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DIRECTED BY: Eddie Alcazar

FEATURING: , Karrueche Tran, Moises Arias, Jason Genao

PLOT: The development of a life-prolonging elixir brings humankind to the brink of collapse, until two celestial brothers conspire to subdue the potion’s creator.

WHY IT SHOULD MAKE THE APOCRYPHA: We were all waiting for Guy Maddin to make a David Cronenberg movie. That mash-up so far eludes us, but we do have Eddie Alcazar sliding this cocktail our way—with some further madness thrown into the mix.

COMMENTS: An exciting combination of feelings percolates within me. On the one hand, I feel immediately compelled to attempt a description of what just happened to my eyes and ears; on the other hand, a part of me advises waiting to see just how this mélange of influences and particular vision coagulate. Considering I will probably never know just quite what happened, I am erring on the side of catering to my enthusiasm, even at the near-certain risk of flirting with vague utterances of confusion and satisfaction.

Via the production-distorted lens of auteur Eddie Alcazar, we crash through symmetric dissections of something organic, flipping, sliding, and morphing before the motion stills somewhat, and the glass eye of a camera lens comes into view—a lens focused on Sterling Pierce, a brilliant scientist who has nearly perfected a product (and it is assuredly a product as much as anything else) dubbed “Divinity”, which promises not only to stop aging, but reverse its worst effects. So long as you do not stop consuming it. At some unclear retro-future point in time, we meet a cadre of nubile, leotard-clad women who oscillate between ephemera and physicality, and who we are told hold the key to rejuvenating the dying planet. Two small stars plummet to earth whilst Jaxxon Pierce (son of Sterling, and perfecter of “Divinity”) giddily fucks a groupie.

That description hints at a major caveat of sorts: we have seen this story and these themes before. Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” plays a major part, particularly when Jaxxon is jacked-up with concentrated “Divinity.” His slow, extreme morph, and his well-intentioned genetic ambitions, also brings to mind the “ADAM” phenomenon from the “Bioshock” video game. Alcazar crams body horror through a soft-focus black and white, while the dark science plays reassuringly on cathode ray. Plutocratically dystopian advertisements whir us through societal developments, and we’re never more than a few seconds away from a shot of staggeringly buff guys (or in one favorite bit, a buff breakfast, in the form of “Flexi-Os.”)  The whole narrative (minus flashes-back, some twenty-four hours of mysteriousness and revelry) rushes though a weird vein straight into our brain’s “What the…?” centers until the climax.

This melange catapults Divinity from mere Apocrypha Candidate into a worthy recipient of our coveted “Weirdest!” badge. While the first seventy-odd minutes are as much of so much as one might hope for, the finale destabilizes like a punch straight to the occipital lobe. A stop-motion show-down, cryptic symbology burning in the night sky, an exterior vaginal POV glimpse, and the emergence of an entity I have never seen before in my life left me with just one reaction (shared by most of the surrounding audience): a “hah!” of sheer disbelief. You know what I’m talking about. In case you don’t, hunt down Divinity. It’ll cure what ails ya.


Divinity is a black-and-white acid trip pumped with steroids, ‘Twin Peaks’-adjacent ominousness, and hunger for human flesh.” – Nick Allen, RogerEbert.com (festival screening)


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Previously on 366 Weird Movies…

A John Waters Retrospective, Part 1

A John Waters Retrospective, Part 2

And now, today’s feature presentation…

After a two-year hiatus, returned to the big screen with Cry-Baby (1990), a nostalgic follow-up to Hairspray (1988). Although commercially a flop, Cry-Baby was mostly a critical success and did better overseas. Eventually, like Hairspray, Cry-Baby spawned a Broadway musical. Its mix of camp, sweet-toothed cynicism, and 50s nostalgia are ripe for choreographic treatment, and “Cry-Baby, The Musical” has seen two revivals. It seems inevitable that a big screen adaptation is not far off.

1994’s Serial Mom was a 13-million dollar budgeted cousin to 1974’s $25,000 Female Trouble (probably Waters’ best film). Like Cry-Baby, and every post-Hairspray Waters’ film, Serial Mom lost money, barely making back half of its cost. Like , Waters hones in on the white picket fence, not-so-discreet charm of the American bourgeoisie. His recipe calls for equal parts exploitation, celebrity crime spree, and satire on the hypocrisy of American etiquette, all on a Martha Stewart endcap display, dripping with battery acid.

In Serial Mom, Waters shifts the focus of horror away from doublewide trailers and into suburbia. Naturally, that change of palette has been criticized for taking away Waters’ edge, but this is hardly the case. Waters presents Serial Mom in a visually acceptable package, but even mainstream audiences knew it to be a facade, which is why it lost money. It is easy for middle class WASPS to jeer at and mantle an attitude of superiority towards low income Baltimore Catholic trailer trash. Hell, that approach was the appeal that filled aisle seats in all those midnight showings and made Waters a cult icon. However, nothing is more unnerving than a mirror, which Waters brandishes to his audience, and nothing is resisted like the reflection of hypocrisy.

Still from Serial Mom (1994)Star Kathleen Turner is a virtuoso as Betty in this quintessential parody of suburban family values. She should have received an Oscar for her performance as a matriarchal Norman Bates (could Norman have slaughtered Philistines so creatively with a leg of lamb, to the song ‘Tomorrow’? ) Alas, she was not even nominated in a year of woefully lame Academy choices. This ranks as one of her best performances, and the best acting in any Waters film.  A toe-licking dog (choregraphed to a VHS scene from Annie), a son masturbating to , a noisy infant doused in snot, some swooning to Barry Continue reading A JOHN WATERS RETROSPECTIVE, PART THREE