Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This NOW Magazine article begins, sort of condescendingly...
Stanley Kubrick wasn’t known for his personal style, but the visually arresting costumes in his films have haunted our cultural psyche for decades. Here are five of the most memorable...
Of course, it goes without saying that the costumes from 2001: A Spacey Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut are fantastic. But there's something to be said for the simplicity of a grey anorak, a simple white shirt without ties, and an assortment of sweaters. Quite frankly, he's a personal style guru to yours truly!


Formerly of the duo Azure Ray, smooth alternative artist Orenda Fink's new video features her playing "both the victims and their tormentors in the clip, paying shot-for-shot homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, and Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist." 

You can find out more about the artist, this song/video, and the album it comes from, at FlavorWire.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


In this year's edition of The Simpsons’ popular Halloween season special episode - aka, Treehouse of Terror XXV - the second segment was an extended riff on one of Stanley Kubrick's most popular, yet controversial, films: A Clockwork Orange.

While some might find it odd that an ostensible children's cartoon should be so thoroughly influenced by a film that was once rated-X for its "ultra-violent" content (including a vicious rape), this episode, like most Treehouses of Terror that have come before, was rated TV-14, and thus aimed at a slightly older, more knowing cohort. In any case, A Clockwork Orange has long since ascended to the pantheon of global cinematic milestones, so the haters had better get used to its (admittedly somewhat ugly) presence on the scene.

Furthermore, Clockwork isn't the only Kubrick film to be referenced during this segment. Here and now, I will attempt to catalog all the Kubrick references to be found in The Simpsons' A Clockwork Yellow.

1. First, the title, which seems to be not just a rather obvious riff on A Clockwork Orange, but also a play on the infamous Mad Magazine parody of said film, titled A Crockwork Lemon… lemons being yellow and all.

2. The Simpsons writers have made up their own version of NadSat - the language spoken by Alex in Clockwork - and it's pretty clever. I won't bother detailing all the lingo used, as that would require me printing the entire script. Suffice it to say that it's a long-running gag, and it works well.

3. The music is essentially the same as Walter Carlos' iconic Clockwork Orange score. The "Duff Dudes" furniture takes the place of the naked lady sculptures, and the entire mise-en-scene and choreography of Clockwork Orange is slavishly followed.

4. Although Moloko signs plaster the wall of the bar, it's Duff that has the variety of flavors. So, instead of Moloko VelocetDrenchrom and Synthmesc, you have Duff TipsySurlyDizzyQueasySleazy and Edgy.

5. "The old in-out, in-out", being a euphemism for sex and/or rape in ACO, becomes a game to be played with the automatic doors (at the UKWIKE-MART) in ACY.

6. In this direct parody of the record store scene in ACO, "Dum" (Homer) strolls past albums titled in parody of various Kubrick films. There's "Dr. Strangelaugh" (a play on Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, featuring the ever-chuckling Dr. Hubbard), "Paths of Gravy" (a play on Paths of Glory), "Full Milton Jacket" (a play on Full Metal Jacket) and "D'oh!Lita" (a play on Lolita).

7. Instead of Beethoven, whom ACO's Alex refers to as "Ludwig Van", Dim wants to listen to soul singer Luther Vandross, whom ACY's Dum refers to as "Luther Van".

8. A clever play on the sped-up sex scene from ACO, in which the Clocwork Orange novel is read by Marge, and Dum just eats stuff. They do flip the mattress, as in ACO, which is a nice touch.

9. A very Kubrickean sans-serif interstitial title card, more likely to be seen in 2001 and The Shining than in Clockwork, but there you go. It's still Kubrickean!.

10. A direct parody of the most popular image from ACO, only this time, poor Moe is watching Fox.

11. The infamous Home Invasion scene from ACO is replayed with only a single victim this time...

12. ...and the infamous penis sculpture murder from the Cat Lady's house in ACO turns into a Shmoo sculpture murder in ACY.

13. Just as Pete and Georgie become police and turn on Alex in ACO, so to do Moe's former cohorts, only this time...

14. ...they decide to rejoin him, just in time to recreate an iconic slo-mo stroll from ACO!

15. Time for another Home invasion.

16. Uh-oh. Looks like they decided to drop in on Springfield's version of Somerton, the evil-dripping Rothschild chateau featured so prominently in Eyes Wide Shut! As Mr Burns declares, reflecting the sentiments of many critics in 1999: "Welcome to the most frustrating, befuddling and, yes, erotic book launch party that you've ever attended!" The book in question just happens to be a great big Taschen coffee table book. The fact that Taschen has put out some of the most coveted (and pricey) Kubrick-related books in the history of publishing cannot be a simple coincidence, here.

17. Just like the party Tom Cruise gate-crashes in EWS, this place is chock-a-block with "be-costumed weirdos".

18. "Sex blockers, keep blocking!" A reference to the egregious censorship suffered by EWS between the time of Kubrick's death and its theatrical run.

19. Moe intrudes on Full Metal Jacket's Private Gomer Pyle in the latrine, getting ready to... well... you know.

20. One of perhaps a dozen or so 2001 references in the history of The Simpsons.

21. And another!

22. "Even I forget what this is in reference to!" Poor Barry Lyndon... it can't get any respect, despite being a masterpiece.

23. Moe was cured, all right!

24. After dozens upon dozens of Kubrick references in The Simpsons, we finally, at long last, get a Kubrick CAMEO! I bet he would have loved it...

25. ...even though they make him out to be a bit of a megalomaniacal sour-puss at the end, there.


Well, that's all the references I could spot! If you were able to find any others, please list them below, in the comments section for this story!


Terry Southern, photographed by Stanley Kubrick

From the introduction by Nile Southern, son of author Terry Southern...
This is really the story of two killings. 
In the summer of ’62, my father received a fateful assignment from Esquire to interview Stanley Kubrick whose film Lolita was about to be released. Terry admired Paths of Glory, The Killing, and Spartacus and, despite the list of canned (mostly trivial) questions from Esquire, engaged Kubrick in a provocative discussion about film, literature, and eroticism. After submitting the piece through his agent, it was clear Esquire wanted something more “gossipy” on Kubrick. … As the interview languished at Esquire, Terry began working on the screenplay for Dr. Strangelove, and in 1963 asked Esquire if he could do a piece on the movie.Incorporating bits of the squelched interview, he found the time to write the article during filming.
In the piece that follows, Terry introduces the reader (and the masses) to Kubrick, this revolutionary film, and the all-important (and ever looming) topic of the day: nuclear annihilation. Much to his astonishment, the editors dismissed the article as a “puff piece” and prodded him to go more gonzo. ... Terry protested, quite presciently, that this was one of those “rare instances where something genuinely great was at hand.” He wrote back: I have obviously failed to persuade you as to the phenomenal nature of the film itself — i.e. that it is categorically different from any film yet made, and that it will probably have a stronger impact in America than any single film, play, or book in our memory. To say that the piece is a “puff” is, to my mind, like saying that a piece about thalidomide babies is “downbeat.”
Read the rescued Esquire piece, as finally published in FilmMaker Magazine, 40 years after it was written, HERE.


This is just incredible.

The blog Cinephilia And Beyond has amassed an amazing assortment of documents and videos related to Stanley Kubrick's satirical magnum opus, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. This includes a never-before-seen-or-heard "promo reel" put together by Kubrick during the production - using some takes that ended up on the cutting room floor - apparently designed to assuage the rattled nerves of the film's (understandably) skittish financial backers.  You have to watch this thing to believe it.

Also, you absolutely have to visit the above link, which is a true treasure trove of Strangelove-related goodies, including multiple versions of the script, color photos of the shoot (some taken by Kubrick himself, others by Peter Sellers!) and more stuff than I can jam into this space without puking in my own mouth out of how jealous I am that I didn't put it together first! Go... just, go!

I'll start you off with the first part of the aforementioned promo reel. You need to go to the above link to see the rest, and check out all the other great stuff they've got.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Before continuing with this blog post, you should probably read PART ONE and PART TWO. All done? Thanks! - Jerky

Okay, so, where were we? Ah yes… the Internet circa, roughly, 1995. I was spending an inordinate amount of time participating in newsgroup discussion threads on all sorts of topics… but for the most part, I was on alt.movies.kubrick. I made a few friends there, and one or two enemies, but all in all it was an excellent virtual hangout, where the topics ran the gamut from the highest of high culture to the lowliest of current events, all of which we were somehow able to relate to something we’d seen in one or more of Stanley Kubrick’s films.

Some of the more interesting conversations that took place at AMK have been archived for posterity at a number of websites – sites which I have decided to include in their very own section here at KubrickU. You can find them under the heading TOP KUBRICK LINKS. There, you’ll find all of the most useful Kubrick-related websites, including a few obvious ones (IMDB, Wikipedia), and a few more outré selections (the Overlook Hotel site, the Kubrick-Floyd Synchronicities Site). All are worth spending some time on.

The high traffic levels and high quality of the discussions at AMK were particularly noteworthy when one considers that Kubrick fans had been suffering through nearly a decade’s worth of unbroken silence, with nothing but a few scant crumbs of industry gossip to keep our hopes alive. And then, like a thunderous revelation brought down from the mountaintop by bloody-eyed Zarathustra, himself, it happened… Kubrick finished weighing his options and made a decision, and a new Kubrick film was definitely on its way!

Needless to say, Eyes Wide Shut was the object of some high-octane speculation from the get-go. Every step of the way, every aspect of the production was gleefully picked apart by we (mostly) well-intentioned obsessives. And boy howdy, was there ever a lot to pick apart. Considering who was involved with this film – and considering all the myriad cast shuffles, shooting schedule extensions, script revisions and re-shoots – you could hardly blame us for believing that Eyes Wide Shut was either going to be one of the greatest movies ever made, or a fiasco of epic proportions.

In the middle of all this, Kubrick won the D.W. Griffith award from the Director’s Guild of America (DGA). He couldn't attend the ceremony to accept the award himself – indeed, considering the legends that had risen up around him since he left the United States back in the early 60’s, nobody could have expected him to – but he did send a video acceptance speech that, for a great many of us younger Kubrick fans, was the first time we’d heard the man’s speaking voice*… and its soft, slightly nasal, Bronx-inflected tone was almost as big a shock as the dramatic change in his appearance since the last time he was photographed, a dozen years previous.

And then, on March 7, 1999, over four months before Eyes Wide Shut was set to be released and just days after he’d shown an assembly cut to an assortment of Warner Bros honchos, Stanley Kubrick died of a massive heart attack in his sleep.

I can still remember where I was when I first heard the news. I was sitting in my living room at home when I got a call from my friend and fellow Kubrick fanatic Luis, owner of Suspect Video and Culture. “Did you hear the news?” he asked. “Stanley Kubrick died.”

I went cold, and a sort of denial crept over me. I thanked Luis for telling me, then hung up and turned on CNN. Not that I suspected Luis of pulling a nasty trick on me, but I needed to see the news for myself before I could believe it.

It didn’t take long. News of Kubrick’s death was at the top of the news cycle, where it belonged, so the story was repeating and being updated, every hour on the hour.

Needless to say, this was bad news… very bad news, indeed.

It was a terrible blow, obviously, to his family and loved ones. And it was also a great loss to world cinema, as evinced by the plethora of encomiums that poured from his peers’ word processors, fattening specialty film magazines from every corner of the globe to the point of bursting with special features and “collectors” issues dedicated to the man’s life and work.

But it was particularly bad news for Eyes Wide Shut. Because, as any Kubrick fan worth his salt could tell you, Stanley worked on his films until the last possible moment… and, on more than one occasion, beyond it. With four freaking months of post-production left to go before Eyes Wide Shut’s premiere, no amount of promises from panicking Warner Bros brass could sway me from my belief that Kubrick’s final film was forever, tragically, doomed to being unfinished.

And then – as if the prospect of Stanley Kubrick’s final film being unfinished at the time of his death wasn’t bad enough – The Powers That Be stepped in and began doing their best to turn tragedy into travesty.

First they went after the film’s explicit “orgy” sequence, digitally pasting a bunch of ridiculous, crudely composed figures over sex scenes no more explicit than what you could watch nightly on Cinemax pay cable at the time. Much to my shocked chagrin, there were apologists for this disgusting censorship even among many self-declared Kubrick fanatics. “It doesn't matter!”, I can recall some of them explaining. “Kubrick knew he had to deliver an R-rated movie… so he definitely would have wanted it that way!”

Next, a handful of British Hindus complained about the fact that some of their “religious” music was playing over that same orgy scene. So what did Warner Bros do? They immediately caved and replaced the music. And what did the apologists say? “It doesn't matter! It’s just one piece of music! Surely if Stanley were alive and was told that his musical choice had hurt someone’s feelings, he would have made a similar change!” One repeated refrain heard at AMK was about how other films had suffered far worse fates, so who were Kubrick fans to complain about a few little… um… “tweaks”?

Sad to say, but in those days, I was finding precious little evidence of the “rabid devotion” that Kubrick was alleged to inspire among his fanatical cult of admirers.

Maybe it was denial. Maybe some of them were having a hard time coming to terms with the possibility that a movie they’d waited so long for – five bloody years! – might not be “the real deal”. I don’t know. I’m no psychologist. But I do know that I would rather have an unfinished Kubrick film than a Kubrick film finished by a committee who then try to pass it off as “100 percent Kubrick”. And that’s exactly what I believe we've got with Eyes Wide Shut. I was afraid that might be the case in the weeks leading up to its release, and as I walked out of the theater on opening day I felt as though my worst suspicions had just been confirmed.

Does that mean I believe Eyes Wide Shut to be worthless? Not at all! I’m actually thankful for it. There are things in and about it that I dearly love, and I look forward to sharing some of the intriguing thoughts and theories that I've come across over the years in my quest to try and figure out what really happened behind the scenes – both pre- and posthumously – on Stanley Kubrick’s final film.

And so there you have it… an all-too-wordy breakdown of my life as an unrepentant Kubrick Nut! Sure, there’s more to the Kubrick story beyond Eyes Wide Shut and the aftermath of its release. There’s Steven Spielberg’s unjustly-maligned completion of Kubrick’s long-gestating return to cinematic science-fiction, A.I. There also remains a lot to be said about Kubrick’s ongoing influence on all of the arts, which, if anything, has only increased since his death.

And then, thanks in part to high-gloss documentaries like the surprise hit Room 237 (and a vast array of far less ritzy D.I.Y. videos on Youtube and the like), there’s the sudden, somewhat shocking rise of Kubrick conspiracy theories, which has resulted in his films becoming some of the most important and widely-discussed subjects of paracultural, or esoteric, analysis in recent times. I hope to bring you some interesting reportage on these subjects in the coming days, weeks, months and years.

Keep watching this space!

*not counting, of course, his Hitchcockian voice-over role as Murph, with whom Cowboy attempts to secure armored vehicle support while crossing through the Vietnamese city of Hue, in Full Metal Jacket. Prior to that, the only chance we’d have had to hear Kubrick’s voice was in Vivian Kubrick’s documentary The Making of The Shining (1980), which originally aired on British TV and on pay TV in the USA, and didn’t become commercially available until a special edition DVD release of The Shining in 2006.

Monday, October 13, 2014


From a think-piece on the legacy of Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange, written for the Telegraph UK, published October 1st of this year:
Few writers, whatever the claims made for them by literary critics, ever manage to spawn big cultural moments. One who genuinely did so was Anthony Burgess, with his novel A Clockwork Orange. And, as novelists are often contrary by nature, he was highly ambivalent about this state of affairs. Burgess would disparagingly refer to the book, published in 1962, as a “novella”, regarding it as an inconsequential sliver of his Brobdingnagian canon. He blamed (and there’s really no other term for it) the book’s resonance on the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation, which appeared nine years later. 
My generation was obsessed with this stylistic, inventive affair, a movie that spurned both mainstream Hollywood concerns and European art house affectations to stake out a unique terrain for British independent cinema. Kubrick’s movie was an influence on the Ziggy-era David Bowie, and it was those cool credentials that made me backtrack to the film, which I first saw at a late-night screening several years after its release. As is generally the way of those things, far fewer of us had enjoyed any exposure to the novel. As a writer who has had many of his own books adapted for screen, I’m a little uncomfortable at conceding that I was in this camp. 
Much of Burgess’s enmity towards his creation stems from the missing last chapter in the American editions of the novel. His US publisher omitted it on the quasi-religious principle, beloved of that culture, that over here all is good, while across the street evil abounds. This is the childlike thinking that allows authors, film-makers and governments to create monsters in order to terrorise and manipulate the domestic population of that nation. 
In this final chapter, Burgess has Alex growing out of his wrongdoings, looking back and regarding it as all a little bit sad and embarrassing – the antics of daft kids – and, as the cliché goes, determined that his own children won’t make the same mistakes he did. Basically, it’s the beautiful truth of redemption, and the stunningly mundane lesson of real life. It profoundly isn’t dramatic; but it has social truth, intellectual honesty and the intrinsic morality of proper storytelling. This raises the uncomfortable question: which is more important to the novelist? To the reader? 
Burgess originally agreed to dispense with chapter 21 for money but, once he had made enough, insisted that it was reinserted. He was correct in doing this, although you can understand why Stanley Kubrick, though filming in Britain, chose to work from the US edition and omitted it. This understandably was a running sore for Burgess, though his ire was directed not at the film-maker, with whom he remained on good terms, but his American publishers.

Read the rest of this intriguing piece at the link provided above. Also, if you plan on reading any of Irvine Welsh's novels, I'd recommend Filth. It's pretty crazy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


In this excellent, thorough and wide-ranging essay by Donnie Darko auteur Richard Kelly, he provides a wonderful, thoughtful examination of Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, and David Fincher's latest film, Gone Girl, teasing out some rather startlingly cogent analysis by comparing and contrasting what both films seem to be trying to do, and where they both succeed, magnificently. He even gets in some conspiracy-worthy observations about the suspicious placement of plush lion dolls.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


About half-way through this Opie and Anthony radio show riff-fest about Christian performer Lil Markie's act, O&A Show regular Jim Norton begins referencing The Shining, only to have the rest of the crew join in, including the sound effects guy who starts playing Wendy Carlos' iconic opening theme music. The fun starts about half-way through this video, at the point when Lil Markie starts telling the story about his violent alcoholic father. Enjoy! I sure did.