Tag Archives: Commercialism

309. DEATH LAID AN EGG (1968)

La morte ha fatto l’uovo, AKA Plucked

“I think that’s a peculiar way to put it, men and chickens mixed up like that.”–Death Laid an Egg (dubbed version)

Recommended

Weirdest!

DIRECTED BY:

FEATURING: , Gina Lollabrigida, Jean Sobieski 

PLOT: The movie opens with a prostitute killed in a hotel room. The action then moves to an experimental poultry farm, largely automated but overseen by Marco, his wife Anna, and their beautiful live-in secretary Gabri. The plot slowly reveals a love triangle, with multiple betrayals, with Marco’s growing disgust at the poultry business brought to a boil when he finds a scientist has bred a species of headless mutant chickens for sale to the public.

Still from Death Laid an Egg (1968)

BACKGROUND:

  • The title was almost certainly inspired by a line from Surrealist icon ‘s “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias“: “Death laid eggs in the wound/at five in the afternoon.” Late in the movie Marco will mutter to himself “At 5 o’clock… the machine… the egg… the work…” and several shots focus on a clock approaching the 5 PM mark.
  • The second of an unofficial trilogy of surrealist movies director Giulio Questi made in “disreputable” genres. For more on Questi’s odd career, see the last paragraph of the Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot! review.
  • Death Laid an Egg was restored in 2016 by Nucleus Films from a newly discovered negative that contained a couple minutes of footage not seen in previous releases. The film was available on VHS in a dubbed version, but outside of suspect bargain versions from overseas, it was unavailable on DVD or Blu-ray until 2017.
  • Bruno Maderna, who wrote the atonal score, was an accomplished classical composer and conductor who died of cancer at the relatively young age of 53, a mere five years after Death Laid an Egg was completed.

INDELIBLE IMAGE: The exotic Lollabrigida and the nubile Aulin are a tempting pair of birds, but they’re upstaged by the actual poultry in this one. The oddest sight of all is hens stuffed into file folders for alphabetization (?) in a chicken functionary’s office.

THREE WEIRD THINGS: Playboy chickens; filed chickens; all-breast chickens

WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: A juicy slice of breaded with a coating of and seasoned with a sprinkling of , Death Laid an Egg was the world’s first (and so far, only) deep-fried, chicken-centric Surrealist giallo.


Original Italian trailer for Death Laid an Egg

COMMENTS: Personal anecdote: the first time I watched Death Laid Continue reading 309. DEATH LAID AN EGG (1968)

RECOMMENDED AS WEIRD: THE STUFF (1985)

DIRECTED BY: Larry Cohen

FEATURING:  Michael Moriarty, Andrea  Marcovicci, Garrett Morris, Paul Sorvino, Scott Bloom, Danny Aiello, Patrick O’Neal, Laurene Landon

PLOT: An investigator makes grim discoveries when he searches for the formula of a dangerously addictive, malignant new taste sensation.

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE LISTThe Stuff is a classic example of disgusting exploitation horror about a living parasitic desert that oozes up through the ground “like a bubblin’ crude.”  Gooey creme that is.  White gold.

COMMENTS:  Eleven year old Jason (Bloom) just can’t understand his family’s strange, compulsive behavior.  They are going nuts over a weird new dairy-like confection.  What starts out as a treat that mom brings home a couple of times a week becomes their constant craving.  As his brother and parents increasingly hunger for more of it, The Stuff soon becomes the primary staple in the house, replacing all of the other food in the fridge.  When Jason sees the dessert literally crawling around the icebox late one night he goes on a one man campaign to warn people—but will anyone listen?

The dessert is pretty weird.  It’s deposited in thick white pools and man, is it ever tasty!  It’s The Stuff, a bizarre white globby substance that percolates up through earth from God knows where.  When a mining company finds a lake of The Stuff in their lime quarry, they mass distribute the product and it becomes the new consumer passion.

Fluffy, uncommonly smooth, satisfying, low calorie and more addictive than heroin, it also makes a good wood polish.  The ravenous public just can’t get enough.  Its mysterious composition has become a trade secret, so there’s notelling what the hell it is.

There’s one nagging lil’ ol’ problem, however.  The insidious Stuff has a plasma-like animal mobility and a mind of its own.  There seems to be a self-promoting collective consciousness to the Stuff supply that turns everyone who eats it into a vapidly mindless, Madison Avenue product placement spokesman—for The Stuff.

Like stampeding fans at a Who concert in Cincinnati, enthusiasts will literally walk right over Continue reading RECOMMENDED AS WEIRD: THE STUFF (1985)