Sunday, February 28, 2016

Only now does it occur to me... HOUSE PARTY

Only now does it occur to me... that HOUSE PARTY and the films of David Lynch are so oddly (and intrinsically) intertwined.

Allow me to explain:  HOUSE PARTY begins with a slow, tracking shot approaching the titular house, mid-party; the camera occasionally shudders (in a way most often used in horror films––and do note that it's shot by EVIL DEAD II's cinematographer, Peter Deming) before resuming its approach.  Once inside, we cross a landscape of dancing bodies, but the frame rate is slowed and an ominous mist envelopes the figures.  Despite the trappings, it doesn't quite feel fun––it's cheerful but mostly sinister, like the dancing in the opening scene of MULHOLLAND DRIVE.

The camera shifts its gaze toward the ceiling, and in a literal depiction of "raisin' the roof," the roof breaks loose of its moorings and floats away among the cosmos.
The entire sequence is quite impressionistic and oddly foreboding––and it also really reminded me (in flavor and practice) of the opening scene of ERASERHEAD, a paean to dark and portentous cosmic textures:
And so with this general feeling, I embarked on the HOUSE PARTY experience.  Imagine my surprise and vindication when "Kid" (Christopher Reid)––strolling BLUE VELVET-y suburban streets at night––is stopped by some local cops who refer to him as.... "Eraserhead."
This freeze frame would only be more 'Lynchian' if that flashlight was also flickering.  And if BOB were crouching in the background.

Jack Nance wishes he could attend your HOUSE PARTY, but he can't afford a babysitter.

And indeed Lynch took notice––in 1992 he went on to hire cinematographer Peter Deming to shoot the second episode of his bizarro and short-lived sitcom ON THE AIR, and they've worked together a total of seven times since (HOTEL ROOM, LOST HIGHWAY, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, INLAND EMPIRE, DURAN DURAN: UNSTAGED, and the new episodes of TWIN PEAKS).  Therefore, we could choose to see the opening scene of HOUSE PARTY as essentially a trial run for MULHOLLAND DRIVE, and in retrospect we can even find an analog for the opening tracking shot  in the frightening approach across the pavement toward the Club Silencio:
Who knew that Kid N' Play would have such a profound impact on what I consider to be the finest film of 2001 and possibly this 21st Century?  (Naturally, I mean HOUSE PARTY 4: DOWN TO THE LAST MINUTE.)

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