Outer Space (1999)
Dir. Peter Tscherkassky
So I’ve got much catching up to do. Many films were viewed, many books were read in this long absence for Febriblog, but as I feel compelled to write on them, I will. This time has been taken to attempt, gasp, creative writing once again, in hopes to one day use this here outlet to hawk my own projects. That’s what having a blog is really about these days, isn’t it?
Anyways, today I bring you one of the finest experimental shorts I’ve come across lately, a particularly brutal re-appropriation of a semi-forgotten Barbara Hershey-starring horror film titled The Entity from 1982. In this film, filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky assembled found footage, and in the grand tradition of Mekas, following through to the more recent works of Bill Morrison, takes this footage and manipulates it to the point of pure abstraction.
Outer Space is truly a masterwork of editing technique, this must is irrefutable, but the tone of utter dread is the true star of this piece. This is a film that David Lynch may have even considered while editing Mulholland Dr., particularly in that film’s haunting finale, but Outer Space makes that film look restrained in comparison, as the epileptic images and haunting distortion of the found film’s diagetic sound provide a relentless collage of nightmares. However, perhaps there’s a better parallel here. It seems that The Entity involves a woman who is sexually molested by an invisible demon (this is just inferred from the trailer, correct me if I’m wrong), but here Tscherkassky instead coaxes a sort of quasi-remake of Repulsion out of the material, repositioning the demons to the interior kind.
A house lies dormant but nervous in the distance, terrified faces seemingly fold into one another, the interior finds itself melding into an impossible kind of architecture before its protagonist’s scared eyes… It’s an intense watch, one that could understandably prove troublesome for some viewers, if for no other reason than its assault on the senses, but its sustained tone is truly something to behold. I look forward to seeing this filmmaker’s new work, Coming Attractions, that made a splash at TIFF last year, and of course, delving into his rich ouvre more. Enjoy.