Too Weird for Words
July 3, 2007 6:52 PM   Subscribe

The Holy Mountain is an extremely odd 1973 film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, and the trailer for it is probably the most bizarre single video on Youtube (not an easy feat by any measure). It just doesn't get much weirder than this guy. Well, then again... (none of this is SFW).
posted by dbiedny (72 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks like "One Hundred Years of Solitude" meets "Amazon Women on the Moon".
posted by stbalbach at 6:57 PM on July 3, 2007


I love El Topo!
posted by mds35 at 6:58 PM on July 3, 2007


I worked at a Virgin Megastore four or five years ago, and there was a lonely copy of Holy Mountain on VHS with a sticker price of nearly $100.

The box art (still images from the film) definitely piqued my curiosity, but not enough to purchase the tape. However, I've since been able to watch it several times. Definitely bizarre.
posted by wolfsleepy at 7:00 PM on July 3, 2007


Holy Mountain is a favorite of mine. It's like a spiritual acid trip and a search for the Holy Grail. A must see if you can get yourself a bootleg.
posted by farishta at 7:07 PM on July 3, 2007


Oh, God. Is that the movie that includes, amongst other things, a recreation of the conquest of South America, as performed by little soldier crabs?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:08 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jodorowski is awesome.

He also writes comic books.

Which are also awesome.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:12 PM on July 3, 2007


DVD with Holy Mountain & El Topo
posted by dbiedny at 7:14 PM on July 3, 2007


Wasn't this the guy who was supposed to do the Dune movie?
posted by erikharmon at 7:15 PM on July 3, 2007


Wasn't this the guy who was supposed to do the Dune movie?

Yeah. That's the guy. And it didn't end up happening, because his ideas for the film were too weird. So they got David Lynch.

When the studio picks David Lynch over you because Lynch is the safer bet, you can safely assume that your sensibilities are somewhat slightly more bizarre than those of the mainstream.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:18 PM on July 3, 2007 [14 favorites]


Wow! I've never seen this before so thank you. And thanks for the link to the DVD dbiedny. It looks quite a bit like Fellini's Satyricon to me, from just watching the trailer.

Bizzartiful!
posted by isopraxis at 7:18 PM on July 3, 2007


No need for bootlegs, farishta ... as dbledny beat me in listing, there is now a Jodorowsky Box Set, released in May. It's an essential purchase ... Fando & Lis, El Topo (and its soundtrack on a separate CD), Holy Mountain (and its soundtrack on another separate CD), Jodorosky's illuminating commentaries, and the stellar documentary La Constellation Jodorowsky are all within. Yep - "Wow. Just wow." Here's the homepage for the set which contains video previews and video interviews with the master.

I love me some Jodorowksy.
posted by General Zubon at 7:19 PM on July 3, 2007


Here's a short piece Jodorowski himself wrote about his ideas for the Dune film.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:19 PM on July 3, 2007


I forgot to do the link. Second attempt: here is a short piece Jodorowski wrote about trying to make the Dune film.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:22 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


That looks awesome, I'll have to search it out.
From the imdb comments:
"This is a fragment I took from a Mexican diary. Apparently the diary took a piece of an interview featuring in a magazine called “UNCUT” [I just translate the text]
Uncut – Is it true that George Harrison was in line to play the role of Christ in The Holy Mountain?
Jodorowsky – He wanted to play the role, the same as Boy Dylan. Harrison read the script and said to me “This script is pretty good, but there’s one single shot I wouldn’t like to do. You wrote a scene in wich they clean my ass on camera” So I said “You don’t want to show your ass? I can’t make a movie with you!” Maybe it was the biggest mistake on my life, but I wouldn’t like to do any kind of concession"

posted by tellurian at 7:22 PM on July 3, 2007


The metaphysical comic book epic that he did with Moebius, The Incal, which features (among other things) themes from the Tarot and a robot bird made out of concrete, was going to be made into an animated movie. It never happend, but the trailer is posted on YouTube.
posted by infinitywaltz at 7:27 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


IMDB sums it up for me...

you really need to have some basic reading in occultism to follow this movie
posted by mattoxic at 7:29 PM on July 3, 2007


This is a pretty super duper post, as my four-year-old son would say (if I allowed him to look at Metafilter, which I don't...for the time being).
posted by KokuRyu at 7:34 PM on July 3, 2007


Weird, internet synchronicity I just recently got a copy of El Topo from a friend and started watching it. It's so awesomely WTF-tastic that I don't really even know how to describe it to friends.

Fans of Jorodowski should also check out Brazilian mad scientist Zé do Caixão (warning, audio) which translates roughly as "Coffin Joe" (real name José Mojica Marins), for his similarly awesome horror films.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:35 PM on July 3, 2007


Jodorowsky! Amen, thank you, and more please! Just for giggles, what do you think might have been his influence on contemporary Mexican cineastes? I can't see Children of Men or Pan's Labyrinth without seeing Jodorowsky's hairy face behind the scenes.

w/r/t Dune, Moebius's suit concepts wound up in Alien, and IMHO a few visualizations were borrowed from the desert planet without credit (and possibly without coinscious visual influence) for a little SF serial we now know as Star Wars.

Jodorowsky? He is your father.
posted by mwhybark at 7:37 PM on July 3, 2007


Yes. Probably the most eye-fuckingly weird movie I've ever seen.

And I've seen some weird ones.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:37 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


HOLY BLOOD HOLY BLOOD!

okay, I'll read the post now, just had to show my Jodorovsky love ASAP.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:38 PM on July 3, 2007


There's also this fantastic looking book due soon: ANARCHY and ALCHEMY : The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky. It's part 6 of Creation Books' super neat-o Persistence Of Vision series. I've had it on pre-order for months now and the release date keeps getting pushed back ... I think mid-August is the current ETA.
posted by General Zubon at 7:39 PM on July 3, 2007


Oh man, how I love The Holy Mountain. And the new box set is simply amazing. After waiting soooo long for these movies to be properly released on DVD, they really did it right. I mean, they even included the CD soundtracks for El Topo and The Holy Mountain.
posted by ghastlyfop at 7:39 PM on July 3, 2007


Jodorowsky, especially in his prime, was extraordinarily pretentious, obviously on very serious drugs, at least a bit misogynistic, and far too in love with the version of Eastern mysticism that was in vogue during the '70s. That said, his films were absolutely fucking brilliant. I'm going to have to get the boxed set, and very soon. For those who still have VCRs and want a more recent, and somewhat friendlier to the uninitiated, experience, there's also Santa Sangre, which "works" better in terms of plot and character, but at the cost of the sheer blazing bizarre greatness of his early work.

It's quite likely that his Dune was too outlandish and bizarre a movie to ever be made, but personally I've always felt a twinge of sadness that we don't live in a world where it was possible.
posted by graymouser at 7:44 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now I know where Matthew Barney gets all his ideas.
posted by fungible at 7:51 PM on July 3, 2007


Oh I was not ready to see that this evening. Damn. Brilliant though.
posted by geekhorde at 7:51 PM on July 3, 2007


it feels weird to me coming to this website and having people guide me towards things I already know about.
posted by dydecker at 7:53 PM on July 3, 2007


"Nothing in your education, or your experience, can have prepared you for this film."

In-fucking-deed
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:00 PM on July 3, 2007


My fave is Fando y Lis. It's awesome.
posted by Brittanie at 8:06 PM on July 3, 2007


it feels weird to me coming to this website and having people guide me towards things I already know about.
posted by dydecker at 10:53 PM on July 3


I know what you mean. I actually checked to see if this was a double (it's not) because I assumed it had to have been discussed here before.

You guys have all heard of Liquid Sky, right?

The problem I have with the movie is what graymouser alluded too, Jodorowsky is mired in the pop 70's, and it shares that ears pop fascination with mysticism and astrology, and consequently the movie felt dated even ten years after it was released.

Visually, it's brilliant, and the photography is at times striking and iconic. If you haven't seen it, you should.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:08 PM on July 3, 2007


an allen klein production?!? from wikipedia: John Lennon, after seeing and being impressed with Chilean cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo, persuaded Allen Klein, who was his manager at the time, to buy the rights and bankroll Jodorowsky's next film, The Holy Mountain (1973)
posted by aquanaut at 8:09 PM on July 3, 2007


His version of Dune sounds bizarre.

You can quit moaning about Sting and the rain at the end now, because by comparison Lynch did a pretty straight adaptation.
posted by Artw at 8:12 PM on July 3, 2007


(Also Santa Sangre is fucking awesome.)
posted by Artw at 8:13 PM on July 3, 2007


I actually own the DVD. Can't say whether I like the film or not, but the pure visceral assault on the senses provides me with plenty of after dinner conversation and invites to see what the hell it is all about.
posted by purephase at 8:14 PM on July 3, 2007


I loved Fando y Lis. There's a place near me to hike that looks like one of the sets (minus angry drag queens). The word 'Tar' plays in my head musically whenever I encounter it. I was so happy I randomly watched it; I'll be happy to get my hands on the rest.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:15 PM on July 3, 2007


another vote for Sante Sangre!
posted by cazoo at 8:23 PM on July 3, 2007


an allen klein production?!?

Yeah, it's strange to see that awful person's name on this movie. He's the reason the movie was out of circulation (aside from bootlegs) for so long- Jodorowsky didn't want to make The Story of O, so in retaliation Klein pulled The Holy Mountain from circulation.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:25 PM on July 3, 2007


There's also a brand new 35mm print floating around. I caught it a couple of months ago and it's phenomenal to see it projected.
posted by tighttrousers at 8:31 PM on July 3, 2007


Count me in too, Santa Sangre is amazing film. I love it so much I have the LD and a few posters.
posted by lone_one at 8:51 PM on July 3, 2007


graymouser writes "Jodorowsky, especially in his prime, was extraordinarily pretentious, obviously on very serious drugs, at least a bit misogynistic, and far too in love with the version of Eastern mysticism that was in vogue during the '70s. That said, his films were absolutely fucking brilliant."

Amen. The Holy Mountain especially is so dated and juvenile and laden with pretentious clichés that it should be either unwatchable or pure comedy, but somehow.... The guy's talent just shines through. There are a dozen "a-ha" moments (the first one that comes to mind is the conquest of the New World reenacted with frogs and lizards) , and smartly composed visuals, and the end just leaves me with a huge smile on my face. It's a great movie, all the greater for overcoming its flaws.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:08 PM on July 3, 2007


Thanks for this. I was lucky enough to recently see a restored 35mm version at the Castro theatre in SF. Previously, I'd only seen fuzzy bootlegs. The full, crystal-clear theatrical experience is not to be missed (though I must admit some flaws show through even more clearly). I think it may be making the art-house circuit . . . keep, um, an eye out.
posted by treepour at 9:19 PM on July 3, 2007


The documentary La Constellation (included in the new set as well as on older DVDs of Fando and Lis) is a must-see for Jodorowsky fans, especially the first half. The footage of the early performance pieces in the Panic Movement he founded is inspirational and hilarious, as are his reminiscences of his early years as a theater director in Latin America. It gives you a much deeper appreciation for the precise nature of his lunatic genius.
posted by mediareport at 9:46 PM on July 3, 2007


I have yet to see this one, but I just watched El Topo for the first time a few days ago, and...oh my God. Oh my GOD. The flaws graymouser alluded to above are dead-on, and I'd even add a few -- pretentious, misogynistic, weighted down with ham-handedly transparent Jesus Christ pose symbolism, unbelievably exploitative (uh...where did all the dead animals come from? is it really cool to populate your film with the maimed and deformed? is it really cool to have your own son -- your own seven-year-old! son! -- spend the first half hour of the film walking around completely naked, fer chrissake?!), and totally fucking awesome. The Jodorowsky page on teh wikipedias links to an INCREDIBLY long interview (part of the "book of the film" for El Topo, which is all online) that will confirm your worst suspicions -- mostly that Jodorowsky is kind of a bullshit artist -- even as it confirms your (well, my) other sneaking suspicion, to wit that his bullshittery and egomania are but the sometimes amusing side-effects of his total fucking awesomeness. I can't explain it. The closest comparison I can draw is to someone like James Ellroy, who's cultivated a larger than life persona that would be utterly ridiculous were it not that (a) it totally works for him, (b) the work itself is brilliant, and (c) the self-mythologizing self-aggrandizement comes part and parcel with genuine passion, wisdom, and a completely original point of view. For better or worse, there's no separating the bullshit from the artist, but the artist is SO worth it -- so much so that (some of) the bullshit takes on a charm all its own.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:54 PM on July 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


i really didn't believe that this was the most bizarre video on you tube

i do now ... i've got to see this film
posted by pyramid termite at 10:09 PM on July 3, 2007


well said, kfb!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:22 PM on July 3, 2007


kittens for breakfast writes "For better or worse, there's no separating the bullshit from the artist, but the artist is SO worth it -- so much so that (some of) the bullshit takes on a charm all its own."

It's almost as if he's taken the shit....and turned it into gold!
posted by mr_roboto at 10:30 PM on July 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


makes matthew barney look like an amateur nutbar.
posted by Hat Maui at 10:53 PM on July 3, 2007


Every time I meet someone new, and I think they might be someone I want to know and like and be friends with, I invite them over for dinner and a movie. The movie is ALWAYS Santa Sangre.

Their reaction to the movie determines wether or not I pursue a friend-type relationship with them.

So far, it's made me a few "total weirdypants but fun and interesting" friends, and kept me from investing time and effort in relationships with tedious bad-poetry-writing egomaniacs who're unable to recognize and appreciate the work of someone smarter than they are even when it smacks them right upside the face.
posted by mountain_william at 11:26 PM on July 3, 2007


mountain_william: that makes me laugh because I watched Santa Sangre as a 14-year old, already a film geek, but only Kubrick-deep. Eet blew my effing miiind! My mom was single, and many boyfriends came into the picture (the guy from LA who brought me a poster of the Craft failed hard). KO the arborist was a serious interest, and brought over Rumble Fish and Santa Sangre (!) in one night. To watch with us. My mom was not keen: she doesn't do movies even now. Found High Fidelity too arty. I asked if he'd let me return them. Kismet.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:33 AM on July 4, 2007


I'll have to watch this and revisit El Topo sometime. I don't remember El Topo all that well, just that it had a lot of sex and nudity and violence and blood. A lot, and it actually made me uncomfortable after a while. It is indeed trippy, but not a terribly pleasant experience.
posted by zardoz at 3:09 AM on July 4, 2007


wow, it really makes me happy to see the jodorowsky love here

FUCKING PANIC
posted by undule at 3:26 AM on July 4, 2007


Recently watched the latest re-mastered version of this with Alejandro doing commentary in Spanish with English subtitles. Awesome!

Saw El Topo the first time over 30 years ago and it remains one of my favorite films.

Glad to see his work making the rounds.
posted by rmmcclay at 3:59 AM on July 4, 2007


This is the second big wow for me this week, the first being "Another Girl Another Planet."
posted by From Bklyn at 4:22 AM on July 4, 2007


Fucking Panic indeed.


I was kind of surprised to discover that Jodoworsky founded the Panic movement with Rene Laloux.

Then I thought about it, and it made perfect sense.


sorry the second link has a remixed soundtrack. The original version is in seven sections on Youtube, but I'm tired of link-making.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:23 AM on July 4, 2007


WHOOPS. ROLAND TOPOR. I MEANT ROLAND TOPOR.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:25 AM on July 4, 2007


The trailer made me think of Robert Downey Sr's Greaser's Palace, a movie my dad has been raving about since circa 1976, but which I have not seen yet. That is all.
posted by Siberian Mist at 4:51 AM on July 4, 2007


When DVDs first came out, I made a list of films I wanted to own in the format; at the top of the list was El Topo and The Holy Mountain. Now, finally, they've been properly released (most of the bootlegs had optical fogging over genitalia as they'd been copied from a Japanese LD), and the prints look great. Nth the suggestion that everybody check the boxset out. Too bad Klein gets any proceeds.

If you just can't get enough and are looking for something akin to Jodorowsky's 70s output, I recommend Viva la muerte by Fernando Arrabal (Arrbal BTW wrote the play which Fando Y Lis was based upon).
posted by stinkycheese at 5:07 AM on July 4, 2007


John Lennon [...] persuaded Allen Klein, who was his manager at the time, to buy the rights and bankroll Jodorowsky's next film, The Holy Mountain

According to the commentary track on my copy of The Holy Mtn. (an Italian PAL version from a few years back), George Harrison wanted to play a part in the movie, but Jodorowsky said he'd only do it if Harrison agreed to be naked on screen. Hence, no George Harrison.
posted by BoringPostcards at 5:15 AM on July 4, 2007


No one seems to have noticed that the producer of this movie was Allen B. Klein, the guy who, allegedly by trickery, owns the rights to all Rolling Stones songs prior to 1970, who managed the Beatles in their last days, who now owns the rights to Phil Spector's work, etc., etc.
posted by yclipse at 5:19 AM on July 4, 2007


It shames me to say that I had not really been aware of Jodorowsky's work (at least directly) until now. That Holy Mountain trailer is amazing and I must pick up that boxset on DVD... Thanks!
posted by slimepuppy at 5:43 AM on July 4, 2007


No one seems to have noticed that the producer of this movie was Allen B. Klein

The bitter 30-year falling out between Klein and Jodorowsky is sad but also kinda funny. In a 1999 interview, Jodorowsky goes off on Klein near the end, saying at one point, "Allen Klein is a real criminal, he needs to be killed."

Glad they finally kissed and made up.
posted by mediareport at 6:06 AM on July 4, 2007


I note that the ubiquitous youtube comment- lol has been adorned with a question mark lol?

Did I really laugh out load?
posted by mattoxic at 6:07 AM on July 4, 2007


As I was watching the trailer I was thinking, is this the movie I saw 25 years ago where someone shit in a pot and it turned to gold? Yeah, it is that movie, it has to be that movie. I saw it at a rep theatre on Roncesvalles that they later converted to a grocery store. Because given the wild imagery in the trailer I should remember more of it than that one scene, but the whole experience slipped from my mind quickly. Sensory overload perhaps, or maybe none of it made much sense, in that special early-70s way.
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:10 AM on July 4, 2007


The trailer made me think of Robert Downey Sr's Greaser's Palace, a movie my dad has been raving about since circa 1976

The major difference being that Greaser's Palace is intentionally and uproariously funny as well.

"His name is Bingo-Gas-Station-Motel-Cheeseburger-With-A-Side-Of-Aircraft-Noise-And-You'll-Be-Gary-Indiana."
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:42 AM on July 4, 2007


I heartily approve of this post and wish that I had been the one to post it. I always do that; I see an fpp and I'm all like "damnit! Why didn't I think of that?"
posted by exlotuseater at 11:02 AM on July 4, 2007


Someone posted a teaser for Santa Sangre on youtube which is great. It manages to incorporate Metallica and Snoop's 'Gin and Juice' into the soundtrack. This is awesome.
posted by mullingitover at 2:03 PM on July 4, 2007


No one seems to have noticed that the producer of this movie was Allen B. Klein,

They did about twenty-five comments or so before yours, actually.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:08 PM on July 4, 2007


I found out about The Holy Mountain and the rest of his films when I first moved to SF about 20 years ago and wandered into Naked Eye and rented it on a lark.

Then I played it (and The Night Porter and um Liquid sky--but not all at once) during early dates with prospective relationships. If they didn't run screaming out of the room then I knew it could work.

Santa Sangre!!!! And all those christs in the Holy Mountain, god that was lovely.

As mentioned above it's odd to think that this hasn't been mentioned here before (I've been reading since 2001 but only commenting recently due to being laid up after an operation, which I suppose is neither here nor there).
posted by pywacket at 5:01 PM on July 4, 2007


Man, Liquid Sky... I remember attending a showing at the St. Marks theater in Greenwich Village very late one night. One of the best lines in any movie ever is uttered in that film:

"I have a cunt that kills."

I really hesitated typing that word, but WTF, I didn't write the original line. Go yell at the writers.
posted by dbiedny at 6:03 PM on July 4, 2007


Jodorowsky is a personal fave and I love Holy Mountain. I always think of Jodorowski as what Lynch wants to be when he grows up. Besides Dune, he was also slated at one point to direct 2001. Though I love 2001 just the way it is, I often think about what an awesome movie that would have been.

Fans of Holy Mountain should check out the always disturbing 'Sweet Movie'
posted by lumpenprole at 1:18 PM on July 5, 2007


Besides Dune, he was also slated at one point to direct 2001.

Eh? i thought that was Kubrick and Clarke all the way?
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on July 5, 2007


lumpenprole writes "Besides Dune, he was also slated at one point to direct 2001. "

Dude, I think you've been misled. That movie was Kubrick's baby all the way. No one (certainly not MGM) had even heard of Jodorowski prior to El Topo, which was 1970. 2001 starting filming in 65.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:06 PM on July 5, 2007


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