Chapter 6: Apocalypse Zone
Significantly, despite the twilight seen ominously gathering in the film, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was another big hit for Lucas, definitely due in part to the eagerness with which young audience members awaited STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI and flocked to any film or television program linked to Lucas. Indeed, Lucas and Spielberg triumphed with the action packed film, and re-established themselves as the Geek Kings of healing Ozian themed American cinema. For the film was a box office sensation, playing in theatres for almost one year and pulling in over $330 million dollars worldwide from an initial investment of $22.8 million dollars. Nominated for eight Academy Awards, the film won four the following Spring for Art Direction, Editing, Sound and Visual Effects. This latter award and the great effects in the film no doubt encouraged Spielberg to stick with ILM, for he has worked with ILM for most of his big effects filled films since RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. This association with ILM forever after linked Spielberg to Lucas, regardless of whether he was directing a Lucas film or not. Spielberg’s endorsement of ILM also encouraged other film artists to use the effects firm, joining forces with Lucasfilm and the Lucas Licensing division of Lucas to allow Lucas to become the head of his own conglomerate of companies and provide enough additional income to ride out the lean years of box office failures to come (Pollock, pp. 244-52 and 311-13).
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK also delighted viewers with another rousing soundtrack by Maestro Williams that rivalled that of the Classic Trilogy, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and JAWS. Inspired by its music, its full Force throttle energy, and its heady and transcendent triumph over the blockbuster fortune and glory lusting Dark Side-despite, ironically, being a boffo blockbuster film-and not noticing that it was addressing and cautioning Landis, J.D. geeks-or was that J.D. G-boys?-all over North America were inspired by the film to reluctantly leave behind their Atari, Intellivision and Coleco home video game systems-the latter allowing young gamers to battle DONKEY KONG, somehow fitting given that KING KONG was one of the favourite films of Landis in another memory of the future-and take to the woods and ravines in a furious and desperate attempt to pull off a death defying jump or cliffhanging climb that would top a friend’s Indy. However, while young audience members loved and flocked to the film, the blockbuster, commercial and highly successful nature of this supposedly anti-blockbuster film infuriated film art for art’s sake film artists yet again, leading to more allegorical anti-Lucas and Spielberg cinematic attacks.
Significantly, but somehow fittingly, the first sign that 1982 was going to be a rough year for Lucas and Spielberg was not the death of Philip K. Dick on March 2, 1982-after which the poor and unknown PKD curiously went on to become the most popular and successful dead writer on Earth-or the death of Belushi on March 5, 1982. That first twilit sign had actually appeared in 1981 at the height of their film art raiding fortune and glory, when a bad moon instigated by Landis and linked to Lucas began to rise, throwing a dark shadow on the success of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. For muppeteer and Yoda performer Oz appeared in another cameo as an American embassy official named Collins helping a convalescing young American werewolf attack victim named David Kessler-played by David Naughton-in a London hospital in the allegorical Landis film, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981).
The sight and distinctive sound of Oz not only openly linked Lucas to Landis again, it also reminded us that Lucas filmed all of the studio parts of the Classic Trilogy at Ellstree Studios near London-indeed, Oz probably performed his cameo for Landis while he was in London playing Yoda for STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK-making the Wookie loving Lucas truly AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Make up wizard Baker also worked again with Landis on this film, evoking his work on STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE as much as that on SCHLOCK, making for a double trouble link to Landis for Lucas. As if that were not enough, Kessler’s surname evoked the legendary Kessel Run in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, linking the character to Lucas in a way that implied that Kessler’s transformation into a blockbuster werewolf beast was a warning from Landis to Lucas that he was in danger of turning into a blockbuster beast himself due to the popularity of the STAR WARS films and its movie tie-in merchandise. A twilit blockbuster beast, as the decapitation of a police detective in the beast’s final rampage in Piccadilly Circus yet again anticipated the TZ disaster-as did the sight of a bandanna wearing Landis wearing no protective gear being hit by a car and knocked through a plate glass window at one point in the vehicular chaos in the Circus caused by the rampage.
Significantly, however, that was not happening at all, as Kessler was implicitly linked to Nicholas Meyer, as Landis implicitly used the film to reply to the allegorical and implicitly Cronenberg roasting Meyer film, TIME AFTER TIME (1979). Curiously, while Lucas escaped a roasting in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, he was implicitly linked to a werewolf in the form of Patrick Macnee’s Dr. George Waggner-his surname evoking the Richard Wagner-like score that Maestro Williams composed for the Classic Trilogy-who was killed with the rest of his Northern California located and Skywalker Ranch evoking werewolf Colony at the end of the implicitly Lucas and company roasting allegorical Dante film, THE HOWLING (1981). Significantly, Screamin’ Stephen King, master of the allegorical weird tale of terror, also implicitly addressed Lucas and his blockbuster beast of a Classic Trilogy in 1981 in his allegorical and Jaws: a novel evoking novel, Cujo (1981).
This implicitly reaffirmed that he was now addressing New Hollywood after years of watching their allegorical film art, and the Old Hollywood film art that roasted them-particularly CARRIE and THE SHINING, no doubt. Indeed, King implicitly underlined his interest in Lucas with the ‘…once upon a time, not so long away’ fairy tale preamble that began Cujo, for it evoked the ‘…once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away’ fairy tale preamble that began all of the STAR WARS films. A character named George Meara, a Fisher evoking police officer named Roscoe Fisher, and a boy named Theodore ‘Tad’ Trenton who loved STAR WARS action figures also openly linked the novel to Lucas. Thus, this link to Lucas and the Classic Trilogy implied that the rabid blockbuster beast of a St. Bernard that rose up from the Id to attack and transform the lives of the ominously twilit trio of Vic, Donna and Tad Trenton of 83 Larch Street in Castle Rock, Maine and kill Tad, after the collapse of Vic’s fortune and glory seeking blockbuster breakfast cereal television ad campaign and the gut wrenching revelation that Donna had had an affair with an angry, independent and King evoking artist named Steven Kemp, equated with an eerily prescient warning from King to Lucas that his equally fortune and glory seeking STAR WARS movie tie-in merchandise campaign that would trimax on 1983 Street would also lead to the arrival of the twilit and out of control blockbuster beast, death and disaster-and perhaps even the gut wrenching revelations of Marcia’s sexual infidelity.
A twilit blockbuster beast, indeed, for Vic woke up from an ominous nightmare about Cujo before it attacked at twenty to two in the morning on p. 176, a time that ominously anticipated the 2:20 am time of the TZ disaster. Later, Donna would leave the safety of her Pinto and be attacked by Cujo on p. 220, in another eerie memory of the twilit and disastrous future. Indeed, it was all too fitting that the name of Vic Trenton ominously foreboded that of Vic Morrow, and that King’s favourite fictional town of Castle Rock, the setting of the novel, had a Hollywood cadence-like the towns of Chamberlain in Carrie and Hastings Glen in Firestarter-as if King saw Castle Rock as the Dark Side of Hollywood. If so, it was fitting that Charity Trenton had a sister named Holly Brooks, whose name openly evoked Hollywood and Mel and Richard Brooks. It was also strangely fitting that a character named Gary Pervier was the first victim of the rabid blockbuster beast, anticipating the enormous impact that the blockbuster TZ disaster and the dread Zone Wars would have on the Gardevil in another eerie memory of the future.
Curiously, King also implicitly roasted Lucas in the allegorical Bachman novel, Roadwork (1981). Indeed, the righteously furious battle of Barton George Dawes against callous corporate control was implicitly linked to the righteously furious battle of George Walton Lucas against the corporate controlled Hollywood studios throughout the novel, an implicit allegorical intent affirmed by the novel’s allusions to AMERICAN GRAFFITI and MARIO PUZO’S THE GODFATHER. The fact that most of the novel’s other characters referred to Dawes as Bart reaffirmed his implicit link to Lucas, for it reminded us that BART was not just the acronym for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco, but also the location for some of the subway scenes shot for THX 1138. Intriguingly, the blockbuster explosion that killed Dawes and ended his anti-corporate crusade, in the end, also anticipated the blockbuster bomb that ended the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy and killed the reputation of Lucas. Last but not least, the explosive death of Dawes and the deaths of a female and male character over the course of Roadwork eerily anticipated the two males and one female killed in the explosive TZ disaster in another ominous memory of the twilit future.
Robert R. McCammon also joined King in a literary roast of Lucas and of his work with Spielberg on RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, implicitly linking him to Vulkan, a powerful Dark Lord of Vampires who tried to take over Hollywood and L.A. with his grovelling and Spielberg linked lackey, Benefield, and a vampire army in his eerily prescient, twilit and allegorical novel, They Thirst (1981). The allegorical Steven Barnes and Larry Niven novel, Dream Park (1981), was also eerily prescient in retrospect. For the hard core Gamers who fought real-life Dungeons and Dragons-like adventures against holographic adversaries in holographically enhanced landscapes staged in huge gaming domes anticipated the intrepid actors and actresses who would fight their way through CGI enhanced film art adventures against CGI adversaries in CGI enhanced landscapes in huge greenscreen equipped soundstages-as well as multi-player online videogames. Indeed, the presence of Gamers like Holly Frost, Chester ‘Lore Master’ Henderson, Alan Leigh, Felicia ‘Dark Star’ Maddox, Gina ‘Semiramis’ Perkins and S.J. Waters implied that Barnes and Niven were allegorically addressing the world of film art in the novel, for the characters evoked Hollywood, Curt and Laurie Henderson in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, Vivien Leigh, DARK STAR, Anthony Perkins/Harold Ramis and John Waters. The fact that, in the end, implicitly Coppola linked Dream Park head Thadeus Harmony covered up the murder of a security guard on the premises so that adverse publicity would not turn away patrons and hurt revenues was also another eerie and prescient memory of the future, as downplaying and obscuring what happened to Chen, Le and Morrow on the night of the TZ disaster was the strategy of all involved in the twilit and disastrous events of July 23, 1982.
How fitting that Gamer Tony ‘Fortunato’ McWhirter would eventually be outed as the nonsensical and money lusting thief and that Dream Park research psychologist Skip O’Brien would outed as the murderer, for Tony McWhirter had a name with the same syllable cadence as Steven Speilberg and O’Brien and his reluctance to have children with his wife Melinda evoked the reluctance of Lucas to have children with Marcia, linking him to Lucas. And how also fitting that Alex Griffin, Dream Park Head of Security, would adopt the nom de jeux Gary ‘the Griffin’ Tegner when he inserted himself into the game as a pretend player in order to figure out who was the money lusting murderer, for the name Gary Tegner evoked and had the same number of letters as Gary Wright-while his nom de jeux ‘the Griffin’ evoked ‘the Gardevil’.
Significantly, Landis also did not escape a roasting that year, for in yet another memory of the future, Richard Marquand implied that Landis was as dangerous to the New Hollywood cause as a murderous German secret agent nicknamed the Needle was to the Allied cause in England in the Second World War in his eerily prescient allegorical thriller, EYE OF THE NEEDLE (1981). Indeed, the presence of Donald Sutherland as the deadly Captain Henry ‘the Needle’ Faber implicitly affirmed Marquand’s concern about Landis, as Sutherland was linked to Landis via a clumsy waiter in KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE and the marijuana promoting Faber College English professor David Jennings in ANIMAL HOUSE. Faber’s use of the nom de guerre Henry Baker reaffirmed his link to Landis, evoking the ape and wolfman suits Rick Baker had made for Landis for SCHLOCK and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Of course, the Needle’s trail of bodies evoked the Landis linked Jack the Ripper in TIME AFTER TIME, reiterating his implicit link to Landis. Curiously, Kate Nelligan’s love interest, Lucy, evoked Leia, while her son, Jo-played by Jonathan Haley-evoked Luke, implying that Marquand was presciently warning Lucas that Landis was a danger to him. At any rate, the clean cut, well dressed, suave, persuasive and literally lady killing Faber-as clean cut and well dressed as Landis-anticipated an equally clean cut, well dressed, suave, persuasive and metaphoric lady killer in a Spielberg film to come.
And so the twilight continued to gather, aided by the desperate struggle of Moore’s James Bond to escape a remotely operated helicopter in another ominous memory of the future in the opening prologue adventure of the allegorical and implicitly Altman roasting John Glen film, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981). A ceiling fan whose rotoring blades ominously anticipated the rotoring blades of the out of control helicopter of the TZ disaster spun behind William Hurt’s doomed Ned Racine the first time he made love to Kathleen Turner’s Evil and duplicitous Matty Walker in the allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting Lawrence Kasdan film, BODY HEAT (1981), in another eerie memory of the future-and one that was apparently linked to Lucas as he supposedly acted as executive producer on the film under the alias ‘Fred T. Gallo’ as a reward to Kasdan for completing the screenplay for STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and for writing RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. And by the official cover-up of a murder that was captured on film and tape recorder by John Travolta’s sound man Jack Terri in the twilit, prescient and allegorical Brian De Palma film, BLOW OUT (1981), a cover-up that literally anticipated the cover-up of wrongdoing that occurred after the TZ disaster. And literally anticipated, as BLOW OUT co-star John Lithgow-playing a hitman named Burke-reappeared as a troubled passenger in the Dante directed third episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. In addition, the eerily inhuman, implacable and unstoppable way that Burke hunted down Nancy Allen’s Sally-and his murders of two women who looked like Sally along the way-anticipated the implacable and unstoppable Terminator and its murder of two Sarah Connors along the way to the real Sarah Connor in a Cameron film to come. An implacable and all conquering Cameron film that also alluded frequently to Miller’s allegorical and Ozian themed film, THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981), a film told almost exclusively with stark and action packed visuals supported by music and sound, rather than dialogue.
Significantly, after implicitly roasting Coppola and Landis in MAD MAX, Miller switched gears and implicitly took on and took out Lucas and Spielberg and their ironically blockbuster anti-blockbuster and effects filled film art in the symbolic form of the huge but diseased, Vader evoking and Wicked Witch of the West linked muscle man, Lord Humungous, and his number one Toadie-played by Kjell Nilsson and Max Phipps, respectively. And literally took out, for the film ended with Gibson’s Rockatansky making like the Great Oz in his hot air balloon by driving a supposedly gas filled blockbuster big rig through and battling off the blockbuster gas lusting Humungous and his madcap castle soldier evoking car and flying monkey evoking biker minions in a triumphant but bittersweet Death Race 1981 that curiously evoked the end of FIRST BLOOD and USED CARS. Eerily, Rockatansky triumphed with the help of Bruce Spence’s raggedy and Scarecrow evoking Gyrocopter Pilot in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland that made all too clear what Miller thought of the wasteland of Hollywood film art. Of course, this post-apocalyptic desert wasteland with its helicopter evoking gyrocopter and the battle against Humungous and his Evildoers presciently anticipated the equally bleak post-TZ disaster Zonegeist and the audience uprising against Kennedy, Landis, Lucas, Marshall and Spielberg a year before the disaster. An audience uprising that would truly be global, as also correctly anticipated by the ‘World’ painted on the cab door of the Super Monster truck driven by Rockatansky.
Blockbuster lusts were also vanquished when the greedy, insidious, sniggering and Gor-like Loc-nar-voiced by Percy Rodrigues-was defeated by Taarna, the pure personification of art-a word hidden in the letters of her name to underline her implicit link to film art-in the triumphant end of Gerald Potterton’s allegorical animated film, HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE (1981)-a wholly remarkable film that not only inspired and would be remade as THE FIFTH ELEMENT, but also gave the world in many ways the theme song of the dread Zone Wars in ‘Veteran of the Psychic Wars’ by Blue Oyster Cult and Michael Moorcock. While not so concerned with insidious blockbuster lusts, the allegorical Boorman film, EXCALIBUR (1981), was another eerily prescient memory of the future filled film. For the adulterous betrayal of Nigel Terry’s Lucas linked and lookalike King Arthur by Nicholas Clay’s Lancelot and Cherie Lunghi’s Queen Guenevere that sent Arthur into despair, destroyed the harmony of the New Hollywood linked Camelot, and sent its New Hollywood film artist linked Knights of the Round Table-including Paul Geoffrey’s perseverant Perceval and Liam Neeson’s fiery Sir Gawain-searching far and wide for the Holy Grail in order to bring harmony back to Arthur and Camelot ominously predicted the twilit and disastrous future soon to arrive for Lucas and the rest of New Hollywood and the desperate and Lucas led attempt to do something that would return harmony back to the Temple Theatre after the TZ disaster. Significantly, EXCALIBUR also anticipated the return of Neeson as another fiery and intrepid Knight in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. The sight of Knights of the Round Table linked to New Hollywood film artists desperately searching for an Oscar linked Holy Grail of film art also implicitly confirmed that MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL had indeed been an allegorical roast of New Hollywood. Fiery roasts that literally returned with a flame breathing dragon as Disney and Paramount collaborated together on the allegorical Matthew Robbins film, DRAGONSLAYER.
Significantly, DRAGONSLAYER often evoked STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. For the determination of Peter MacNicol’s eager young sorcerer’s apprentice, Galen, to join forces with Caitlin Clarke’s feisty brunette, Valerian, to take on and defeat a blockbuster beast of a dragon after the death of his sorcerer Master, Ulrich-played by Ralph Richardson-in DRAGONSLAYER evoked the determination of Mark Hamill’s eager young Jedi apprentice, Luke Skywalker, to join forces with his feisty brunette sister, Princess Leia Organna-played by Carrie Fisher-to take on and defeat the beastly blockbuster Empire after the death of his Jedi Master, Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, Galen’s resemblance to young Skywalker and the fact that Leia was hidden with Valerian affirmed the implicit intent of DRAGONSLAYER. The appearance of McDiarmid as an exorcising priest named Brother Jacopus who was incinerated by the fire breathing dragon also presciently affirmed the link of DRAGONSLAYER to the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, given that he would soon reappear as the insidious Emperor Palpatine in the trimax of the Classic Trilogy. Thus, given the link of DRAGONSLAYER to STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the implication was that Disney had changed its mind and was now rallying in support of Lucas after roasting him in THE BLACK HOLE.
Significantly, Ulrich initially allowed himself to be killed by John Hallam’s Spielberg evoking Tyrian before returning to life in the end and blowing the dread dragon out of the sky, a mischievous and carefree approach to death that ominously foretold Morrow’s death again-but also boded well for good things coming from his death. In addition, DRAGONSLAYER also evoked JABBERWOCKY, the latter of which was evoked again when the Gilliam resembling and linked Perseus-played by Harry Hamlin, whose name fittingly looked and sounded like Terry Gilliam-bested a dread and blockbuster beast of a Kraken and saved Judi Bowker’s pretty and film art for art’s sake linked Andromeda in the end in legendary and god, goddess, demi-god and demi-goddess filled and feuding ancient Greece in the allegorical Desmond Davis film, CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981), a film linked to the Twilight Zone by the reappearance of Meredith as Ammon, another trainer to another young hero. Unfortunately, Davis also thought it wise to have Bubo, the tragicomic mechanical owl, help Perseus on his quest, making the film unintentionally hilarious. However, with two Gilliam and JABBERWOCKY evoking films released in 1981, it was fitting that the man himself returned to the Temple Theatre in December of 1981 and lashed out again at New Hollywood, Ozian themed film and the commercialization of film in his zany and madcap allegorical time travelling film, TIME BANDITS (1981), a film curiously anticipated by the allegorical Vincent McEveety directed telefilm, ‘Shgoratzhx!’ (1981), of the second season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY.
Indeed, the short and bearded directors of the New Hollywood brat pack and their growing obsession with fortune and glory were likened to six mostly bearded and stunted men obsessed with travelling through time and looting the wealth of the ages with the help of a secret map that revealed the locations of all of the 2001: A SPACE ODYSSESY monolith shaped black holes in space-time that had been created by the botched creation of the universe by Richardson’s wryly and drily sarcastic Supreme Being. Two of these booty obsessed dwarves-the group’s leader, Randall, and Wally, played by David Rappaport and Jack Purvis, respectively-evoked Coppola and Lucas. Indeed, Randall and Wally showed up in a tank and a spacefighter, respectively, to fight off Warner’s personification of Wicked Evil in the epic and elementally harmonizing Ozian showdown with Evil in his Black Castle linked Fortress of Ultimate Darkness that closed the film. Of course, Randall’s tank evoked Coppola’s Oscar winning screenplay for PATTON, while Wally’s spacefighter evoked the X- and Y-wings of the Classic Trilogy, underlining the link of Randall and Wally to Francis and George Walton Lucas jr. Purvis also played an ewok, a jawa and an ugnaught in the Classic Trilogy, reiterating the link of Wally to Lucas. The presence of Baker outside the tin can as Fidget also underlined Wally’s link to Lucas, as Baker played R2D2 in the Classic Trilogy.
Humourously, from its opening to its closing shots, TIME BANDITS also mercilessly roasted clueless consumerism and the corporate media manipulation that created and fed this consumerism. This clueless consumerism was epitomized by the hapless suburban parents of the film’s curious and imaginative male Dorothy, Kevin, played by Craig Warnock. Their clueless devotion to the latest kitchen appliances also caused Kevin’s parents-played by David Daker and Sheila Fearn, respectively-to be placed under the twisted corporatist spell of Evil, the red garbed and satanic male Wicked Warlock of the Corporate West of the film. Luckily, Kevin escaped the domination of Evil and his witless parents with the help of the Supreme Being and the six madcap, time travelling and treasure hunting Film Bandits, no doubt symbolizing the multitudes of suburban youth who escaped their own dreary lives and parents with the help of the films of the bearded New Hollywood brat pack. This liberation involved being swept up in the time travelling and treasure stealing misadventures that carried Kevin and the six madcap Munchkins away like a Kansas twister, before their madcap blockbuster lusts dropped them down hard on solid ground again and taught them a sobering lesson in living a life devoted to higher goals than fortune and glory. Higher goals that another hero named Cameron-who evoked the Cams of SCANNERS and THE STUNTMAN, and who was played by Edward Albert-championed when he won the deadly and film art linked game and became the new Master of the Game in the allegorical and ALIEN evoking B.D. Clark film, GALAXY OF TERROR (1981), making it fitting that future film artist master Cameron returned to theatres that year as a second unit director and production designer on this low budget Corman quickie.
Significantly, the 2273 mile diameter of Io, the moon of Jupiter that was home to Con-Almalgated mining operation 27 and the murderous and drug dealing machinations of its implicitly Lucas linked head, General Manager Mark B. Sheppard-played by Peter Boyle-and his implicitly Spielberg linked deputy, Montone-played by James B. Sikking-in the allegorical Peter Hyams film, OUTLAND (1981), reaffirmed that a whole new galaxy and world of twilit terror was fast approaching for the film artists of New Hollywood in 1982. Indeed, the fact that one of the first lines of dialogue in the film mentioned the number 23 and that a twilit trio of assassins had to be tracked down and killed in the end-evoking the end of the allegorical Fred Zinneman film, HIGH NOON (1952)-by Connery’s implicitly Kubrick linked Federal District Marshall Bill O’Niel were two more eerie memories of the future to haunt OUTLAND. With its many allusions to ALIEN, MAD MAX and SCANNERS, Hyams also implied that he was blasting Cronenberg, Miller and Sir Scott as much as Lucas and Spielberg in OUTLAND. Indeed, the sight of the implicitly Cronenberg and Sir Scott linked Nicholas P. Spota and Russel B. Yario-played by Marc Boyle and Richard Hammat, respectively-being tracked down and defeated on Con-Am 27 by Federal District Marshall O’Neil for dealing the insidious, psychosis inducing and PKD anticipating drug, polydichloric euthimal (PDE), confirmed that Hyams was roasting the four rival film artists implicitly for creating addictive and violent special and visual effects enhanced films like ALIEN and SCANNERS. Significantly, early in 1982 Cronenberg became one of the first film artists to reaffirm that a twilit new film world was emerging in his prescient, PKD-like and visionary film, VIDEODROME (1982).
For the film began with a wake up cassette from Julie Khaner’s helpful and Ripley evoking secretary Bridey James to James Woods’ implicitly Sir Scott linked Channel 83 CIVIC TV producer Max Renn on Wednesday, the 23rd, again eerily anticipating the July 23, 1982 date of the TZ disaster. The fact that James addressed the camera in her wake up call reaffirmed that eerie anticipation, reminding us that breaking the fourth wall was a famous characteristic of the film art of Landis. The appearance of the Landis like Harlan and the Folsey like Barry Convex-played by Max Dvorsky and Les Carlson, respectively-also all too fittingly implied that Cronenberg was addressing Folsey and Landis in the film. In fact, the special makeup designed and created by Baker for VIDEODROME evoked his work on AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and SCHLOCK, openly linking the film to Landis. Making Renn’s battle against the snuff television of Videodrome and Convex and Harlan on one level another memory of the future that anticipated the battle against Folsey and Landis after the TZ disaster as much as a roast of Sir Scott, ALIEN and his allegorical and PKD inspired 1982 film. Milius also made clear that a reign toppling year had arrived when he returned with his righteously furious and eerily prescient allegorical film, CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982).
For Milius implied that his outraged conviction that Lucas had betrayed film art with the Classic Trilogy and its enormously profitable movie tie-in merchandise by having Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eponymous Conan the wandering Cimmerian barbarian hunt down and kill the evil and Lucas linked snake cult leader, Thulsa Doom-played by Jones-at the end of the film. Indeed, Milius implicitly confirmed the meaning of the film with the choice of Jones to play Doom, for Jones was the electronically modified voice of Darth Vader. The fact that Thulsa was an anagram for Luthas, and that CONAN THE BARBARIAN was released on May 14, 1982, the thirty-eighth birthday of Lucas, implicitly reaffirmed the angry and embittered intent of Milius. The fact that the death of Doom also released his young followers from his evil psychic control also made clear that Milius was not happy about the sight of hordes of young and fanatical followers of the Classic Trilogy-and also ironically anticipated an Empire freed from the Emperor’s wicked control at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. The death and overthrow of the insidious control of Doom also presciently anticipated the death of the reputation of Lucas and rejection of his film art and himself soon to come.
Spielberg also implicitly sent a message to Lucas that year with the allegorical film, E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982). Significantly, there were numerous nods to Lucas in this tale of a boy and his alien friend. Indeed, the boy, Elliot Thomas-played by Henry Thomas-had the trademark big ears of Lucas; Elliot’s name evoked Elliot the dragon friend of Pete in the implicitly Lucas roasting film, PETE’S DRAGON; Thomas showed off his STAR WARS action figure collection to E.T. in his bedroom shortly after befriending the benevolent Kid monster in an open nod to Lucas; E.T. was inspired to phone home with a makeshift intergalactic telephone by a Buck Rogers comic book that evoked the Buck Rogers trailer that preceded THX 1138 and the Buck Rogers style of the STAR WARS films; and E.T. also reached out to a kid in a Yoda costume on Hallowe’en night in another open nod to Lucas. These nods to Lucas implied that Spielberg was sending a message to Lucas with E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. Indeed, this implicit interest in Lucas was affirmed by the appearance of Dee Wallace as Mrs. Thomas, as Wallace had played intrepid L.A. KDHB Channel 6 Update News anchor Karen White only the year before in the Lucas roasting film, THE HOWLING. As Thomas let go of E.T. and moved on with his life when E.T. returned home at the end of the film, the message appeared to be that Lucas too should be letting go of the STAR WARS films and its plethora of movie tie-in merchandise and getting on with his life and with more serious non-commercial film art when the Classic Trilogy ended the following year. An ironic message to make to Lucas, given that E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL was not only bursting with product placement-Reese’s Pieces, anyone?-but was also mostly an insidious and shameless filmmercial for its even bigger avalanche of movie tie-in merchandise, no doubt so that Spielberg could survive box office flops with his own separate income like Lucas. Indeed, if there was one all too successful film one could point to that persuaded the crass and money lusting Hollywood studios to turn film art, into witless filmmercials for movie tie-in merchandise, it was E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL.
An infuriatingly ironic and insidious message from Emperor Palpaberg to Lucas that outraged audiences and film artists, turning them against him already in the final weeks before the TZ disaster. A disaster that was yet again eerily foreshadowed by the ominous sound of the Twilight Zone theme being imitated during a search for E.T. behind the Thomas house at the beginning of the film, by the waxing crescent silver of a moon seen hanging in the sky during that search, a sight that eerily anticipated the waxing crescent silver of a moon hanging in the sky at the time of the TZ disaster at 2:20 am in the early morning of July 23, 1982, a date also eerily anticipated by the 132 YEB license plates on the car of Mrs. Thomas. A twilit trio of memories of the future that reminded us that the TZ disaster was almost upon us. For a desperate and greedy lust for blockbuster profits had caused Warner Brothers to approach Spielberg and Universal Studios and ask the studio to loan them Spielberg for three films, in order to make some money to help their ailing studio. Strangely, given the bitter and cutthroat rivalry between the Hollywood studios, Universal and Spielberg agreed. The latter also enthusiastically supported the idea of turning the TWILIGHT ZONE-one of his favourite television shows as a youth-into an allegorical feature film. Perhaps as a way of celebrating his television roots with Serling’s NIGHT GALLERY, and to rub it in with a true telefilm that he had conquered film art despite his television background-that television had conquered film!
Eventually, Spielberg and Warners decided to make four allegorical half hour episodes for their cinematic homage to the TWILIGHT ZONE rather than one single two hour allegorical film, with a different film artist overseeing each episode. Spielberg then persuaded Dante, Landis and Miller to join him in directing an episode for TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Indeed, Spielberg persuaded Landis to helm an episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE in March only months before the release of E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. When the people at Warners did not like the first draft of his original script, which saw cranky and depressed Bill Connor trapped in the Twilight Zone forever after being forced to live the harassed and harried life of an Afro American in the KKK ruled South, a Jew in occupied Paris in the Second World War and a Vietcong in the Vietnam War after making disparaging comments about all three groups in a bar after work one night, Landis added a new ending that saw Connor redeem himself and escape the Zone by rescuing two children in a Vietnam War village from an explosion and bullet filled nighttime American helicopter attack.
Landis wrote this new ending on June 13, 1982, right around the day of the release of E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. Three days later, on June 16, 1982, Landis mentioned this change to Michael Fenton and Marci Liroff of Fenton-Feinberg Casting and also revealed that he wanted them to hunt down two real Asian children to play the parts rather than special effects dummies or little stunt people, in order to make the ending of his episode more dramatic. Fenton and Liroff refused to do this as it was illegal to have children work at night around explosives. According to them, a furious Landis did not back down from this refusal or polite explanation of the law. Instead, he furiously snarled, ‘…the hell with you guys. We don’t need you. We’ll get them off the street ourselves’. Tragically ironic words indeed from a film artist who was trying to send a sympathetic message about how difficult it was to be of African, Asian or Jewish descent in the United States in his episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE and was now about to make the lives of two Asian children and their families and relatives very bad indeed.
Unfortunately for film art, film artists and audiences, Landis and Folsey, the producer of his episode, proceeded to do just that. Even worse, they were helped along by two adults who should have known better, a production secretary named Donna Schuman and her husband, Dr. Harold Schuman, who illegally rustled up Chen and Le from amongst Asian contacts amongst his patients by July 16, 1982. Folsey, Landis and the Schumans were assisted and supported in their illegal endeavour by Kennedy and Marshall, the associate producer and executive producer, respectively, of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, who were eager to please Landis. Perhaps because he was not just a director of an episode but a co-producer along with Spielberg of the entire film, making Landis oddly both the subordinate and the superior of Kennedy and Marshall-and of episode producer Folsey, in a further complication-in the pecking order of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (LaBrecque, pp. 1-16). Twilit machinations behind the scenes and insidious filmmercials on the screens that made for a perfect time for Sir Scott to return with his allegorical film, BLADE RUNNER, the first of the Dick pics as it was based on the allegorical and Disneyland animatronic people roasting Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968).
Significantly, the film’s many allusions to OUTLAND implied that Sir Scott primarily used the film to roast Hyams in the implicit form of Joe Turkel’s Tyrell Corporation head Eldon Tyrell. Indeed, the sight of Ford’s Rick Deckard spending the film hunting down a group of deadly and renegade Replicants in the labyrinthine streets and buildings of a nightmare L.A. 2019 after the Replicants stole a shuttle and infiltrated Earth from Offworld evoked the sight of O’Neil hunting down a trio of assassins in the equally labyrinthine passages of Con-Am 27 after a company shuttle brought them to the mine at the end of OUTLAND. This link was reaffirmed by Deckard’s desperate pursuit of Joanna Cassidy’s Replicant Zhora through the crowded streets of L.A., as it evoked O’Niel’s equally desperate pursuit of the third drug dealer, Spota-played by Marc Boyle–through the crowded corridors of Con-Am 27 in OUTLAND. However, despite this interest in Hyams, BLADE RUNNER, like ALIEN, APOCALYPSE NOW and DEMENTIA 13, was also filled with all sorts of eerie and prescient memories of the TZ disaster future that was now only weeks away. Indeed, the film’s setting in a constantly dark, depressed, dirty, polluted, gloomy, nasty, violent and rainswept post-apocalyptic L.A. and its hauntingly and wistfully sad and lonely synthesized soundtrack by Vangelis all anticipated the equally twilit, depressed, gloomy, haunted, sad and wistful L.A. and film art world that would struggle to carry on after the TZ disaster brought the Skyrocking era of New Hollywood film to a sudden and brutal halt. The twenty-three passengers of a commandeered Off-world shuttle who were killed in order to allow a group of rogue more human than human Replicants-who implicitly symbolized not just films like OUTLAND that merely repeated or replicated ALIEN, but the more hi-tech and CGI enhanced film art that was now threatening regular film art-to return to Earth returned the fateful number twenty-three to allegorical film art only weeks before the TZ disaster on July 23, 1982.
This ominous link to the fateful number twenty-three was soon reiterated by the number on the conapt of Ford’s Blade Runner Replicant hunter, Rick Deckard, for 9732 openly linked the film to the upcoming TZ disaster. Of course, 9732 also evoked the 723 prominently stamped on the glass bubble of Ripley’s sleeping beauty hibernation cocoon at the end of ALIEN, linking the films together in a way that confirmed that Ridley was continuing his battle against the ahuman, corporate backed and hi-tech blockbuster beast in BLADE RUNNER, symbolized this time by the fugitive and violent Replicants of the Tyrell Corporation that had snuck back to Earth on the hijacked shuttle. This linked Rick to Ripley and both to Ridley to confirm that his film art was rising up to battle the more film art than film art blockbuster beast again. This also set us up for the end of the film which saw Deckard waking Sean Young’s sleeping and beautiful Rachael and fleeing with her to points unknown after defeating the beastly and blockbuster corporatist menace of the Replicants and fighting their charismatic leader, Roy Batty-played by Rutger Hauer-to a draw as at the end of THE DUELLISTS which nonetheless allowed the artbuster philosophy of Sir Scott to prevail again.
Incidentally, BLADE RUNNER was a bittersweet inaugural cinematic realization for PKD. Indeed, so bittersweet that it may have precipitated the stroke that killed him four months before the release of the film after seeing some footage from BLADE RUNNER. For in the literary art of PKD, residing on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, symbolized achieving the pinnacle of literary success and being accepted as a titan of the literary world, a status he had tried and failed to attain with his thoughtful allegorical novel, The Man In The High Castle (1962). Living on Mars symbolized only succeeding in the fantastic fiction and film world, as PKD did with the Hugo award he received for The Man In The High Castle. Indeed, a Martian existence equated with being trapped far away from majestic Titan on the planet synonymous with sly fi since the publication of the allegorical H. G. Wells novel, The War Of The Worlds (1896), a sly fi ghetto fate that PKD acknowledged after the failure of The Man in the High Castle to attract a wider audience. For, after battling off the evil Titans of American literature in his allegorical novel, The Game-Players Of Titan (1963), he resignedly and dejectedly retreated to Mars in the allegorical novel, Martian Time-Slip (1964).
Living on a lunar colony implicitly symbolized only having a few fantastic fiction stories published in specialized sly fi magazines over the course of one’s literary life, and, hence, not being terribly successful. Last but not least, but even worse, being stuck on Earth with the rest of the unimaginative and untalented mass of humanity like poor old Rick Deckard in Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? and BLADE RUNNER was the ultimate disgrace, symbolizing that you were a talentless hack like the rest of the huvine herd. A talentless fate and planet recovering from a planetary nuclear war that had killed off most of the fauna of Earth that a depressed PKD had consigned himself to by the time of the 1968 publication of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? Thus, transforming the novel into BLADE RUNNER and seeing Ford’s Rick Deckard-a name that implicitly affirmed the character’s link to Philip Kindred Dick, as Rick Deckard evoked Dick Kindred-trapped on Earth and resignedly stalking the neon lit and crowded streets of a future L.A. in the first film based on one of his novels, novellas or short stories might have seemed to PKD as confirming that he had failed as a literary artist, precipitating his stroke. However, despite the bittersweet misgivings of PKD, it was actually fitting that Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? inspired the first Dick pic. For the novel furiously roasted Disney and the animatronic creations like President Abraham Lincoln that had appeared at Disneyland shortly before the publication of the novel-dismissed as true androids of the Hollywood android factory or ‘andys’ in the novel-and resolutely championed a flawed but free and fully formed humanity. Indeed, the Sidney animal catalogue that wistful and regretful humans consulted throughout the novel affirmed the implicit intent of PKD, as Sidney was an anagram of Disney.
Curiously, but fittingly in another ominous and foreboding memory of the future kinda way, not long after BLADE RUNNER and still weeks before the TZ disaster, Steve Lisberger’s allegorical film, TRON (1982), was released in early July. An all too perfectly timed arrival, for TRON was the first feature length CGI film, giving hope that dangerous on set special effects such as those involving low hovering helicopters and explosions could be done in the future with realistic CGI so as to avoid any more TZ disasters. A good thing, as Bruce Boxleitner’s implicitly Spielberg linked Alan Bradley was ominously seen requesting a truly twilit file marked TRON JA 307020 at the beginning of the film, making the film a little too close to the Zone for comfort. In addition, as TRON saw the implicitly Lucas linked Kevin Flynn-played by Jeff Bridges-transformed into digital data and sucked into the digital world where he joined Bruce Boxleitner’s implicitly Spielberg linked Tron in a battle to defeat the Master Control Program-voiced by David Warner-and his head slave, Sark-played by Warner-so as to return to the real world, Disney implicitly urged Lucas and Spielberg to be wary of CGI enhancement, lest they lose the humanity of film art. Curiously, TRON was released in early July of 1982 only weeks before the TZ disaster, as if the Mouse House had a premonition of the nightmare to befall film on July 23, 1982. A prescient implication, indeed, given that Disney took a leading role in the CGI enhanced and always dread Zone Wars after 1982.
A brave new CGI world that, in retrospect, could be argued was symbolized by the innovative fusion of plant and animal that turned Ray Wise’s Dr. Alec Holland into the Schlock and Landis evoking Swamp Thing-played by Dick Durock-in the allegorical Wes Craven film, SWAMP THING (1982). A film that also presciently saw Lucas revealed as a callous evildoer in the implicit form of Louis Jordan’s Arcane, anticipating the insidious outing of Lucas soon to come. A brave new CGI world that would solve the problem of further fatal film set disasters, sweep away the TZ disaster, end the Zone Wars and free Chen, Le and Morrow from the Twilight Zone forever that had already and literally been created weeks earlier in the allegorical Meyer sequel, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982). For the spectacular and mesmerizing Genesis bomb sequence that evoked the allegorical Georges Melies film, VOYAGE TO THE MOON (1898), in a nice little nod to the dawn of visual effects magic on film, and saw a rich and fecund planet filled with flora and fauna overtake and transform a desolate moon that ILM had created for the film had already amply demonstrated weeks before the release of TRON that the genesis of a whole new CGI enhanced film art world that would prevent film set disasters was already a big ‘Khan’ do by the time shooting began on the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE on July 1, 1982-alas, too late for Chen, Le and Morrow. Twilit forebodings of the TZ disaster that reappeared again around the same time as the release of TRON with the release of John Carpenter’s eerily prescient and ominous New Hollywood film artist roasting film, THE THING (1982). For the film saw a group of New Hollywood film artist linked American scientists and support staff at a snowswept Antarctic base-as snowswept as Hoth, the Overlook Hotel and Maid Marion’s Cantina in Nepal-infected and killed one by one by their own vainglorious, greedy and beastly effects enhanced blockbuster lusts horrifically personified by an infectious and pitiless extraterrestrial blockbuster beast over the course of the film. A remorseless slaughter that prepared the world too well for the remorseless slaughter of the TZ disaster.
Too well indeed, for on July 19, 1982, not long after the release of THE THING, shooting moved from the back lot of Universal Studios for the occupied Paris scenes to Indian Dunes Park, a handy natural location with diverse environments that was popular with film and television people located in the suburbs twenty miles northeast of Los Angeles for the outdoor shooting of the KKK sequence-which featured a young and unmasked John Larroquette amongst the crowd of KKK members, forever linking him to the Zone-and the Vietnam War sequence. Two days later, in the late afternoon of Wednesday, July 21, 1982, Folsey and studio driver Jeff Powell picked up and drove Chen and Le and their parents to Indian Dunes Park for what was to be their first and last night of illicit shooting. The early scenes of the entry of Morrow’s Connor into the simulated village took longer than expected, however, and the Chens and Les were asked to come back the following night to finish the final scenes of shooting for the film. Ominously, production was delayed again Thursday, including a very worrisome scene shot at 11:30 pm that almost saw special effects explosions take out the helicopter, piloted by Dorcey Wingo of Western Helicopters in Rialto, a decorated two tour veteran of the Vietnam War. This was a wakeup call that the explosions being used to film this final scene were too powerful.
Unfortunately for Chen, Le and Morrow, this wakeup call was ignored, and even more powerful explosions were readied for the final scene that saw Morrow’s Connor rescue Chen and Le as the two Vietnamese kids from the American helicopter attack on their village by picking up one in each arm and carrying them across the Santa Clarita River to safety. One powerful special effects mortar was also placed under an open sided food drying rack by special effects technician Jerry Williams and armed by fellow technician James Camomile, both under the orders and supervision of special effects chief, Paul Stewart. Unfortunately, no one told helicopter pilot Wingo about the existence and position of the new mortar. Not suspecting any trouble, he dutifully lowered his helicopter to only twenty-four feet above the ground when ordered to by Landis, an order relayed to him in the helicopter by radio by first assistant director Elie Cohn shortly before the shooting of the final explosive and embattled scene.
Alas, poor Morrow! For when all was finally ready and the cameras started rolling and action! was shouted out around 2:20 am in that fateful early morning of July 23, 1982 with a waxing crescent moon hanging in a sparsely cloud scattered sky, and Morrow’s Connor being carrying Chen and Le across the Santa Clarita River on his redemption rescue, the mortar under the food drying rack in the village behind the twilit trio ignited by Camomile when Morrow reached his mark in the river released a fireball that united with another explosion set off a fraction of a second earlier to combine into a super explosion that engulfed and blew off the tail rotor of the Vietnam War era UH-1B ‘Huey” helicopter piloted by Dorcey for this final scene. To the horror of Wingo and the five other members of the crew onboard, the hovering helicopter immediately began to spin out of control away from the village set and over Morrow and the kids in the river. Luckily the helicopter was hovering, as loss of a balancing and stabilizing tail rotor caused a helicopter to spin out of control and fall straight down at the speed it was travelling like a massive and whirling drill bit. With the chopper hovering, however, Wingo was able to drop the helicopter down gently into the water of the Santa Clarita River.
Unfortunately, while saving himself and the five crew members on board with him-including unit production manager Dan Allingham-the chopper had spun far enough away from the village set to now be quite close to Morrow and the two kids. The left side of the downed helicopter also sank, causing the helicopter to tip over after landing in the shallow riverbed, crushing the Taiwanese born Chen to death. The whirling main rotor blades decapitated Morrow next, and then sawed the Vietnamese born Le in two before it fully crashed on its side in the river. A shocked silence settled on the river. Then the sad wailing of Shyan Chen, the mother of Renee, rent the air. It only took ten nightmarish seconds to cause another bleak day in July (LaBrecque, pp. 17-56).
Significantly, the bloody accident was not only filmed, but also witnessed by dozens of people, as Landis had invited a large crowd to celebrate the filming of the final scenes of the first episode of the film. Thus, the horrors of the Vietnam War finally became a part of the personal experience of a generation of film artists who had been mostly opposed to the war. Indeed, the TZ disaster spurred the creation of Vietnam War films that struggled to cope with this disaster on a Vietnam set, such as Oliver Stone’s moving allegorical film, PLATOON (1986), and Barry Levinson’s allegorical tragicomedy, GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM (1987). Indeed, Robin Williams’ Wolfman Jack-like but David Cronenberg linked DJ, Adrian Cronauer openly alluded to the Twilight Zone in his first radio rant in GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM, underlining that the TZ disaster was being addressed in the film. Eerily, the horrific accident also made all of the ominous memories of the future in the films of New Hollywood indeed look like prescient insights that anticipated the disaster, like the three murders-including the accidental drowning of a child and the decapitation of a man-committed by Psycho Billy in DEMENTIA 13. And the three murders committed after surveillance information was provided by the Lucas-like Caul in THE CONVERSATION, forcing him to flee to San Francisco.
The TZ disaster also evoked Morrow’s involvement in a dangerous helicopter pursuit of the fleeing car in DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY also took on new meaning. As well as the Corporation’s insistence that the bio-mechanical and alienated blockbuster beast and the profits to be made with it were more important than the life of the crew of the Nostromo in ALIEN. And Luke’s decapitation of Vader in the tree dream sequence of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Of course, THE STUNTMAN took on important new significance, as many of the scenes openly anticipated the TZ disaster. Indeed, the helicopter that almost hit two technicians working on a powerline at the beginning of the film, the explosive, gory, horrific and realisitic war scene filmed in front of an unsuspecting crowd of onlookers, and Cam’s conviction that the Great and Terrible helicopter riding director Eli Cross was out to kill him with a dangerous stunt, all eerily anticipated the actions of Landis on his set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Even creepy Room 237 and the sight of Torrance running around the Overlook Hotel with an axe like Schlockthropus in search of his wife and boy in THE SHINING took on new meaning after the TZ disaster. In fact, the three soldiers-Corporal Paris, Private Ferol and Private Arnaud, played by Ralph Meeker, Timothy Carey and Turkel, respectively- who were cynically and remorselessly sacrificed by the implicitly film studio head linked officers for the sake of protocol in the allegorical Kubrick film, PATHS OF GLORY (1957), now evoked the twilit trio. The death of the Wedge-and hence Spielberg-like Fidget due to a falling column at the end of TIME BANDITS was also eerily prescient now. The twenty-three passengers killed by the Nexus 6 Replicants when they hijacked an Offworld shuttle to return to Earth and the 9732 conapt number of Deckard in BLADE RUNNER were now even more ominous.
The accident also recalled the fixation with explosions and senseless violence in the films of Landis, from Schlockthropus the ape man’s murderous attacks on everyday people in SCHLOCK and the mutilated mannequin torso thrown out of the attic window of Delta House at Flounder and Pinto at the beginning of ANIMAL HOUSE, to the dangerous car stunts of THE BLUES BROTHERS, and the violent nightmares that haunted tormented American wolfman Kessler before he began to kill Londoners-leading to a climatic decapitation-in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Indeed, this obsession with violence, dangerous stunts and tormented nightmares now implied that they were a cry for help from Landis, that he was revealing in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON his fear that he would be unable to control a hatred for humanity that would lead to an actor or crew member’s death on his famously reckless sets. A hatred linked to sex, as the undead London victims of Kessler eventually confronted him in a strange sequence in an adult theatre in Piccadilly Square at the end of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Soon after Kessler turned into a werewolf and went on one last climatic, Schlockthropus-style killing spree, linking violence to film and graphic sexuality in the films of Landis, and turning the adult theatre into the first cinematic Temple Theatre of Doom. Significantly, the accident also recalled the battle with the mechanical monster in DUEL, the murdered boy, severed head, mangled torsos-and the mechanical problems that plagued Bruce the shark-in JAWS, the non-stop mechanical snafus-including the crash of a P40 fighter plane-in 1941, and the equally horrific moment in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK when a huge Vader of a German mechanic fighting Jones amongst the out of control plane piloted by Marshall in the airstrip battle scene was cut down by the propellers of the remorselessly turning plane after Jones and Marion escaped from the now even more ominously sounding Well of Souls. Spielberg’s strange tendency to focus on trios in his films-like Clovis, Lou Jean and Slide in THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS; Brody, Hooper and Quint in JAWS; Barry, Mrs. Guiler and Neary in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and Jones, Ravenwood and Sallah in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK-also seemed eerily prescient now. Even the ominous ‘duhduh dudduh’ of the JAWS theme now sounded suspiciously like the ‘deedee deedee’ of the TWILIGHT ZONE theme. And prophetic, as these prescient films prepared viewers for even more haunted and despairing memories of the twilit past in the films to come. Indeed, how fitting that the allegorical Alan Parker and Pink Floyd film, PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL (1982), was released the year of the TZ disaster, given that Bob Geldof’s troubled Pink, haunted by the absence of his dead father-played by James Laurenson-killed in World War II, anticipated global Gen Xers haunted and troubled by the deaths of Chen, Le and Morrow. And how fitting that Jenny Wright should play an American groupie, given that the poor ol’ Gardevil was one of those Gen Xers haunted and troubled by a twilit disaster that had brought such Chaos into the world we thought we knew.
These three eerily anticipated and horrific deaths were also the final nail in the coffin for the New Hollywood brat pack, as global outrage over this movie city madness swept audiences worldwide. How all too fitting that Kathryn Bigelow and Lafayette ‘Monty’ Montgomery implicitly linked the members of New Hollywood to a despised and feared group of dead end bikers that twilit and disastrous year in their allegorical film, THE LOVELESS (1982) in another prescient memory of the future, given how much the TZ disaster caused audiences to despise and fear New Hollywood. The tragic deaths also cast a pall on the rest of the production of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, as the Landis episode was the first to be filmed for the movie. Even worse, investigators quickly discovered that the two young Asian extras were not only working illegally after hours on orders from Landis, but that they had also been secretly hired by Landis outside of regulated casting firms so as to avoid legal restrictions on their hours of work and their proximity to dangerous explosions. This revelation of illegal and secretive actions immediately caused audiences-particularly younger audience members-to turn against him. In fact, this revelation even convinced some young viewers that Landis had deliberately murdered the TZ trio and cunningly hid their murders within what appeared to be a snafu accident in order to create his own ‘snuffu’ film. This conclusion was reinforced by the fact that investigators also quickly discovered that Folsey, Kennedy and Marshall had even helped Landis find and ordered the helicopter to hover lower over a powerful incendiary device without telling Wingo it was there. Thus, Wingo was unaware of what was about to happen when the explosion brought down the helicopter. These shocking and infuriating revelations increased the conviction of viewers that the TZ trio had been deliberately murdered by Landis so as to create a snuffu film, and that he was trying to make it appear that it was an accident in order get away with it, further turning audiences against him.
The disturbing role of Kennedy and Marshall in the TZ disaster also infuriated and disturbed audiences, and made them wonder how much they had told Spielberg, about the decision of Folsey and Landis to illegally hire and use Chen and Le after hours near explosions and helicopters-and whether Spielberg decided to go along with their illegal hiring and use. After all, as the driving force of the film, he could have stopped their use if he had known and cared. However, Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg refused to comment on their role in the TZ disaster, an infuriating and incriminating silence that they insisted on to this day. Indeed, in the February 2016 Hollywood issue of VANITY FAIR, Kennedy continued to refuse to comment on the TZ disaster, an infuriating silence unfortunately helped by the fact that Contributing Editor Sarah Ellison did not ask Kennedy about her role in the disaster for her article, ‘A Force of her Own’, that appeared in the special Oscar issue. This despite the fact that Kennedy was now working with supposedly child nurturing Disney as head of Lucasfilm Ltd., when Lucas persuaded her to head his old company after selling the moisture farm to the Mouse House. Nor was this the only recent time that the role of Kennedy and Marshall in the TZ disaster was overlooked, as Ben Taylor’s recent book, Apocalypse On The Set: nine disastrous film productions (2012), also did not mention their evil actions in its section on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE.
This stubborn refusal to talk about the TZ disaster led to a conviction amongst many audience members that there was a coverup in the TZ disaster led by Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg. Outrage was intensified by the fact that Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg made millions from E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL and its ridiculously huge avalanche of movie tie-in merchandise at a time when the global economy was in a spiralling nosedive. Clearly, Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg wanted the public’s money and adulation, but did not want to hear about tragic deaths on their film sets-and were even willing to cover up those messy deaths in order to continue to make money. This infuriating response to the TZ disaster turned our Temple Theatres of escape and delight into disillusioning Temple Theatres of Death and Duplicity, as well as crass and impersonal commercialism. Suddenly, we were all victims of the Twilight Age, made of scarred stuff indeed-and transformed into real life troubled, angry and disaffected members of the Artie West led X gang. Indeed, Mr. T’s mean and nasty Clubber Lang in the allegorical Stallone sequel, ROCKY III (1982), became our new hero, helping us to pity the fools who dared to sweep the TZ disaster under the carpet and to strike back with the indomitable and cunning eye of the tiger.
The bitter fury of viewers was further inflamed by the fact that the show went on after the tragic deaths, and the other three episodes by Dante, Miller and Spielberg were completed for the film. A fury not much dampened by the fact that Jennifer Jason Leigh, one of the two daughters of Morrow, appeared in 1982 and inspired the X gang onwards in her role as Stacy Hamilton in the allegorical, AMERICAN GRAFFITI evoking, and New Hollywood film artist roasting Amy Heckerling film, FAST TIMES AT RIDGMONT HIGH (1982). Indeed, the fact that the house number of the Hamilton home was 24124 fittingly made it clear that Leigh was committed to breaking the world free from 237. Significantly, this film also made it clear that female film artists were going to play a prominent role in the dread Zone Wars, and that their favourite targets were going to be the main twilit male film artists of the Zone War era. Indeed, Cronenberg, Lucas, Milius and Spielberg were all roasted in the film in the symbolic forms of Arnold, Brad Hamilton, Jeff Spicoli and Mark ‘Rat’ Ratner-played by Scott Thomson, Judge Reinhold, Sean Penn and Brian Backer, respectively-making that implicit allegorical intent clear. How strangely fitting too that Leigh’s character Stacy struck up a relationship with the Spielberg linked Rat, given how important Spielberg was in the life of Leigh following the TZ disaster.
Audience outrage was increased by the fact that soon after the TZ disaster, Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg fled the U.S. for London to attend the premier of E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, and to develop the Lucas executive produced sequel to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. Increased was really putting it mildly, for the foolish decision of Lucas to stick with a pre-TZ disaster commitment to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on a sequel to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK shocked, outraged and embittered young audience members around the world as much as the TZ disaster-in fact, perhaps even more! For working with two of the people most responsible for the TZ disaster and a third that he had been furiously dismissing as a blockbuster profit lusting Lord Palpaberg implied that Lucas did not care about the suspicious, horrific and infuriating deaths of Chen, Le and Morrow, the possibility that Landis had deliberately killed the twilit trio ‘snuffu-style’, or the damage to his reputation and film artist career that would result from working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg. Indeed, unfortunately for Lucas and for the peace of mind and tempers of young audience members, working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg of his own free will implied that Lucas was now an equally insidious and blockbuster lusting Sith Lord himself-Lord Stinkious!-Emperor Palpaberg’s head Sith puppet who now only cared about making the blockbuster film profits that he needed in order to complete his Skywalker Ranch film facility.
This abrupt change mocked his own primly preached code that a person must not only flow with the Afro-mojo Force and be on the Light Side of Good and the Truth, but must have the Law and the police Force with them in order to succeed in life and film art. A code held so dear by Lord Stinkious prior to July 23, 1982 that he had avoided graphic language, sex and violence in his film art, and had hid his role as producer of Lawrence Kasdan’s first duplicitous, murderous and sensual film, BODY HEAT (1981), under the pseudonym of Fred Gallo in order to not be linked to murderous duplicity at the height of the popularity of the Classic Trilogy and himself. Suddenly it seemed that film art, Good, Law, Light, the police Force and Truth meant nothing to Lord Stinkious when it came to protecting three friends and helping them flee to England to allow them to avoid talking to investigators and even testifying at the TZ trial in order to prevent the truth from being revealed about the TZ disaster-and possibly even to cover up three possible film set murders. It also suddenly seemed that the cameos of Oz in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON and THE BLUES BROTHERS that linked Lord Stinkious to Landis were no idle omens, and that Lord Stinkious was now as firmly caught in the same twilit web as Folsey, Landis, Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg.
The BLUE HARVEST codename adopted to disguise the U.S. location shooting of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI in western Arizona and northern Cali also took on tragic new meaning, for Lord Stinkious had set off on a dark and insidious new path that was horrible beyond imagination indeed-a catchphrase for BLUE HARVEST that was possibly inspired by the ‘…temperatures beyond imagination’ now mentioned in the opening credits of the second season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY-particularly to sincere and dedicated young fans of the Classic Trilogy, who were shattered by this sinister new direction of Lord Stinkious. Indeed, so shocked and outraged that the X gang rose up in full throttle and furiously shouting rebellion against Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall, Palpaberg, Stinkious and the TZ disaster. So righteously furious, that the cast and crew of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, just wrapping up its shoot at Elstree Studios and heading into post-production when the TZ disaster occurred and Lord Stinkious confirmed soon after that he was going to work again with Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg on the Indy sequel, must have became worried. After all, what was supposed to be perhaps the most sweet, Light, Good, healing and harmonizing cinematic trimax of all time was now linked to infuriating and disappointing disaster, death, duplicity, and betrayal, qualities that would ensure that the film tanked at the box office. Hamill in particular must have become quite worried. After all, his Good and True J.D. Jedi Knight was linked to Lucas, a man now seen by all as an insidious Dark Lord in Jedi robes. How could Luke Skywalker be accepted by anyone as Good when he was linked to Evil? Ford was also in a quandary, for how could he return as Jones in the Indy sequel given the twilit and insidious cloud that now hung over Kennedy, Marshall, Palpaberg and Stinkious? And if he did return, how could he get audiences to believe that Jones was a Force of Good?
How grimly fitting that as Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg fled to England as the light and success of E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL turned into the darkness and failure of the TZ disaster, Slava Tsukerman’s ragingly iconoclastic, indomitable and implicitly Palpaberg and Stinkious roasting allegorical film, LIQUID SKY (1982), was released in August of 1982. For LIQUID SKY was the complete and nasty opposite of E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, with the positive psychic link between Elliot and E.T. replaced by the negative psychic link between Anne Carlisle’s Wicked and Dorothy linked Margaret and an extraterrestrial drug and sex fiend. And, alas, how all too fitting that Margaret would be last seen in the film being spirited off into space by that alien addict after being unable to conquer her own drug and sex addictions, reminding us that not only film art but audiences had been led astray by addictions to effects filled fantastic films before we were all woken up too late to their dangers by the TZ disaster. And how even more fitting that LIQUID SKY would not only be an eerily twilit and prescient roast of Emperor Palpaberg and Lord Stinkious and their addictive and effects filled Ozian themed sly fi films that was perfectly in tune with the new righteously furious post-TZ disaster era, but that the film should be released in Canada at the Montreal Film Festival and that Carlisle would also play the cynical and nasty Jimmy, given that Cameron would lead the Zonebusting way in post-1982 film art. A righteously furious Zonebusting link to Canada that was reiterated that same August of 1982 when Vancouver born and raised Marc Singer also led the cinematic fight against Landis and Marshall in his role as Dar in Don Coscarelli’s equally and eerily twilit and prescient allegorical film, THE BEASTMASTER (1982).
Much to the delight of the outraged Canadian members of the X gang, who rallied to the Zonebusting film when it was quickly re-released after failing at the Temple Theatre on cable television’s first all film channels a few months after the TZ disaster in the fall of 1982. Canadian X gangers who joined their youthful colleagues in the U.S. at least in reconfiguring the allegory of THE BEASTMASTER to fit the angry new Zonegeist. For the concluding and exultant triumph of Singer’s immortal psychic ‘Darzan’ and Tanya Roberts’ always gorgeous Kiri over Rip Torn’s Evil, child sacrificing and truly mad Maax and Tony Epper’s remorselessly slaughtering Jun Leader and his violent horde of Jun warriors was reimagined away from an allegorical triumph of Coscarelli over Miller’s Mad Max films into a more pressing and important allegorical triumph of indomitable, righteously furious and avenging young viewers over the child sacrificing Marshall and the TZ trio slaughtering Jun Landis. Curiously, in September Bruce Springsteen also presciently kicked off the allegorical Zone Wars with his lean, mean and acoustic allegorical recording, NEBRASKA (1982), which like LIQUID SKY and THE BEASTMASTER had apparently been created before the TZ disaster.
For with the opening eponymous and allegorical song, ‘Nebraska’, brooded over the killing spree of a young killer couple who all too fittingly evoked Kennedy and Marshall in one of the last eerie and ominous memories of the future TZ disaster. The sad and wistful second allegorical tune, ‘Atlantic City’, was also in tune with the sad and wistful twilit times, for it sadly and wistfully evoked the allegorical Malle film, ATLANTIC CITY (1980), released two years and a sunny and Skyrocking eternity ago. The fourth allegorical tune, ‘Johnny 99’, was even more in prescient tune with the righteous fury of the times, as it was a righteously furious meditation on a murderer named Johnny who evoked Johnny Landis. The fifth allegorical tune, ‘Highway Patrolman’, reaffirmed that the Boss was in eerily prescient tune with the twilit new era. For the song was about a police officer named Joe Roberts, whose ‘J.R.’ initials and profession reminded us that until the TZ disaster, Lucas jr. had preached that the Good Force must be with you in order to succeed in life…always.
Listening to J.R. lament in the song about his wayward younger brother, Frank, a troubled Vietnam war vet, reaffirmed the eerie prescience of the song and recording. For J.R.’s lament reminded us that Lucas jr. was the mentor of the wayward and younger Frank Marshall, now troubled by the deaths on a simulated Vietnam War village set of Chen, Le and Morrow. That J.R. was unable to arrest Frank after his last crime and let him flee into the night in a no doubt stolen car toward the UK linked Canadian border, in the end, was also eerily prescient, for it reminded us that by the time of the release of NEBRASKA in September of ’82, Lord Stinkious had let Marshall flee with Kennedy and Spielberg to London ostensibly to work on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, allowing all three to evade prosecution for the TZ disaster. Thus, it was fitting that ‘Highway Patrolman’ in turn inspired one of the finest allegorical films of the dread Zone Wars, lovingly crafted by a young film artist with a reason to believe. In addition, the allegorical seventh tune, ‘Used Cars’, reaffirmed the eerie prescience of the piece, for like ‘Atlantic City’ the song linked the recording openly and wistfully to 1980 via USED CARS. Last but not least, the recording’s last allegorical tune, ‘Reason To Believe’, wryly and sarcastically predicted that people would find a reason to believe in film art, despite finding out how out of control was New Hollywood.
Outraged X gang reconfiguration that continued when Emperor Palpaberg returned to the Temple Theatre in the fall of 1982 as co-writer and co-producer with Marshall-and with Kennedy as associate producer-on the twilit, Ozian themed and THE EXORCIST evoking allegorical Tobe Hooper film, POLTERGEIST (1982).
For the ultimately successful and eucatastrophic battle to free Heather O’Rourke’s pretty young Dorothy linked heroine, Carole Anne Freeling from the television set was reimagined by the X gang to symbolize freeing Chen, Le, Morrow and film art itself from the Twilight Zone. Freeling’s eventual rescue from imprisonment in the Black Castle of Wicked Television was also another memory of the future that anticipated Spielberg’s many attempts to free Chen and Le in his post-TZ disaster films to come. POLTERGEIST also confirmed that Palpaberg was still worried that he could be banished to the Twilight Zone of television despite the success of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK-a good worry to have in 1981 when the film was being made, given what happened in 1982. Curiously, Freeling’s imprisonment in the family television set also suggested that ex-television director Palpaberg was now worried that the safe Temple Theatre haven of film was being taken over by television-like commercialism. This was an ironic fear, given that the invasion of the theatres by television was precipitated by his own successful switch from television to film, by using a large number of popular television performers in his films-especially 1941-and by his own blatant commercialism in E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. Indeed, the success of Emperor Palpaberg caused Hugh Hudson and Tony Scott to switch from television to film in the late Seventies and early Eighties in imitation of Palpaberg and the elder Sir Scott. Given the TZ disaster, and the popularity of the Trek films, the horrific theme of POLTERGEIST was all too timely.
Unfortunately, the film was not very good, linking up with E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL and the TZ disaster to give audiences another good reason to dislike Emperor Palpaberg in 1982. The children’s chorus theme by Jerry Goldsmith was also sadly out of place after the TZ disaster, and Marshall’s status as co-producer in the credits also did not help the film. The cause of POLTERGEIST was not helped by the fact that it was another film that eerily anticipated the disastrous events of July 23, 1982. For it was partly inspired by the Matheson scripted and Paul Stewart directed allegorical telefilm, ‘Little Girl Lost’ (1962), from the third season of the original TWILIGHT ZONE. The fact that POLTERGEIST was partly inspired by an original Twilight Zone television episode directed by a man who eerily shared the exact same name of the on set special effects supervisor on the Landis set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE on July 23, 1982 who was now a co-defendant of Landis in the upcoming TZ disaster trial did not help POLTERGEIST much either. To make matters worse, on November 4, 1982, teen POLTERGEIST actress Dominique Dunne was strangled to death by an ex-boyfriend around the time of the release of POLTERGEIST, making a total of five people linked to Spielberg films-including Belushi-to die that year. The death of Leonard Nimoy’s Science Officer Spock on Genesis planet in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN added to the gloom of the twilit and television dominated times. Gloom and anger that also caused the X gang to reconfigure the macabre, King scripted and George A. Romero directed macabre allegorical roast of Ozian themed film, CREEPSHOW (1982), to fit the new Zonegeist when the film was released in November.
Indeed, the tragicomically quick life and death of King’s Scarecrow linked yokel farmer, Jordy Verrill, after a meteor carrying a lethal disease landed on his rural farm brought him a nasty death instead of blockbuster fame and fortune in the second ‘The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill’ episode of CREEPSHOW now seemed to be a chilling and sobering allegory for the tragicomic rise and fall of Lord Stinkious after he tried to achieve fame and fortune with the Classic Trilogy. Even more ominous, the sight of the Tin Man linked and charming, urbane and well dressed and groomed Richard Vickers-played by Nielsen-callously killing his young wife, Becky-played by Gaylen Ross-and her young lover, Harry Wentworth-played by Ted Danson-and filming their gruesome drownings with closed circuit television cameras so he could watch them die on television at his leisure in the third ‘Something To Tide You Over’ episode of CREEPSHOW now evoked the equally charming, urbane, well dressed and groomed Landis possibly killing Chen, Le and Morrow on his snuffu set of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Making the sight of Becky and Harry coming back from the drowned death to kill Vickers even more grimly satisfying, as it allowed Chen and Le to symbolically avenge their equally gruesome deaths.
This grim link to the Chen, Le and Morrow was also made in the fourth episode, ‘The Crate’, which saw a vengeful and Cowardly Lion linked monster-nicknamed Fluffy by cast and crew, and played by Arnold Backer-roar out of an Ark of the Covenant evoking crate and kill two men and one woman, which, given that the film had been shot and had gone into post-production by July 23, 1982 gave CREEPSHOW some of the last ominous memories of the future of the pre-TZ disaster era. Curiously, this furious and TZ disaster related reimagining of film art to fit the new Zonegeist also ironically aided the popularity of the allegorical Sir Attenborough film, GANDHI (1982), after the film also arrived in November of 1982.
For after roasting Lucas in MAGIC, Sir Attenborough changed his mind and sympathetically linked the struggle of Mohandas K. Gandhi-played by Sir Ben Kingsley-to lead the peaceful Indian rebellion to defeat the British Empire and to establish an independent India to the struggle of Lord Stinkious to lead the New Hollywood film rebellion to defeat the Emperor Palpaberg led Hollywood blockbuster film empire and establish a new era of truly indie film. Indeed, to affirm its implicit intent, various British characters who evoked Spielberg were linked to the British Empire throughout GANDHI, just as in the Classic Trilogy. Curiously, given that GANDHI would have been in post-production in July of 1982 in order to make its November 1982 release, it was eerie that the assassin who killed Gandhi-one pathetic Nathuran Godse, played by Harsh Nayyar-looked like Landis, in another ominous and prescient memory of the future.
An implicit Lord Stinkious supporting intent missed on or simply dismissed by angry, disaffected, embittered and unhappy young audiences. For the film now seemed more fittingly like an allegory for a virtuous film artist like Cronenberg or Lynch who was not linked in any way to the TZ disaster who would rally audiences to his cause of film art for film art’s sake and triumph over Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall, Palpaberg and Stinkious with a great allegorical film that would bring harmony back to the universe and peace to the Temple Theatre. Lynch clearly thought the same, for soon he announced to the delight of young audiences that he was doing just that with a cinematic version of Dune. Last but not least, how appropriate that Cameron also returned in 1982 and implied from the get go that he was determined to battle and defeat profit lusting Sith Lords and their blockbuster beasts in order to ensure that the art of film would go on in his allegorical freshman feature film, PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING (1982), a film that also showcased Cameron’s love of the aquatic world, science and technology.
Fittingly, PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING implicitly and gently roasted PIRANHA director and fellow Corman alumni Dante in the Dante resembling form of Dr. Leo Bell, DDS-played by Albert Sanders-and his tragicomically torrid romance with the Palpaberg resembling Beverly-her name evoking Beverly Hills and other L.A. area haunts of Palpaberg to underline her link, and played by the fittingly named Tracy Berg-at the Mallard Beach Hyatt resort in Jamaica, transformed for the film into Club Elysium. However, it was noticeable that Cameron was more implicitly interested in blasting Sir Scott throughout the film. For the wreck of the Dwight Fitzgerald in the bay off Club Elysium evoked the Nostromo of ALIEN. The voracious and mutated flying piranhas-the film’s dimunitive blockbuster beasts-that festered in the wreck evoked the chestburster stage of the alien throughout the film, reaffirming the link to ALIEN. The resemblance of leading lady Anne-played by Tricia O’Neil-to Ripley and the fact that leading lad Tyler Sherman-played by Steve Marachuk-had a name that created the ‘Ridley’ evoking anagram ‘Retley’ also reaffirmed Cameron’s implicit interest in Sir Scott in PIRANHA II: THE SPAWINING. Thus, with Sherman killed in the climatic underwater explosion that destroyed the Dwight Fitzgerald and the beastly blockbuster piranhas at the climatic conclusion of the film, Cameron implicitly warned Sir Scott to beware lest the blockbuster beast be his downfall.
Eerily, shortly before the explosive climax of PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING, an olive green police helicopter that evoked the Huey army helicopter in the TZ disaster was destroyed in an explosive crash. This crash linked the film to the TZ disaster and anticipated Cameron’s implicit obsession with the disaster in all of his post-1982 films. This eerie and twilit anticipation of an obsession with Landis and the TZ disaster in the post-1982 film art of Cameron was increased by the just as eerie and twilit instances of characters breaking the fourth wall by looking into and even addressing the camera in the film, as these were famous characteristics of the film art of Landis. A shot of a full moon in a cloud scudding sky that preceded the final piranha attack on the unsuspecting vacationers at Club Elysium also openly evoked a similar shot in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, reaffirming the film’s eerie link to Landis.
Thus, with its tragic accidents that could have been prevented, its tragic murders and its film travesties, 1982 was a black, bleak and righteously infuriating year for Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall, Palpaberg, Stinkious and audiences-particularly young audiences! Indeed, it was even more memorable and transformative than 1962 had been for Lord Stinkious twenty years earlier-where were YOU in ’82? And of all of the film artists caught up in the twilit nightmare, none was effected more by the shocking turn of events than Lord Stinkious. For no film artist of the era was more linked to the Light Side and the Good Force than Lord Stinkious, making his perceived betrayal of that Light Side and of audiences-particularly young audiences-by supporting Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg after the TZ disaster that much more disappointing, embittering and infuriating.
The embittered outrage of young audiences was confirmed in the Fall of 1982 when there was such worldwide condemnation of the initial title of the trilogy trimax, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: REVENGE OF THE JEDI when it was revealed in a trailer that preceded a special double feature re-release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in October of that year-which, despite our fury over the betrayal of Stinkious, my J.D. Jedi friends and I saw four times at the legendary Stanley Theatre, finally allowing me to see STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-that a furious letter writing campaign was launched by the world’s ardent young Jedi to get Lord Stinkious to change the title of the film. For everyone knew that true J. D. Jedi did not strike in revenge, only in defense! To the delight of young fans, most of whom were flexing their political power for the first time, the righteously furious letter campaign eventually worked, for early in ‘83 Lord Stinkous caved in and changed the title of the trimax to STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. The indomitable letter campaign also implied that young audiences were going to reconfigure STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to fit the Zonegeist, as they had done already with CREEPSHOW, GANDHI, POLTERGEIST and THE BEASTMASTER. A reconfiguration already done by the Kurtz and Jim Henson produced, and Henson and Oz directed, allegorical Muppet fantasy film, THE DARK CRYSTAL (1982), when the film arrived shortly before Christmas.
For THE DARK CRYSTAL was a brilliantly visualized-with the help of Brian Froud-and realized film in perfect tune with the shocked and furious Zonebusting times. Indeed, with the Dave Goelz puppeted and Michael Kilgarrif voiced General, crowned evil Emperor of the equally evil Skeksis after an EXCALIBUR and Lord Stinkious evoking sword test, leading his fellow evil, indolent and New Hollywood film artist linked Skeksis in drinking the spiritual essence of other creatures of the fantasy world and turning them into Munchkin and pod people evoking podlings, the implication was that Henson and Oz were blasting the success of Lord Stinkious, the STAR WARS films and their movie tie-in merchandise, and their hypnotic effect on youth, as Milius did earlier in the year in CONAN THE BARBARIAN, a sentiment definitely in tune with the troubled times. Indeed, the presence of Kurtz as co-producer on the film implicitly affirmed that interpretation, as it allowed him to strike back at Lord Stinkious for firing him for allowing STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to go over budget.
In addition, its quest by a young male and female Gelfling named Jen and Kira-played by Henson and Kathryn Mullen, and voiced by Stephen Garrick and Lisa Maxwell, respectively-to join forces with the healing and Yoda-like Mystics to defeat the Emperor and the rest of the evil and decadent Skeksis-including the Oz played and Palpaberg linked Chamberlain-and freeing the podlings from evil mind control by repairing the shattered Dark Crystal whose magical Force kept their fantastic world in harmony, now seemed in the post-TZ era to not just be a quest to defeat Lord Stinkious and his sycophants, but a quest by a symbolic My-Ca and Renee to avenge their needless deaths with the help of concerned audiences, defeat the careless and greedy New Hollywood Directos that had caused the TZ disaster, and return healing harmony and magic to the Temple Theatre. This new interpretation was helped along by the presciently relevant translated prophecy, ‘…when single shines the triple sun, what was sundered and undone shall be whole’, which now seemed to be more about bringing harmony back to Chen, Le and Morrow than conquering the Dark Side of the Skeksis. Last but not least, the dimunitive but indomitable Gelflings, dying Mystics and evil Skeksis also anticipated the equally dimunitive and indomitable Ewoks, dying Yodas and twisted Hutt entourage of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and the film as a whole also influenced the look and plot of THE FIFTH ELEMENT. And so ended the year that saw TIME magazine, perhaps as impressed by the CGI in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN and TRON as everyone else, nominate the computer as ‘Person Of The Year’ in one of their final issues of 1982.
And so the long days waned, the slow moons climbed, and the sadolescent deeps moaned ‘round with many angst ridden, betrayed, furious and troubled voices. Evoking the aid they gave Palpaberg with BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, Universal Studios wrapped THE INCREDIBLE HULK after four Forceful seasons and rallied to protect their boy wonder film artist from the TZ disaster by rushing out the first twilit and allegorical season of THE A-TEAM telefilm series exactly six months after the TZ disaster on January 23, 1983. Indeed, the name of the A-Team reminded us that 1941 was listed in the end titles as an A Team Production, affirming the implicit link of THE A-TEAM to Emperor Palpaberg. And so the allegorical Rod Holcomb directed pilot telefilm for the series, ‘Mexican Slayride’ (1983), had the dubious honour of being the first true film or telefilm response of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. And dread was the word, as the dreadful series saw four Vietnam War outlaws, Boscoe ‘B.A.’ Barrakas, ‘Mad Dog’ Murdock, Templeton ‘Faceman’ Peck and Colonel John ‘Hannibal’ Smith-implicitly linked to Palpaberg, Marshall, Allingham and Landis, and played by Mr. T, Dwight Schulz, Tim Dunigan and George Peppard, respectively-striking out against evildoers from their secret base in the L.A. underground in a desperate attempt to restore the reputations of Allingham, Landis, Marshall and Palpaberg. A desperate attempt that made clear that the quality of allegorical telefilm and film art would be dramatically lower than before the disaster, a characteristic of the dread allegorical Zone Wars that has never improved.
And then Winter turned to Spring, helped along by grim and determined Dungeons and Dragons campaigns-how eerily fitting that TSR’s first storefront home was located at 723 Williams Street in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in another presciently twilit memory of the future (Ewalt, 105)-the Colecovision home video game system that turned living rooms into the zen arcade, and President Ronald Reagan surprised all with a speech on March 23, 1983 that promised to save the world from nuclear apocalypse with an anti-ballistic missile Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) based on land and in space. The President called the space based half of the SDI, ‘Star Wars’, provoking an indignant response from Lord Stinkious that reminded us that the phrase ‘Star Wars’ referred to battling directors and not war in the stars. An indignant response that also confirmed that Lord Stinkious was worried about being linked to real violence in the post-TZ disaster era. And then suddenly and with some trepidation the sun at last dawned bright on the trimatic morning of the day of the week of the month of the year of the decade of the century of the millennia of the Jedi, Wednesday, May 25th, 1983, the day that we had all been waiting so long for. Unfortunately, however, the despair, fury, pain and suffering caused by E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, the TZ disaster and the decision of Lord Stinkious to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM filled our minds when we woke up, throwing a dark and diseased pall over this once sunny and sacred day, this holy day and holiday from Delview Junior Secondary School in North Delta, British Columbia day, this supposed to be springing in J.D. Jedi delight day-THIS DAY OF THE JEDI! Were you righteously furious and depressed but still in the front of the line like me in ’83?
In short, a surly and sullen mood filled the J.D. Jedi faithful at the front of the line outside the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver on that fateful day. But despite our disaffection, the angry and despondent not so faithful occasionally started hearty J.D. Jedi chants like ‘We want Luke! We want Luke!’ from our place at the head of the line, chants that slowly drifted down the extending line south along Granville Street. STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI started at 12:30 pm that day, and as the festive morning wore on the line-up became longer and longer. By 12:00 pm the line-up was a snaking wave of people stretching for block after block behind my friends and I. At about that time, the manager of the Vogue Theatre began popping up from behind a curtain in the ticket booth wearing a Darth Vader mask to signal that ticket sales were about to begin. Knowing how eager we were to see the movie, he mischievously taunted us with the mask, then hid behind the curtain, then reappeared again, over and over for some five or ten minutes. Every time he appeared from behind the curtain, those of us at the front of the line would shout ‘We want Darth! We want Darth!’, creating a wall of noise that echoed across Vancouver and signalled to the others behind us that it was time to buy tickets to what was still the most eagerly awaited film in history. Similar chants and excitement coursed down the snaking line, and soon the Dark Manager relented, and we bought our tickets, and rushed desperately to the bathrooms, and then rushed to our seats to relieve stalwart seat holding colleagues who also needed to rush to the bathroom. The stately and venerable old Vogue Theatre, that sturdy veteran of the Thirties with its spacious ground floor and its second level balcony, slowly filled up with cautiously excited and murmuring fans and one nutbar that strode to the front of the theatre and dismissed us all as a bunch of peasants. Then at last, around 12:30 pm, the lights began to dim, setting off a tension relieving roar from the crowd that shook the Temple Theatre. The Force was finally with us!
The edgy audience dutifully spoke aloud the Ozian fairy tale preamble STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, a fairytale preamble that confirmed that Lord Stinkious was still dipping into childhood and THE WIZARD OF OZ to heal the incest scarred child within but now bitterly reminded audiences that the pre-TZ disaster era when Lord Stinkious was looked up to and trusted was indeed ‘…a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’. Then the STAR WARS logo and the triumphant Main Theme by Maestro Williams burst out of the speakers and the screen, and the familiar background of starswept space led to the equally familiar angled FORBIDDEN PLANET scrawl of sun drenched and celestial Yellow Brick words delivering their usual stately and upbeat introduction, also spoken aloud by the assembled Jedi. But our suspicions were soon confirmed, and a groan erupted from the audience when the celestial paragraph moved from Luke returning to Tatooine to rescue Han, to news of a second, half completed Death Moon even more powerful than the first, back as another insidious and gloating mechanical brain from Arous.
While fittingly more powerful, given that Emperor Palpaberg struck back at STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK with E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, a film even more successful than CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, this double trouble development was another huge and infuriating disappointment for youthful audiences hit with one shocking, confusing and demoralizing disappointment after another since the TZ disaster. For we suddenly all realized that we had waited three long millennia for an original and trimatic end to the Classic Trilogy, but we would now be seeing a paraphrase of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE to literally bring the trilogy full circle, complete with another climatic space battle to destroy this new Death Moon, in the end. At that moment, we groaned in unision, and slumped in angry disappointment in our seats, mortared in by another twilit brick in the wall.
Indeed, we were all so disappointed that STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI would simply repeat STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE that the surly and cynical X gang was born at that moment. We were convinced that Lord Stinkious had betrayed us again, as he had done earlier by announcing that he was working with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. This sense of betrayal increased as the film progressed, turning Lord Stinkious into our own Dark Father. Thus, no longer interested in what we were seeing, the Wet Coast audience became detached and sullen spectators who pondered the falling reign of Lord Stinkious and his film Empire as we watched the POV angle down again through starry space into a familiar opening scene that linked the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE to definitely confirm that the Classic Trilogy was being brought full circle: another moon floating over an Earth-like planet in the left side of the screen. And then on cue, the huge white underbelly of a great white spaceshark of a SD overwhelmed the centre of the screen, evoking the beginnings of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Another groan erupted from the audience when we saw this floating moon, for it was indeed a new and partially rebuilt Death Moon. It was also immediately clear that the sun was setting on the evil Empire, for ironically the second Death Moon did not look half-completed so much as half-destroyed. Indeed, this second Death Moon was in deathly shape, looking as if a huge bite had been taken out of it by the space slug in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK or by the TZ disaster. In fact, to underline the Empire’s fading presence, the Deathly Moon’s frayed and tattered ‘C’ shape also looked like a waning third quarter moon. The Empire had clearly made another double trouble mistake in rebuilding their floating machine brain from Arous, as this new battle station obviously did not have the old apocalyptic power of the gloating Gor. In short, the evil Empire was floating on its last legs before the healing Ozian dream had even started! However, this visible decline in the power of the evil Empire was consistent with the structure of the Classic Trilogy. For STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK were homages to childhood and adolescence, meaning that STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI was supposed to be about leaving the Ozian dream behind as centred and healed, whole and harmonious adults in the end like the main characters of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, BARBARELLA, THE WIZARD OF OZ and THX 1138, and might have been, if not for the TZ disaster.
After establishing the scene and re-booting audiences into the STAR WARS universe, it was noticeable that the Prowse played and Jones voiced Darth Anikkostein crossed to the Deathly Moon by shuttle from the SD in a scene that evoked the sight of Vader’s shuttle crossing from Cloud City to the Executor at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, linking the two films together. Significantly, it was soon revealed that the impious shuttle was ST-321, openly linking the shuttle, its crew, Vader, the evil Empire and the insidious Emperor to the July 23rd date of the TZ disaster and the 23 people on an Offworld shuttle killed by Replicants at the beginning of BLADE RUNNER. This linked the film to the disastrous and twilit events of 1982, implicitly making the stalwart Rebellion against the evil Empire also a rebellion against the TZ disaster in the reconfiguring Zonegeist minds of young audiences. Darth Nikkostein’s shuttle was flanked by two flying monkey TIEs that underlined that the Empire’s decision to rebuild the Death Moon was nothing but more impious double trouble.
Indeed, the three ship formation reminded us of the three TIE formation that was blasted out of harm’s way by the Falcon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, reinforcing that double trouble feeling. This link to the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was confirmed in an interior cabin shot of shuttle ST-321 looking over the shuttle Captain’s shoulder at the Deathly Moon. For looking at the new battle station, we saw the familiar trench of Orlando from STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE as the Captain said over the radio to his counterparts on the Deathly Moon, ‘…we’re starting our approach’. The visual shot, the Captain’s comments, and the three ships together reminded us of Gold Leader’s ‘…we’re starting our attack run’ statement that heralded the beginning of the Rebel space attack that climaxed in the destruction of the Death Moon at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Thus, these visual and verbal allusions immediately underlined the fragility of the Empire, and prepared us for its demise at the end of the film in another climatic space battle, as well as the final escape from the Ozian dream and the healed rebirth into waking but disaffected adulthood.
That youthful audiences were indeed reconfiguring STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI was confirmed by the lusty cheers that greeted Darth Anikkostein when his huge black machine-man bulk appeared in his familiar black helmet and his flamboyant Phantom of the Space Opera cape walking down the shuttle’s leering landing tongue through another cloud of white smoke to reaffirm his link to the Wicked Witch of the West as in his first appearance in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. For the Dark Lord Vader now seemed more like a Light Lord who would hopefully take on and take out Lord Stinkious and his STAR WARS Empire. However, the shuttle looked like a Trojan Horse, reminding us that Anikkostein was on a dark odyssey that was linked to the similarly black clad and masked Frankenstein of DEATH RACE 2000, preparing us again for his switch to the Rebel side at the end of the film.
Curiously, striding briskly away from the shuttle with the Deathly Moon’s Serlingrod cadenced commander Moff Jerjerrod-played by Michael Pennington-Vader passed by C3PO actor Daniels standing second on his left amongst the line of attentive Imp officers. This was an usually unnoticed, unremarked and non-speaking cameo for the Threepio star, allowed briefly out of the walking Oscar statue outfit by Lucas for the only time in the Classic Trilogy as a reward for his years of faithful and non-visible service behind the mask. Rumour had it that Daniels had threatened not to play Threepio if he was not allowed out from behind the mask in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. The sensitive actor was apparently jealous that his diminutive co-star and Artoo sidekick, Baker, had got out of the can in a bit part as a freakshow dwarf in THE ELEPHANT MAN, and in a starring role as Fidget the time travelling Film Bandit in TIME BANDITS, and wanted some openly visible time as well. At any rate, the sight of Daniels infiltrating the Imp ranks emphasized that the Empire was waning, particularly as Vader did not notice his Light presence to his ironic and sinister left with his Dark Force. A curious omission, as Daniels’ escape from behind the mask prepared us again for Anakin Skywalker’s emergence from behind the mask at the end of the film.
Signs that the Empire was waning away like the third quarter Deathly Moon and had been eclipsed by the TZ disaster continued when Darth Anikkostein sternly reprimanded Moffo Jerjerrod on behalf of the Wicked Emperor for falling behind schedule in the construction of the Deathly Moon. Humourously, Jerjerrod petulantly complained that Emperor Palpaberg ‘…asks the impossible’, sounding like Luke complaining to Yoda on Dagobah and preparing us for Luke’s return in this film. This impotent failure to complete the Deathly Moon also reminded us of the struggles with impotence of Calrissian, Skywalker, Solo and Vader in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and Belloq and Jones in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, linking STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to those previous films in Lucas fashion. This impotence also reiterated the double trouble thinking underlining the Emperor’s decision to rebuild the battle station, a double trouble theme heard in the Moff’s own name Jerjerrod-a name that also anticipated Jar Jar Binks in the Tragic Trilogy. This double trouble point was further reiterated when Jerjerrod stammered ‘…we shall double our efforts’, an unconscious irony that spelt doom for the Empire.
Surprisingly, and unlike previous Bad Force days in the Classic Trilogy, Vader did not reward Jerjerbinks by Force choking him to death for uttering this thoughtless remark. Clearly, this was a kinder and gentler post-TZ disaster Dark Lord of the Shit Sith Hits, reiterating that the Dark Force was not as all powerful in this triumphant trimax, and setting us up for Vader’s rescue of Luke at the end of the film. Vader confirmed this kinder state by turning on his heels and exiting stage right in a monkey wing flourish of his flamboyant black cape, instead of sinister stage left, implicity reaffirming that Vader was heading on a better path in this film. Then the POV dissolved to the comically familiar Laurel and Hardy sight of Threepio-with Daniels out of his impious clothing and back inside the robot-and Baker’s Artoo continuing their stand up Comedy routine as they rambled down an equally familiar Tatooine desert canyonscape towards the lair of Jabba the Sacc, a sight greeted with ironic cheers by the audience as the two characters and actors had nothing to do with the TZ disaster or its coverup, but had the bad luck to be in the film. This wandering scene was a fitting sight, for it evoked the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and reminded us that it was Threepio and Artoo dropping down from the sky onto Ozian Tatooine in their surrogate farmhouse space-pod like a Dorothy with her Detoto that set the whole Classic Trilogy in motion in the first place. Clearly, the non-living robots were the ironic Adam and Eve progenitors of the saga again, bringing us full Ozian circle indeed here on Tatooine. However, while familiar and reassuring, the sight of the female Artoo and male Threepio left alone to make their way in the embattled Ozian dream also evoked Chen and Le. The link transformed the desertscape of Tatooine into an ominous lunar THX 1138-like limbo indeed, drawing viewers deeper into the Twilight Zone and linking Jabba Doo to Landis and filmmaking perfidy.
The desert wastes of Tatooine also reminded us of the burning sands of Arrakis, Barsoom and Mars again, setting us up for the Paul Carter space messiah heroics Skywalker needed to escape this twilit new limbo. The desert canyonscape also reminded us of the post-apocalyptic badlands of A Canticle for Leibowitz and The Chrysalids, as well as the desert canyonscapes of PLANET OF THE APES and WESTWORLD. A timely allusion, preparing us for the arrival of the huge and gorilla-like mutated pig guards that soon captured the two robots in the underground lair of Jabba the Sacc. Tatooine evoked the desertscapes of Altair IV and THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS again, preparing us for more evil and aroused minds, sexual disease and attacks by nasty and rancorous Kid monsters. The scorched wastes also evoked the blasted wastes before the gates of Mordor in The Lord of the Rings. Another timely allusion, for Artoo was again the Frodo-like bearer of powerful secrets as she was in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-in this case the one axesaber to heal them all of Luke Skywalker. This Tolkien allusion reminded us that STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI sounded like The Return of the King, preparing us for another defeat of the powers of darkness and the eucatastrophic triumph of a new King at the trimatic end of the Classic Trilogy.
Middle-earth allusions continued when the Laurel and Hardy pair arrived at the huge door leading into Jabba’s palace, an enormous sandstone door that evoked and linked up with the brown desert door leading out of the labyrinth of Cloud City to the liberating freedom of the Milnerium Falcon’s landing platform at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRES STRIKES BACK. For Threepio’s tentative knock on the huge and intimidating door caused a small round spyhole to open and an all seeing and Sauron-like robotic eye to lunge out at the startled robot. This phallic and cyclopsian eye reminded us of the cyclopsian eyes of the the dianoga and of the submerged Artoo on Dagobah in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and the emphasis on eyes in BLADE RUNNER, ‘Eyes’, FUTURE WORLD and EYES OF LAURS MARS. This again linked the Classic Trilogy and the TZ disaster together, confirming that this penultimate showdown with the testy Sacc and his alienated mutated entourage involved facing down evil and inhuman masculine forces linked to the TZ disaster, as well as to the Dark Side of sexuality and the money owed to Warner Brothers after the failure of THX 1138. The one evil eye also evoked the one eye of television, imolying that this battle against Jabba was also on one level a battle against the Twilight Zone of television. This evil phallic eye peered contemptuously at the two robots and then barked at Threepio in an ugly, guttural language that evoked the equally harsh language of Mordor.
This evil eye seemed threatening, but it reminded us that anything evil and robotic ultimately failed in the independent and organic Classic Trilogy. Indeed, the cyclopsian eye evoked the equally cyclopsian TIEs and the Hoth probot, another ominous link to Imperial ineptitude that definitely linked Jabba to Hollywood film studio evil, and also foreboded impious failure and defeat for the testy Sacc. In fact, in anticipation of that spectacular defeat, this evil security eye incorrectly concluded that the two comical robots were no threat to Jabba Doo, and foolishly opened the huge and forbidding palace door to Artoo and Threepio. Of course, opening the door to the two robots reminded us that the arrogant suitors of Penelope also foolishly allowed a vengeful Odysseus into his own palace, dismissing him as a harmless and ragged old beggar at the end of The Odyssey. This in turn reminded us that the ragged beggar Kenobi began an Odyssean-like slaughter of the suitors back at Mel’s cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, but did not finish the job. Clearly, this slaughter was long overdue, and Artoo and Threepio were the new Odysseus-linked harmless beggars that were helping to Spring the twilit trap to take out the evil and arrogant film thugs.
Following Artoo through the open door into this latest Lord Stinkious underworld, Threepio headed underneath the massive space slug evoking teeth of the door’s gaping maw and into another subterranean labyrinth for some quality Jabba Doo time. This brought the two robots back into the garbage compactor in the form of the foetid and rank palace of Jabba. A monstrous and drooling Gamorrhean pig guard that Artoo rolled into underlined the foul nature of Jabba’s underworld realm, for his name sounded like gonorrhoean pig guard. A fitting appellation, for this name summed up the sexually diseased nature of Evil in the films of Lord Stinkious. And affirmed that the film would be taking on and taking out blockbuster beasts, for the Gamorrhean pig guard evoked the Boarman-played by the Landis evoking Great John L-one of the blockbuster manbeasts of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. A salacious nature reaffirmed by the guard’s link to Crumb, for the guard also evoked the pig police officers of FRITZ THE CAT. This sexually diseased nature was reiterated by the appearance of Jabba’s major domo, Bib Fortuna-played by Michael Carter-a twilit member of a species all too fittingly known in the post-TZ disaster era as the Twy’lek. For the major domo looked like the sickly and red eyed walking penishead to complement Jabba’s monstrously mutated testicle sacc, evoking the salacious works of Crumb again-literally, as letters from his two names could create the anagram ‘Robirt’, which was only one letter away from the Robert in Robert Crumb.
Intriguingly, the name of Bib Fortuna also sounded like Jabba and Boba Fett, linking the evil Scarecrow bounty hunter to sexual disease and reminding us that he had menaced Solo’s rear while pursuing the Falcon in his ship, the Slave 1, in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Indeed, Fortuna’s name also evoked Bob Falfa, reminding us that he too had menaced Milner’s rear in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, reaffirming the sexually diseased connection. And Fortuna kept to sexually diseased form-and affirmed the link of Jabba to Emperor Wang of FLESH GORDON-by immediately asking the two nervous robots if they ‘…wanna wanga’? A horrified Threepio quickly replied in the negative, underlining the Good nature of the two robots. However, this prompt refusal did little to turn off the lascivious Fortuna. Indeed, he ran a salacious hand over an anxiously quaking Artoo, raising the dire spectre of sexual assault again in the films of Lord Stinkious. Ominously, Fortuna’s pale face and blazing red eyes suddenly reminded us of Gollum, and of how Gollum always coveted Frodo’s phallic ‘precious’, a precious now hidden inside Artoo. This was an appropriate allusion, reaffirming the sexually diseased nature of Fortuna and reiterating The Lord of the Rings cadence of the Classic Trilogy, a cadence heightened by the Shelob-like robot spider that appeared behind Threepio as he entered Jabba’s subterranean labyrinth.
Threepio hurriedly insisted that Artoo was a female gift for Jabba only, and the embittered Rob Golluma gestured angrily at this mention of his Dark Master. He turned abruptly on his heels and grunted at the two robots to follow him deeper into the labyrinthine and Twy-lek Zone depths of Jabba’s cryptic underworld. The plucky robots followed him timorously, Threepio stating nervously to Artoo that he had ‘…a bad feeling about this’. This comment was as ironic as it was fitting, reminding us that the first time that the comment was made in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, it was confided to Bowman by Poole as they hid in a space pod discussing the problems they were having with HEL 9000 onboard the Discovery I. Clearly, the roles had been ironically reversed in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, with the good robots confiding their problems with evil organic beings, a familiar theme in the Classic Trilogy.
They scuttled along dark and subterranean passages that evoked the underground labyrinth of THX 1138, the midnight streets of Modesto, the Lars homestead, the hallway maze of the Death Moon, the lower depths of Cloud City, the hidden underground temples of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and the underground tunnel created by the crashed spaceship of Gor. Clearly, we headed into some insidious inner territory here, a perfect place to find a rancorous Kid monster. Soon Fortuna led the robots down a darkened hallway to a short stairwell that led even further down into a cavernous chamber filled with colourful and sinister alienated mutants that immediately confirmed the diseased sexual menace of the place, and evoked Mel’s cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. One of these alienated mutants was an elephant headed creature called Ephant Mon, evoking Lynch in a way that underlined that Jabba and his warped entourage were linked to Hollywood and its Dark vices. Significantly, and unlike the Mos Eisley cantina, the robots were allowed to descend into Jabba’s cantina, an unwise decision that prepared us again for the slaughter of the film suitors to come. Indeed, we remembered that rednecked human bartender Wuher refused to allow Artoo and Threepio into the cantina on that earlier, unfinished occasion. Clearly, the surly barkeep possessed keener Jedi insight into the chaos that would erupt if you let robots into your establishment than did the Dark and Twy’lek Zone retinue of Jabba Doo and his mutated and alienated thugs!
Fortuna left Artoo and Threepio in the middle of the dank underground bar and crossed over to a dais to talk to the reclining Jabba the Sacc, evoking Folsey and Landis. With the pale and phallic headed Fortuna beside him, Jabba also sprawled more like an obscene and grotesquely corpulent and mutated testicle sac than ever before. Clearly, they were a sexually diseased cock and ball pair, a diseased nature underlined by their gonorrhoean pig guards. Indeed, their grotesquely cartoonish nature was implicitly affirmed by Jabba’s pet flying monkey, Salacious Crumb, a name that openly linked the diseased threesome to exuberantly salacious Sixties comix artist Robert Crumb and his notoriously graphic looks at sex and incest. This reiterated the association of Evil with sexual disease in the films of Lord Stinkious, and immediately raised the dark spectre of incest again in the films of Lord Stinkious. The diseased duo of Fortuna and Jabba also reminded us that Luke had yet to face down and defeat his incestuous and sexually diseased Dark Side, making the two personified genitalia an ironically good omen for the defeat of that Dark Side, and for Luke’s pentultimate showdown with the similarly phallic headed Vader and the equally salacious and Wicked Emperor Palpaberg. And this showdown was clearly on schedule, for Jabba’s huge size, appearance and name evoked the triumph over the Emperor and his impious forces in Herbert’s Dune series again. Indeed, Jabba sounded and looked like a cross between the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, the toadie puppet overlord of Arrakis known as the Beast Rabban, his grotesquely fat and sexually evil uncle, the Baron Harkonnen, and Paul Atreides’ messianic son Leto II, who had fully transformed himself into an huge and hybrid manworm by the time of the events of the allegorical novel, God Emperor of Dune (1981). With his reptilian eyes, Jabba also looked vaguely dragonish, evoking Smaug and Sauron. Significant allusions to Tolkien indeed, for all of these malevolent characters were defeated in the end, preparing us again for the eucatastrophic triumph of Skywalker.
An ironic triumph that we were prepared for again by the sight of Artoo playing Jabba a holographic message from Hamill’s Skywalker-a sight which provoked dark and uncertain muttering by the young audience, as Luke symbolized Lucas but was played by an actor with no link at all in the TZ disaster or its coverup-when the robots were called over to Jabba and Bib, a projected image that again connected Jabba Doo and Bob to film art, film artists and the TZ disaster. For the hologram of an earnest and squeaky clean Luke was marred by the link of Luke to Lord Stinkious, which unfortunately linked Luke and Hamill to insidious disease and blockbuster lusts, as well. This hologram also evoked the hologram of Leia in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and the hologram-like Force ghost of Ben in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. However, by being a hologram of Skywalker, the hologram reiterated that Artoo had become Luke’s familiar after the events of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, setting us up for the revelation that she was carrying his axesaber for safe keeping like Ben instead of Death Moon plans from Princess Leia. The hologram also reminded us of the virile Afro-American holograms in THX 1138 and prepared us for the upcoming hologram-like dance of a green Twy’lek dancer in front of the lustful Sacc. This was an important link, underlining that Jabba’s lair was a new THX 1138 underworld, and preparing us again for a new and improved Skywalker flowing with the mojo Force upon his arrival in Jabba’s lair. Indeed, Skywalker’s hologram gave warning of this Forceful arrival, politely urging Jabba to give up the carbon frozen Tin Han statue of Solo of his own free will for his own good. This Forceful persuasion was heightened by his clothes, a virile and priest-like black shirt that ominously announced that Skywalker was back in black as a J.D. Jedi Skyrocker. And not happy about the TZ disaster, for the presence of Artoo, Solo and Threepio in Jabba’s lair made for a new twilit trio of one female and two males to be rescued from the Twy’lek Zone.
Predictably, the testy Sacc laughed humourlessly at Skyrocker’s suggestion that he bargain with the young Jedi for the Tin Han. In fact, the Sacc testily declared that he liked his favourite decoration where it was, hanging upright on a nearby wall like a mini-Monolith, a sight greeted again with ironic cheers, as the character and the actor also had no link to the TZ disaster or its coverup, but just happened to have the bad luck to appear in the film. It was an ironic sight, transforming Ford into a hidden Temple Theatre idol like the one he attempted to save for scholastic study at the beginning of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, making Jabba’s lair the first Temple Theatre of Doom of the post-TZ disaster films of Lord Stinkious. The hanging Tin Han also reminded us that on one level Solo’s carbon freezing symbolized the lingering fear of Lord Stinkious that STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK would not be a success and he would end up a frozen and impotent failure as after the release of THX 1138, unable to pay off studios like the now twilit Warner Brothers again. Ironically, while that fear disappeared with the resounding success of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the possibility that Lord Stinkious could fail with STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI was now a distinct possibility now that he was seen as an insidious and blockbuster profit lusting Sith Lord with no interest in human lives in Jedi Master’s clothing since he had agreed to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
Indeed, the despairing look on the Tin Han’s face almost implied that Lord Stinkious was fully aware that he was now frozen and trapped in the Twilight Zone. However, it was not all bad, as Solo’s hanging form also evoked the crucified Christ, reminding us that Han voluntarily gave his life so that others could live in true Christian fashion at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The crucified Han also reminded us of the Christ-like figure of Skywalker hanging upside down from a cross at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, preparing us again for the arrival of the Skyrocker. This in turn reminded us of the crucified form of Pygar the angel in the Evil Tyrant’s castle in BARBARELLA, preparing us for the arrival of Leia as a latter day Queen of the Galaxy to confirm the BARBARELLA influenced Ozian structure of the film. After reassuring viewers that Solo was alive and relatively safe and sound in his state of hibernation, we were then led away with Artoo and Threepio by pig bouncers on the testy orders of Jabba Doo.
We were taken to a hellish boiler room where the robots were questioned and assigned new duties by the evil robot EV-9D9, who evoked a Marvin the robot linked robot named Criton in the allegorical Vincent McEveety directed telefilm, ‘Time of the Hawk’ (1981), the opening episode of the second season of the STAR TREK evoking BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY. Here in this hellish hole the barely restrained contempt that was directed towards robots throughout the Classic Trilogy finally exploded in nightmarish fury. Indeed, several unlucky robots were shown being burnt and dismembered. This sinister spectacle connected the innocent robots and Jabba and his entourage to the TZ disaster victims again, and anticipated a similar ‘Mecha’ robot destroying spectacle in the Flesh Fair sequence of Spielberg’s twilit and allegorical cinematic meditation on Lynch, A.I. (2001). Significantly, EV-9D9 gloatingly supervised the destructive mayhem like an evil 21B and another Gor, evoking alienated brains and reminding us that there were Good and Evil robots in the Classic Trilogy. This scene also seemed to bode ill for poor Artoo and Threepio, but luckily for Threepio he was groped by an alien tentacle that emerged from a cell in the labyrinthine corridor that led to the hellish room.
For this grisly grope was more than just further confirmation of the sexual disease that infected Jabba’s palace. In fact, like the robot security eyeball, this tentacle evoked the dianoga and Luke’s baptism into the living Force in the garbage compactor in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, implying that despite appearances to the contrary, the Good Force was actually at work behind the scenes at the palace. Indeed, coming so soon after Skyrocker’s hologram, this tentacle grope was further preparation for the impending arrival of Skyrocker. An arrival we were prepared for again, for the conversation with the sinister EV-9D9 that sent Threepio off to work as an interpreter for the testy Sacc mentioned his facility with languages. This evoked his FORBIDDEN PLANET linked conversation with Lars soon after arriving on Tatooine for the first time in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, preparing us for the arrival of another Kid monster that would waylay Skyrocker. For her part, little Artoo was sent to work on Jabba’s helicopter-like Sail Barge, possibly in a sadomasochistic role. For EV-9D9 darkly hinted that the feisty female robot would ‘…soon learn some respect…on the master’s Sail Barge’. The salacious comment reaffirmed the sexual disease in this new underground labyrinth and prepared us for the twisted innuendoes of the Emperor, linking Jabba yet again to insidious and twilit Imperial and Hollywood perfidy. And then the two robots headed off into different directions, splitting the Comedy narrative again and linking the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to the quarrelsome split on arrival on Tatooine that marked the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
The POV then returned to Jabba’s cantina and its drunken dregs of arrogant and alienated mutants. Here the blue and Snoopy-like Sy Snootles continued the cartoonish link of Jabba and his retinue, and led his mutated band through some boisterous bluesy rock-updated in the Special Edition-that recalled THE BLUES BROTHERS, while the lustful Sacc drooled after the beautiful green Twy’lek dancer, Oola-played by Femi Taylor. Dancing alone in a bright light, Oolala’s whirling shape looked like a projected film image, again linking Jabba and his gang to twilit and blockbuster obsessed Hollywood filmmaking excess and evil. Literally, as the ‘-la’ that ended her name openly linked her to L.A. and the Dark Side of Hollywood. Oola also evoked the naked Afro-American hologram dancers in THX 1138, underlining that Jabba’s underground palace was a new film linked labyrinth from which Lucas and Luke must escape. Indeed, that Jabba’s lair symbolized all of the sinful vices that could lead one astray after achieving success in film. However, and luckily for Lucas and Luke, Oola also reminded us that the sight of the powerful hologram dancers helped knock THX 1138 out of his Tin Man drug stupor and into jazzed up Scarecrow virility, setting us up again for the triumph of health and harmony here in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. This link to health was ironically underlined by her green skin, reminding us not of the Wicked Witch of the West but of Alderaan, Yoda, Dagobah, the Emerald City and the rejuvenating green Force of Spring. Fitting links, as the name of Twy’lek Oola evoked not just twilit L.A., but also Yoda and Leia, reminding us that the last time we saw a pretty holographic girl in the Classic Trilogy, she was Princess Leia. This set us up for Leia’s imminent and scantily clad return to the Space Opera.
Significantly, Oola also evoked Joanna Cassidy’s Zhora, the beautiful and deadly Replicant who stirred up lust with an exotic dance with a snake in BLADE RUNNER. An ominous link, as Oolala’s dancing was also so arousing that, unable to contain his diseased and drooling lust-a grisly sight that affirmed that he symbolized an out of control male libido-Jabba dragged her towards him by her chain. However, Oola confirmed her healthy green link to the Emerald City and Yoda by refusing to approach the lustful Sacc, struggling against her chain in indignant protest. This caused Jabba to furiously bang a button on his dais, opening a trap door without warning in the floor in front of him. Oola fell like the TZ helicopter, and dropped down into a twilit and bone strewn dungeon. A loud and terrifying roar was soon heard, Oola screamed, and then all was silent. A significant silence, for with her death another green skinned and surrogate Wicked Witch of the East figure died, removing the gatekeeper and opening wide the gates to the healing Ozian spiritworld dream. And the healing dream quickly unfolded with the sudden blast of a pistol nearby, followed by the entrance of another helmeted bounty hunter with Mayhew’s Chewbacca, greeted with yet another ironic cheer, as the character and actor also had no link to the TZ disaster or its coverup, but just had the bad luck to appear in the film. The sibilant name of this dimunitive bounty hunter was Boushh, an name which evoked ambush, and the reptilian bounty hunter Bossk in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Fitting links to ambush, for Boushh would soon be revealed to really be Fisher’s Princess Leia in disguise, sneaking in like another disguised Black Castle Winkie guard in order to ambush Jabba and rescue Han. The brash sight reminded us that Skywalker and Solo snuck into her cell block disguised as Imps with Chewbacca as their prisoner in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-clearly, the pugnacious Princess was returning the favour and truly bringing the Classic Trilogy full circle. This linked Jabba Doo to Imperial perfidy again, and prepared us for the upcoming melee.
Leia’s brass Boushh demanded the bounty on Chewbacca from Jabba. Jabba agreed to pay Boushh twenty-five thousand, but Boushh doubled the payment and demanded a Fifth Elemental fifty thousand. Threepio was acting as Jabba’s translator, and when he told Jabba the reply of Boussh, Jabba furiously knocked him backward and out of sight. Clearly, Jabba Doo recognized impious double trouble allusions when he heard them, and disliked being linked to the Empire. When Threepio clambered back into view, we saw that he was covered in bright green slime. While a sign of Jabba’s diseased and slimy nature, this colour was also auspicious, for it evoked Dagobah and the Emerald City, Oola and Yoda again, and prepared us for the Springing green of Skyrocker’s new axesaber. Significantly, when the Sacc testily asked Boushh through Threepio why he should pay Boushh the fifty thousand, the disguised Leia pulled out a grenade-like thermal detonator and switched on the weapon. This detonator looked like a mini-Death Moon, linking Jabba to impious double trouble again. This thermal grenade was also a fitting weapon to stand beside Chewbacca and threaten Jabba with, reminding us that Chewbacca was the Cowardly Lion and Fire element of the healing Ozian foursome.
However, Jabba missed the link and laughed raucously, appreciating Boushh’s impudent behaviour, and countering with a less repetitive offer of thirty-five thousand. Much to the relief of Jabba’s quivering minions, Boushh accepted the offer, switched off the detonator, and allowed Chewie to be led away. The Wookie passed by Orlando Calrissian disguised as a cantina bouncer wearing a helmet that evoked the guards of Pamela Hensley’s Buck wild Princess Ardala in BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY-greeted with yet more ironic cheers for the same reasons aforementioned-making for two disguised heroes in Jabba’s court and confirming the link to Skywalker and Solo’s rescue of Leia in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-and Jabba’s link to insidious and alienated minds. Music and vapid revelry returned, and Boushh was accepted as a duplicitous equal by Jabba’s court and Bulloch’s watchful rival bounty hunter, Boba Fett, whose appearance earlier in the scene had been greeted with the same happy cheers that had greeted Vader on his first appearance, as Fett too had been reimagined into a Good guy who would lead the attack on Lord Stinkious and his Evil STAR WARS Empire. Significantly, this threatening scene was similar to one in BARBARELLA, when the beautiful astro-dominatrix saved the blind angel Pygar from crucifixion on a wall by threatening the Evil Tyrant with a ray gun. Indeed, like Jabba, the Evil Tyrant was pleased with the innocent Barbarella’s uncharacteristic perfidy, and she happily released Pygar. This allusion to BARBARELLA set us up for Leia’s rescue of the Tin Han from his own wall crucifixion, reiterating that Solo sacrificed himself so that the others could live. This messianic symbolism linked Han to Skywalker again as in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, preparing us again for the arrival of the Skyrocker. The messianic allusion also reminded us that Solo had also almost gone through all four of the Ozian elemental phases, implying that he would also become a whole and harmonious figure like Kenobi and Skyrocker when he was released from this Tin Han carbon freeze.
And released he was, for later that night, a shadow moved amongst the sleeping figures in Jabba’s crypt, who lay dreaming within the dream. This figure moved with the same silent grace as Kenobi on the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. A fitting allusion, for this shadowy figure was the latent J.D. Jedi Leia in her Boussh disguise, picking her way through the slumbering forms towards the carbon frozen wall hanging of the angelic Tin Han. She soon stood in front of the rectangular block like Floyd stood in front of the lunar monolith in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, reminding us that Solo looked like a human monolith and was linked to Coppola, preparing us for his Star Child rebirth and Coppola’s return to the good books of audiences in 1983 after a disastrous 1982. After pressing a few buttons on the device, Leia reversed the carbon freezing process and freed the cryogenic sleeper from his monolithic prison. Leia’s earlier threat to unleash the fiery power of the thermal detonator also came true now, for red light and heat erupted from the monolithic block to thaw and lubricate the Tin Han. Ominously, this thawing evoked the heat that melted the ice block containing the thing from another world in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD, a primal and alienated thing that was linked to the brutish lust of Kenneth Tobey’s Captain Patrick Hendry for Margaret Sheridan’s Nikki throughout the film. This implied that Solo still had one last battle to win before he was a whole and harmonious person who was free of his Dark Side. Luckily for Solo, however, the light that accompanied the thawing was ruby red, evoking the ruby red slippers and the fiery and melting passion of love-indeed, evoking the burning of Atlanta in GONE WITH THE WIND again-clear signs that the healing Ozian Force was gathering in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and that Solo would indeed triumph over his Dark Side and become whole and one.
Ford’s Tin Han fell wet and unable to see from his cryogenic dream within the dream like a reborn cinematic Star Child or a new Jonah released from the interior of a blockbuster beast of a whale accompanied by more ironic cheering. This healing liberation also returned a Western hunk to the Classic Trilogy, preparing us for the barroom brawl with Jabba and his evil minions to follow. Fittingly, given his links to Pygar, Solo was also as blind as Pygar at first, and Leia pitied his sightless plight like a loving Barbarella. Indeed, she quickly took off her reptilian Boushh helmet to reveal her stellar beauty, and reassured the blind Solo with her real voice, a reappearance that was accompanied by yet more ironic cheering. This tender moment recalled their Forced parting on Cloud City, an allusion that Leia confirmed by kissing her Han again, reigniting their mystical energy shield of Love. This doffing of an evil mask to reveal the Good within also prepared us for the Tin Anakin’s transformation at the end of the film. And so Princess Charming kissed Sleeping Hansome awake and helped him to his feet to Han’s delight, returning the Romance to the Classic Trilogy.
This exuberantly reignited Romance confirmed the true and heartfelt love expressed in their climatic kiss in the fiery carbon freezing chamber of Cloud Nine City, and reaffirmed that Rhett and Scarlett were now finished feuding and were truly committed to each other. The loving sight also reminded us that Curt Henderson was freed to leave for college by Steve and Laurie’s commitment to each other at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, preparing us for Luke’s severing of any forbidden attachments to his twin sister Leia here in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI and his full commitment to the Jedi order. Clearly, Han was the good Western hero in his white shirt that we always suspected he was, ready to sweep Leia onto his Tauntaun charger. At first, however, Solo was too blind and weak and suffering from carbon sickness for dashing exuberance. He obviously needed to regain his strength before he could help defeat Jabba and the rest of his alienated and diseased mutant suitors, preparing us for the appearance of the Odyssean J.D. stranger at the gates.
But before that stranger could appear, Jabba’s ominous laughter suddenly burst out, interrupting the loving scene. The duplicitous Jabba Doo and his motley crew had guessed Leia’s disguised game, and had actually ambushed Boushh. This insidious revelation reminded us that the Emperor and the Harkonnens had conspired to give Arrakis to House Atreides in order to ambush and massacre them, reiterating the link between Jabba and the Dune books. While the testy Sacc did not kill Solo and Leia, he did order pig bouncers to take Solo away to a nearby cell. This prompted Solo to promise to pay triple the amount he owed to the twisted crime lord, reminding us of Jabba’s link to the money that Lucas and Coppola owed Jack Warner’s old studio after the THX 1138 disaster, a studio now linked even more to the TZ disaster. However, this twilit trio of credits was turned down by the double dealing Jacka. Clearly, the Empire’s penchant for uncreative double trouble was a vice that was shared by Jabba, no matter how much he denied this fact. Solo was then led away to languish in the same cell as Chewie, a dank and dismal cell whose wet floor evoked the wet, dark and cavernous interior of the space slug of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This sluggish impression was reinforced by Jabba’s raucous pet Salacious Crumb, for the sniggering comix pet reminded us of the flying monkey mynocks inside the belly of the slug. This space slug allusion reiterated Solo’s link to Jonah, and underlined that he had yet to fully escape from the beastly belly of the blockbuster whale to speak out openly against the Empire with Princess Leia.
However, reuniting with the Fiery Chewie also emphasized that a healing conjunction of the elemental Ozian fours was definitely happening, causing the Force to rise in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Being in the cell with Chewie also spared Solo the grotesque sight of pig guards bringing the disgusted Princess Leia close to the drooling Sacc so that he could lick her with his lascivious and salacious tongue. Clearly, dark and diseased sexual Forces were also rising in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, making this the perfect time for the return of lean and lanky Luke and his Journey of Self Discovery. And, as anticipated by the overwhelming success of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Lord Stinkious returned Skywalker to Tatooine looking like another reborn cinematic Star Child. Indeed, Lord Stinkious ironically confirmed that his success with his last two films had raised his confidence and energy, by having Skywalker immediately use the Force to raise Jabba’s massive gate while Jabba and his minions were again asleep, a reappearance greeted with furious groans as well as ironic cheers. The sight of this massive gate rising confidently upwards was significant, reminding us of the descending credits at the beginning of THX 1138, and of Luke’s failure to use the Force to raise his X-broomstick from the swamp on Dagobah, a failure to get it up that underlined the sexual, psychological and physical weakness of Lord Stinkious and Luke in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Clearly, the fears and worries of cinematic failure that haunted THX 1138 and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE had indeed been swept away by the success of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRES STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, underlined by the effortless way Skywalker raised the gate. Skywalker at least had indeed become Skyrocker.
However, given Skyrocker’s link to Lord Stinkious and the conviction of audiences that he was now an insidious Sith Lord since he had confirmed that he was going to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, the effortless and virile raising of the gate of Jabba was highly ironic and unbelievable, indeed, to say the least. Indeed, every scene involving poor Hamill’s Skyrocker was now unfortunately marred by this diseased and insidious link to Lord Stinkious, a link that made the film even more difficult to believe and watch. For on one hand, audiences hated Skyrocker because he reminded them of Lord Stinkioius, while on the other hand, they admired the growth made by Hamill as an actor, a growth affirmed by his moving and memorable performance. Thus, by raising the gate, Lord Stinkious and Skyrocker did their worst best to open wide the gates to the healing spiritworld dream here at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. This confirmed that Oola was indeed the surrogate Wicked Witch of the East of the film, and that the ‘healing’ Ozian adventure was about to begin. The easily rising gate also allowed seering Tatooine sunlight to pierce the twilit depths of Jabba’s dark lair, penetrating light that was perhaps sunrise light, ironically linking Skyrocker to Eastern wisdom as he strode into the underground labyrinth.
Seeing Skyrocker stride within the sleeping labyrinth also reminded us that the conquerors of Ilium secretly entered the sleeping city in a wooden horse, evoking the Trojan Falcon’s openly secret entry into the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, and preparing us for the Trojan horse ending of the film. These echoes of Ilium reminded us again of Odysseus, a stranger Skyrocker resembled in his hooded black cloak. An ominous allusion to Odysseus, linking Jabba’s dank and dungeon-like palace to the palace of Odysseus, and Jabba and his entourage to the arrogant suitors of Penelope. This also again reminded us that Omahan Kenobi had begun the slaughter of the suitors in Mel’s cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, but had not been able to complete the eucatastrophic job. This in turn reminded us that the sexually diseased Dark Sides of Luke and Lord Stinkious had to be defeated if the two men were to emerge at last as independent J.D. Jedi and atone for twilit associations…
Fittingly, Skyrocker’s ominous black hood and cloak affirmed that it was time for a showdown with the Dark Side, for it was in complete contrast to the virtuous whites, earthy browns, healing greens and leonine oranges he wore in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Indeed, the ominous black gear reminded us of the Emperor, Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West, the Pharaohs street gang of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and the hooded priests of OMMRICK and the robocops of THX 1138. However, on a positive side, the hooded black cloak also reminded us that black was a colour associated with the Good and virile Light Force in the film art of Lord Stinkious, for the colour evoked Solo’s rebellious black vest and the virile Afro-American holograms of THX 1138. Clearly, Skyrocker had begun a new J.D. Jedi stage of his existence that needed to be made clear by wearing black clothing-and summed up with a new name like Skyrocker. However, the ominous black gear also clearly confirmed that Lord Stinkious and Skyrocker walked a fine and twilit line between the Forces of Good and Evil at the outset of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and a line that could lead both men to the Light or the Dark Side in spite of the success of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. This fine line created a suspenseful tension that built throughout the film, finally exploding in the climatic light saber duel between Skyrocker and Vader.
However, any worry about the colour of Skyrocker’s clothing was lost on two Gonorrhoean pig bouncers who unconcernedly lurched into Skyrocker’s path and cut off his advance with axes ominously crossed together like helicopter rotors. Significantly, Skyrocker waved them and their diseased allusion to the TZ disaster away with Forceful throat chokes, an allusion to Vader’s full throttle chokes that united with his black clothing to again imply that young Luke was walking a fine and twilit line between his Light and Dark Sides. The J.D. Jedi then descended further into the underworld labyrinth, soon meeting the sickly white and penisheaded Bob Fortuna rising up the stairs from Jabba’s cantina to confront him like an undead erection. Skyrocker used the persuasive Jedi Voice to convince the eerie penisheaded mutant to allow him down into the crypt to see Jabba, and the alienated major domo had the misfortuna to listen to Luke and wilt back down the stairs to the dais of Jabba Doo. This powerful Voice ironically reiterated Skyrocker’s confident and virile newfound Force, and underlined that he now had the power to do great Good…or Evil.
Back at the slumbering side of Jabba, we noticed that Jabba Doo and his motley crew were still asleep, and lost again in wicked dreams within the dream. Jabba’s evil flying mynock sidekick, Salacious Crumb, was one of the few alienated mutants still awake, staring in bewitched fascination at Jabba’s twitching tail. We also saw that Princess Leia was now chained to Jabba Doo in place of Oolala, and that she had fully emerged as the sexy new Queen of the Galaxy in her revealing space bikini, a kini that evoked Pamela Hensley’s Woronov evoking and Buck wild Princess Ardala in BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY as much as it did Barbarella in BARBARELLA. Clearly, Skyrocker was walking a fine line indeed between his Light and Dark Sides in his scarey black duds. And embracing the Light, as Skyrocker was noticeably more amused than aroused by the sight of Leia in her skimpy bikini, preparing us for the full conquest of his Dark Side at least in the film. Significantly, seeing the two J.D. Jedi children together reminded us of the two child victims of the TZ disaster, turning the upcoming triumph over Jabba and Fortuna on one level into a triumph over Folsey, Kennedy, Landis, Marshall, Palpaberg, Stinkious and the TZ disaster. In addition, the alluring sight of Leia reminded us of beautiful Penelope and her own heroic struggle, preparing us yet again for the slaughter of these latest arrogant suitors. The lovely Leia also reminded us again of the equally lovely and scantily clad Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium, captured and about to be sexually assaulted by the evil and corpulent old green Martian Jeddak Tal Halus, before she was rescued by John Carter in A Princess of Mars. A fitting allusion, also preparing us for Skyrocker’s timely rescue of Organna from the dark clutches of the equally evil, corpulent and aroused Jabba. Of course, seeing Leia being held captive by the salacious Sacc also evoked Dorothy’s confinement in the Black Castle of the Wicked Witch of the West, confirming the film’s Ozian structure.
A wicked confinement, indeed, for at a sibilant whisper from Bob Fortuna, the aroused and testy Sacc roared awake. Seeing Skyrocker, he knocked the penisheaded Fortuna aside, angrily and correctly noting that Fortuna had fallen prey to an old Jedi mind trick, linking Jabba to the Dark Force of the Emperor once more. Jabba then refused to negotiate for the release of Chewie, Leia, and Solo, boasting that the Jedi Voice had no effect on testy and aroused Saccs. Significantly, Skyrocker’s calm and reasoning confidence in front of the violent and irrational Jabba reminded us of the cool confidence of the wandering ronin samurai Sanjuro in SANJURO and YOJIMBO. Luckily for Skyrocker, this was an ominous allusion that Jabba did not notice, leaving him unprepared for the human cyclone of sword strokes that was soon recreated by Luke. Significantly, Jabba’s inability to perceive Skyrocker as a threat was also due to the fact that he was noticeably unarmed, for Luke had hoped to overcome Jabba and his madcap minions with the Force of his politely persuasive Voice alone. This erring perception reminded us of the arrogant suitors again, and how they had unknowingly let Odysseus into his hall as they had not seen him as a threat. Clearly, the quickdraw clouds of an Odyssean samurai Jedi saberslinger continued to gather here in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI.
And the Kansas tornado was about to burst into motion, for the testy Sacc impatiently tired of conversing with Luke, and bashed the trap door switch again with a roar of ‘Boscka!’ that reminded us that Bakshi had directed FRITZ THE CAT. A startled Skyrocker fell like Alice and Dorothy and Oola into the deadly underground trap, joined by an equally startled and fittingly green and diseased pig bouncer. While alarming, the Oola-like fall was actually good news, as it reminded us that double trouble always failed in the Classic Trilogy. Significantly, as the trap door closed, Jabba jeeringly crowed ‘…J.D. Jedi…J.D. Jedi’ as his dais slithered forward to the grate that allowed him to watch the macabre proceedings below. This ‘J.D. Jedi’ chant was also ironically Good news, for it confirmed the J.D. root of the word Jedi. Indeed, the chant linked Skyrocker openly to prototype J. D. Jedi John Milner in AMERICAN GRAFFITI, preparing us for the sight of Skyrocker saving the day in the end like Milner. The pig bouncer that Skyrocker fell down with into the dank pit of death was also good news, creating another satirical Dorothy and Toto pair that restarted the healing Ozian dream.
Unfortunately, the two falling figures also combined with Oola to make a new trio of two males and one female to be menaced by twilit Evil. This link to the TZ disaster was underlined by Jabba and his alienated entourage, who crowded forward to watch the carnage in the death pit below in a way that reminded us that a crowd of revellers had watched the disaster. This again linked Jabba to out of control Directo Evil, another Nikko cadenced head flying monkey like Vader who danced to the twisted tune of the Dark Side of New Hollywood sibilantly sung by the Wicked Emperor Palpaberg. Significantly, this fall down into the pit also evoked Skyrocker’s four descents into his dark and troubled subconscious in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, underlining that this fall led to another confrontation with the Dark Side within. However, this time as Luke fell he lost his black hooded cloak, revealing the collared black jumpsuit of a priest-like J.D. Jedi Knight. This was another ironically Good sign that underlined that the Lord Stinkious linked Skyrocker was actually earnest about his Jedi vocation and hopefully able to leave this latest underworld of death. But clearly, with his links to Stinkious, he still had to prove that he was worthy of that Light path, for with a thunderous roar the Rancor, the ultimate sexually diseased Kid monster, charged at him and the pig bouncer from a lair on the other side of the pit like a truly monstrous and out of control helicopter.
Indeed, this huge and slavering Kid monster now seemed like the personification of the TZ disaster helicopter-the Helirancor!-rushing to complete a new twilit trio with two male victims to join Oola. Significantly, this huge and alienated Helirancor was also the non-identical twin sibling of the Id monster of FORBIDDEN PLANET. This forbidding link underlined that this Kid monster, and not Vader or the Emperor, was also the pentultimate sexually diseased monster Skyrocker had to face down and defeat if he was to truly become a Jedi. Indeed, the fact that the Helirancor was the twin sibling of the Id monster of FORBIDDEN PLANET reiterated that by defeating this last horrific Kid monster, Skyrocker would be free of incestuous lusts for his twin sister lingering from the Fifties. Curiously, the name ‘Rancor’-a name and spelling which evoked the carnal and blockbuster lusting Loc-nar-Rancol spelt backward-of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE-also reminded us of Corellia, Han and Lando, suggesting that the monstrous beast represented Han and Lando’s lingering Kid monsters, as well. Indeed, this link was underlined by the fact that ‘rancor’ was usually spelt ‘rancour’. At any rate, the Kid monster quickly darted out and, scooping up the Gonorrhean pig bouncer with a three appendaged hand that evoked the hands of Yoda, ate his sexually diseased form with some relish. After gulping down this diseased appetizer, the Helirancor turned its attention to Skyrocker. This allowed the viewer to take a closer look at the raging beast, and confirm that it was sort of indeed the spitting and snarling twin image of the original Id monster. The Rancor’s twin status also underlined that Skyrocker’s Dark Side was still clearly centred around a forbidden teenage lust for his twin sister, emphasized by the intercut sight of his scantily clad sister, anxiously following his progress from Jabba’s cantina above the rancorous pit.
And the young Jedi was left with no choice but to confront his Kid monster, for the Helirancor roared in and crushed Skyrocker in one huge three taloned paw that made the creature the first and largest gremlin of post-TZ disaster cinema. However, luckily for Luke, this grasping paw was the Helirancor’s right paw. This right paw evoked Yoda’s equally three appendaged hand of right, encouraging the Force to flow in Skyrocker and mojovate him to grab a big bone off the ground before he was raised up to the Kid monster’s drooling mouth. When he was raised closer to this mouth, Skyrocker shoved the bone between the Helirancor’s upper and lower teeth. This prevented the Helirancor from biting down on Skyrocker like the space slug, and he roared in frustrated fury as he dropped the young Jedi and turned his attention to this bone in his snarling maw. Dropping safely to the ground, Skyrocker took advantage of this momentary lapse in attention to race between the Helirancor’s sexually neutral legs to the safety of the living cage behind the beast. However, this apparent escape route led to a locked metal door that prevented Skyrocker’s escape, trapping the young Jedi.
Breaking the bone with a brutal bite, the furious Helirancor then turned around to roar at Skyrocker. Luke turned to face his Dark Side as well, and suddenly noticed the metal teeth of the Helirancor’s door retracted into the ceiling above the monster’s head like the teeth of the space slug. Picking up a handy rock, Skyrocker threw the rock at the door’s electronic control. Ironically, this caused the door and its teeth to come crashing down on the Helirancor’s head like the helicopter in the TZ disaster just as the Helirancor charged into his lair to kill Skyrocker, crushing the neck and head of this huge gremlin. This caused the career of the Helirancor to come crashing to a halt, hopefully underlining how upset Lucas was by the TZ disaster, and preparing us for his commitment to developing CGI to ensure disaster free film sets forever after. This crushing crash also killed the twin Id monster, and, by implication, also severed Skyrocker’s Dark links to Leia forever. The sight reminded us again of the resemblance of the interior of Jabba’s lair to the insides of the space slug in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and the huge teeth of the slug that almost closed down and chomped on the fleeing Millenium Falcon in that film. This link to the adventures of Solo also reminded us of the nomenclatural link of the Rancor to Lando, and Han the Corellian, implying again that Han-and now also Lando-symbolized Jonah, and that both had been liberated from the monstrous Id whale by this death to openly speak out and battle against the Empire, as well.
It was a complicated victory for audiences, as on the one hand it allowed a symbolic Lord Stinkious to triumph, and yet on another a Skyrocker linked to Myca. At any rate, a new Euro-Indigenous Dar-zan had killed his lion and mastered his inner beast. And so Skywalker severed all incestuous links with his sister at last with this defeat of this final Kid Monster, without Han Milner having to do it for him as in AMERICAN GRAFFITI. And so Skyrocker triumphed over the TZ disaster, preparing us for his upcoming triumphs over Jabba the salacious Sacc, and the Emperor and Vader. Skyrocker’s newfound Jedi vim and verve was quickly made clear, after Jabba and his alienated entourage greeted the Helirancor’s death with stunned silence. Clearly, they were not aware that Lucas and ILM would digitally recreate the stop motion Helirancor in CGI form as a triumphantly carnivorous undersea monster in STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Obviously not able to predict the always in motion future in spite of his ability to shrug off the Jedi Voice, Jabba testily ordered that Chewie, Han and Luke be brought up to him. Significantly, the virile new confidence that Skyrocker displayed when he again stood before the sprawling Sacc reminded us of the emboldening confidence Luke displayed after being baptised in the living Force by the dianoga in the garbage compactor in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Clearly, the Helirancor’s pit was another curious baptism in the living Force in another garbage compactor-like scene in the Classic Trilogy. This newfound J.D. boldness was reaffirmed by Skyrocker’s black shirt, a black shirt that now stood out in marked contrast to Solo’s virtuous and virginal white shirt. Of course, there was some humourous irony in this sight, reminding us that Luke started off the Classic Trilogy in a virtuous and virginal white kimono to Solo’s hip and edgy black leather vest. Clearly, Solo was still the frozen Tin Man, and Luke was now the virile new Scarecrow of the Classic Trilogy.
Speaking through his translator Threepio, Jabba testily declared his intention to take Chewie, Han and Luke out to the Dune Sea and cast them into the pit of Carkoon, home to the nasty Sarlacc. While ominous, this was actually good news for the Holy Trinity, for the Dune Sea and Carkoon evoked Muad’dib’s famous victory over the Harkonnens in Dune. Threepio’s explanation that the Holy Trinity would be slowly digested over a period of one thousand years inside the Sarlaac was also good news. Indeed, the long digestion period evoked the Millenium Falcon and the thousand stalwart ships that sailed to Ilium to rescue Helen, preparing us again for the rescue of Leia and for the defeat of Jabba’s gang and the evil Empire. This toss into the pit of Carkoon also evoked the dump down into the pit of Helirancor that Skyrocker had just triumphantly fought his way out of, unwisely linking Jabba to impious double trouble that always failed in the Classic Trilogy all over again. The Sarlaac also recalled the Lars farm, a prison that Skyrocker had also already escaped from, increasing the Good Force for Luke. Clearly, the Forces of Good were still on track, and Skyrocker had every reason to confidently assure Jabba that his decision to kill the three heroes was the ‘…the last mistake you’ll ever make’.
Significantly, Skyrocker’s brash confidence was no doubt strengthened by the fact that the first ironically centring and harmonious conjunction of the four healing Ozian elements occurred in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI while the three heroes were being addressed by Jabba and Threepio. Indeed, standing behind Earthy Scarecrow Skyrocker, the Fiery Cowardly Chewbacca and the Watery Tin Han was the reassuring figure of the Airy Great Lando in his cantina bouncer disguise. This brought the harmonizing and rejuvenating energy of the four eternal elements to the dreaming and chained Leia and to the audience, confirming that the healing spiritworld dream was doing its twilit best to gather Force to heal all dreamers, in the end. This energizing Ozian conjunction continued on the flying monkey-like flight on the small, anti-grav sand skiffs that accompanied Jabba’s Sail Barge that floated like Gor out across the Dune Sea and to the pit of Carkoon. For the disguised Lando continued to watch over his friends on the floating and aroused trip on their sand skiff, fittingly adding his Airy ambience to their Earth, Fire and Water energy on the journey. A timely conjunction indeed, empowering Skyrocker and allowing him to prove in the slaughter of the alienated suitors that followed that he had indeed become an indomitable and unstoppable Jedi Knight with the defeat of his helirancorous Kid monster.
In fact, the subsequent battle confirmed that Skyrocker was definitely free from any forbidden and incestuous lust for Leia, and that Bob Fortuna and Jabba Doo had symbolized an evil and grotesquely personified cock and ball pair, as well as twilit and evil filmmakers like Folsey and Landis. For upon reaching the Sarlaac Pit, Skyrocker was prodded down to the end of a pirate plank on his sand skiff by an alienated skiff guard. From this overhanging perch, Skyrocker was able to look down into the monstrous maw that waited to swallow him in the sand below. Significantly, Jedi and J.D. viewer were startled to see that the Sarlaac looked not so much like the open mouth of a sandworm from Arrakis as an enormous, grotesquely personified, mutated and toothed vagina, another salacious creation straight out of the warped mind of Crumb. The salacious link was underlined by the resemblances of the name of the Sarlaac to Salacious Crumb and the pit of Carkoon to cartoon. As Leia was the only significant female in the Classic Trilogy, the implication was that the grotesquely personified vagina symbolized Leia. Indeed, ‘Sarlaac’ also evoked Scarlett O’Hara, reminding us that Scarlett had already been linked with Leia in the Classic Trilogy. This link of the Sarlaac pit to Leia also now implied that the grotesquely personified cock and ball pair of Bob Fortuna and Jabba the Sacc also symbolized Luke on one level. The new and improved 1997 version of the Sarlaac also evoked the blood sucking and man eating female plant Audrey II in Roger Corman’s low budget allegorical classic, THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1960), a darkly humourous and cautionary tale about doing anything-including murder-for, and ultimately being eaten up by, a monstrous and voracious blockbuster beast of a plant that symbolized fortune and glory, an evocation that was all too grimly appropriate in the post-TZ disaster years.
Clearly, another battle against sexual and incestuous disease, and the perils of fortune and glory was about to take place here at the voracious, salacious and cartoonish pit of Carkoon. This implied that this latest battle against sexual disease would be the one to sever the link between Leia and Luke and free the siblings forever, reaffirming the open declaration of love between Han and Leia at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, and allowing young Luke to truly be a J.D. Jedi Skyrocker. Indeed, this liberating battle quickly erupted, after Skyrocker and a rejuvenating Solo coolly turned down any chance of asking Jabba for mercy. Angrily prodded off the pirate plank into the vaginal maw below by the skiff guard, Skyrocker leapt into the air in Skyrocking fashion like he was preparing for an Olympic dive or a Superman flight, and deliberately turned in the air so that he decisively turned his back on Leia’s symbolic vagina and the lure of forbidden incest and filmmaking evil. Now facing inwards towards the skiff and its guards, Skyrocker then caught the scintillating new axesaber that Arttu tossed to him from the towering Sand Barge.
This new light saber flew through the clear blue desert sky like the bone weapon of Moonwatcher in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Popping out of the innards of Artoo, the flying saber also reminded us of the disguised rock of Zeus and of the living forms of his five brothers and sisters that flew out of the mouth of Chronos in the Greek legend. A significant allusion, for the tale of the devoured and regurgitated figures of the six male and female children of Old Man Time was no doubt an allegory for the eating of the six months of Fall and Winter, and their eventual reborn release as the six months of Spring and Summer each year. A timely reminder, for when Skyrocker caught and happily turned on his new axesaber, we saw that it was green, as green as lush green Spring and the Emerald City, and of Oola and Yoda and lush and fecund and overgrown Dagobah. Clearly, this Springing green axesaber flowed with the healing Force, allowing him to fulfill his messianic destiny and bring ironically healing and transforming Spring to the barren and lunar wastes of Tatooine. Indeed, the green Light of the Covenant saber confirmed his link to the equally messianic Paul Atreides, and his success in helping transform the equally barren and lunar wastes of Arrakis into an Earth-like world called Rakis. Skai halud-the messiah had come!
And with his Springing green axesaber held aloft in his ironically robotic hand of right, the holy Jedi Priest confirmed his Journey of Self Discovery and his liberation from his forbidden and incestuous Kid monster by walking down the plank and into the mutated guards on the skiff like a Jedi Odysseus holding the axesaber that only he could wield. And thus began the long awaited slaughter of the arrogant and alienated suitors of Penelopeleia, as Skyrocker cut down their infidel ranks with his Euro-Indigenous-Graeco-Roman-Judea-Christian-Afro-Egyptian-Arthurian neo-samurai Springing green Light of the Covenant axesaber. Indeed, Skyrocker exuberantly slashed through the alienated and criminal ranks of the skiff guards with the superhuman ease of Sanjuro at the end of YOJIMBO and the Krayyt Kenobi in the cantina in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE like a human helicopter rotor. Fittingly, and ironically, as Skyrocker cut down the twilit skiff guards, Leia took advantage of the confusion aboard the hovering Sail Barge at the sight of the determined Jedi in action and began throttling Jabba with the chain that held her to him. In fact, the petite and pretty Princess throttled the gasping Sacc with the same superhuman strength and determination that Skyrocker was now unleashing in his battle against the skiff guards. This underlined Leia’s twin sibling link to Luke, preparing us for Kenobi’s spectral revelation later on Dagobah. This attack on the Sacc also reiterated that the sinister and incestuous link between Leia and Luke had definitely been broken, freeing her to love Han. Leia’s unusual strength also reminded us again of the unstoppable and vengeful female spirits liberated from Pandora’s Ark at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, vengeful spirits that liquidated Belloq and his gang as remorselessly as Leia and Skyrocker liquidated Jabba and his evil gang.
Indeed, soon the Sacc’s tail trembled and was still, and Jabba slumped over in death. This death now destroyed any lingering incestuous Kid monsters within Leia, freeing her from a Harkonnen-like spirit of Evil in a way that Alia was unable to do at the end of Children of Dune. Now Leia was as free from incestuous Dark Forces as her twin brother Luke. Indeed, perhaps even more so, as she was actually the Fifth Element Dorothy that was being centred and harmonized by this latest cinematic conjunction of the healing and elemental Ozian Fours. And so Leia and Luke were liberated from incest on their Journeys of Self Discovery, and were now free to pursue their individual destinies. And so a truly unplugged J.D. Jedi Skyrocker battled his way across the matrix of assembled sand skiffs and up the floating and aroused and alienated side of the Sail Barge to rescue Leia, and she hurried from inside the barge to meet him. And so she set off a chain reaction with the barge’s main laser cannon that soon destroyed the Sail Barge, and the two siblings swung to the safety of the sand skiff commandeered by Chewie, Han and Lando like Gordon and Ardor swung to the safety of a spaceship at the end of FLESH GORDON. And so their triumphant but impersonal swing in their brash and virile clothing underlined that they had travelled far on their separate paths from the affectionate and cuddly swing on the Death Moon in their virtuous white clothing in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, this dispassionate swing in virile clothing confirmed that there was no longer any forbidden link between the two twin Jedi.
And so the Renee and Myca linked Leia and Luke rejoined their heroic, healing and elemental Ozian companions on the sand skiff. And so the Great Lando confirmed his commitment to the Rebel cause by picking up the two robots-who had comically fallen out of the Sail Barge and into the sand in their usual Comedy narrative-and piloted the skiff and his friends to safety like the skiff was his old air balloon. And just in time, as the Sail Barge exploded behind the heroes like the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, confirming its links to Gor and Jabba’s links to the evil Empire-and triumphantly destroying the last remaining vestiges of sexual disease haunting Leia and Luke. And so the Folsey and Landis also died with Fortuna and Jabba in the explosion, an explosion that also killed the film crew linked and alienated and arrogant suitor friends of Jabba in one of the last seminal car crashes of the Classic Trilogy-yabba jabba doo! Not surprisingly, given the bittersweet and complex love/hate relationship that audiences had with Skyrocker, it was a difficult victory to accept, as on the one hand you wanted the Stinkious linked Luke to fail, and on the other hand you wanted Skyrocker to succeed. The bittersweetness was complicated by the fact that Boba Fett was also earlier dispatched by Skyrocker and Solo in a Western showdown after falling out of the sky like a helicopter onto Skyrocker’s skiff in his jetpack. In fact, the implicitly Sir Scott linked intergalactic Falfa and his aura of sexual disease was casually and flippantly cast into the Sarlaac Pit in one of the biggest anti-climaxes of the Classic Trilogy-ironically despatched by the actor who played Bob Falfa!-to groans of enraged disappointment from the audience. This casual death of a bounty hunter linked to debt collecting Jabba also evoked Jabba’s own link to debt collecting Warner Brothers, underlining that all fears of debt caused by another THX 1138-style disaster had been erased by the successes of STAR WARS films, and by RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.
Curiously, the flight to safety of ‘our heroes’ also reminded us that Pygar the blind angel flew Barbarella and the Evil Tyrant to safety at the end of BARBARELLA, reaffirming that Lord Stinkious was escaping from the Sixties and its salacious cartoonists. Significantly, the sand skiff that flew the heroes to safety also looked like a flying carpet. This evoked Magic Carpet Airlines and the triumphant and sunlit morning ending of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. An ironcially fitting link, as Skyrocker had returned to Tatooine to tie up some loose ends like Lord Stinkious had returned to Modesto to film AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and would soon leave his small town planet with the same knowledge that there was no going back and the same commitment to post-secondary school education as Lord Stinkious and Henderson. However, for the first time in a film by Lord Stinkious, the rest of the young heroes joined Henderson on the Magic Carpet ride to that Eastern college. This emphasized that the Comedy, Journey of Self Discovery, Romance and Western narratives had reached an ironically triumphant Ozian conclusion, and that all of the heroes would have been healed and transformed into harmonious and holy adult figures like Skyrocker in the dreaming nighttime darkness of Jabba’s lair if not for their new link to the TZ disaster.
This also implied that they would have been ready to leave the Modesto moisture farms of Tatooine and fly away with Luke Henderson to achieve their adult destiny. An important change from the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, underlining the progression we had seen in the Classic Trilogy from the childish innocence of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and adolescent turbulence of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK to the more experienced and rounded adult maturity of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. Indeed, with this explosive and daylit triumph over Jabba and the forbidden incestuous side, the Classic Trilogy would have been even more resoundingly healed and harmonious than the equally triumphant and daylit endings of THX 1138, AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE-despite the fact that the film still had almost an hour and a half to go! Thus, if they had not been linked to the TZ disaster, things would have looked good for the Holy Heroes as they prepared to face down and defeat the Wicked Emperor, Anikkostein and the accident causing, assembly line, blockbuster lusting, double trouble, film factory mentality of the Empire gang so as to free Lord Stinkious to be a creative, disciplined, independent and moral Jedi film artist forever.
However, due to their link to the TZ disaster, the triumph over Jabba and his diseased entourage did raise the spirits of the audience, a glum spirit that continued when Skyrocker returned to Dagobah via X-broomstick to converse with the twilit and dying Great Yodakin, a scene that linked the three appendaged Jedi Master to the three taloned Helirancor. A fitting link, for the Great Yodakin told Skyrocker that he needed no more Jedi training, confirming that Luke had indeed vanquished his sexually diseased inner demons when he defeated the rancorous twin of the Id monster. In his next statement, however, the Great Yodakin insisted that Skyrocker was not yet a Jedi in spite of this victory. Indeed, the dimunitive and dragonish sage insisted that he must face Vader again and defeat him in order to become a full fledged Jedi. This linked Vader and his rotoring saber to the Helirancor and the TZ helicopter, now making the Dark Lord young Skyrocker’s pentultimate Kid monster-albeit this time linked to the TZ disaster kids given Skyrocker’s defeat of incestuous evil with his triumph over the Helirancor. However, the Great Yodakin quickly complicated any desire that Skyrocker may have had to defeat and kill the twilit form of Vader by confirming that Vader was his father, before dying like Dersu and Kenobi and becoming eternally one with the Force.
The blue hologram-like Force ghost of Glenda then reappeared. This ghost also confirmed that Vader was Skyrocker’s father, and also reassured Luke that he must face and defeat Darth Annikostein in order to become a full J. D. Jedi, turning the Dark Father into the Twilit Father. However, while it was necessary to defeat this Twilit Father, it was also clear that Skyrocker must not kill Vader. Indeed, killing Vader would cause Luke to embrace the Dark Side, almost certainly turning Skyrocker into a Skyfaller and new Dark Lord of the Shit Sith Hits-and Lord Stinkious into an even more demented Directo. Ben also revealed that the Other was his twin sister Leia, a revelation that we had already been prepared for by her telepathic link to Skyrocker at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, by the display of her J.D. Jedi Force in the battle with Jabba, and by the triumph over the salacious and personified genitalia in that battle. This solved the mystery of the Other, but still left Skyrocker with the knowledge that he had to somehow face and defeat his Twilit Father without killing him in order for Lord Stinkious and himself to somehow still become Jedi.
However, linking Darth Annikostein to the cunning and double-crossing Frankenstein of DEATH RACE 2000 throughout the trilogy had underlined that Vader was not the pentultimate Kid monster, but a Rebel hero in hiding who was waiting patiently for his chance to get close and kill the real baddie-the Wicked Emperor-like Frankenstein had waited for his chance to get close to the President on the awards stand after winning the Death Race so as to kill him, in the end. This link to Frankenstein had undermined the Classic Trilogy, for unlike Bartel, Lord Stinkious had never allowed the viewer to get behind the Frankenstein mask and get to know and like and care for his Frankenstein. Thus, it was hard for us to accept Vader’s sudden assassination of the Emperor, as we had not been given any previous indications other than the visual allusions to Frankenstein that Vader was a good guy who would suddenly switch sides and come to the aid of his son and the Rebels, in the end. In fact, by showing us the back of Vader’s hideously scarred head in his evil and miniature Death Moon-like meditation chamber in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Lucas had visually underlined that Annikkostein-unlike Frankenstein-was in fact the monstrous baddie under his mask and costume that he had been made out to be over the course of the Classic Trilogy. As a result, this sudden decision to save Luke in the end was completely against the grain for Vader. However, as Vader was also implicitly linked to Kurosawa, an inspirational father figure for Lucas, the sudden return of Vader to the Good reminded us that Kurosawa blasted Kubrick in KAGEMUSHA, after blasting Lucas in DERSU UZALA.
Indeed, while linked to the TZ disaster in retrospect, the rambling and contradictory explanations Luke received from Ben and Yoda on Dagobah did little to appease Skyrocker or the audience. In fact, at the May 25, 1983 showing of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, groans and howls of laughter erupted from the audience during the entire Dagobah scene, for it confirmed only too well our already furiously dismissive feelings about the film and Lord Stinkious. This dismissive fury was not assuaged by the creative attempt to wrap up the trilogy with a three pronged and trimatic Odyssean attack on the Empire and its new Deathly Moon. This multi-pronged attack was layed out by the film’s true Glinda, a motherly woman played by Caroline Blakiston with the motherly name of Mon Mothma, who fended off the evil paternalism of the Wicked Palpaberg. Her name and spectral appearance in a white dress evoked Hoth and Cloud City, underlining her status as Good Witch of the North. Unfortunately, however, she looked like Kennedy, giving young audience members yet another reason to hate the film.
Curiously, the attack explanation also took place in a ghostly white briefing room inside the headquarters frigate of the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA space wagon train evoking Rebel space fleet, a ghostly white room that further emphasized Mothma’s connection to the Good North. While the white briefing room also recalled the lunar limbo of THX 1138, and the impotent helplessness of that area, the assembled Rebel pilots banished that impotence, confirming that we had left impotence and other inner problems behind on Tatooine and Dagobah forever. Indeed, the Falcon and the rest of the Rebel fleet would have no problems using hyperdrive to get to the final battle as in STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, to underline that new virility.
The first step in this three pronged Odyssean attack called for wholesome Han to lead a strike team to the forest moon of Endor, a moon that clearly could be the end or the beginning of the rebellion-bringing the trilogy full ronde. A forest moon that also evoked the forest planet of the Emperor Palpaberg linked Prince Barin in FLASH GORDON, reaffirming the implicit anti-Spielberg intent of the Classic Trilogy. Here Solo and his team had to knock out the generator emitting a Force field that protected the half completed and orbiting Deathly Moon from attack. Significantly, this mission marked the fourth and last time that a mystical energy field controlled Solo’s destiny in the Classic Trilogy, ironically reaffirming that the Fours were truly with Han now and that he was a wholesome hero like Luke-and that Lucas was still reaching out to Coppola. To pull off this mission, Solo’s strike team had to secretly land on Endor in full view of the protecting Imperial fleet in a stolen Imperial shuttle with an old Imperial security clearance code. This imaginative ruse turned the white and horse shaped shuttle into a literal space age Trojan horse, reminding us that the Millenium Falcon was used as a Trojan horse to sneak into the Death Moon in STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. Indeed, the shuttle’s link to the Trojan Falcon of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE was underlined by its horse appearance, and by its name Tydirium, which evoked both Ilium and Millenium Falcon.
Tydirium’s Trojan shuttle status was further underlined by Solo’s mission, for by destroying the Force field generator Han and his team opened wide the gates to the Deathly Moon and to the healing Ozian dream. This allowed Lando to lead the space fighters of the Rebel space fleet inside the gates of Illium and attack the diseased mechanical brain at its inner reactor core. At the same time as these Trojan efforts, and shortly after an exciting speeder bike chase that evoked the light cycle scenes in TRON, Skyrocker did his Odyssean part by leaving Solo’s strike team and allowing himself to be captured by Imps in order to be brought before Vader on Endor. This caused Darth Anikkostein to bring a Dorothyish Luke to McDiarmid’s Palpaberg resembling Wicked Emperor of the West-greeted with boos de to his resemblance to Emperor Palpaberg by audiences on his ominous arrival by shuttle on the Deathly Moon after the destruction of Jabba and his diseased entourage on Tatooine-in his Black Tower throne room on the aroused and insidious Deathly Moon, allowing Odysseus to confront the last impious suitor. For like the ragged Odysseus, Skyrocker was allowed into the presence of the gloating and Gor-like Palpaberg because he was not perceived to be a threat to Vader or the Wicked Emperor.
However, Skyrocker soon made fools of the two Dark Lords and underlined that he had defeated his own personal and incestuous Dark Side already on Tatooine by defeating-but not killing-Vader. Indeed, Skyrocker defeated but did not kill this last Kid monster in quick and expert Odyssean fashion, using the magic Springing green axesaber that only he could wield in the first and last collision of a green saber with Vader’s blood red rotorsaber in the Classic Trilogy. Yet another difficult battle for audiences to watch given our love/hate relationship with Skyrocker, but one so moving that it ultimately caused us to accept him again. For this defeat of Vader also saved Skyrocker from being turned to the sexually diseased Dark Side. And a persistently incestuous Side it was, for during this final saber battle Vader read Skyrocker’s mind and made a salacious comment about sexually assaulting Leia. This salacious comment openly connected Skyrocker’s Dark Father to incest, confirming that Luke’s long struggle to defeat inner Kid monsters linked to incestuous Evil had been no joke and that Lucas used his films to come to grips with equally Dark real life experiences of incest. And the fury that the remark aroused in Skyrocker underlined this harrowing reality, for he screamed in agony, re-ignited his Spring green axesaber, and angrily attacked and beat down Vader’s blood red rotorsaber with a full Force throttle rain of blows. Clearly, Skyrocker had forgotten that he had defeated his Kid monster, and had become one himself!
Indeed, Skyrocker soon had his symbolic Dark Father literally hanging on the rope-like railing of a small bridge after a rotoring torrent of saber blows. Slashing down with his axesaber, Skyrocker cut off Vader’s robotic right hand in retaliation for the loss of his own hand on a similar bridge at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This rotor-like torrent of blows also evoked the TZ disaster again, turning Vader into a troubled Landis figure controlled by his Dark Side as symbolized by the Wicked Emperor. Indeed, this pentultimate rotorsaber fight began with Skyrocker and Vader’s green and red sabers crossed in front of the Emperor like helicopter rotors while the Wicked Warlock chuckled insidiously like Gor, underlining the Emperor’s link to the TZ disaster and the dark and demented Directo side of the New Hollywood brat pack. The crossed sight reiterated that on one level Lord Stinkious and Marquand were defeating the TZ disaster in STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. This goal was underlined by the fact that Skyrocker woke up from his twilit fury after seeing the exposed wires of Vader’s right wrist, a sight that reminded him of his own robotic right hand. Indeed, the sight reaffirmed that Vader’s Frankenstein persona was not an elaborate ruse as in DEATH RACE 2000, and that Lord Stinkious, Luke and Marquand could still become full and inhuman machine men if they allowed reckless violence to desecrate film sets, or if they cut down their Dark Fathers like human rotors.
In fact, seeing Skywalker stare at his robotic right hand reminded us of the robotic right hand of Rotwang, the mad scientist of METROPOLIS. As Rotwang was the head baddie of METROPOLIS and linked to the Dark Side of directors in that film, this link to Rotwang implied that Skywalker could become not just the next Vader if he killed his father, but the next Emperor, with the Dr. Frankenstein-like power to create his own machine-man underling-and that Lord Stinkious could become the next Landis. This was a sobering implication, and one that prepared us for the Emperor’s necrolectric assault on Skyrocker when he refused to join the Dark Lord, necrolicity that evoked the bolts of electricity Rotwang used to give his machine-man life. For the Wicked Emperor was the ultimate symbol of directorial dementia and sexually diseased authority in the films of Lucas, the nightmare opposite of the Krayyt Kenobi or Wolfman Jack. Indeed, seeing Luke with the Emperor in the end reminded us that Henderson confronted Wolfman Jack at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, linking the salacious Wolfman to the Emperor in a way that evoked the AMERICAN GRAFFITI cadence of the battle with Jabba. In fact, the Emperor’s name also reminded us that the first film Lord Stinkious made about a popular DJ was a 1967 short called THE EMPEROR, underlining the Emperor’s link to DJs like Wolfman Jack.
Thus, with the link to AMERICAN GRAFFITI and the earlier battle with Jabba, there was more heroic inevitability than real dark tension in this final confrontation between Skyrocker and Emperor before the beginning of the necrolictic assault. Indeed, Skyrocker had killed his personal Dark and Twilit Side on Tatooine, underlining that victory by easily defeating Vader and his twilit rotorsaber here. And in spite of his new unfortunate link to Lord Stinkious and the TZ disaster, Luke had never been anything but a kind, virtuous and squeaky clean hero throughout the Classic Trilogy. His failure in the battle against Vader’s ghost in the tree cave on Dagobah also no doubt reminded him that he could have won that fight if he had only not given in to fear and struck down the ghost with Anakin’s saber. Indeed, Jones proved Yoda’s point when he turned down the opportunity to kill Belloq and the Nazis with a bazooka at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, causing them to be obliterated by the vengeful feminine power of the Ark. This reminded us that the evil establishment usually defeated itself at the end of the films of Lord Stinkious, and accordingly Skyrocker made up for the failure at the tree cave and bowed to tradition. He switched off his Springing green axesaber, threw it away, turned to face the Emperor and emphatically said, ‘…I’ll never turn to the Dark Side’.
Significantly, this was such a moving sight that it was the moment when most audiences forgot the link of Luke to Lucas and embraced him as the TZ disaster free Hamill, the Skryrocker. It was a moving sight and statement that also reminded us that Henderson refused to join the Pharoahs after the rear axle stunt that stopped the pod police dead in their tracks at the end of AMERICAN GRAFFITI. A timely reminder, for Skyrocker had just stopped Vader in his tracks, linking STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to AMERICAN GRAFFIT again. Eerily, but true to his sexually evil as well as twilit fashion, Emperor Palpaberg reacted to Skyrocker’s decision to refuse to become his new head flying monkey like a persuasive pedophile who had finally met a child who resisted his predatory lust. Indeed, in the creepiest line of the Classic Trilogy, he angrily and sibilantly hissed ‘…if you will not be turned, you will be destroyed!’ This openly revealed the Wicked Emperor’s sexually diseased and evil nature for all to see, and reiterated the fear of sexual disease seen in all of the early films of Lord Stinkious. Then the Emperor raised his hands and blasted crackling blue lightning bolts full of deadly and diseased energy at Skyrocker, reminding us more of Gor and his evil death rays than ever before. These vampiric bolts of necricity sucked the life Force out of Skyrocker like Rotwang sucked the life Force out of Maria, making him writhe and scream in a violently orgasmic agony that underlined the rapacious nature of this assault. The blue bolts also reminded us of electricity, again linking the Emperor to radio.
Things looked bleak for the smoking body of a Skyrocker we now identified with again and felt sorry for as the Wicked Emperor Palpaberg continued to blast him with necricity, his rage contorted face revealing the psychopathic sadist behind the perversely avuncular smile at last. However, Skywalker began to plead with his father for help. Hearing these pleas for help, we remembered that Lucas sr. became his son’s staunchest supporter after the success of his son’s films. We remembered that Indy chose to have faith that he and Marion would be saved from the Ark at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, a faith that was rewarded by God. We also remembered that Morbius faced down and defeated his subconscious Id monster at the end of FORBIDDEN PLANET when he finally realized that a forbidden love for his daughter Altaira had created the blockbuster beast. And that March defeated Gor at the end of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS with an axe attack on the fissure of Orlando. And that Susumu Fujita’s Hyoe Tadokoro changed sides in the end and joined General Makabe and the two comical peasants Matashichi and Tahei in their tragicomic quest to save Princess Yuki at the end of HIDDEN FORTRESS. Lastly, we remembered that Frankenstein revealed his true Rebel colours in the end and assassinated the evil President of Earth when the President made the mistake of allowing Frankenstein to drive close to the platform for the medal ceremony at the end of DEATH RACE 2000. All of these memories pointed to one thing, and sure enough, after some initial hesitations, and much to the disappointment of some audience members, who saw Vader as a hero and wanted the Stinkious linked Luke to die, Skyrocker’s Dark and Twilit Father came to his aid like Han at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE. It was a bittersweet moment for us angry adolescents in 1983, as the audience was kind of hoping that Vader would roar with triumphant laughter and watch the Emperor kill Luke, given the link of Luke to Lord Stinkious and the decision of Lord Stinkious to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.
Significantly, Darth Vader attacked the Emperor from behind like he attacked Luke in his custom TIE at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, evoking the Forced sodomistic nature of the Dark Side while negating that Evil at the same time. He lifted up the necricity spewing Emperor, evoking the Rebel officer on the Tantive IV that he lifted, throttled and discarded with one hand at the beginning of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in a way that brought the Classic Trilogy full throttle circle. An ironic link, for the impious attack made Vader another Odyssean figure like Han, Lando and Luke, allowed into the presence of the Emperor like Luke because he was not perceived to be a threat to the last arrogant suitor. And so Vader completed his healing Odyssey by carrying Emperor Palpaberg to his doom in order to protect Telukachus, like Ben did in the cantina, and dropping him down the central reactor core shaft into that most popular of sub-themes in the films of Lord Stinkious: the garbage chute. A somehow fitting demise for the Wicked Emperor, given the space-pod garbage jettison of the two robots down to Tatooine that began the Classic Trilogy and the earlier dump of Fett into the Sarlaac pit. GIGO!
Falling down the chute also linked the Emperor to Rotwang, for the mad scientist also fell to his doom at the end of METROPOLIS. Emperor Palpaberg also spun as he fell down the garbage chute, like Luke did when he threw himself down the chute to escape Vader at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The Wicked Emperor shrank in size as he fell, evoking the melting Wicked Witch of the West at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Far down the shaft Emperor Palpaberg burst in a vast explosion of Evil anti-energy, briefly sending a wailing rush of rank and despairing Dark Force up the chute, reminding us that the Wicked Witch of the West smoked as she melted at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ. And so the Wicked old Witch was dead again, and the insidious Emperor Palpaberg, his blockbuster lusts and his TZ disasters had been defeated, freeing the world film art to devote itself to higher goals again, and Skyrocker was saved, and Lord Stinkious defeated his fears of incest and of becoming a Directo, and film triumphed over radio and television, and Morbius defeated his Dark Side again, and March killed Gor, and Frankenstein brought down the evil President of Earth once more. And so the angry Odyssey was over, and Anakin, Leia and Luke were free from the grip of the Wicked Poseidon at last. And so Lord Stinkious and Marquand triumphed over the Dark Side that used Landis to cause the helicopter crash, saving two Jedi kids at last and reiterating their commitment to violence free film sets. And so the Jedi twins were free from their diseased and incestuous Dark Father, allowing them to leave Oz and the healing spiritworld dream as whole and harmonious adults, in the end. Significantly, Chewie, Han, Lando and the rest of the Rebellion were also free, but not the castle soldiers and flying monkies of the Empire, as at the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ.
Indeed, the Empire was destroyed, a destruction that would have underlined that with the success of his films, Lord Stinkious had broken free from the control of Hollywood and his fears and now stood free as a truly independent and virtuous J.D. Jedi film artist, if he had not agreed to work with Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. This Imperial destruction was underlined by the spectacular obliteration of Vader’s Moby Dick-like Super SD, Executor. For the seemingly indomitable blockbuster whale of a spacecraft was ironically destroyed when it was knocked out of control by an equally out of control A-wing fighter, causing the ship to ram the Deathly Moon in the last Great Crash of the Classic Trilogy. The destruction of this blockbuster ship reminded us that the Classic Trilogy had originally been in part about destroying the blockbuster profit lusting film studio Empire and replacing it with higher and more virtuous film art, a destruction that had obviously and ironically not happened as the Empire had been strengthened by this most blockbuster and merchandisable of film trilogies. Fittingly, the A-wing fighter was piloted by Green Leader, a Wing Commander whose colour code connected him to the Emerald City, healing Spring, Yoda, Dagobah and Luke’s Spring green axesaber. Clearly, the organic Forces of nature had defeated the Evil machine Empire, in the end.
This green and organic triumph was confirmed by the success of Han’s strike team mission, who combined with the diminutive Ewokins to destroy the Deathly Moon’s force field generator on the lush and fecund moon of Endor below. Significantly, the Ewokins evoked Muffit the mechanical daggit of Noah Hathaway’s Boxey in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and a tribe of savage mutants in the allegorical Daniel Haller directed telefilm, ‘Journey to Oasis’ (1981), in the second season of BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, reaffirming that Lord Stinkious was turning those two telefilm series against Emperor Spielberg and Universal Studios. The Ewokins also reiterated the Ozian structure of the Classic Trilogy, becoming the latest Munchkins to appear after Dorothy fell down to a fantastic new world. Indeed, the arrival of the Ewokins confirmed the healing Ozian structure of the Classic Trilogy, for the first Ewokin appeared after Leia fell and hit her head after a tornado-like speeder broomstick sequence in the Imp haunted forests of Emerald Endor. Warwick Davis’ first Ewokin underlined that Ozian commitment to healing Leia, for his name was Wicket, evoking the Wicket Witch of the West-and Muffit. The Ewokins also evoked Moonwatcher’s successfully fighting tribe in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and the equally successful fighting Sioux of RETURN OF A MAN CALLED HORSE.
Unfortunately, unlike the Jawakins, the Ugnaughtkins and the Great Yodakin, these latest symbolic manifestations of the mischievous Munchkins in the Classic Trilogy were despised on sight and greeted with furious and despairing groans by the audience with the appearance of Wicket. Indeed, they were truly a horror beyond imagination that poked too much fun at a Classic Trilogy and a TZ disaster that young audience were taking very seriously, indeed. A Classic Trilogy that had implied up until the appearance of Wicket that it was fighting on the side of film art in a desperate battle against insidious and blockbuster profit lusting Sith Lords that wanted to film into filmmercials for movie tie-in merchandise and product placement. Now, alas, with the appearance of Wicket, Lucas implied that he had turned to the blockbuster profit lusting Dark Side, as well, and was just another Sith Lord: Lord Stinkious. Explaining why he had no qualms working with Kennedy, Marshall and Palpaberg on INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM, as he was now just like them. That the dimunitive Ewokins also helped defeat the Imp forces on Endor with their ironically and comically effective fighting prowess-evoking the equally unlikely and ironically successful kid warriors who helped Dirk Benedict’s Lieutenant Starbuck defeat a Cylon garrison on a remote planet in the allegorical Donald Bellisario directed telefilm, ‘The Young Lords’ (1978), in the first season of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-turning the dreaded storm troopers into storm poopers before our eyes, also infuriated young audiences. However, their tree houses did evoke the tree houses of the Emperor Palpaberg linked Prince Barin and his people on their forest planet in FLASH GORDON, reaffirming the implicit anti-Palpaberg intent of the film and the trilogy.
At any rate, the combined destruction of the generator by the Ewokins and Rebels opened wide the gates to Illium as planned, allowing Lando to lead his own strike team of Rebel spacecraft deep into the labyrinthine passages and fissures of the Deathly Moon to attack the main reactor core deep inside the alienated machine brain. Of course, in the triumphant spirit of the moment, Lando’s mission was successful. Indeed, Lando in the Falcon-his co-pilot, Nien Nubh, evoking an alien background extra in the capital city of Thrawn in ‘Time of the Hawk’ in another link to that Buck Rogers adventure-and Wedge in the Falcon and an X-broomstick destroyed the reactor core themselves, with two double trouble bursts that fittingly spelled the end of this double trouble Empire. These bursts caused a chain reaction to engulf the Deathly Moon in a cataclysmically eucatastrophic explosion, ending the reign of error of this second floating mechanical brain from Arous. Thus the Emperor, the Deathly Moon, the field generator, and the Super SD were destroyed, explosive annihilations that recalled the demise of Jabba and his gang in the floating and Gor-like Sail Barge, reaffirming the link of the two groups of evildoers to further bring the film full ronde and taking BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, JAWS and 1941 with them…but not too far away, of course, given that Lord Stinkious was now in league with Emperor Palpaberg.
Shortly before the Deathly Moon blew up, Luke and his father reunited forever in an ironically quiet scene in a landing bay aboard the detonating Deathly Moon. Here we saw the Anakin behind the mask at last when Luke took off his father’s protective masks. This unmasking evoked Daniels’ appearance outside the mask at the beginning of the film, and Leia’s unmasking at the side of the liberated Tin Han, truly bringing the film full circle. Significantly, the face of Sebastian Shaw’s Anakin was hideously pale and scarred. This caused us not only to feel sorry for this Phantom of the Space Opera, but also reminded us that the hideously scarred face and body of Frankenstein under his black mask and costume was a running gag throughout DEATH RACE 2000. This running gag was not true, but was simply designed to make Frankenstein seem more frightening and inhuman than he really was in reality. Making the running gag true with this hideously scarred head of Anakin Skywalker was the major difference between DEATH RACE 2000 and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, underlining that his time beneath the mask had been a truly dark Odyssey for this Dark Father.
Clearly, however, his rescue of Skyrocker and destruction of his own ideous and monstrous Dark and Twilit Side had returned a lost heroism and humanity to Anakin Skywalker, in the end. And so the last Jedi Knight of the Old Republic died, and Lord Stinkious forgave Kurosawa and embraced him again, and his J.D. Jedi son Luke escaped with his body in another commandeered Trojan shuttle just before the pentultimate explosion of the Deathly Moon. And Lando also blasted out of the exploding Deathly Moon to safety in the wake of Wedge just in time before the explosion engulfed the Falcon, shooting out into space from the diseased depths of the labyrinthine battle station like THX 1138 in his rocket car at the end of THX 1138 and anticipating the open shot of STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE.
And so the Deathly Moon exploded safely behind the heroes like Jabba’s Sail Barge and the Death Moon and Altair IV in a trimatic orgasm that destroyed even more STAR WARS action figures, allowing the film to end on another eucatastrophic note and ironically freeing Lord Stinkious to walk a creative, independent and moral line as a J.D. Jedi film artist in a triumphant end to the Journey of Self Discovery. And the Wicked Old Emperor and his sexually diseased machine Empire were dead, and Palpaberg and his insidious blockbuster machinations had been swept away, and the eternal and Ozian personified elements and their holy Dorothy had returned harmonious and healthy and centred heterosexuality to the rejuvenated and organic universe of the real world, and the TZ disaster had been defeated, and courageous Rebels had won again, and celebrations and fireworks broke out around the galaxy and on Endor, a living moon that had clearly not become the end of the Rebellion. And Princess Leia leaned over to kiss her Hansome Prince Charming Hunk to confirm the triumph of the Romance and establish both a new monarchy and a New Republic in the lush green forests of the ironically fecund moon of Endor, a fecund moon that evoked Kansas and Yavin at the end of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and the Northern California location of Skywalker Ranch outside San Fran in reality-and Coppola symbolically succeeded in saving L.A. film art with his hopeful and racially and sexually harmonious New Hollywood. This ironically underlined the pre-TZ disaster hope of Lord Stinkious that his life and films would come full healing circle with the trimatic end of the Classic Trilogy, from the diseased young adulthood of THX 1138, the stormy adolescence of AMERICAN GRAFFITI, the purifying childhood innocence of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE, the more confident adolescence of STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and the healed and wholesome adult harmony of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI.
And so Luke burned his father Anakin Skywalker on an ancient Graeco-Roman funeral pyre back on Endor, consecrating his father’s purity and bringing the Odyssean Journeys of Self Discovery of his father and himself to their heroic ends. Soon after, his father appeared in a Holy Trinity of Force ghosts with Ben and Yoda, confirming that he had successfully completed his healing journey with the destruction of the Emperor in the midst of an Ewok ‘Mug Wump’ stomp musical number that gave audiences yet another reason to hate the film and reject its triumphantly eucatastrophic ending. And then Fiery Chewie, Earthy Han, Airy Lando and Watery Luke centred Dorothy’s Leia between them in the final harmonious conjunction of the healing and elemental Ozian Fours in the Classic Trilogy. And then the film ended, igniting controversies that exist to this day. Indeed, as far as my bitter and sullen colleagues and I were concerned, Lucas was indeed Lord Stinkious, Darkest of the Dark Lords, and was now heading down his own Dark and insidious Damnation Alley. Angry, depressed, disillusioned and embittered, we stormed out of the Vogue Theatre onto Granville Street puzzled by the bright afternoon sunlight on that day in Vancouver that did not reflect or illuminate the gloom inside us. Truly begun, had the Zone Wars.