Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fag Noir Imagination



Baby Jane
Twisted Sisters
Touch of Evil
Night of the Demon
Tourneur Touché
Passing the Parchment
Cat People
Fallen Angel
British Museum
Tourneur’s Cinema
Fag Noir Adieu


"Did you ever wonder
what would it be like if
you could program your
dreams before you went
to sleep each night?”
— John Lehman, “Dreams
Within Dreams,” Lit Noir

It was one of those —
Dreams within a dream
When you wake up from
A movie within a movie

It’s still a dream but —
You’re thinking you’re
Really awake while
Actually it’s Fag Noir

It’s like that Grande —
Dame Guignol “What Ever
Happened to Baby Jane”
Masterpiece of the Macabre

That campy drag version —
Directed by Billy Clift that
Tweaks the original just
Right such Fag Noir trash!!!


These two twisted sisters —
Living in a run-down mansion
“What a fuckin dump!” honey
But you ain’t seen nothing yet

This drag version of Bette Davis —
& wheelchair-bound Joan Crawford
Makes a sensitive girl ask herself
“Christ! Who’s coming for din din?”

Doing Bette Davis Fag Noir drag —
Is like Marlene Dietrich doing aging
Blue Angel cabaret in a rundown
Tijuana “Touch of Evil” whorehouse

It’s like an aging Zsa Zsa Gabor —
Doing Mexican Madame burlesque
One last time before Weimar folds
And the Strip Show gets outta town

Whatever happened to Baby Jane —
Is the story of how a fag noir Diva
Survives the Touch of Evil & makes
Her Norma Desmond comeback!

Touch of Evil (1957) 

Just ask Akim Tamiroff —
Seedy underworld Queen Bee
Flipping his wig down there
In tacky ersatz Tijuana

Orson Welles’ revenge —
After RKO’s “Citizen Kane”
Almost going bankrupt by
The Boy Genius Imagination

Hauling in Val Lewton —
And Jacques Tourneur for
A long string of Fag Noir
Supernatural thrillers

Tourneur Touché

“Every thing came to me
 all by itself, I think
 no effort to make
 things come to me”
— Jacques Tourneur

Like the hand —
Oh the banister in
“Night of the Demon”
That simply disappears

The source of —
One of Tourneur’s
Obsessions: Suddenly
Something inexplicable

Like Dana Andrews —
Exploring the creepy
Black Magician’s mansion
Playing psychic detective

Julian Karswell —
Is it his hand there
On the dark banister
In the Fag noir night?

Passing the Parchment 

Ancient runic symbols 
Scribbled on a strip of paper
What does the demonic
Writings of darkness mean?

The same with the noir —
The indecipherable text of
 “True Discoveries of
 Witches and Demons”

The master key (noir) —
From which the parchment
Is generated that terrorizes
The professorial nincompoops

Cat People

What could be more —
Starkly goth fag noir
Than the beginning of
“Night of The Demon”?

Poor Professor Harrington’s  —
Drive through the Night to
Plead with Karswell to call
Off the Demon’s curse?

The shadowy night reflections —
Like the swimming pool at night
The panther pacing in “Cat People”
Stalking its frightened victim?


Dana Andrews stands there —
Amidst the old stone ruins
Surrounded by stone slabs
Scribbled with runic curses

Fragmentary texts like —
Filmic distorted scenes in
The British Museum corridor
The Savoy Hotel warped walls

Weird images interpenetrate —
Clairvoyante soirées into
Parallel worlds perplexing
Even hardcore Dana Andrews

Fallen Angel  

By the time of 1957 
William Holden is a tired
Burnt-out alcoholic in this
Tourneur Fag noir film

Which only adds to the —
Bird attitude of Holden’s
Cynical, skeptical role
As a debunking scientist

Fake Mediumship goes —
Back to “Fallen Angel” (1945)
With John Carradine as the
Fake but consummate Medium

Holden back then plays the —
Same supernatural ersatz role
With Linda Darnell playing the
Fag noir slutty femme fatale

Night of the Demon 

Holden's problem is to try 
Not believing in the Devil as
The audience struggles to
Accept belief in the cinema

Parallel worlds penetrate —
The screen, distorting scenes
Like meeting the Black Magician
Karswell in the British Museum

Corridors are blurred and —
Figures are silhouetted as if
Holden had an attack of vertigo
Disturbing the reality of space

Inexplicable moments stain —
The Hobart farmhouse, Karswell’s
Mansion and the distorted hallways
Of the Savoy Hotel with weird
Disorienting camera shots

Tourneur’s Cinema

Tourneur’s cinema —
Film noir shadows and
Ghostly chiaroscuro shades
Depicting a world of darkness

The scary pool scene —
In “Cat People,” the dark
Cemetery scene in “Leopard
Man,” a cinema of fear

Carrefour’s shadow —
Across the bedroom wall
The voodoo zombie drums
In the dead of night

The car driving frantically —
In “Night of the Demon”
The stabbing Fearful headlights
Thru the Karswell Forest

The Train Station

Fear rather than horror —
Haunting hallucinations
Worse than the real thing
A parallel world of evil

The hand on the banister —
As Holden explores the
Karswell haunted mansion
Who’s gnarled hand is it?

The stones of Stonehenge —
Carnal parchment curses
Visiting cards, daily calendars
With missing, torn-out pages

The ambiguous connection —
Between knowledge & death
Ending at the train station
“Perhaps it’s better not to know”

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