“Too much science too soon would drive you insane!”
Baldwin is still creating new fictions out of old film clips, a sort of Adam Curtis possessed by Guy Maddin, but now he’s filming new clips of his own. Lots of truth in the fictions, as he recounts (through less-than-convincing actor narration) the stories of his cultist heroes: sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard, rocket scientist Jack Parsons and new-age goddess Marjorie Cameron, with side characters Aleister Crowley and Lockheed Martin. All except L.M., who only exists as a corporate entity, were connected in the 40’s and 50’s, and Baldwin tries to throw in some way-out truth-stranger-than-fiction to blow our minds. I’d rather hear the pure paranoia of Tribulation 99, since there’s nothing new to say about L. Ron and Crowley (though I hadn’t heard Jack’s story before).
It’s some goofy fun. Some of the match cuts are fantastic. A couple’s conversation in a room is represented visually by tens of couples in different rooms. No sync sound, so the actors voices don’t match their mouths any more than those of all their stock-footage doppelgangers. I wish Marjorie’s dialogue didn’t consist mostly of movie titles, an idea that works better on paper than in practice. I enjoyed seeing so many clips from X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes. Rick Prelinger, Guy Debord, Ray Milland and Peter Lorre are all listed as production assistants, heh. “Lockheed Martin is a pastiched character but is still a very evil reality.” I sampled the director commentary, in which he struggles to keep up with his own movie, naming all the footage sources.