Sunday, May 7, 2023

Cruising Near Dark

From the 1987 OST for Kathryn Bigelow's inimitable debut film, Near Dark, one of about three vampire movies I can't live without. 

Tangerine Dream was such a solid choice for scoring this film, and I'd say it just accentuates William Friedkin's obvious influence on Bigelow film. The early scene in the film this song scores is one of the most era-defining moments of 80s Horror for me. I didn't see Near Dark until well after its release, but the sights and sounds of this sequence somehow sum up a large part of the texture I remember from the mid-to-late 80s. 


Saturday night, K and I finally sat down and watched William Friedkin's 1980 thriller Cruising.

I remember some time back when Netflix was still by mail, I watched Friedkin's French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A. and realized, "Oh shit, this is the same guy who did The Exorcist. Wow."

I've never been one to get into an artist and just consume everything they've done immediately. There's still one Bret Baston Ellis book I haven't read; there are several Irvine Welsh novels I'm keeping on the back burner, and I've not heard more PJ Harvey than I've heard. This isn't to say there's any reason I'm avoiding these entries in the respective artist's canon except that I want to make sure there's something on deck. With Friedkin, I'm sure I looked up his filmography and made some long-forgotten notes, but I didn't exactly jump on anything else right away.

Sometime around 2013, titterings began for the restoration, release and revival house screenings of two "lost masterpieces" - 1977 Sorceror and Cruising. I remember mid-week screenings popping up at the New Beverly Cinema or the Silent Movie Theatre. I remember not having the money to go, or to buy the newly released DVD because my live was getting ready to explode. Ten years later, I finally sat down and watched Cruising and it absolutely blew me away, although not in the manner I expected. 

Friedkin is the best kind of sneaky when it comes to what he shows his audience. He manipulates his story via the medium of film by how he edits, what he puts in and what he leaves out of his script and its dialogue. Also, there's a level of casting manipulation here that I didn't understand at first, but after I read THIS ARTICLE. There is such mastery of film as a medium here, but not in the usual ways. Yes, the craft - the cinematography, writing, acting, all of it is superb, but the mastery I'm referencing here is the way Friedkin compresses his narrative into the actual physical act of showing it to us on screen. This isn't anything 'new,' however, I don't know anyone who has done it quite like this before. 


Black Sabbath - Master of Reality
Black Sabbath - Technical Ecstasy
Bongripper - Satan Worshipping Doom
Atrium Carceri - Kapnobatai
High on Fire - Death is this Communion
High on Fire - Surrounded By Thieves
Sleep - The Sciences
SQÜRL - Silver Haze
Gaupa - Myriad
Mars Red Sky - Eponymous
Steve Earle - J.T.
Trombone Shorty - Too True
The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicenter
Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs


A single Thoth card for my Pull today:

When one path closes, the trick is sidestep the disappointment and watch for the next opening sure to arise in the wake. 


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