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Vern Predicts: Jodorowsky Fever

vernpredicts150It was 2007. The Year of the Dolphin. The Scouting Centenary. The year of the last Harry Potter book. The year that Anna Nicole Smith and Bam Bam Bigelow passed. The year that DIE HARD turned PG-13. Amidst all that turmoil and unrest I wrote about an Alejandro Jodorowsky DVD box set for the famous The Ain’t It Cool News websight. And in that review I prophesied a day when the then-mostly-forgotten underground filmmaker of the early ’70s would become a mainstream pop culture phenomenon:

“This thing is gonna spread across the globe like airwaves. Rappers will start quoting HOLY MOUNTAIN; on CRIBS they’ll have THE FILMS OF ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY next to their SCARFACE dvd. Bono will buy a thousand copies and pass them out to world leaders, so they can begin their journeys of enlightenment…” etc. I went on for a while.

For years, my vision did not come to fruition. The average person on the street did not know who Jodorowsky was. The average film buff had not seen HOLY MOUNTAIN. But then somebody made a documentary about the time Jodorowsky tried to make DUNE, and you know how these documentaries are. They become popular and all the sudden everybody and their uncle thinks they’re an expert on Sea World and Sugar Man and shit. So now everybody who knows documentaries knows that THE SHINING something something the moon landing and Jodorowsky something something DUNE.

Here’s the doctored photo I included with that review to make my point:

paris1

That didn’t end up happening as far as I can prove, but here is an actual photo I saw on the internet yesterday:

kanye-jodo

That’s right, the talented producer/rapper and angry pants designer Kanye West recently hung out with Jodorowsky and got his tarot read. US Magazine and other mainstream gossip type outlets covered the meeting between “the Chilean filmmaker” and “Kim Kardashian’s husband.” Apparently they already knew each other, too. According to this comparison from Complex Magazine, West told his audience at the Yeezus Tour that his whole show was heavily inspired by THE HOLY MOUNTAIN.

See, you gotta listen to me, people. I know shit. $100 million Harmony Korine tentpole movie coming soon.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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18 Responses to “Vern Predicts: Jodorowsky Fever”

  1. Finnish electro group Imatran Voima found Holy mountain way back in 2002
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5LQveHQBBk

  2. Guys, I have a confession to make: Until last week, I was a poseur. I had that Jodorowsky box set sitting on my shelf since 2007, and the only one of his films I’d ever actually watched was EL TOPO. (EL TOPO is a great movie, by the way. I am not posing about that.) I kept meaning to watch THE HOLY MOUNTAIN, mostly because Vern was just so crazy about it, but I never got around to it. You know how it is. You’re looking for a movie to watch, you see it sitting there next to your two Mario Bava box sets, and you think, “Is tonight the night? Is right now, right this second, is this the moment I’ll always remember as the exact instant I got my consciousness expanded/finally figured out what that Paris Hilton pic Vern photoshopped was all about?” And then you’re like, “Maybe not. Maybe tonight’s actually the night I watch DEEP BLUE SEA again.” And you don’t really regret it, because DEEP BLUE SEA is awesome. But deep down inside, you know you’re a fraud. Somebody comes over, see that box set and wants to talk Jodorowsky, you’re gonna have to admit some embarrassing things about your movie-viewing habits.

    But fear not, because I am a poseur no longer. I watched THE HOLY MOUNTAIN and it was great. Completely insane and yet made total sense. The kind of movie that works on a purely psychedelic head trip level but also makes you think about shit, shit like where the fuck did they find a baby hippo in Mexico, and how did that no-handed dwarf even roll that joint in the first place, and wait, hold on, did that one acolyte who represented Pluto lose his immortality when he found out that his “planet” is actually just one of the billions of rocks floating in the Ortt Cloud? Real deep shit. If you haven’t seen it, fucking watch it soon. Don’t get caught out like I nearly did. Learn from my mistakes.

    I just realized I’ve had a bootleg of SANTA SANGRE for a solid decade and never watched it. That’s like seven DEEP BLUE SEA viewings ago. And then there’s the VHS rip of TUSK I burned two years ago. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? I gotta get my priorities in order. No wonder I’m so unenlightened.

  3. Gotta admit, I only saw the trailer for Jodorowsky’s Dune, and it still made me decide to check out The Holy Mountain (probably now one of my favorite movies). I picked up El Topo too but haven’t watched it yet. I don’t remember if I saw your original prediction when it came out. I would say that if I did see it I wish I had checked out Jodorowsky back then, but I’m also not sure that I would’ve been ready to appreciate The Holy Mountain yet in 2007.

  4. Has anyone seen his new one, THE DANCE OF REALITY? It played for about a second at a theater in DC, but I was working and by the time I had a night off, it was already departed. To my eternal shame. I promise I’ll buy the blu-ray or just send Jodorowsky some money in a box, but I’m dying to know how his first film in forever actually is.

  5. Tawdry has apparently seen it like six times now and keeps forgetting it every single time. I guess is burrows into your subconscious and erases any trace of itself. That’s some powerful shit right there.

  6. Hipsters

    lawl

  7. For further evidence that this is the year of Jodorowsky, St. Vincent released an album this year where the cover is clearly an homage to the work of the Chilean director. Now hip-hop stars and indie-rock darlings are both trying to get some of that sweet, sweet Jodorowsky bump. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Vincent_(album)

  8. DANCE OF REALITY is Jodorowsky’s best film in my opinion. I like his wacky ’70s shit as much as the next guy, but it does have a kind of intellectual distance to it, like “look at this weird shit I am making happen for your stoned contemplation people. Also, titties.”

    DANCE OF REALITY on the other hand, is about Jodorowsky himself, his parents, his country etc etc. If you’ve seen JODOROWSKY’S DUNE you’ll know he’s a passionate guy, and the movie is overflowing with that passion. Sure, you’l be reminded of certain other surrealist, tit-obsessed filmmakers who have made films about their childhoods, and one could imagine a cynic being a dick about such comparisons, but honestly I think the sincerity and sense of blood sweat and tears that have gone into this more than overcomes all that.

    It’s a really slept on film in my opinion which is weird given the subject of this post.

  9. Oh yeah I forgot to mention -this film starts REALLY BADLY. You see Jodorowsky’s head as he intones some shit about “is money God?” or something, while surrounded by terrible CGI coins flipping about. It looks like a get rich quick TV ad you might see at about 4am on a regional channel. Then the movie proper starts and the first thing we see are a couple of clowns. Get out your art film bingo cards and cross off “Clowns” right? Fortunately, the clowns and the money are never seen again and the film gets back on track pretty much straight away.

  10. I recently saw Jodorowsky in a 2005 documentary named MIDNIGHT MOVIES, which was about midnight movies. In it he came across like a big kid, who was really excited to talk about EL TOPO and the audiences who watched it during midnight screening back in the days. He really made me smile with the way he acted. Basically he was the complete opposite of Kanye West!

  11. His whole ensemble really.

  12. Kanye wasn’t the first rapper to get in on the Jodorowsky action, believe it or not. It’s a little known fact that the Die Antwoord track Beat Boy is basically a rap adaptation of the perverse Moebius/Jodorowsky comic Angel Claw.

  13. I had the old Raro import DVDs of EL TOPO and HOLY MOUNTAIN and traded those for the blu ray release. They look really really good, and they also happen to be really really out of print and worth A TON OF MONEY.

  14. I’ve only seen The Holy Mountain and have been meaning to see more

  15. Last night I caught the JODOROWSKY’S DUNE documentary. I really found it fascinating to see just how influential his pitch turned out to be and really wish we lived in a world where he actually got to make the film itself. Considering that you were ahead of the curve on Jodo-fever, Vern, I’m surprised that you haven’t done a review of the documentary. (Honestly, I was even a little surprised that you didn’t appear in the documentary, maybe in a shadow like when they interview people who are in witness protection or something. I mean, the had McWeeny and Faraci on there and you have at least as much to say about this crazy genius as they do)

  16. I enjoyed the documentary but I didn’t have enough to say about it to do a review. I mean, it’s like alot of the documentaries now, you see the trailer and you know what the story is and then you see the movie and it’s a longer version of exactly what you expected and it’s pretty good although you get a little sick of now everybody thinks they’re an expert on Sixto Rodriguez and Sea World and shit.

    Of the things I didn’t know about his version of Dune that they revealed my favorite was the whole thing about his son Brontis training under a cruel martial arts master for years to prepare for the movie. And I don’t think I ever knew that David Carradine was supposed to be in it.

    Jodorowsky is always fun to listen to, even if you think he’s full of shit. So that’s one reason why it’s entertaining.

    Part of me is a little sad that now he’s mainly known as the guy who tried to do DUNE instead of that being a fascinating footnote about the guy who actually did make HOLY MOUNTAIN. But another part of me is really happy that young film buffs now know who he is and feel compelled to see his movies. I’ve watched it happen, and it’s great.

  17. Vern- that’s a good point about this and many other recent docs. It really didn’t have much to say beyond the log line. For me, the real highlight was watching Jodorowsky himself, whom I had previously only seen as an actor in his films. His energy and positivity is just incredible.

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