Naked Lunch

Released:  1991

Cast:  Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, Julian Sands, Roy Scheider

SUMMARY:  In the 1950s, William “Bill” Lee (Peter Weller) is an exterminator who lives with his wife, Joan (Judy Davis).  Bill soon learns that his addict wife is using his roach powder (pyrethrum) to get high.  Bill also begins using the drug, but is quickly arrested.  During his interrogation he begins to hallucinate, and believes that he is being recruited by a secret agency that is run by giant insects.  He communicates with the agency through his typewrite, which is also his insect handler.  The typewriter tells him that Joan is an agent of a rival agency, and gives him the task of killing her.  Bill does not accept this mission, but later on, accidentally kills Joan during a game.  To get away from the police, Bill leaves town.  He goes to Interzone, which is filled with other agents both for and against his side.  His new job is to report on the happenings of Interzone; eventually, these reports are compiled into a book published by his friends.  Bill becomes acquainted with the Frosts in Interzone:  Tom Frost (Ian Holm) is also a writer, while his wife Joan looks exactly like Bill’s wife Joan.  While in Interzone Bill continues to take various drugs, and gets hooked on one known as “black meat”, made from giant centipedes.  Bill is next tasked with finding the mastermind of the black meat operation, a Dr. Benway (Roy Scheider).  He does this successfully, writes a report, takes Joan and heads to nearby Annexia.  He is stopped at the border and asked to demonstrate that he is a writer:  when a pen is not enough proof, he reenacts the game that killed his wife.  Once again, Joan dies; the guards welcome him to Annexia.

MY TAKE:  If the above summary didn’t make sense to you, don’t feel bad:  I watched the whole movie and I don’t have the foggiest effing idea what it was about.  Literally.  I have watched a lot of crappy, confusing movies for this blog, and this is right up there.  I tend to hate art films because I don’t get the subliminal messaging, but this was a fairly mainstream movie, with known actors (by the way, Ian Holm is Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit and LOTR movies).  It was based off the works of William S. Burroughs, who was a known heroin addict.  Parts of it are semi-autobiographical:  Burroughs really did accidentally kill his wife, Joan.  I have never used heroin, or any other drug, but I would imagine that watching this movie is similar to a bad trip:  you come back to Earth two hours after starting with no idea of what happened.

RATING:  Horrible.

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