Sunday, June 24, 2018

A quick "Oops"

I've just now noticed that I've stopped receiving email notifications when people comment on my posts. Since I always try to respond to kind words, I apologize for seeming to ignore you. I'll try to find and fix whatever's going on.

It's time to peek inside the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

In my last post, about actors who were genuinely hypnotized during their movie performances, I said I was reading an anthology of stories that were (very loosely) inspired by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent movie classic. The film is mostly about a mad doctor with a hypno-slave (technically a somnambulist) whom he stores in a box except when he takes him out to kill someone. In case you don't know, "somnambulist" is a fancy word for sleepwalker; and Dr. Caligari seems to have laid a trance on top of Cesare's sleepwalking to make him a mindless slave. I find this especially funny because I used to sleepwalk. A lot.

Anyway, you'll find the movie embedded at the bottom of this post if you're curious, but right now I want to talk about that anthology.

I waited to post about The Madness of Dr. Caligari because I wanted to finish reading it and then decide whether it was worth recommending to you. Well, it is worth recommending, and you don't need to know any more about the movie than what I said above before you read it. Since the book is an anthology, the stories vary in quality; and not all of them deal with actual hypnosis or mind control - but several do, and a few of them are erotic enough (or nearly) to qualify for the EMCSA. Here are a few of my favorites - plus a few you should avoid:
  • "The Words Between" by Ramsey Campbell - Campbell is one of the best horror writers active today (and he's also a huge Lovecraft fan), so even though this story isn't technically about MC, it's worth reading just for the thrills and chills.
  • "Take a Walk in the Night, My Love" by Damien Angelica Walters - This is one of the stories that would fit nicely on the EMCSA if the sex was just a little more explicit. It includes genuine MC and a couple of neat twists that will give you a tingle.
  • "Conversion" by Robert Levy - a cruel and offensive story about gay conversion therapy gone wrong. Avoid.
  • "A Rebellious House" by Maura McHugh - McHugh is an excellent writer, and this story will push the buttons of anyone who (like me) gets off on the idea of catatonia and human puppets. It has a whiff of Lovecraft, too.
  • "The Projection Booth" by Nathan Carson - This story takes its inspiration from a very kinky, very loose remake of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari that was released in 2005. Seriously messed up, but in a good way.
  • "Bellmer's Bride or, The Game of the Doll" by Cody Goodfellow - Goodfellow is the second coming of Philip K. Dick, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. This time, it's a great thing that makes his story the best in the anthology. It's all about kinky Nazis getting their due via tailor-made hypno-lovedolls; and the climax features all the brainwashing classics like flashing lights, subliminal commands, and programming through sex. Last but not least, this story really is explicit enough for the EMCSA.
  • "The Righteousness of Conical Men" by Michael Cisco - Cisco is an alien being who writes for other alien beings. Mere humans can never hope to understand him. Don't bother trying.
  • "That Nature Which Peers out in Sleep" by Molly Tanzer - Another tale that would fit nicely on the EMCSA. It's a classic "boy meets girl" story, only this boy is a closeted sub with a hypno fetish, and the girl he meets is more than happy to be his Domme. 
  • "To See, to Be Seen" by John Langan - No actual hypnotism or MC here, just a very well written story that starts as a supernatural suspense tale and then warps into full-on Clive Barker-style horror.
Now, while I'm on the subject of horror, allow me a brief tangent so I can give a deeply heartfelt shout-out to the recently released Hereditary. This movie's destined to become a classic, right up there with The Exorcist, The Shining, and Rosemary's Baby. Don't miss it - and don't let yourself be spoiled by a single detail before you go. The less you know, the harder your head will explode when the twists come.

Now back to Caligari. Here's the promised movie, which runs a little over an hour. I don't know if you'll be interested in watching it, and I don't know what you'll think of it if you do watch it. Maybe if you liked Metropolis, with all its zany overacting and wild sets, you'll like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari too. Then again, maybe you won't. Personally, I found the weirdness growing on me until I ended up sitting through the whole thing. Your own mileage may vary. But even if you don't check out the movie, at least buy the book. It's definitely worth  $6.99.

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.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Glorious, glorious tentacle porn

art by Ramiro Roman
For the past several weeks I've been binge-reading stories from the Lovecraft eZine, an amazing (and free!) collection of Cthulhu mythos tributes from some really first-rate authors you've probably never heard of. I've already shared one treasure with you, a ghoulish gem called "The Secret of Ventriloquism," and here's another. I plucked this beauty straight from the ocean floor, and it's still dripping with lovely, phosphorescent slime.

Most of the stories in the Lovecraft eZine would qualify for a rating PG-13 or R if they were movies, but this one is very definitely rated X. And what else could it be, considering the topic? Some of you might have heard of the self-proclaimed "Stripper for God." Well, DreamShock gives us a stripper for Cthulhu, and wow is she good at making converts. She's also pansexual, so the fact that our narrator is female won't cause any problems when the "wave" rolls in. (I didn't make that up. It really is a wave.)

I hope you're not squeamish, because are lot of different sexual experiences in here, and some of them might squick you out. But don't worry; if you don't like what's happening in one sentence, the next sentence will probably set you back on track.

However, if "Dreamshock" doesn't sound like your kind of thing, just wait for next week. I have some more vintage EMC from the author who wrote "Shambleau," and it's hot as hell and not squicky at all.