Another Excerpt from "The Jungle", Chapter 13

His labor took him about one minute to learn. Before him was one of the vents of the mill in which the fertilizer was being ground-- rushing forth in a great brown river, with a spray of the finest dust flung forth in clouds. Jurgis was given a shovel, and along with half a dozen others it was his task to shovel this fertilizer into carts. That others were at work he knew by the sound, and by the fact that he sometimes collided with them; otherwise they might as well not have been there, for in the blinding dust storm a man could not see six feet in front of his face. When he had filled one cart he had to grope around him until another came, and if there was none on hand he continued to grope till one arrived. In five minutes he was, of course, a mass of fertilizer from head to feet; they gave him a sponge to tie over his mouth, so that he could breathe, but the sponge did not prevent his lips and eyelids from caking up with it and his ears from filling solid. He looked like a brown ghost at twilight--from hair to shoes he became the color of the building and of everything in it, and for that matter a hundred yards outside it. The building had to be left open, and when the wind blew Durham and Company lost a great deal of fertilizer.  
Working in his shirt sleeves, and with the thermometer at over a hundred, the phosphates soaked in through every pore of Jurgis' skin, and in five minutes he had a headache, and in fifteen was almost dazed. The blood was pounding in his brain like an engine's throbbing; there was a frightful pain in the top of his skull, and he could hardly control his hands. Still, with the memory of his four months' siege behind him, he fought on, in a frenzy of determination; and half an hour later he began to vomit--he vomited until it seemed as if his inwards must be torn into shreds. A man could get used to the fertilizer mill, the boss had said, if he would make up his mind to it; but Jurgis now began to see that it was a question of making up his stomach.  

At the end of that day of horror, he could scarcely stand. He had to catch himself now and then, and lean against a building and get his bearings. Most of the men, when they came out, made straight for a saloon--they seemed to place fertilizer and rattlesnake poison in one class. But Jurgis was too ill to think of drinking--he could only make his way to the street and stagger on to a car. He had a sense of humor, and later on, when he became an old hand, he used to think it fun to board a streetcar and see what happened. Now, however, he was too ill to notice it--how the people in the car began to gasp and sputter, to put their handkerchiefs to their noses, and transfix him with furious glances. Jurgis only knew that a man in front of him immediately got up and gave him a seat; and that half a minute later the two people on each side of him got up; and that in a full minute the crowded car was nearly empty--those passengers who could not get room on the platform having gotten out to walk.  

Of course Jurgis had made his home a miniature fertilizer mill a minute after entering. The stuff was half an inch deep in his skin-- his whole system was full of it, and it would have taken a week not merely of scrubbing, but of vigorous exercise, to get it out of him. As it was, he could be compared with nothing known to men, save that newest discovery of the savants, a substance which emits energy for an unlimited time, without being itself in the least diminished in power. He smelled so that he made all the food at the table taste, and set the whole family to vomiting; for himself it was three days before he could keep anything upon his stomach--he might wash his hands, and use a knife and fork, but were not his mouth and throat filled with the poison?  



Look, Mutations (aka "Freakmaker") has showed up on the youtube movies page. Already highly recommended in a previous post, this update of Freaks starring Tom Baker and Donald Pleasance is a can't-miss.

Movie is not embeddable. Start HERE instead.

By the way, youtube movies suddenly has hundreds of choices. Check it out here.


The Jungle

I'm visiting Chicago and preoccupied, therefore unable to keep up with the blistering one-post-per-day rate this blog has maintained so faithfully for so long. But I'm taking the opportunity to finally read The Jungle, which is fitting, because even though the stockyards are gone, few things have changed in Chicago over the last 100 years. An excerpt from chapter 3:

Entering one of the Durham buildings, they found a number of other visitors waiting; and before long there came a guide, to escort them through the place. They make a great feature of showing strangers through the packing plants, for it is a good advertisement. But the visitors did not see any more than the packers wanted them to. They climbed a long series of stairways outside of the building, to the top of its five or six stories. Here was the chute, with its river of hogs, all patiently toiling upward; there was a place for them to rest to cool off, and then through another passageway they went into a room from which there is no returning for hogs.

It was a long, narrow room, with a gallery along it for visitors. At the head there was a great iron wheel, about twenty feet in circumference, with rings here and there along its edge. Upon both sides of this wheel there was a narrow space, into which came the hogs at the end of their journey; in the midst of them stood a great burly Negro, bare-armed and bare-chested. He was resting for the moment, for the wheel had stopped while men were cleaning up. In a minute or two, however, it began slowly to revolve, and then the men upon each side of it sprang to work. They had chains which they fastened about the leg of the nearest hog, and the other end of the chain they hooked into one of the rings upon the wheel. So, as the wheel turned, a hog was suddenly jerked off his feet and borne aloft.

At the same instant the car was assailed by a most terrifying shriek; the visitors started in alarm, the women turned pale and shrank back. The shriek was followed by another, louder and yet more agonizing-- for once started upon that journey, the hog never came back; at the top of the wheel he was shunted off upon a trolley, and went sailing down the room. And meantime another was swung up, and then another, and another, until there was a double line of them, each dangling by a foot and kicking in frenzy--and squealing. The uproar was appalling, perilous to the eardrums; one feared there was too much sound for the room to hold--that the walls must give way or the ceiling crack. There were high squeals and low squeals, grunts, and wails of agony; there would come a momentary lull, and then a fresh outburst, louder than ever, surging up to a deafening climax. It was too much for some of the visitors--the men would look at each other, laughing nervously, and the women would stand with hands clenched, and the blood rushing to their faces, and the tears starting in their eyes.

Meantime, heedless of all these things, the men upon the floor were going about their work. Neither squeals of hogs nor tears of visitors made any difference to them; one by one they hooked up the hogs, and one by one with a swift stroke they slit their throats. There was a long line of hogs, with squeals and lifeblood ebbing away together; until at last each started again, and vanished with a splash into a huge vat of boiling water.

It was all so very businesslike that one watched it fascinated. It was porkmaking by machinery, porkmaking by applied mathematics. And yet somehow the most matter-of-fact person could not help thinking of the hogs; they were so innocent, they came so very trustingly; and they were so very human in their protests--and so perfectly within their rights! They had done nothing to deserve it; and it was adding insult to injury, as the thing was done here, swinging them up in this cold-blooded, impersonal way, without a pretense of apology, without the homage of a tear. Now and then a visitor wept, to be sure; but this slaughtering machine ran on, visitors or no visitors. It was like some horrible crime committed in a dungeon, all unseen and unheeded, buried out of sight and of memory.

One could not stand and watch very long without becoming philosophical, without beginning to deal in symbols and similes, and to hear the hog squeal of the universe. Was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some were black; some were brown, some were spotted; some were old, some young; some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart's desire; each was full of self- confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway. Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it-- it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life. And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hog squeals and agonies had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice?


LDS: Live and Lo-Fi

LDS did a session a couple weeks ago, and made the mistake of recording from the room monitor mics rather than directly from the soundboard. So the fidelity is thin, and it's integrated with the sounds of us shuffling around and throwing switches. It has its moments, although the lack of recording quality will probably restrict it from appearing anywhere other than here on futurechimp.com, where standards are low.

station 1: powerbook running synth software, chimera bc16, ribbon synth, circuit-bent speak and math.

station 2: nintendo ds running synth software, kaosillator pad, circuit-bent tibetan prayer box, contact mic.


The Children

If you're going to see only one Killer Zombie Children Movie this holiday season with your family, make it The Children.

You know how lucky you are to have the opportunity to see this in the comfort of your own home? According to imdb.com, when this movie had its opening weekend at a drive-in near Tucson, Arizona in 1980, there was a line of cars that stretched for six miles.

Perhaps I can pique your interest with a couple of clips:

This is currently out-of-print on DVD, but is available online. If you have Netflix, you can watch it using their streaming feature HERE. If not, youtube has a high-rez feature-length video HERE.


Festival of Rot

Seeing Through Commercials

Our fifth grade class saw this on 16mm in 1980. It made a big impression on me at the time, and still does. I hope schoolkids are continuing to be taught the fundamentals of critical thinking, a healthy suspicion towards propaganda, and the importance of keeping realistic expectations.


Little Red Riding Hood and The Monsters

This is from the same Mexican studio that made the Santa Claus movie, and was dubbed by American distributor K. Gordon Murray. Circa mid-to-late 60's, it actually screened in the USA's matinee circuit. Imagine that.

I won't lie, this movie hurts. But the trauma quotient makes it rewarding. The songs and costumes are sickening, and the shrill voices and bad dubbing make it even more surreal than it may have been in its original language. It doesn't help that the girl who plays Red Riding Hood gives the "kid" from Burial Ground a run for his money in sheer creep-factor. (that link is slightly NSFW)

Everything I've posted on "Movie of the Week" is highly recommended, but inevitably as time passes, the volume of films might diminish the vehemence of my recommendations. That said, you owe it to yourself to at least try the first few minutes of this week's offering. Don't just take my word for it, listen to these testimonials pulled from the imdb.com comment board:

"I saw this movie with my dad when I was 4 years old. I'm 48 now, and I can honestly say that this is the most freaked out I have ever been by a movie."

"Some of the animal costumes are so molting and gross, it actually looks as if the fur has fleas or scabies."

"I love Eraserhead, Shinya Tsukamoto, David Cronenberg, Peter Haneke, all the notorious Italian cannibal films, mondo cinema, Jess Franco, Joe D'Amato. I've seen it all! But I am proud (ashamed?) to say that this is one of the first movies I have ever turned off because it freaked me out."

"Its odd how this Studio Azteca kiddie flick is probably more horrifying and nightmare inducing than any of their actual horror films."

"This is the holy grail of weirdo kiddie movies, the ultimate wicked fairy tale, a morbid, bizarre case of Grand Guignol for kids in the most odd permutation of genres ever concocted."

Part one (sorry, it's ten minute segments) is linked below. You can also get it on DVD-R from this guy, along with many other K. Gordon Murray Mexican imports. Or buy it in Spanish at amazon.

Enter The Videodrome