrinth in THX 1138, the brain folds of Gor and the sinister puppet Fats in MAGIC. The Great Yodakin also evoked Caesar and Willie, the two controlling puppets of the two episodes of the original TWILIGHT ZONE series, more ominous links to the Zone here on Dagobah. In addition, the ‘da’ at the end of the Great Yodakin also combined with the ‘da’ at the beginning of Dagobah, making two ominously double trouble dimunitive forms of Dad that evoked the ‘da’ at the beginning of Darth Vader. Dagobah also had the exact same syllabic cadence as Darth Vader and Anakin, and sounded like Ramona-the avenue in Modesto that Lucas lived on as a child-and evoked Wampa, more reasons for Artoo to be worried about the Great Yodakin. For the amusing Jedi Master was linked to the symbolic Dark Father of Skywalker, and prepared us for the nightmarish arrival of Vader in the visionary tree cave sequence.
However, Dagobah also had the same syllable cadence as Kenobi, Massassi and Tatooine, linking the forbidding planet to the healing Force. And, while odd looking and given to talking backwards like the father of Lucas, the Great Yodakin was polite and friendly to Artoo and Skywalker at their first meeting. Indeed, the Great Yodakin was a perfect new mischievous Munchkin, underlining that the healing Ozian dream had indeed restarted here after touchdown on Dagobah. Yoda also had a four letter name that underlined that the Ozian fours were with him, and that also evoked healing and empowering yoga. The Great Yodakin’s name also evoked Glinda, preparing us for another arrival of Kenobi’s Glinda-like Force ghost. Indeed, the Great Yodakin wore a ragged samurai robe like Kenobi and the Jawakins, openly shied away from violence like Kenobi, and even invited Skywalker back to his house for dinner like Kenobi invited Luke and the robots back to his desert sanctorum on Tatooine in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
The Great Yodakin also took a mini-flashlight from Skywalker at their first meeting, a surrogate Light of the Covenant saber that underlined that the Great Yodakin was on the side of Light in the Dark and misty swamps of Dagobah. The sight of the Light of this flashlight disappearing in the lush and dense growth as the Great Yodakin led the way back to his house also reminded us that green symbolized lush green plant and tree life as well as disease. Indeed, the lush landscape of Dagobah evoked the jungle moon of Yavin and anticipated the forest moon of Endor, further good signs for Skywalker. This link to two rebellious and triumphant moons evoked all of the positive lunar energy of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, reaffirming that Skywalker would awaken his lunar side on Dagobah. Thus, things looked good for Skywalker despite the links of twilit Dagobah and the Great Yodakin to Dark Fathers and Vietnam as he reluctantly followed the Great Yodakin back to his equally dimunitive house.
A good thing, for before he made it to the house of the Great Yodakin, the narrative returned to Dark Fathers with the ominous sight of Vader kneeling to the 3D holocast of the Spielberg resembling Wicked Emperor on the Executor in a way that confirmed that he was indeed the Emperor’s subservient Anikkostein. Indeed, the hologram’s face was green, confirming that the Emperor-voiced originally by Clive Revill, now played and voiced by McDiarmid-was the Wicked Warlock of the West of the Classic Trilogy and that green could be linked to wicked disease as well as the lush and fecund life of Dagobah. Fittingly, all that could be seen of the Wicked Emperor was his head, floating insidiously above Vader like the alienated brain from Arous, openly linking the Emperor to Gor in a way that reiterated that the gloating criminal mind from Arous was back in aroused and insidious action. This confirmed that Darth was under the evil mind control of the Emperor as March was under the mind control of Gor, and not a Dark and incestuous Father of his own free will. Indeed, Palpatine, the Emperor’s real name, had two ‘pa’s’ in it, underlining that the Emperor was the true double trouble Dark Father of the Classic Trilogy.
Significantly, the name of Palpatine also confirmed his status as a symbolic Spielberg, as Palpatine and Spielberg both had a three letter first syllable, a two letter second syllable and a four letter third syllable, affirming that Spielberg was indeed a pal who had gone to the Dark and blockbuster lusting Side. Indeed, we could see in the 3D holocast that the Wicked Emperor Palpatine resembled Spielberg, implicitly affirming the link. This prepared us for the sight of Vader breaking free from and destroying the Wicked Emperor at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI like March broke free from and destroyed Gor at the end of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS. Indeed, Emperor Palpaberg also wore a monk like robe, evoking the mind controlling priests of OMMRICK in THX 1138 and SEN 5417’s successful attack on one at the end of that film. This link to THX 1138 reiterated that Lucas was still striking back at the THX 1138 disaster and fighting to break free as an independent J.D. Jedi film artist with the help of Kershner in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Ominously, the Emperor agreed with Vader that young Skywalker should be turned to the Dark Side-turned, or destroyed-evoking the dark spectre of male rape in the films of Lucas again. An insidious encounter, indeed.
When the POV returned to Dagobah, the Glinda Ghost of the Krayyt Kenobi appeared again, this time inside the house of the Great Yodakin. Obi Wan invisibly intervened to persuade the Great Yodakin to accept young Skywalker as his Padawan apprentice. The Great Yodakin reluctantly agreed to train Skywalker, but not before a final exchange with Skywalker that evoked the mind controlling puppet Fats of MAGIC more than ever before. For when Skywalker defiantly insisted that he was not afraid to leave behind his Cowardly Pilot stage and continue the Tin Luke axesaber training, the camera moved in on the Great Yodakin. Filling the camera frame, the puppet’s face suddenly turned from innocent and amusing to nightmarishly twilit and eerie as he ominously replied, ‘…you will be…you will be!’ in another memory of the TZ disaster future in the films of Lucas.
Significantly, the sudden shift from Light to Dark and the sight of the puppet’s face filling the screen reminded us that the face and head of Fats the dummy became larger and larger as the personified Dark Side assumed more and more control over Corky the ventriloquist over the course of MAGIC. Indeed, the implicit link was affirmed by the fact that Withers, the tormented ventriloquist magician of MAGIC, was the first Lucas linked character to insist to his agent Ben ‘Kenobi’ Greene that ‘…I am not afraid’ early in MAGIC. A timely evocation of MAGIC, and one that implied that Lucas was now worried about where the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise would lead him, particularly since an even larger avalanche of STAR WARS stuff accompanied the release of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Significantly, as Skywalker stared in aghast surprise at the suddenly menacing face of the Great Yodakin, the POV switched to Solo frantically piloting the Milnerian Falcon out of the cave he had thought he had hid in on the asteroid in a sequence that evoked a similar ship hidden on an asteroid in the allegorical Dick Lowry directed telefilm, ‘The Plot TO Kill A City’ (1979), from the first season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. For when the cave had suddenly become as aroused and agitated as Gor-perhaps due to the fumbling attempts at Butler and O’Hara-style lovemaking that Solo and Organna had engaged in during their sojourn in the cave, primitive lovemaking intercut with Vader’s meeting with the Emperor that ominously linked it to alienated brains from Arous, indeed-Solo suddenly realized that it was no cave but some sort of huge living creature. Indeed, rocketing to the entrance of the cave, the Milnerian Falcon barely managed to slip through the closing teeth-closing teeth that evoked the closing teeth of Vader’s meditation chamber as well as the closing mechanical teeth of the spaceship garage of the palace of Emperor Wang in FLESH GORDON-of a monstrous blockbuster beast of a phallic space slug that again evoked the dread Penisaurus of FLESH GORDON like the dianoga in the garbage compactor had in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This Kid monster also evoked Jabba and Penishead, and reminded us that Solo suffered from some dark inner Coppola turmoil of his own, dark inner turmoil that sluggishly prevented him from embracing the Princess, the Rebellion, and Lucas, and kickstarting his hyperdrive. However, saving Leia and Threepio was another Good sign that implied that Solo was confronting his Dark Side, preparing us for the sight of him openly aligning himself on the path of Good in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Indeed, the rescue of Leia and Threepio recalled Milner’s rescue of Laurie at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, another good sign that suggested that Solo would turn out as good as Milner, in the end. The encounter with the space slug also evoked the myth of Jonah and the whale in The Bible, a link that implied that Solo was beginning to realize that he could not run from his duty to openly unite with the Rebellion against the Empire.
The escape from the aroused space slug ‘cave’ also prepared us for Skywalker’s descent into the Old Man Willow-like tree cave on Dagobah, linking the adventures of Skywalker and Solo again. Indeed, Skywalker’s third descent into the underworld of death happened soon after the escape of the Falcon from the space slug, linking his tree cave to sinister space slugs and aroused alienated brains. As such, it was not surprising that a spectral Darth Vader suddenly appeared from deep within the tangled and labyrinthine root cavern of the massive Dagobahn tree. Fittingly, this vision recalled a vision seen by Shunkawakan-played by Richard Harris-the Englishman adopted and trained by the Sioux in Kershner’s allegorical sequel, THE RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE (1976). Significantly, although he had just been instructed by the Great Yodakin that the Jedi only used their powers for knowledge and defense and never for attack, Skywalker impertinently ignored the puppet and immediately ignited his now fully blue axesaber and attacked the spectral figure of Annikostein.
Significantly, this improvident and impromptu saber duel evoked the climatic duel between Captain Apollo and a lone Cylon enforcer named Red Eye that climaxed ‘The Lost Warrior’, reaffirming the implication that Kershner and Lucas were trying to triumph over and exorcise BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. After trading a few blows with the black Phantom of the Space Opera, Skywalker suddenly hacked off the head of this Dark Father with his axesaber in one of the most ominous memories of the Morrow decapitating future of the dread Zone Wars. The head flew off and rolled away on the ground, suddenly coming to a stop face up. As Skywalker watched, the mask exploded away, revealing his own face. This was a seminal omen for Skywalker, telling him that if he did not release his desire for violent revenge for Kenobi and his aunt and uncle, defeat his inner and incestuous Kid monsters and start listening to Yoda, he would turn into another Dark Father himself. Indeed, the ominous sight of his face in the mask prepared us for Vader’s invitation to join him in overthrowing the Emperor and taking over the Empire at the end of the film.
Intercut as it was with the sight of the Great Yodakin waiting thoughtfully for Luke outside the cave, Skywalker’s failure in the cave also implied again that Lucas was now worried that he had betrayed his serious film art ambitions with the light hearted, comic book-like and childish style and success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its avalanche of action figures and other movie tie-in merchandise, and had turned into a blockbuster lusting Dark Lord like Spielberg. A most likely interpretation, as soon after his failure in the cave, Skywalker was also unable to use the healing Force to levitate his sinking X-broomstick out of the swamp into which he had crash landed when he arrived on Dagobah. This second failure and its open links to sexual impotence that linked Skywalker to Solo and Vader implicitly affirmed that Lucas was indeed worried about the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise and afraid that selling out would cost him his creative potency. A link to virile potency that was confirmed when the Great Yodakin scoffed that ‘…size matters not’ and promptly levitated the X-broomstick out of the swamp with a virile Force that reminded us that the Jawakins had big sandcrawlers.
In addition, as if to confirm that the films of the New Hollywood brat pack of the Sixties and the Seventies were in some way warning of the TZ disaster, Skywalker experienced a literal and visionary memory of the future himself after failing to get his X-broomstick up. In this Mars evoking memory he saw Solo and the others in pain on Cloud City, definitely linking these memories of the future to a twilit pain and suffering that was only two years away now, a twilit memory of the future made more ominous by the fact that Solo landed the Falcon on platform 327 on Cloud City, exactly evoking July 23rd, 1982 for the second time in the film, soon after Skywalker had that vision. The landing of the Falcon at outdoor landing pad 327 in the new Metropolis of Cloud City was also ominous for another reason. For floating high in the sky of the planet, Bespin, Cloud City looked more like the Mother Ship in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND than it did the Emerald City of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Ominously, this Great Oz linked city floated high in the clouds of the gas planet Bespin-a potentially spinsterish planet name with the same number of letters and syllables as Altair-on its single spinal stalk like a new alienated floating brain or Death Moon, preparing us for the arrival of Vader and the Evil Empire.
Bespin and Cloud City also evoked planet 16 of the Tau Ceti system and the city Sogo in BARBARELLA-reaffirming that another Wicked Tyrant was soon to arrive-and the Hollywood linked mining planet of Carillon in the pilot film for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. An ominous link that reminded us that the Cylons ambushed the fleeing remnants of humanity on Carillon, preparing us for an Imperial ambush here. Indeed, the surname of the head of Cloud City, Solo’s mysterious caped friend and pseudo Great Oz, Lando Calrissian-played by Billy Dee Williams-also evoked Carillon, implicitly affirming the link to BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and the imminent arrival of the equally caped Phantom of the Space Opera Vader and the Evil Empire. The allusion to Carillon also reminded us that it was Larson who came up with the idea of using films and telefilms like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA as filmmmercials and tele-filmmercials for tie-in merchandise, crassly ambushing the purity of the Classic Trilogy. But Lucas no doubt could not help but guiltily note that it was the success of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and its movie tie-in merchandise that gave Larson his insidious inspiration.
Lando also sounded like Nikko, reiterated by the ‘rissi’ in Calrissian, a twofold evocation of Nikko that prepared us again for the return of Annikkostein and Lando’s betrayal of Solo and the others to the double trouble Empire. Lando Calrissian’s names also sounded Italian and evoked Corellian-as well as Bolander in AMERICAN GRAFFITI-reminding us that Solo symbolized Coppola and that Solo’s status as Light or Dark Lord had not yet been fully resolved. There was also a Larson, evoking the creator and producer of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-or was that a Landis?-hidden within his names. A link to Larson reaffirmed by the fact that Lando also evoked Commander Royco-played by Christopher Stone-and his black major domo in the allegorical and Larry Stewart directed telefilm, ‘Space Vampire’ (1980), from the first season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. Despite these insidious links and bad omens, his good looks and buoyant health also recalled the afro-holograms of THX 1138, leaving out hope that he would also turn out for the Good, in the end. Indeed, evoking Nikko with Lando reiterated the healing Ozian structure of the film, transforming the landing Falcon back into Dorothy’s farmhouse and Cloud City and its hallways into not just an Emerald Balloon City but a new wonderful world of Oz complete with Yellow Brick Road. This Ozian status was confirmed by the sight of the Ugnaughtkins, the real mischievous Munchkins of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, who were always soon met after touching down on an Ozian linked world and who evoked the mute Noga pigmen of ‘The Magnificent Warriors’. Lando also evoked the fissure of Rolando that led to the destruction of the aroused brain from Arous, and the trench run annihilation of the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. This anticipated the destruction of the second Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, leaving out hope again that Lando would turn out for the Good.
However, with all of Lando’s links to Carillon, Nikko and Anikkostein, it was no surprise that the black clad Phantom of the Space Opera and his skeletal Imps suddenly made their sinister reappearance. Their impious arrival and their TZ disaster-style decapitation and dismemberment of Threepio reminded us that the crowded, bright and white labyrinthine hallways of Cloud City also evoked the subterranean labyrinth of THX 1138 and the Death Moon, reiterating that Lucas was on one level still struggling to break free from the dark memories of the THX 1138 disaster and from pod people society in order to achieve artistic J.D. Jedi film artist independence. Indeed, Calrissian’s major domo Lobot-whose name linked him to Lando and the probot, who looked like Luthor, and who was played by John Hollis-looked like THX 1138, underlining Cloud City’s link to the underground of THX 1138 and implicitly confirming that Lucas was still fighting to become an independent film artist in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Ironically, Lobot also evoked Colonel Kurtz of APOCALYPSE NOW, reminding us that Coppola continued the Star Director Wars in that film despite the best efforts of Lucas to end the Wars in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. And end the Star Director Wars in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, for after initially going along with the Empire and its insidious schemes, Calrissian broke free from its mind control and used his own ominous computer mind control of Lobot to free Artoo, Chewie, Leia and Threepio from Vader and the Imps and rescue Solo-which linked Lobot to Good, exorcising the Evil of Luthor in SUPERMAN.
But it was too late for Solo, for the Corellian space rogue had been frozen into a Tin Man-like carbonite statue that trapped him in a Twilight Zone between life and death after declaring his love for Leia in a dark and orange lit scene in a carbon freezing chamber deep in the bowels of Cloud Nine City that evoked the burning of Atlanta in GONE WITH THE WIND. Then he was loaded on to the Slave 1 to be taken back to Tatooine by his evil Scarecrow Dark Side, the greasy bounty hunter Boba Fett-played by Jeremy Bulloch, voiced by Temuera Morrison in the 2004 DVD-whose name linked him to Dagobah, Falfa and Jabba. Significantly, he probably symbolized Sir Ridley Scott, given that the independent bounty hunter status of Fett reminded us that Sir Scott was an equally independent film artist with his own film production company. Indeed, Fett also evoked Brett, the mechanic on the Nostromo in ALIEN played by Harry D. Stanton, implicitly affirming his link to Sir Scott. This tin statue also officially confirmed Solo’s impotent Tin Han status in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, thus completing his transformative Ozian Journey of Self Discovery and preparing us for his centred and healing Force in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Fittingly, the sight of the carbon frozen Solo also reminded us that relations between Coppola and Lucas had no doubt become rather cool and strained after the release of APOCALYPSE NOW. Clearly, Lucas still had to free Coppola from his Dark and grandiose Side on Tatooine, in order to succeed with his goal of healing Coppola with harmonious Ozian cinema and mending their friendship.
Curiously, the departure of the Scarecrow hunk also allowed young Skywalker to take on the Scarecrow role and complete his own transformational Ozian Journey of Self Discovery when he arrived in Cloud City to rescue his friends in the end like Milner. Indeed, the lean and fit Skywalker initially crept warily around the labyrinthine corridors with his blaster drawn like a true Western gunslinger and almost got into a shootout with Fett, underlining his new Milner status. A timely inner conjunction of the Ozian fours, for Skywalker needed all of the elemental Ozian Force he could muster in the desperate battle with his salaciously taunting Dark Father that erupted when he descended deep into his subconscious for the Forcefull fourth and last time in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on a trip down into the dark underworld of Cloud City. Significantly, the battle with Vader began in the carbon freezing chamber, linking and contrasting Vader’s Dark and submissive Force with the Light and courageous love of Han and Leia. Indeed, beginning the battle in the carbon freezing chamber reiterated that on one level the Classic Trilogy was about freeing Lucas from dark memories of incest and returning him to a state of healthy sexual harmony. However, seeing Skywalker’s once tentative axesaber now glowing with a deep and healthy blue in contrast with Vader’s blood red nightsaber was a good sign. Alas, this final subterranean showdown between Jedi and Sith also evoked the Krayyt Kenobi’s final showdown with Vader in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, reiterating that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK had followed the structure of that film, and preparing us for Skywalker’s own defeat at the hands of the Black Knight in this film.
Despite this omen, Skywalker initially defeated Vader, knocking him off the carbon freezing platform in a way that prepared us for Skyrocker’s final victory at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. However, this initial victory led Skywalker deeper into the labyrinthine THX 1138 underworld of Cloud City, searching for the Dark Lord of the Sith and finding him in a reactor control room. Initially, Vader toyed with him like a cat with a mouse, using the Dark Force to pelt Skywalker with heavy in a way that evoked Carrie at the end of CARRIE. But after breaking a huge window that caused a Kansas tornado of air to suck Skywalker past the shattered panes and down a reactor shaft even further into the Ozian dream, Vader suddenly struck out of nowhere on the gantry platform below and tore into Skywalker with his blood red nightsaber in a full throttle fury. The furious and helicopter rotor-like onslaught of nightsaber blows was too much for the young Jedi, and as Luke staggered backwards, Vader suddenly sliced off his right hand in a dismembering twilit chop that sent both hand and saber flying into the core like the right forearm Kenobi succinctly sliced off in Mel’s cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
This diseased but neat dismemberment robbed Skywalker of his virile potency and turned him into a truly impotent Tin Man as surely as the carbon freezing process did to Solo, again linking the two men in a way that reminded us that both Coppola and Lucas had been devastated by the THX 1138 disaster. The shocking amputation also recalled the right arm of the Wampa Kid monster that Skywalker sliced off at the beginning of the film, and Skywalker’s decapitation of the nightmare Vader in the tree cave on Dagobah, linking the third in a twilit trio of dismemberments to the Dark Side within Skywalker. Just as shocking was Darth Vader’s sudden insistence that he was Skywalker’s Dark Father, and that Skywalker should help him defeat the Emperor and rule the Empire together. Significantly, the words caused Skywalker to scream in shocked agony and refuse to join Vader. Clearly, he would be an independent J.D. Jedi film artist indeed and not be in league with a Dark Lord of the Hits, particularly one linked to Kurosawa.
And so Skywalker threw himself off the gantry platform and fell further down into the healing Ozian dream, evoking the fall into the future of Buck Rogers in the opening credits of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, and anticipating a future fall from a Parisian apartment ledge for Morrow’s Bill Connor in the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. And so he was eventually dumped out of Cloud City with the rest of the garbage, and barely managed to hang upside down from a cross-like antenna underneath Cloud City in a way that summed up the worry of Lucas that he was a failed film art messiah but ironically prepared us for his messianic return, and also evoked his upside down incarceration in the Wampa Kid monster’s lair to bring the insidious film full diseased circle. And so Skywalker was eventually rescued by Artoo, Calrissian, Chewie, Leia and Threepio in the Falcon due to a sudden benevolent J.D. Jedi mind link with Leia that prepared us for the revelation that she was Luke’s sister in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. And so this crosshanging rescue and the hyperdrive escape that followed-it finally worked!-allowed the elemental Ozian heroes to break free from the Wicked clutches of the Spielberg linked Empire and live to strike back on the side of free, creative and independent film art another day, allowing the film and its Comedy, Journey of Self Transformation and Western narratives to end on a reasonably eucatastrophic note. And so the heroes fled a virtuous white ‘childhood’ on Hoth and escaped the adolescent perils of bright lights, big Emerald Cloud City and arrived safely back amidst the ironically comforting and Kansas-like-as it was yet again BATTLESTAR GALACTICA evoking-sanctuary of the Rebel fleet.
And so the film ended in another hospital bedroom on a medical frigate amidst the Rebel fleet with Skywalker’s ominous new Rotwang and Vader-like robotic hand being tended to by that robotic Kenobi, 2-1B. And so Artoo, Leia, Luke and a rebuilt Threepio watched as Chewie and Lando-dressed for blasterslinging business in Solo’s white shirt and black vest Western combo-rocketed off in the Falcon to rescue Solo on Tatooine, unaware that Leia was the Other hope for the Rebellion and the other Skywalker mentioned by Yoda to the Glinda Ghost of the Krayyt Kenobi when Skywalker left Dagobah for Cloud City. And so Luke waited for his own turn to bring the allegorical trilogy to its trimatic conclusion by defeating incestuous Kid monsters, Dark Fathers, evil Spielberg linked film Empires and the THX 1138 disaster, and freeing film art and the Tin Man. An ambitious quest that was summed up in the first poster for STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, a poster of two silver tin man hands raising a silver axe of the Covenant saber against a backdrop of stars that made clear that the final film in the Classic Trilogy would be not just about the Other but also about THE RETURN OF THE TIN MAN.