Sunday, January 06, 2019

Haunting of Hill House: A Deeper Dive

Welcome to Sunday's Secret Sun Typically Tardy Treatise (or SSSTTT). 

Longtime readers know often I'll dive into a film or TV series long after they're released. Often I do so because I'm waiting to select particular screenshots, oftentimes something simply flew under my radar and other times I wait until everyone else has seen something so I don't have to worry about spoilers.

So if you haven't seen Haunting of Hill House yet and you want to, bookmark this page and come back later. 

Or read part one of this series, which is like an Internet campfire in which your humble host and his always-erudite readers trade real-life ghost stories. So do check out the comments on the post, there are some incredibly compelling accounts on offer.

So yeah, I really, really enjoyed Haunting of Hill House. It's not perfect by any means but it is several cuts above the usual flood of generic Netflix gibbledy-goo. I mean, how many "strong female lead" sci-fi thrillers with vague, one-word titles can you actually make? 

I'd never heard of Hill House creator (and fellow Masshole) Mike Flanagan (originally from Salem, of all places) before and hadn't seen his other films but he's definitely one I'm going to keep an eye on.


What impressed me most about the series is the way in which two entirely separate storylines (1992 and current-year) weave in and out of one another until all the mysteries and enigmas of one timeline resolve the mysteries and enigmas of the other. It's an amazing conceit and a logistical masterclass in execution. 

I love jigsaw puzzle stories, meaning stories in which a bunch of random pieces floating in the middle of a story are eventually stitched together by the end.

Having seen thousands of horror movies I can't say most of it actually scared me, outside of the Halloween scene at the funeral parlor. And as I covered before, that could well be a question of projection.

And I may be projecting when I say this as well, but it really should have been a 70s-90s timeline, since so much of the source material, mood and visual approach draws more on 70s (and 80s) antecedents than contemporary ones. 

That being said, there is quite a heavy Conjuring influence at work here (itself a retro-fest), but not nearly as over-the-top as that film.

But the hippie earth-mother matriarch and James Franciscus-worthy dad feel a lot more 70s to me than 90s. And having lived through both decades, I'd say an upwardly-mobile WASP family with five kids feels a bit more 70s than 90s to me as well.

Adding to the retro flavor, albeit more of an 80s strain, were Henry Thomas of E.T. fame* and Brat Packer Timothy Hutton (who's looking uncannily like Kelly's Heroes-era Carrol O'Connor these days). 

God, I'm old.

Both played the Crain family patriarch Hugh, which speaks to either a stunning stroke of serendipity or an incredibly clever casting director. Some of the other cross timeline casting choices were equally impressive, especially with the Crain girls.

The casting gets quite meta in this regard as well. Henry Thomas reminds us that E.T. ran concurrently with Poltergeist, an obvious touchstone here.

Timothy Hutton reminds us that his dad--who died way too young-- played the husband in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a 70s classic very much present in spirit during Haunting of Hill House.

Speaking of retro-vibes I'm sure a lot of X'er geeks like yours-truly were very happy to see Carla Gugino in the mix. I'm generally a fan of her work but I thought she absolutely hit it out of the park with a role that called for a lot of sudden shifts in personality and mood.

I'd say of the entire cast Gugino's role was by far the most demanding. And she just nailed it to the damn floor. At no point did she come across as being precious or over-studied. Just an absolute master-class in stagecraft.

And forgive me for saying so, but she's still absolutely gorgeous. Damn.


For my money, a paranormal drama or thriller can only be truly great when it presents a viable and compelling counter-argument to a supernatural explanation.

I don't know exactly why this is, but these kinds of narratives only really soar when you're left guessing at the end. Maybe because that's the way the paranormal really works in Meatspace.

I bring this up because I've read a lot of different interpretations about Hill House, but I think there's a very strong argument to be made that it's all the inner fantasies of a family driven to collective suicide by trauma and mental illness.

Or conversely, it could be the inner fantasy of a mother driven to murdering her children because of an overwhelming terror that, as Olivia Crane says, the world outside will poison them and then consume them.

What is so fantastic about Gugino's performance is that she really sells herself as a mother who loves her children so goddamn much that it literally drives her insane. It drives her insane because she realizes that one day they will leave her and she won't be able to protect them from being hurt out in the world.

I don't know how many of you reading this have children of your own, but if you do I'm sure all this carved up your insides as much as it did mine. 

Since Sunners realize that everything everywhere eventually leads back to Ten Thirteen Productions I do have to say that this theme reminded me very much of "Covenant," one of the most emotionally-wrenching episodes of Millennium (which is saying something) in which a devoutly-religious mother kills her children and then herself when she finds out her husband was screwing around on her.

She didn't do this out of spite but out of an overwhelming sense of despair that the world would tarnish and corrupt her children, whom she literally saw as angels incarnate. The title comes from a passage from the Book of Isaiah ("We have made a covenant with death") that the woman writes in her own blood.

Gah, I'm verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.


I've read a number of articles and I know that Flanagan is (more or less) claiming that the Crains survive their ordeal and live happily ever-after.

That's a total crock of shit. They're all dead.

Now I know exactly why Flanagan would say such things. Netflix was looking for another Stranger Things with Hill House and you're going to lose a lot of the mainstream audience if you end your series on a bummer.

Now, Flanagan has been a bit coy about it and actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen seems to have been tasked with planting the seed of ambiguity in the media, but the corporate party line seems to be accepted by the masses

The masses are asses. The Crains are all deader than Mark Zuckerberg's soul. And I might add they're definitively dead by the rules set down by the storyteller themselves. 

Dead, dead, dead. You ain't foolin' me, Mickey-boy.

Consider this: We clearly and unambiguously see Luke dead from injecting himself with rat poison.

He stops breathing and his heart stops as well.

He isn't taken to the hospital until long after he dies.

So how exactly does he return to life now?

Because Young Nellie pushes him out of the Red Room? Is Nellie Jesus Christ now or something? Where do her fancy resurrectin' powers come from exactly? Where do see-- even once-- that a ghost can revive a dead person?

A dead person who injected himself with frickin' strychnine, no less.

No, Luke is dead, the Red Room manipulated him into killing himself in a way that would be absolutely unsurvivable even if there were a team of paramedics standing by watching him do it.

We see him return to the Red Room tea-party Olivia held in order to kill the twins. The three characters we know for sure are dead-- Olivia, Nellie, and Abigail-- are there to greet him and his mother tells him he's awake, which in Hill-Housese means he's dead.

We get a strong foreshadowing of this in flashback when we see the twins sleeping on the couch with Olivia. But are they sleeping or is this a premonition of their death??

The weird blackout Olivia has would argue the latter, especially when we see Hugh--also definitively killed by the Red Room-- carrying Young Luke. So does this story really take place in two different timelines or is it just one delusional fantasy?

Submit your theory in the comments.


The explicit Red Room fantasies are signaled by something prominent being red, a shirt, sneakers, what-have-you. And it's the same with the "happy ending,"  which is just another Red Room fantasy.

It starts when Steven returns to his house.

Note the ominous red trunk-light. If you squint it's all you see. Note as well the porchlight and the darkened window overhead.

Steven tells us that he is home, or so he "thinks."

But why is he home? Why did he return to the home that his estranged wife threw him out of? When exactly did they reconcile? I don't remember that. Do you?

Maybe I missed something but the last I saw those two she gave him a sick brush-off. Why would he show up at what is no longer his home with his luggage?

Surprise! Because he's dead. Good riddance, too. Hated that guy.

So yes, by the rules the show itself lays down, Steven is now dead as well. His apparent reconciliation with Leigh is just another comforting illusion furnished by Hill House.

Remember that Olivia tells Luke that he's "home" when he has clearly, unambiguously and visibly died. 'Awake' and 'home' mean dead. You know it, I know and Mike Flanagan most certainly goddamn-knows it.

Shirley-- easily one of the most intensely-dislikable characters I've seen on TV in recent memory-- has the happy-ending fantasy that she confesses to her simpering cuck of a husband that she cheated on him once when she was at a mortician convention or some such nonsense.

This might be a sidebar but I don't buy for a second that a brittle shrew like Shirley would feel anything at all--never mind guilt-- over a one-night stand way back when. It's just totally out of character.

This is total fan-theory, but my reading of this is that Shirley was stepping out on this wuss all across central Massachusetts, and in her death she would only allow herself to acknowledge one teeny-weeny slip-up. 

Either way, notice that red book's spine standing out like a sore thumb behind Cuckolded Kevin there. Subtle, right?

Theo is nearly as loathsome as her older siblings. She's slightly redeemed by her psychic powers, even if I felt those were a bit under-explored. However, she also loses points for being a stereotypical U-Haul Lesbian. You know the old joke: What does a lesbian bring on a second date? A U-Haul.

Moreover, I don't really buy that Theo would be pairing up with Trish, whom she thought was clingy and neurotic. That being said, we do get a nice, big, juicy splash of red from the U-Haul, seeing through a window for bonus points.

One thing you need to pay attention to are the lyrics to the song played during the so-called "Happy Ending." The way the lyrics are juxtaposed is essentially telling you what is actually going on onscreen, that the house has trapped the Crains inside and won't ever let them go.

"This house, she's quite the keeper..."

And a lot of folks have pointed out that ostentatious red cake laid out for Luke's two-year sobriety. By itself, it would be just a tease, but given the other red objects and the treacly, out-of-character happy ending it's basically the coup de gras.

Now, I liked Luke and Nellie as much as I dislike the other Crain children. With Nellie, it was my tall-guy thing for petite pixies.

With Luke it may have something that he looks uncannily like my younger son there. I mean, holy crap, already. Unsettling.

Compounding the fantasy is that Leigh is pregnant despite the fact that Steven had a vasectomy several years prior.  

My money's on that it was Luke that done the deed, if his doppelganger is any indication.†


One fan theory that Mike Flanagan has actually signed off on is that the Crain children represent the Stages of Dying theorized by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
For those unfamiliar with the five stages of grief, they are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As to who each of those stages applies, think of it as descending order of the Crains, from oldest to youngest: Steven (Michiel Huisman) is denial, Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser) is anger, Theo (Kate Siegel) is bargaining, Luke (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is depression, and Nell (Victoria Pedretti) is acceptance.

So why would a writer as meticulous and detail-oriented as Mike Flanagan have his characters represent the stages of dying if they themselves were not in fact destined to die here?

Answer: He wouldn't. They're all deader than Emmanuel Macron's re-election prospects. Deal with it.


I haven't heard Flanagan's verdict on this one yet, but another interesting fan theory is that the Crains are personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Luke- Gluttony. His heroin addiction and constant need to consume more or it.

Theo- Lust. The most sexualized member of the family. Confirmed that it may be a problem when found with Kevin.

Greed- Steve. He used his families tragedy for monetary gain.

Sloth- Nell. Nell is never seen working and most of her story revolves around sleep.

Wrath- Olivia. Olivia is seen taking out aggression on her children, often yelling or punishing them for little reason. (Nell's writing on the wall)

Pride- Hugh. He never admits his faults relating to the house, or in regards to communicating with his children. Even at Nell's funeral he neglects to give them the answers they want.
Envy- Shirley. She is often seen criticizing her family on everything they have or don't have. The biggest example being Steve and his writing career. She also has green eyes.
This one isn't as compelling as the first but it's pretty close nonetheless.



If you're like me, you can't hear the words "Red Room" without thinking of Twin Peaks. There are a lot of interesting if not tangential connections between the two series, most of all the timeline-fucking.

But one of the prevailing theories out there is that Cocteau Twin Peaks: The Return was all an elaborate fantasy that the Red Room was using Laura Palmer to plant in Dale Cooper's mind. In the end, the horrible truth is revealed: Coop is still trapped in the Red Room and Laura Palmer is still whispering in his ear. And so it shall be until the end of time.

After a rewatch over the summer I'm willing to sign off on that theory. Not to mention a number of others. The great thing about Twin Peaks to me is that it was so sprawling and so layered that a whole host of interpretations could be equally true.

I admit I lean towards the "trapped in the Red Room" theory more than some of the others, but maybe because I'm such a pessimist.

But you know what the legendary Surrealist Andre Breton once said: "In the future, all streaming TV series will be meta or they will not be at all." I think he said that in 1922. I'll have to check.

I hate you, Time.


With the introduction of the black mold coming from the Red Room in Hill House, I do have to admit some major X-Files bells-and-whistles starting going off. Namely, the wildly under-appreciated Season Six masterpiece, "Field Trip."

In this classic, Mulder and Scully investigate the mysterious death of two hikers connected to the Brown Mountain Lights. Mulder goes to survey the area while Scully autopsies the remains and discovers that the hikers are still alive.

Mulder follows them into a cave, not realizing that all of this is a hallucination and that he's being lulled with interesting dreams while being consumed by an gigantic underground mushroom.

Scully goes to investigate and is herself trapped by the mushroom. She too is lulled with vivid dreams, dreams she tries to wake herself from. The writers brilliantly mess with your expectations, using multiple fakes to leave you wondering if they are actually still trapped at the end and the rest of the entire series is all just a hallucination.

I haven't seen anyone mention this obvious parallel, but I have seen fan theories that the black mold is responsible for the ghostly goings-on in Hill House and that it eventually drives them all to insanity and suicide.

Not my favorite theory per se, but a nice one nonetheless. Especially now that MKULTRA 2.0 the "new wave of hallucinogenic research" is becoming such a big deal in some quarters.

Maybe there's a cautionary tale in there with the black mold being LSD and the Red Room being the Deep State or something. A stretch? Sure. But stretching's what we do here, slugger.

There's another scintillating connection between Hill House and X-Files, coming to us via the Season Nine ep, "Scary Monsters."

The X-Files did all kinds of ghost stories from the jump, but usually tried to futz with the conventions a bit. In "Scary Monsters" we have what looks at first to be a classic haunted house creeper, then it turns into a creepy psychic kid yarn, then into Vince Gilligan venting at all the 'shippers who were constantly trash-talking Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish on the Internet. Good times.

Hill House has all kinds of interesting details in common; the haunted house (ish), fungible reality, the spooky kid making spooky drawings...

...the dead cats in boxes...

 ...and another interesting and rather specific parallel; the guy about to burn down a house with gasoline....

...that never actually ignites. Annabeth Gish, who seems to have dashed over to the Hill House set as soon as she wrapped on X-Files. Work ethic, innit?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Flanagan were a major X-head given his age and interests. I don't know if he was paying conscious tribute to TXF or if this all seeped in through osmosis but I certainly got a big kick out of it all.

Well, sorry to bring all this to a dead stop but that's all I have to say for now. Seeing how I'm mentally sick with OCD and the rest, I'm sure I'l rewatch it several times again and post on it again when absolutely nobody cares anymore. 

'Cuz that's who I am and that's how I do.

* I first became aware what a pedo-problem Fandom had back in 1984 when friends of mine at the Kubert School discovered that one of their roommates kept an explicit crush journal about Henry Thomas.

† No, seriously. Remind me to tell you about his brother's and his cousin's weddings sometime.

BONUS FACTOID: "Field Trip" guest-stars Jim Beaver, who'd go on to star in Supernatural, a role he carries to this day. Supernatural is probably the most direct heir to The X-Files but instead of a hot dude and a hot dame you get a hot dude and a weepy Ogre clone.

I've seen pretty much episode on account of desperately yearning to get even a faint trace of a whiff of that beautiful Vancouver-era TXF bouquet.

I read somewhere in the Bible that when you die you go back to the Nineties. But only if you are faithful and pure. It was either the Bible or The Urantia Book.



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  3. Chris,

    There are other Red Rooms to add to the list. Two that immediately come to mind are of the same era, late 1970s.

    The first is the red room under the cellar stairs in the Amityville Horror house. A hidden room concealed by a set of shelves, it was felt by some to be the center of all the evil in the house. A portal to Hell? A grave from an Indian burial ground? No one knows. Most likely storage, IMHO, but I never lived there.

    The other is the REDRUM ("red room") said by the Torrance boy (or his Other) in The Shining. The Overlook Hotel turns out to be soaked with blood, and REDRUM is of course MURDER backwards. Kids!

    1. Brilliant! I should have thought of that connection. Thank you for that.

      Now I have to go back and see who might be drinking rum. OCD, take me away....

    2. There is also a red room in Jane Eyre. Jane's Uncle Reed died in the red room, and Jane would be locked in there by her Aunt as punishment for bad behavior.

    3. & "The Amityville Horror"* brought the seventies, that Haunted House of a decade, to a troubled end.

      The pop-occultists cannot stop making movies about this particular House Haunting: (2018 & the 11th Amityville movie according to wiki.)

      A review:

      "The Amityville Murders is just as bad as every other single Amityville flick, it's bad, boring and incredibly slow. It also tells nothing new or nothing that you haven't seen before in better horror movies as well also of course and in the end is just your average by the numbers horror thriller really."

      "I see the end coming" is stated without a trace of irony in the trailer...

      (*Which the "Superman" cursed Margot Kidder, who apparently died "last year" ("after a drug and alcohol overdose"), was nominated for a "Saturn Award" for her role. Kidder had won the previous year for her role as "Lois Lane" in "Superman: The Movie".)


    4. Then there’s masque of the red death...

    5. The "Red Room" of the "Amityville" house features prominently in the trailer for "The Amityville Murders".

  4. (Re-posted, as promised.)

    After my six-hour long near-death experience nearly eight years ago (in which I entered a state of cosmic communion with the Great God Pan up at Chokmah, contrary to my expectations, which were either Jesus or Solaris), my mother told me that the first time she came to visit me at the hospital, right after surgery when I was practically comatose, she clearly heard her sister's voice coming out of my mouth, as if I was nothing more than a speaking tube. My aunt was telling her "I'm so sorry, I was so selfish, I'm so sorry..." over and over again.

    That freaked my mother the f**k out, so much so that she was still very deeply disturbed even a year afterwards. I naturally DIDN'T tell her about my whole experience on the other side, the part when I fell into Pan's endlessly spiralling ram's horns made of stars and ended up walking down a spiral staircase made of black stone. At some point I found my aunt completely listless on the stairs (she had also commited suicide five years earlier), and she said "This is the abyss, the bottomless pit, where all of the lost souls end up, I've been here forever, there's no escape, I'm more lost than ever, I've just lied down and given up." Without thinking, I took her hand and replied "You're not lost anymore, I've found you." She looked up, her eyes full of life again, and said "James, I love you, I love you so much..." and that was it, next thing I remember was waking up at the hospital days later.

    About a month later, I was at the public library, when I noticed a tall, young, beautiful woman looking at me, smiling. She looked familiar, but I couldn't remember who she was. She came up to me and asked "You look familiar, do I know you? Tell me your name." But I felt so incredibly uncomfortable looking at her face up close, it didn't seem right. In retrospect, it was like when they digitally de-age an actor for a Marvel movie; yeah, it technically looks perfect, but there's just something... "off" about it, too perfect. So I just told her "No, I'm sorry, I'm not going to tell you my name." and she just whimsically replied "Okay." AS SOON AS SHE WALKED AWAY, it suddenly hit me that she obviously was my aunt, looking as she did in my childhood, in her twenties. When I turned around, and she literally disappeared.

    I rationalized it as an "Orpheus travelling to the Underworld to rescue the soul of a loved one" sort-of-thing, but more successful. Haven't seen her since.

    1. Heavy, heavy report there, JB. Thank you very much for this.

    2. Hi JB,

      I also experienced something in a similar vein to you. After my brother took his life, a friend of mine wanted to do something nice for me, so she booked a session for me to get a Kahuna massage. It was around a month after my brother passed.

      This masseuse knew nothing about me or my personal circumstances. As the massage progressed not only did I not feel relaxed, I actually felt like something was trying to take my spirit out of my body. It was extremely disturbing and the masseuse also sensed something was wrong.

      So she stopped the massage and told me that she had to 'ground' me as she felt an energy swirling around us. I had told her nothing of what I was feeling.

      She then told me that she saw someone standing by my right shoulder, that he had a 'brotherly' energy, that he was stocky, red-headed, with an intelligent face, and he just wanted to be with me and was lost. Yes, that's exactly what my brother looked like in life.

      I was so shaken that I had to leave, in tears. I've never had another massage since. So, I do not doubt your story. I think when people take their own lives they really do wander for a long time in bardo.

  5. Chris,

    I come from a very dysfunctional family that had 5 kids, with myself being the youngest. There was a heroin addict, there was suicide, there was mental abuse, a father who ripped off everyone he possibly could including me, a mother who told me for at least 20 years that I had 'ruined' her life starting from about the age of 10 (yeah, I heard that until I was 30. It only stopped once my brother killed himself and she decided to let that complaint noble of her).

    This show seems like a biography! Oh, and I also have OCD. Oh well, maybe I'm actually living in a red room right now.

    1. Remind me to buy you a beer sometime. We may be psychic twins.

    2. Hey Chris,

      Thanks for your reply. What parts do you relate to? I hope I'm not prying. I just know that there are many of us out here that had really fucked up childhoods. My partner knows how angry I get sometimes, but even then I feel he may think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. Just because I am intelligent and can hold down a job, it means to him that it never happened. I envy him for not ever having gone through such trauma.


  6. Fascinating, spine-tingling and hilarious as usual.

    1. Ah, the Trifecta. Mission accomplished. Thanks!

    2. The "Trifecta" (this exact word used) in the form of 3 witches: Charlize Theron, Halle Berry & Julia Roberts Graced/spliced for TV interview position on the "Red Carpet" at the "Golden Globes" yesterday.


    3. "Statuesque" Theron looked distinctly non plussed at the intrusion of 1st Berry & 2nd Roberts, perhaps she was hoping for a manifestation of by Nicole Kidman & Sandra Bullock?

      Icy-veneered Charlize played "Meredith Vickers" in "Prometheus" (described as her "alien fantasy" by some outlets), "Meredith" being a name for both girls & boys means "sea-lord"...

      & having made mention of things vampiric:

      "I had no teeth until I was 11. I had these fangs because I had jaundice when I was a kid and I was put on so many antibiotics that my teeth rotted. They had to cut them out. So I never had baby teeth."

      "11" / "antibiotics"...

      The "Dior" ads she stars in, bathing in & emerging from golden liquid whilst nubile younger girls(?) look on is a nod & a wink of a sync to "The Countess of Blood" Elizabeth Bathory, the blood sacrifced to her being more precious than gold.

      CT's next movie "Flarsky" casts her as "one of the most powerful and unattainable women on earth"...

      "woman" / "unattainable"... ("prize" / "Osiris")


  7. I don't believe for a moment that Lynch puts the most important scenes at the beginning or end.

    1. Well, I just watched a vid in which the theory is the last scene is Cooper struggling to remember what Laura told him in the Red Room. Which goes a long way in confirming that Ep 18 took place in the quote-unquote real world.

    2. It's interesting to call it the "real world" of Twin Peaks. Since actor Kyle was called Richard and certain scenes played out in a very contrived way it's safe to say that it's not supposed to be that real. I'm all for a Jacobs Ladder style interpretation, at least for Audrey Horne, but what do you think of the Monica Bellucci Dream? The "ancient phrase". We are like the dreamer who dreams, and then lives inside the dream. But who is the dreamer?

      Apparently this is the source.

      “Look Balaki,” the king said. “Do you see that spider?”

      “Yes,” said Balaki, “I see the spider moving along its web.”

      “We are like the spider,” said the king. “We weave our life, and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream."

      “This is true for the entire universe. That is why it is said, ‘Having created the creation, the Creator entered into it’."

      “This is true for us. We create our world, and then enter into that world. We live in the world that we have created. When our hearts are pure, then we create the beautiful, enlightened life we have wished for.”

  8. My childhood bedroom had a red carpet and a red globe light hanging from a chain. I always felt fear when the red light was on.

    1. I bet. Not the most calming of colors. Thank you, Miranda.

  9. I don’t watch horror. I can draw a straight line from childhood trauma I suffered contemporaneous with Halloween’s release and it’s prevalence in my preteen milieu (GenX too, but a few years behind Chris, and a Masshole at birth but raised Arizonedout). At least the kind of Horror that film represents (or birthed iirc my Knowles-ology). I never really warmed to the genre but the kind of existential inescapable horror you describe, where the audience perceives a eternally “damned” fate, does prick my fascination if not adoration. I still reflect almost daily on horror ofthe end of the tv show, the Prisoner.
    Fuck you Ialdobaoth!

    1. Halloween was heavy. It messed me up too. It was so much more disturbing than all the crappy knockoffs that followed.

    2. I do not like shows like that either. Perverse exploitation of the subject(s) my the makers really annoys me. Shows like that are dark and contagious. I would trade a dozen of them for a single Ringu movie, where a pure fear dwells.

  10. It could possibly be any plant which may be grown indoors.

    1. Which is that now? I lost the thread here.

    2. Maybe to do with airborne hallucinogens? Or maybe spam... Mmmm, HalluciSpam. Many people find out the hard way that their Daturas will breathe on them.

    3. One of my exes (claimed he) had a hell of a bad time during airborne lsd trials under battle conditions. The first day, he enjoyed... Wrote a lovely poem... Followed by two days of simulated war with a big bad trip on.

      I say claimed because most of his stories are difficult to verify, if not outright bullshitting. I have verified a handful. I would love to verify or investigate as many as I can, but the whole thing is a mess of confusion, for multiple reasons.

  11. The "stars" align for tonight's "House Haunting" the "Golden Globes":

    "If Bradley Cooper makes it to the podium at Sunday’s 2019 Golden Globes, he might want to thank Jennifer Garner.", "After all, the actress — who costarred with Cooper on the ABC spy series Alias in the 2000s — “taught him everything he knows,”", "Laughing and heart emojis followed Garner’s message, which came attached to birthday wishes for Cooper, who turned 44 on Saturday.", "She also recalled how quickly the two became friends ... “I took him home and made him dinner,”", " are welcome at my table anytime.”"

    ascend / handler/disguised/"directed" / 44 / served

    All just a prelude for the post mea-culpa Kevin Hart patsy/fall-guy hosted humiliation ritual that is the "Oscars" in February when Gaga's* awarded Osiris ("on behalf of the lgbtqia... community").

    ("Awards Season", like It's meteorological doppel-splice "Fireball", another recent "phenomena".)

    More spooked memories:

    "...Brie learned to “erase” her memory as she headed home from the Atlanta, Georgia set each day", "“I was like, ‘I can’t live with myself being the one that spoils something.’ So I really just deleted it. I tried my best to journal it if I want to recall it and go, ‘Oh yeah, that was a crazy time.’ And I’m excited when the movie comes out to finally be able to talk about it and go, ‘Yes, this was crazy.'”", "“But my family doesn’t know,” she added. “I haven’t talked to anybody about anything because I’m just a very diligent secret-keeper.”"

    + hauntings of ongoing syncs:

    Describes Grimes as "ex-girlfriend", article written by a "Nicolas Vega"

    "...Spacey, wearing a baseball cap that reads “Retired in 2017,” ­offers pizza to the hungry paps..."

    Kevin Little was "18" at the time of his Spacey Oddity of an Encounter.

    (*Chris Cornell occasionally covered "Lady Stardust", originally titled "Song for Marc". Bolan is derived from "Bowland" meaning "and by the bend of the river".)


    1. Good ones, KTV. I think the "ex-girlfriend" probably has something to do with the "keeping her out of the lawsuit" thing there.

      I hear Spacey's been offered a no-jail plea deal. Just as I expected.

    2. Speaking of Musk, this look at him and Bezos is telling for those of us who see this as all scripted characters play parts.

      Read between the lines: Lex Luthor will win, what with all his contracts and other enmeshments with the machine. Musk will be tossed away like Tesla, Reich and others, or he may just be the cause of his own undoing. Depending on the script of course.

      Bonus: A must read for PKD fans.

    3. "John Doe has the upper hand".

      Cornell began including his cover of "Lady Stardust" in the wake of Soundgarden's split:

      "...there’s that lyric, ‘He was all right, the band was all together,’ and it’s so hopeful. My band had just broken up. And it really gutted me. So that was when I started doing it. I haven’t played it more than a couple times live, but it’s like the one song of his that I’ve always been drawn to. I just really love it."

      & what Bowie's final two albums inspired:

      "It encourages me because I want to be able to write music and create albums until I drop dead.”"


      "Golden Globes" = Orbs.



      "The SpaceX and Tesla entrepreneur Twitter-tweaks moon conspiracy theorists.", "The SpaceX founder posted a bizarre/cryptic/silly tweet on Thursday saying, "There are no coincidences," along with a meme of Neil Armstrong in a spacesuit next to an image of an alien. The meme says, "Neil Armstrong was the first person to land on the moon. 'Neil A.' backwards is 'alien.'"", "The tweet attracted a storm of over 475,000 likes. Musk soon followed it up with another backwards musing: "Evian, the first bottled water, is naive spelled backwards.""

      Hoax / psyop / "Moon" / water / clones / "John Doe".

    5. (& by way of 1 D. Jones to another: a red room connection.)

    6. "Agent Cooper" had to "put on a show" when he was "snubbed" (the word not only of last night but every "Awards Season" night "these days") in favour of whoever was awarded "Golden Globes" Glory in his seeming ordained & destined place.

      "The Look" was a similar glamour to that which Leonardo Dicaprio previously took on at the 2014 "Oscars", when he lost out (once again) at that iteration of ritual humiliation & fought back the tears.

      Dicaprio was meme'd during the 2016 "Golden Globes", at which he won best actor for "The Revenant", when his supposed reaction to "Lady Gaga" heading to the stage to accept the "Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film" (for her role as "Elizabeth Johnson / The Countess"... "Elizabeth" *ahem* "Johnson" is It?) in "American Horror Story: Hotel" was gif'd across "social media", Leo's reaction to this going "viral"?

      “I just didn’t know what was passing me...”

      So the Oddity narrative of Gaga's ascension to potential awardee status during the current "Awards Season", in particular her talk of "always wanting to be an actress" & Coop making "her dreams come true", has already come to pass... the memory issue must be due to clones not being 100% the same.

      Even though Coop didn't win his hyped for big prize "Shallow" won (out of what sounded an extremely weak line up of nominated songs) & "Shallow" is, according to "Gaga" & her collaborators, "a vehicle for storytelling" & "really the moment in the film when their love begins to truly blossom", in this alteration of "A Star is Born", Its defining pearlescent facet even.

      Gaga & Coop presented the 1st award of the night: "Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy" to Michael Douglas for his role as "Sandy Kominsky" an "actor who years ago had a brief fling with success and is now a revered Hollywood acting coach."

      "Musical or Comedy" / "acting coach", that's some gaslighting by the "Hollywood Foreign Press Association".

      Bonus: A reference was made to musicians hanging themselves by one of the hosts as he introduced these "Star struck" awarders...


    7. "The Color Out of Space":

      "...what makes Gaga's dress extra special is that it appears to reference a dress Judy Garland wore in the original A Star Is Born film from 1954."

      the "tone" of It? "Cerulean Blue":

      "Color the Millennium Cerulean Blue", "Pantone Pronounces this Sky Blue as the Hue of the Future", "Lifestyle movements suggest that consumers will be seeking inner peace and spiritual fulfillment in the new millennium. This is a paradoxical time in which we are heading toward an uncertain, yet exciting, future, and also looking back, trying to hold onto the security of the past. In this stressful, high-tech era, we will be searching for solace and Cerulean Blue produces the perfect calming effect.", "... In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there. That's the dependability factor of blue.", "It is a universal, unisex color, applicable to just about every consumer product...", "Socio-ecologically, as we enter the next century, water issues are emerging at the forefront of the public's consciousness. Exhausting our natural resources and polluting our environment, particularly our water supply, continues to be a concern, another reason for the popularity of blue for the future."

      On the "color wheel" cerulean blue (indirectly) opposes "living coral", "blaze orange" is considered aone of Its complimentary tones...

      When "Gaga" & her "Shallow" collaborators were interviewed in the "press room" the "Golden" quality of the "Globe" was contrasted by the blue of the "Garland" dress, "Gaga" seemed most comfortable holding It so it hung hovering before her groin... Osiris came to mind whilst her 3 male fellow songwriters stood there no prizes in hands...

      & according to Spotify:

      ""Shallow" comes at a time when more focus is being put on highlighting the hidden geniuses behind songwriters and performers, as well as achieving gender equality across the music and podcasting industry—both movements that may serve to help female artists and songwriters navigate and thrive in the entertainment industry."

      (Bonus: “Lucas Nelson & The Promise of The Real” arranged & performed “Shallow” & It was mixed 18 times by Tom Elmhirst ("elm-wood hill" so as with "Frank Underwood" another woodland dweller.)


    8. & "Gaga's" "Elizabeth Johnson" was a vampire.

      "Fern, who starred with Porter on the FX series American Horror Story: Apocalypse, wore black trousers, curled hair, eye shadow, and a partly see-through shirt."

      Cody Fern also co-constellated in "House of Cards" as "Duncan Shepherd" (an "antagonist" seemingly(?) undermining the newly ensconsed "Claire Underwood" presidency), scion (or possibly of dubious provinence) of a family that runs the "Shepherd Freedom Foundation". Fern made his debut appearance in "Chapter 66" the 1st episode to not feature Kevin Spacey.

      "In particular, the rise of gender-neutral fashion appears to be elevating men’s formalwear... actresses, such as Judy Greer, are challenging gender norms on the red carpet...", "That the Hollywood elite are more willing than ever to push the boundaries of masculinity and femininity on the red carpet stems, in part, from the growing popularity of gender-neutral fashion, an outpouring of the fact that Americans are increasingly challenging gender constructs and have been for years.", "Discussing the potential criticism he might get for wearing dresses, Porter told the Times that he had no plans to stop wearing dresses. “I represent a challenge to the status quo,” he said."

      This black mold is moulding the collective (or should that be "egalitarian") subconscious into a nondescript black goo of a "fluid" Thing, "being free" to "be yourself" means having the entire globalised corporate state propagandising on "your" behalf.

      "Awards Season" = "Activist Season"... activist (active, "given to worldly activity")... protagonist... antagonist ("competitor, opponent, rival,")... "drama", a nasty feedback-loop mutating monsters in Its wake, award ceremony auditoria as "Red Room" of haunting & blood-letting.


    9. Michael Douglas ("Coma", "The Star Chamber", "Romancing The Stone", "Black Rain", "Disclosure") star of "A Chorus Line" as "Zach", "ACL" songs include "I Hope I Get It", "I Can Do That" & "What I Did for Love".

    10. ...that's "Zach" the "imperious" / "demanding" "director", the movie adaptation was something of an Upside Downing:

      "...when director Richard Attenborough went on a talk show and said 'this is a story about kids trying to break into show business.' I almost tossed my TV out the window; I mean what an idiot! It's about veteran dancers looking for one last job before it's too late for them to dance anymore. No wonder the film sucked!"


    11. More black mold spores:

      Gaga flubbed her lines whilst reading from the winner envelope, got "roasted" by the hosts for a comment she'd recently filched from 1 of her progenitors "Madonna" & also dyed her hair to match the "Garland" dress... "Lady Gaga Reacts to Channeling Judy Garland" by feigning surprise...

  12. Re: "Awake' and 'home' mean dead. You know it, I know and Mike Flanagan most certainly goddamn-knows it."

    A WAKE: a watch held over the body of a dead person prior to burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity.

    Definition of wake (Entry 3 of 3)
    1 : the track left by a moving body (such as a ship) in a fluid (such as water)
    broadly : a track or path left
    2 : AFTERMATH sense 3
    in the wake of
    1 : close behind and in the same path of travel
    missionaries arrived in the wake of conquistadors and soldiers
    — Sabine MacCormack
    2 : as a result of : as a consequence of
    power vacuums left in the wake of the second world war
    — A. M. Schlesinger born 1917

    1. Brizdaz I couldn’t post at your place, and I hope Chris doesn’t mind I reply to your jelly post here, but I couldn’t help be reminded of an old rigorous intuition post:

    2. "Haunt":


      early 13c., "to practice habitually, busy oneself with, take part in," from Old French hanter "to frequent, resort to, be familiar with" (12c.), probably from Old Norse heimta "bring home," from Proto-Germanic *haimat-janan , from *haimaz- (see home). Meaning "to frequent (a place)" is c.1300 in English. Use in reference to a spirit returning to the house where it had lived perhaps was in Proto-Germanic, but it was reinforced by Shakespeare's plays, and it is first recorded 1590 in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Related: Haunted ; haunting . Middle English hauntingly meant "frequently;" sense of "so as to haunt one's thoughts or memory" is from 1859.


      "place frequently visited," c.1300, also in Middle English, "habit, custom" (early 14c.), from haunt (v.). The meaning "spirit that haunts a place, ghost" is first recorded 1843, originally in stereotypical U.S. black speech."


    3. Interesting that the RI post mentioned Johnny Depp narrating 'Deep Sea' Anon 7:41 PM, because my jellyfish posts came from checking out Jason Momoa's lead role in 'Aquaman' and that his step-daughter is Lenny Kravitz daughter to Lisa Bonet.
      When I checked out what Lisa had been starring in lately I saw her last film was 'Jellywolf', which is pretty much a 7 minute Chanel advert with jellyfish floating all over the sky.
      I thought this was a bit pop-culturally synchy, since her hubby Jason is now pop-cultural king of the sea 'Aquaman' with Nicole Kidman playing his mother.
      Kidman was once engaged to be married to Lenny, too.
      Then I see all of the jellyfish stories in the local newspaper, plus the deadly jellyfish that usually stay up in the northern waters of our state making their way down into the waters not far from the locations 'Aquaman' was filmed in.
      Four people were stung by the deadly ones just off the coast of Fraser Island (but lived) last week, which is where Price Harry and his Mrs visited last year.
      It's unusual for the deadly ones to make it down the coast this far south.
      Oh, yeah ... and Johnny Depp's ex-wife Amber Heard is Momoa's girlfriend in 'Aquaman'.
      When she was filming out here last year she was going out with Elon Musk, who is now going out with Grimes.
      Sounds like a sequel might be shot over here soon, too.
      As the director and a lot of the actors in the film are from Oz.
      On a personal note I remember the first time I saw the beach as a pre-schooler and just as I was about to hit the water for the first time I saw people dragging a screaming kid out of the water with a massive red welt up his thigh.
      Jellyfish sting, probably a bluebottle.
      Needles to say I didn't go in the water that day and not having a very good track record with the surf after nearly drowning in a rip as a teenager, I tend not to venture out too far as a swimmer to this day.
      The Siren can call all she wants to me, but I'm happy just walking the beach these days.


      "Some jellyfish are immortal. Turritopsis nutricula has the ability to travel backward to the polyp stage in times of stress."

    5. “Everyone who terrifies you is 65% water.
      And everyone you love is made of stardust,
      and I know
      you cannot breathe deeply, and
      the night sky is no home, and
      that you are down to your last two percent,
      nothing is infinite,
      not even loss.
      You are made of the sea and the stars, and
      one day,
      you are going to find yourself again.”

      Saltwater ~ by Finn Butler


      "Wildlife expert Steve Trewhella found 20 invasive species on one 18-mile stretch of beach in Dorset alone...", " ‘Many of these species have the potential and ability to settle in our waters...'There is no reason why these can not reproduce and spawn and then drop off into our water.", "He said Florida snails were ‘ferocious predators’, adding: ‘If they start to hatch in our waters we would end up with thousands of juvenile snails on the sea bed and they will decimate everything.’"

    7. I liked this line from your link Anon 11:18 am -

      "Amy’s bustling jelly nursery features moon jellyfish, the species most often encountered in our own seas; upside down jellyfish, Australian white-spotted jellies; blue-spotted lagoon jellies and tiny ‘umbrella’ jellyfish, so called because they look just like tiny transparent umbrellas constantly furling and unfurling."

      Maybe she could try and breed a hybrid 'Dark-side of the Moon' jellyfish, which I'm sure would sell like moon cakes in China;-)
      'Skyfall' jellies maybe?-)

    8. Ironically 'Saltwater' was written by a Finn I see MF-W and that reminded me of Julian Lennon's modest hit song 'Saltwater' (1991) -

    9. "Far-side of the Moon" Jellies will go down a treat with those "Moon Potatoes" China seeded away from prying eyes & Earth transmitted/reflected DNA mutating radiations.


  13. I don't Netflix, just have to take your word for this series, though I'm reminded of those damned V.C.Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic" books and movie. And, at a birthday of 6/13/66, Mr.Knowles,I relate too well to dysfunction and paranormal crossings!

  14. I saw a neologism earlier; "aliengelic". Glurk... Aliængelic may be a better spelling.

  15. How can you not admire the XFiles and emulate it somehow? There are lots of copy cats. Someone said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If we don't get it the first time, they do it over and over. (Black Mold will kill you, for sure)

    1. "There is nothing new under the sun".
      Wow, I just made that quote up.
      I hope it catches on, as I think it's a rather good one;-)


    Becomes hunter these new Amazonians.

  17. Actually, having just watched the last episode in the series I think the whole show was just meant as a metaphorical horror walk though the tarot deck on some level.
    Although I'll need to go back at some point and watch it again to check out this theory.
    I'm sure there is a lot more to it than that, but Steven seems to be the Fool in the story, which is why his house number is 696 (and not 666;-) at the end of the story.
    21 trump cards in a tarot deck plus the Fool card (#0).
    The World represents an ending to a cycle of life, a pause in life before the next big cycle beginning with the fool.
    And with the 'Red Room' being the heart of the house, I think it is just a metaphor for the old saying'"home is where the heart is".
    Plus, that gold #2 on Luke's cake seems to be like an alchemical wedding of sorts between his male/female twin self.
    Anyway, there is a lot of food for thought (and the house) in watching this show, that's for sure.

    1. That’s why I’m an avid SS reader because I’m not great at recognizing symbolism nor mythical interpretation. I place myself within a few of the characters and go with the story until my character(s) turn. The horror sinks in then and I find myself watching though my fingers in some instances just like a kid. I come here to see all the important things I missed.

      So from the perspective of a more childish viewpoint, the story was great, I was probably never a great mom, but I wasn’t so bad, and that family is dead, dead, dead. And thank you Chris and commenters for the education once again.

    2. The title sequence to the 1968 movie "House of Cards", co-starring Orson Welles*, involves a tarot deck, the "Swiss 1JJ Tarot", being stacked before falling.

      (*Welles credit appears in the sequence when the "Le Diable/Der Teufel/The Devil" card is shown.)


  18. Chris, there is an Australian mini-series called 'Cloudstreet' that deals with a similar theme to 'The Haunting of Hill House', but it's more of a mystical tale than a horror story and this house is in the Australian city of Perth and centres around a drowning.
    In fact the narrator of the TV series is telling the story as the spirit of the brain damaged boy who was normal before almost drowning.
    I don't know if you can get it over in The States, but I watched it recently on FoxtelNow, which is Fox's equivalent to Netflix.


    Written for political purposes.

  20. Breaking news, top priority: Kate Bush isn't a Tory.

  21. Last year I ate a quasi-heroic dose of mushrooms. I lay down in bed and soon had a vision of some Aztec god -- which made me sit right back up for the next five or six hours. I wrapped myself in blankets, sweating buckets and drinking hot water and tea, doing battle with a creepy black moldy-phenomenon that seemed to emanate from a distant, disused resort lodge deep in the Catskills that I had visited a few days before, to fetch something for the owner, somewhat against my better judgement knowing how bad the mold toxicity in that place was. I invoked powers like a dying qawwali singer and tangled with the carbon-black creeping Groot from Hell, for several hours. Not much fun, really. But at least I got a good sweat in.

  22. Interesting, I often get a lot of mesoamerican imagery; stepped pyramids, iridescent plumed serpents, jaguars, skulls, humming birds, and the typical geometric patterns from that region.

  23. Mulder's "UFO" musing at the beginning of "Field Trip", though not unusual in "The X-Files", has an added splice of a dimension, 'shroom-prophet Terence McKenna (who was also quite the transhumanist like so many other psychedlic gurus) believed:

    "intelligence, not life, but intelligence may have come here in this spore-bearing life form"

    The cancer that ended his time on This Mortal Coil, Glioblastoma Multiforme ("the most malignant of brain tumors", diagnosed in 1999), was described to McKenna by his Dr. "as a "fruiting body" that sent "mycelia" throughout the surrounding tissue".

    Around 1988 McKenna had a "terrifying" trip in which the former "teacher" turned on Its "heroic dose"(?) tripping pupil revealing "a lack of all meaning" & in which "very icky things ... were threatening to overwhelm me."

    'shrooms spore doom.

    & "The X-Files" everywhere/Thing? Aye, the tone of the most recent revivification, which came across as verging on Things like "CSI"/"NCIS" in terms of Its attention-deficit disorder pace & editing, which I'd taken to be a consequence of a misconceived need to "hook" viewers & reel them in & away from the fractal abundance of mediations seeking eyes (compared to 1994), is the tone of the vapourous media-sphere we inhale particulates of even if we've "cut the cable". "Alex Jones" may be "unpersoned" but all the news outlets ape his rabble-rousing appeal to justice style albeit under the veneer of a "respectable" & well-reasoned empirical "know your place" rationale. "Mengele Effect" be damned.

    Speaking of spookings I thought this "Netflix" show was a rewhatevering of "The Haunting of Hell House" (1973) co-starring Roddy McDowall (1 time "Invaders" haunted, possessed & traumatised & another time "Twilight Zone" alien incarceratee etc. etc.)


    "Rose Red"*, of all titles, was the given name of the Steven King (& at one point Steven Spielberg involved) adaptation/redo of "The Haunting of Hill House", wiki: "the miniseries was delivered to the ABC television network in early September 2001".

    "Winchester" (2018, again) is another Haunted House flick which once again Upside Downs the notion of a house/home as place of refuge, security, nurture & future. "Winchester" = "From an English place name, derived from Venta, of Celtic origin, and Latin castrum meaning "camp, fortress".


    1. After a certain point Terence McKenna stopped taking mushrooms. A portion of his remaining stash -- the ones that convinced him never to trip mushrooms again -- came in the hands of a friend, a well-known publisher, artist and poet. He consumed heroic doses (~14 grams) with his girlfriend and, in his words "met the Devil face to face". Said friend said he would never use them again. A year or two later I asked him for his stash, which half-filled a gallon-sized jar, and was gladly obliged. (I had no idea who "Terence McKenna" was, except that his mushroom stash had been recommended by him as seriously shamanic). I kept the stash with trepidation for a year, then ate a small (~2.5 gram) dose with a friend in Sag Harbor, NY. I had slightly unsettling visions of "gray aliens" for hours. A few months later, I sent the remainder to a friend, a professor of religion at a major Catholic university, via U.S. mail. Never did hear the rest of the story, but interestingly, the girlfriend of my publisher friend -- a medical doctor -- developed leukemia after taking her heroic dose. She survived but naturally, never wanted to experiment with magic mushrooms again.

    2. ("Alex Jones" as chimera-splice of "TXF" original-run plot synopses gone haywire / fever(/"Brainforce")-dream riff on the "TXF" "CliffsNotes" later feedback into the revived wacky final 2 series.)

      "Mulder" / Moldy.

      "It all went black."

      Scully's torch as abducting light reminded me of "The Sopranos" episode "Join the Club" in which Tony Soprano, whilst in a coma, has a glimpse of an afterlife type realm. Another episode later in the same 6th & final season, "Kennedy & Heidi", involves hallucinogens, peyote, & the aftermath of a main character actual-death experience.

      "Field Trip" = "The Thing from Another World" "TXF"-style.


      "Gnostic" reading of horror movies = all the same story essentially protagonists stuck in a room entranced by phantoms... & those watching said flicks too.


    3. *My mistake, in "Join the Club" it's not a medical pen-torch shining into the comatose Tony's eyes that signal a "way out" back to "the land of the living" from the purgatorial realm, It's post-surgery overhead lights. The exploration of the near-death zone continues in the next episode "Mayham".


    4. & in regards to "inhabiting":

      "Gandolfini used to strip off his clothes and dance like “crazy” when he completed filming an intense therapy scene for The Sopranos, according to co-star Lorraine Bracco.", "One of her favourite memories ... was his playful nature, particularly after the cameras stopped focusing on him, and turned to Bracco.", “He would be so happy… that he would like, strip and dance and take his clothes off and get all crazy ... And I’d be like, ‘Hello! I gotta do my lines here!'”

      Like a soul possessed / exorcising Itself? Bracco played the role of Tony Soprano's therapist...

      James Gandolfini was a student of the "Meisner Technique": "the focus ... is for the actor to "get out of their head", David Duchovny is another "Meisner" alumni (Stephen Colbert & Wil Wheaton too). "The goal ... has often been described as getting actors to "live truthfully under imaginary circumstances", sounds an extremely stressful juxtaposition. Gandolfini produced 2 documentaries on PTSD experienced by soldiers & their families, & he voiced the role of "Carol", "an impulsive Wild Thing" in Spike Jones' adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are". Jones' 2013 movie "Her" "is dedicated to Gandolfini".

      "The Night Tony Soprano Disappeared"

      "Anybody who has ever been on a TV or movie set knows there is no place more guaranteed to exterminate any sense of romance about TV and the movies. Not so when Gandolfini was shooting... each time, you could tell, required a return journey into that character as real and visceral as the plate of spaghetti and braciole he would dig into again and again and again. It was hypnotizing. It was exhausting."

      "It is not too much of a stretch to say that if Gandolfini had not gotten the role of Tony Soprano ... television would not be what it is today. Without an actor capable of finding Tony’s melancholy, his soulfulness, his absurdity and his rage, the era of TV antiheroes may never have found its foothold."

      "The best piece of evidence for his legacy may be that the people for whom his fits and absences made life most difficult were the same people, to a man and woman, who regarded him with the most compassion and admiration. They forgave him and they loved him."

      "Ever since The Sopranos had debuted in 1999 ... the character’s frustration, volatility, and anger had often been indistinguishable from those qualities of James Gandolfini ... It was a punishing role, requiring ... daily descent into Tony’s psyche—at the best of times, a worrisome place to dwell; at the worst, ugly, violent, and sociopathic.

      "...papers relating to his 2002 divorce from Marcy Wudarski allege that Gandolfini battled serious issues with drugs and alcohol which saw him 'punch himself in the face with frustration.'", "Marcy claimed that he was so out of control on cocaine and alcohol on the set of his first major film ... that filming had to be stopped.", "...Gandolfini claimed that his wife constantly threatened to kill herself and blamed her emotional instability and volatile temper for the marriage breakdown.", "He filed for divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment. At the time his wife said his departure had come as a shock."

      A further stressful juxtaposition.


    5. & co-habitation.

      "In his younger days" JG was a svelte "basketball star" at his high school at which "he was voted 'class flirt'".

      "'We're all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family,'"

      "He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes."

      "'We had all become a family. This is a tremendous loss.'"

      "...It was like being told a brother had died... People joke about us being a family. But we are a family."

    6. What's the spored-fruiting chimerised by a splicing with "Babylon"? Not just another "'shroom-Files" but an episode in which M&S (...S&M???) encounter their doppelgängers.

      ("Mayham" does involve a scene in which a medical pen-light is shone into the comatose eyes of "T" & in the purgatorial bardo-plane in which he experiences a case of mistaken identity "T's" told It's a "beacon".)


    7. & in a later final season episode "Kennedy and Heidi", revolving around further (near) death (experiences) & stimulant/hallucinogen use "Tony" injures his knee & when conveying this to his wife states:

      "I just banged my knee - you know the one from High School, I'm fine..."

      Did Gandolfini suffer a knee injury whilst playing basketball, did this injury play a part in his gaining weight? Was this part of what he channelled (for this scene) as "Tony Soprano"?

      & on the topic continuing negative cycles in one of "Tony Sopranos" last therapy sessions with "Dr. Melfi" in regards to his suicidal son he states:

      "It's in his blood - this miserable fucking existence, my rotten fucking putrid genes have infected my kids soul, that's my gift to my son."

      "The Sopranos" is fiction.


  24. Lucky-lucky penny-penny:

  25. My thought, as the end of the last episode was nearing, was that the entire family was dead the entire series & were going through some sort of bardo state like the movie Jacob's ladder or the series Lost--as in the Tibetan Book of the Dead--working out all their karma & issues for the next possible incarnation. Apologies if someone else in the comments has already surmised this as I haven't read through all the comments. Really amazing how much there is to unpack in some of these programs--much more than I would ever be able to think of!

  26. I would like to agree with The everyone’s dead theory, but the scene with them carrying Luke out of the room and Steve sees both forms of his dad kinda cements that only who’s dead is in the red room. Throw in the possibility that the red room is nick named ‘M-K’ at school then sure, believe what you want at that point.