The Butt Dial

"Because Great Ideas Begin And End In The Lower Colon" Friedrich Nietzsche


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From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

The Lighthouse: A parable of isolation and facing the truth about ourselves– on a landscape as bleak and unforgiving as a Rockwell Kent woodcut—seems to miss its potential with heavy-handed humor: fart gags,  piss-pot  slap stick  and, of course, the old standby : a drunk man trying to fuck a mermaid. Fortunately, not all of this is irrelevant. In the last scene when the Everyman protagonist finally murders  his tyrannical employer, he then rushes to the top of the lighthouse and recoils in  shrieking horror at the sight of the great light (albeit difficult to figure what else  he thought was up there)  and then gets eaten alive by seagulls. I, for one, can totally relate to this last scene:  

          Ten days of total isolation on an island –Manhattan, but still—with no cleaning service, no clean sheets or towels and surrounded by broken or breaking objects of every description, The Lighthouse landscape precisely mirrors my surroundings. My daylight hours are spent warring online with moronic Pelosi supporters or being driven to the brink of insanity by  non-stop  warnings by “experts” that not washing my hands or touching my face means universal disappointment in my mulish behavior plus painful death  Night means watching appalling Netflix documentaries of what happens when  people with IQ’s of shit beetles own tigers whilst drinking straight gin out of the bottle because straws have been outlawed (by the same experts who just discovered handwashing.) But none of this describes the real horror.

          As in The Lighthouse: zero decent food. People not of this island do not appreciate that everyone  eats in restaurants, every day. When the restaurants close they attack the supermarkets – all at once, and many for the first time ( imagine standing in line for long minutes behind a couple who now loathe one another argue about how to calculate the tip to the cashier.) Hence, what’s left : Tofu,  “Connard de Porc” French for pig asshole and Hawaiian Pizza Hot Pockets . The point? The horror-stricken face on the actor facing the great light at the end of The Lighthouse is an exact duplication of my face as I open the microwave to view  what I am condemned to eat merely to stay alive. And indeed, the sight of my near lifeless form spread out on the sidewalk being consumed by budgies tossed out by owners worn to a frazzle by their constant chirping does not take a great leap of imagination –how did the creators of The Lighthouse know?

          A24, the bankrollers of this bleaker adaptation of an already bleak short story, has had huge success by focus grouping every film on social media. And, not incidentally, building a fan base and excitement for films before actual production even begins. The Lighthouse is definitely not designed to be a  crowd-pleaser and, in fact, a number of critics mention the “bravery” it took to put out what is destined to be a commercial flop. At the same, almost all critics report being thrilled by its gutsiness and off-putting message – it has a 90% positive critic consensus rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Probably a good rule of thumb is this : If you’re enjoying Corona Virus, you’ll love The Lighthouse. 



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