Late Saturday, I received sad word that our own Alfred Eaker had passed away. No further details were provided. I don’t even know his exact age; I believe he was in his early 60s.
Alfred’s contribution to this site, from almost the very beginning, was immeasurable. He was the first contributor here besides myself. Although he had scaled back his writing here to pursue other projects, he was still engaged with 366 Weird Movies; in fact, he had ambitions for a written series running through the entire video nasties list. He recorded this podcast episode with me (others were planned) a mere three weeks ago:
Alfred was the kind of guy who became famous (here) more for what he hated than for what he loved. But when he loved something—Ed Wood, or classic Westerns, or opera, or Chaplin, or Ken Russel, or Andrei Tarkovsky, or Mahler, or Picasso—his passions matched or exceeded his excoriations. Alfred’s loves were no more secrets than his hatreds. It’s just that his hatreds tended to draw more offended commenters.
For every reference to “Mango Mussolini” or such you read in Alfred’s essays, be sure I edited out at least one other. But although I didn’t always agree with whatever outrageously elaborate insult Alfred drifted into whenever he sensed the presence of Trumpists, evangelicals, or assorted “constipated critics,” I let him say it, because it came from the heart. Alfred annoyed a lot of readers, and admittedly he earned the site a hearty handful of hate-clicks, but whatever broadsides he launched were aimed at what he honestly viewed as cultural threats.
Over the weekend, I culled through hundreds of pages of Alfred’s writing to select a few of my favorite gems below. (If printed, Alfred’s contributions to the site would take up several volumes on a 366 bookshelf). This is, I think, the best tribute I could give him: to let him speak in his own words. Please enjoy.
“I rarely set out to push people’s buttons. I just don’t give a hoot or a holler if I do, and I believe it’s an artist’s ethical responsibility to have the balls to write without inhibition and to always take an attitude of saying to hell with the status quo (and everything has the potential to develop its own status quo, even weird movie aficionados).”–Alfred Eaker on a decade of writing for 366 Weird Movies
“… essentially a 21st century update of Animal House… a bodiless set of redneck testicles.”–Alfred on Avengers: Infinity War
“When I saw that 366 Weird Movies’ readers had topped themselves in sadism with this year’s summer blockbuster picks (a video game, a Disney, AND a comic book movie) you can understand why I, quite frankly, forgot the lot of you.”–Alfred on why he was several months late getting to 2019’s reader-selected Summer Blockbusters
“It’s very simple: if you love ‘Batman’ (1966-1968), starring Adam West, you’re in the cool kids club. If you don’t, you’re clueless and need to go away. Only freaks are allowed here.”–Alfred on “Batman”
“The last time I pulled [Fellini Satyricon] out was possibly the most beneficial to me: a family member, for some reason, decided to drop by; which would have been fine, except that he brought with him his hopelessly constipated Bible-beating fundamentalist girlfriend, who proceeded to ‘enlighten’ and ‘warn’ me about the upcoming rapture, lest I be ‘left behind.’ I neither argued nor even looked at my watch. I merely smiled, popped in Satyricon and—bam—in a record time of seventeen minutes, Sister So-and-So was outta my door… I am willing to bet that, with this release, I can beat my seventeen-minute record the next time an uptight cinematic illiterate or artless boob darkens my door.”–Alfred on the Criterion Blu-ray of Fellini Satyricon
“Waters uses his camp ear to transform misanthropic harangues from the merely hateful into the realm of the transcendently droll—he takes the piss out of his own nihilist impulses. And Desperate Living drips with these maliciously delicious mal mots. The fact that this is Waters’ funniest movie makes it, to me, his most joyous film. I don’t think Waters stopped making shock films after Desperate Living because he had gone too far, but because he had finally gotten the formula just right. There was nowhere left to go; it was time to try a new challenge.”–Alfred on Desperate Living
“Snyder epitomizes macho movie-making for low-demanding pubescents.”–Alfred on Zach Snyder’s Justice League
“…a movie that shouldn’t be watched alone. Not because it’s scary, but rather, if one has to suffer through a movie this wretched, you might as well have someone to suffer through it with.”–Alfred on The Slender Man
“…an endless two hours and forty minutes, made strictly for an illiterate, masochistic audience who seek out movies that will bang them over the head and deafen them. The rest of us may feel so wiped out that we will need to run home, take two Bayer aspirin, and wash off the residue of director Michael Bay’s masturbatory excesses.”–Alfred on Transformers: Age of Extinction
“What Godzilla does get right are the scenes when we finally get to see him as the living, breathing can of Raid.”–Alfred on Godzilla (2014)
“Movies from this sadosexual school of filmmaking were often referred to as ‘roughies,’ and here the lighting alone justifies that moniker.”–Alfred on Shanty Tramp
“…[The avant-garde is ]an atheistic aesthetic of pure abstraction, and while it first produced a startling movement in many mediums, its tendency towards superficiality quickly took hold. In painting, abstract expressionism became decorative works for the business office; in film, such experiments soon became tedious efforts which jettisoned any and all connections with humanity; and in music, post-Webern electronic experimentation became so disassociated that it made all-too valid Arnold Schoenberg’s question, ‘but, are they making music with it?'”–Alfred on the avant-garde
“The vampire of Murnau and Schreck is an accursed, repulsive animal, the carrier of a dreaded plague and the beast fights fiercely to sustain its life, like a rodent in its death throes. The Dracula of Browning and Lugosi is an outsider, a mesmerizing and intensely austere intruder, who comes to nourish on the aristocratic London Society, who he, paradoxically, yearns to to join…”–Alfred comparing the vampiric personae of Nosferatu and Dracula
So long, Alfred, my old pal.