When the Soviet Union fell many pondered what would happen to the spy agencies and the main strains of paranoia that characterized the cold war period. And what would happen to the spy genre and the archetypical characters who inhabited this oppressive world. Film noir style and atmosphere could be used in a light-hearted manner in a post-historical context, but viewing the original films while living in an empire in fast decline brings out the undercurrent that gives lie to a Father Knows Best view of the -50’s.
There are parallels between with past decade and the mid to late 1950’s, culturally and politically, but the situation is inverted economically. The loans taken out by the Greatest generation (TM) and the baby boomers has come to term with no payments having been sent in in the meantime. The -50’s was the crest of the wave of prosperity and that wave has now crashed against the rocks.
The sunny gloss of -50’s popular culture covered an underbelly crawling with tension, political subterfuge and the gradual intertwining of oranized crime and power. In recent memory the popular culture and media of the West combined a Brave New World tabloid «reality» TV peopled with orange-tanned hedonists coupled with news organizations reduced to being propaganda mouthpieces for the corporate paymasters who own you, me, our government and even our :grass-roots» movements, divided into «left» and «right» wing outlets arguing over whether the populace should be drinking political and economic bleach or gasoline. Different substances, same outcome.
My own perspective may singular in its vantage point. I have been working nearly three decades of working with the Lord of Hallucinations, so it may logically follow that I should find my consciousness invaded by disturbances, hypnagogic impressions and that I would be drawn to projects that inhabit dream worlds. Film noir, german expressionism, electronic voice phenomena and hauntology inhabit different countries in the same dark parallel world. The haunted landscape of Witch House is the dread beneath the crumbling suburban veneer, just as the world of the films of Harmony Korinne lifts the lid of the psyche of that majority of people who were left out of even the boom times.
As with Cirxus, its theme of nuclear meltdown and utopian promises was met with dismissal from some corners with a notion that the nuclear energy question was one settled in the favour of the industry. Now we have the nuclear disaster in Japan and it turns out many of our facilities are similarly vulnerable. So it is with dreams and monsters that for a few generations have seemed to be innocent and hokey. Zombies grab our collective imagination, and witches are potent archetypes in one subculture and another subculture is hard at work trying to bring literal witch hunts back elsewhere on the globe with a view to importing them back here. A possible dystopian future could be as much The Crucible and the rat-infested Nosferatu as Mad Max, and the mood is definitely dread and maximum schreck…
The stories we tell play a role far greater than to make the period between shift at work pass by more quickly. They help us interpret our reality and more importantly, to shape it.
Strange Factories is FoolishPeople’s first feature film, which explores the power of stories and myths and how they are ultimately given life by those who engage with them.
We would like you to become part of our story. You’re a crucial element of how this project is produced, created and experienced.
Join our IndieGoGo campaign and become a part of the ‘Strange Factories’ story.
A special thank you to Arban Severin, designer and maker of the Punch mask.