Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Imagine a movie filmed with the entire cast under hypnosis

Some of you might already know about the Werner Herzog movie Heart of Glass, but I didn't, not until last night. I think I was searching for something related to The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari when I stumbled across a reference to Herzog's movie. What I said in the title is true: almost the entire cast was hypnotized for the duration of their performances. Apparently Herzog chose to film the movie this way because he wanted stylized, inward-turned performances to reflect his story of a whole village going mad. You can watch the full movie on YouTube here, but I'm hesitant to recommend that yet. I've only skipped around in it so far, and it's really, really fucking weird. I don't know if I can take a whole hour and a half of lunacy, but I'm going to try it...later. For now, I've just enjoyed a few random bits of trance-face and statue-fication like what you see below. This clip shows the end of the movie, so if spoiler warnings apply for a movie which came out in 1976 and makes no sense anyway, then warning: spoilers ahead.

Here's all you need to know: the narrator in the clip is Hias, a mystic who's been watching the town go crazy without being affected by their madness himself (In fact, the actor playing him was one of the only cast members not hypnotized - to highlight his difference from the villagers). In the scene below he's describing their final fate.

Oh, and before I move on to another movie with a genuinely hypnotized lead: Yes, the island in that clip is Skellig Michael, a.k.a. Luke's secret hideout in the two latest Star Wars movies.

The second movie I want to talk about is the early-90's horror classic Candyman. I remember watching this in the theater when it first came out and thinking it was one of the scariest horror movies I'd ever seen. What I couldn't have known then - and what I only found out decades later when Callidus told me - was that Virginia Madsen performed all her scenes with the Candyman (Tony Todd) under hypnosis. Once again, it was the director's idea; he wanted to make those scenes extra surreal -- and it sure as hell worked. Candyman became a cult classic, and you can see for yourself what hypnosis did for Virginia Madsen's performance. When you watch this clip, you'll be able to tell the instant the director gives her the trigger word.

Oh, but I said something up top about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, didn't I? Well, I'll keep this short since it's just a teaser for a later post. The original Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was a silent movie that basically involved a mad scientist keeping a hypno-slave locked up in a box and taking him out only for exhibits and for killing people. I first read about the movie back in my teens, when my MC fetish was already well formed, and you can imagine how excited I was by the storyline. Apparently I wasn't the only one. Recently I discovered a short story anthology called The Madness of Dr. Caligari, which I'm reading it now. It has Ramsey Campbell and a bunch of my new favorite Lovecraft authors riffing on the ideas of hypnosis, mind control, betrayal, twist endings, and all the other stuff we MC fetishists love. I'll blog about the book once I finish it, and although I'm only about a third of the way through, I'm already happy to recommend it to anyone else who'd like to check it out. It would be fun to get some feedback in the comments when I do make that post.


K said...

So with Heart of Glass apparently Herzog originally planned to appear in the film himself and hypnotize the audience.

thrall said...

Seriously? Wow, I'd have watched that in a heartbeat!