Carne dissolta in un acido di luce: il B-movie come seconda vista

Interessante articolo a proposito dei così detti film di serie b tratto dal sito Ballardian.

fotogramma dal film Essi Vivono (They Live) di John Carpenter

‘Flesh dissolved in an acid of light’: the B-movie as second sight —

This is an earlier version of an article published in Continuum, Volume 24, Issue 5 October 2010, pages 721-33. Both versions were based on a paper given by Simon Sellars at the Monash University conference, B for bad cinema: aesthetics, politics and cultural value.

Recent academic discussions of ‘badfilm’ and ‘paracinema’ have highlighted the re-appraisal of ‘all forms of “cinematic trash”’ (Sconce 1995, 372). This article addresses the theme by contrasting films from two of the most well-known purveyors of ‘cinematic trash’: X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes (1963), directed by Roger Corman, and They Live (1988), directed by John Carpenter. In X, a scientist develops X-ray vision, seeing into the fourth dimension and something so shocking he rips his eyes out. This act is analogous with Corman’s career as purveyor of trash cinema: refraining from pushing badfilm’s power to the absolute limit; foregoing the gift of ‘second sight’; content to exist on a marginalised, second-tier, parallel reality to the Hollywood mainstream. In They Live, Carpenter re-empowers the thesis: the hero stumbles on a secret society that has developed sunglasses to see through the real to the alien-generated subliminal messages in advertising and politics. Rather than withdrawal, Carpenter’s hero declares: ‘I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass – and I’m all out of bubblegum’. Unabashed, glorying in his outsider status, Carpenter reappropriates Hollywood values in a cheap ‘bubblegum’ universe, deploying trash culture as a smart bomb that aims to prise apart not only cinematic convention but also reality itself.

Ultimately, both films, in very different historical specificities, and linked by the work of J.G. Ballard, offer up the B-movie as a response to the gathering global and economic forces of late capitalism, signified by what Slavoj Žižek identifies as the ‘ideological state apparatus’ of the Hollywood movie-making machine (2002). […]

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