Richard Myers  



Ohio-based experimental film-maker that makes non-narrative, highly personal experimental films with surreal elements. He has a talent for putting together complete movie experiences that combine sound and images to explore personal memories, musings and dreams by way of free-association and an eye for hypnotic or striking images filled with sub-conscious content. He goes beyond the usual staples of experimental cinema that involve toying with cinematography, lighting, super-impositions and editing, and adds his own personal dreams, tying together memories with dream-logic and free association often backed by a surreal soundtrack. This means that his movies won't deliver much in the way of themes or meaning, and nothing at all in terms of narrative or plot, but are only pure experiences.

Of Some Interest

Deathstyles  
The blurb sums it up nicely: "An experimental rumination on the decline of American society, largely expressed through snippets of images and sounds." This is a highly oneiric creation, part avant-garde montage of Mondo-style footage, part surreal imagery. There's mythical imagery of traditional Americana at first, then lots and lots of footage of various deteriorations and deviations in society, from lunatics in the street rambling on and on about crazy things, to rampant commercialism and sexual imagery, sex as a commodity, JFK shooting, rivers morphing into a screen showing space-travel then flowing as traffic, graveyard commercials, strange street shows, etc. All of this is put together in an indescribably gripping trip of a montage with oneiric electric soundscapes and free-flowing splicing of various strange audio recordings. But beyond this (more interesting than usual) standard experimental cinema bag of tricks, there are also several surreal tableaux that add a lot to the experience, including people in a mall parking lot staring into big red cinema-boxes, a struggling naked woman being endlessly squeezed between mattresses and a half-dozen people, and a couple of other bizarre visuals that feel transplanted directly from a dream. To tie all this together, there is an all-American observer who observes, jumps on a pogo stick, films, records sounds, and ends up abused by American society and launched into the future... Wears out its welcome for the last 20 minutes, but it is mostly an interesting and hypnotic experience.

Floor Show  
Films about the personal process of film-making are usually self-indulgent affairs, but when an experimental film-maker obsessed with the sub-conscious and stream-of-consciousness makes one, you just know it's going to be inscrutably personal. This one goes beyond stream-of-consciousness: It feels like the random contents of a brain shaken up and delivered in a random jumble. Scenes include: Footage of the Da Nang evacuation, various people we don't know doing various things plucked out of Myers's random memory cells, a dull very long sequence about a picture of Dostoyevsky and an old woman and a circus, many snippets from influential movies, lots of boring 'behind-the-scenes' footage and musings on film making, a man and a woman repeatedly walking past a fence causing moving ripples of light, or moving pictures, on their faces, perhaps evoking the passage of time, a stream of completely non-sequitur words and phrases that only have a meaning to Myers, some random snippets of instructional narrative on the themes of art being the thing-in-itself, on metaphysics/gnosis/new-age nonsense, and on attempting to connect with various levels of consciousness and dreams. Random surreal imagery includes: Dreaming of floating/flying while lying in a busy highway, a man grappling with a huge wallet, a steering wheel controlling film footage of a road, tightrope-walking over scenery, surreal recreations of classic Hollywood film scenes mixed with personal elements. Mostly a tiresome, overlong work of self-indulgence with some nice moments in the first third.

Jungle Girl  
A homage to Frances Gifford, star of the 1940s Hollywood serial Jungle Girl and several other adventure films. Except this is done in Myers style, which means it is heavily mixed with personal nostalgia and some light dream sequences. Most of the movie consists of clips from Jungle Girl and audio recordings of Gifford and others reminiscing and telling stories about what happened behind the scenes at Hollywood. Another big chunk is taken up by Myers dressing up his friends to recreate some scenes from Jungle Girl in modern settings and with some dream-logic, as a kind of homage-nostalgia surreal mix. It's way overlong and is a bit more semi-documentary than the usual Myers magic montage, but it has some points of interest.

37-73  
Myers makes another experimental montage of dreams, nostalgia and memories, this time with more magic and whimsy, often bringing to mind Guy Maddin. There are nostalgic scenes of childhood and grandmother tales, as well as surreal or strikingly unusual imagery such as brides lining up on a train track for their photographs, a group of people climbing ladders for no reason, a young boy's curiosity towards the mysterious female sex turning into a discovery of a witch collecting clouds on the roof, a Dreamer that finds himself in strange oneiric social situations such as people exchanging coats repeatedly at a party, or being pursued by a woman, a flying car that sometimes floats like a balloon, some erotica and kink, and much more. It's very fragmented and has no detectable theme or story except as Myers' personal memories, so it is only rewarding as a dream-like experience with wonderful images. Probably Myers's best film.

Worthless

Akran  
Mostly just an avant-garde barrage of images, snippets of personal memories and sounds and not surreal, but the barrage gradually veers towards social commentary and bizarre acts until you realize it has become a semi-surreal nightmare depicting an American society gone mad with violence, commercialism, insanity and sex. The whole thing is also backed by a headache- inducing barrage of electronic sounds, sometimes evoking a chaotic jumble of memories, but its mostly just painful to endure. It features a protagonist that is the center of all the memories, many of which feature a couple of love interests, a man who then becomes an observer and victim of said society. The media literally bombards him with nonsense and commercialism, his car is repeatedly accosted by dozens of mad citizens, he travels while in bed, and eventually finds himself in a nightmare party of repeated shootings, beefcake and nudity. Its all mostly a confrontational experience, and nothing like his oneiric later creations. One can also argue that his later Deathstyles is a more surreal and scrutable re-working of the global themes in this one.




2000- by The Worldwide Celluloid Massacre Table of Contents