Monday, May 17, 2010

Will “LOST” Leave Us “In The Mouth of Madness”?

Evil Clowns 2 Eerie Images

The End is Near,” says the headline. And as any fan of pop-culture knows, this refers to the series finale of “LOST”. The innovative television series has reached the end of the road and is poised to go out with a proverbial bang in a television event sure to command viewership unseen since its early days. The show has been described as a mix of science fiction, mythology and soap opera, full of “Easter eggs”, “red herrings” and outright confusion, delivered up in weekly doses. Books in the backgrounds of scenes have resurrected interest in many obscure works of metaphysics, science fiction and philosophy. The themes range at times from Christian doctrine to Egyptian mythology, intermingling far eastern philosophies with western supernaturalism. Not since the second “Matrix” movie has there been such a wide-spanning interpretation and discussion about “what it all means”. The series has been exhaustively evaluated from almost every angle and ascribed to most genres except one: horror. So, it begs the question: “Do you read Sutter Cane”?

That obscure line hails from the John Carpenter movie, “In the Mouth of Madness” and while not even remotely similar to “LOST”, a forced comparison can easily change one’s perspective. Using the same extrapolations fans and the creators are accustomed to linking “LOST” with other works of fiction, one can make the argument that “LOST” is not about love, or redemption, or even the struggle between good and evil, but simply a tale of horror. Of course, kicking out that 4th wall to make the associations helps, but once the finale has aired, any association is null and void. It’ll be too late. But here and now, a mere 6 days before the end of the run for “LOST”, I think one can make a pretty compelling horror story out of the rocks, pebbles and sand on the beach of that “mysterious Island”.

The plot surrounding “In the Mouth of Madness” regards a top-selling horror author who has gone missing just before releasing his latest work and namesake of the movie. Sam Neill plays John Trent, an insurance fraud investigator who’s tasked with finding Cane and retrieving the finished manuscript. Regarding the entire affair as an elaborate publicity stunt, Trent nonetheless takes the job and takes the long journey into madness and ultimately horror. Without giving away too much of the plot, it suffices to say that the ultimate horror involves a breakdown of the barrier between fiction and reality, and the unleashing of ancient, mutant creatures via literature...with tragic consequences. In “LOST,” the containment of another ancient horror, the Smoke Monster, is the centerpiece of the finale. But, is literature also its gateway into the “outside” world?

The director of “In the Mouth of Madness”, John Carpenter, is said to have intended the author in question to represent Stephen King, his good friend and associate. Although the movie ascribes King and Sutter Cane to be contemporaries, one can’t help but draw a parallel between the friendship of John Carpenter and King, and JJ Abram’s admission of being a fan of King’s. To go one step further, Cuse, Lindelof and Abrams courted King for some time in hopes of being able to do a television adaptation of his trippy “Dark Tower” series. Given Abram’s affinity for parallel universes and the weird aspects of time, seems like it would have been a good fit. Unfortunately, JJ didn’t get to do the adaptation. Looks like Ron Howard got that gig. Let’s just hope that Abram’s doesn’t do to King what Ben did to Jacob over a perceived sleight.

John Carpenter described less stable readers of Sutter Cane as being subject to disorientation, memory loss, and severe paranoia, which means they could probably pass as LOST fans. It’s the rich tapestry of interwoven storylines and meaningful coincidences that makes LOST particularly appealing to certain kinds of people, those who find themselves watching and re-watching old episodes in search of subtle clues. It is here that I choose to exploit other coincidences and place LOST squarely into the horror genre by taking a few liberties with reality. While it is true John Carpenter directed one of the least liked Halloween movies (“Halloween III: Season of the Witch”) it is remotely plausible for the sake of argument to use this particular movie to outline the sinister intent behind LOST. The plot of “Season of the Witch” involved a modern day warlock who intends to sacrifice children on Halloween by virtue of crystal magic and mass communication. Urging all the children to wear a Silver Shamrock Halloween mask with the crystal in it when the winner of a fictitious contest is announced on television, the warlock proposes to use a carrier wave to project magic through their television, turning all their little heads to vermin. Nasty little plan, eh? If it wasn’t for all the plot-holes (and the most annoying jingle ever created) this might have worked...as a movie, I mean.

The similarities between LOST imagery and Stephen King books are also numerous: from the demonic “I-see-dead-people” issues of “The Shining”, to an enigmatic protagonist with questionable motives and an arch enemy called “The Man in Black” in the “Dark Tower” series; from post-Apocalyptic people aligning with good or evil as in “The Stand,” to the “crazy mother issues” explored by “Carrie”. Abrams really does appear to cover a lot of King’s landscape, but are JJ Abrams and Stephen King really two people, or is Abrams living out another King short story, “Secret Window, Secret Garden,” with King angrily shaking his fist at Abrams proclaiming, “You stole my story!”?

Here is where all the ingredients start to meld. John Carpenter, friend of Stephen King, directs two movies where books, television and film are used as conduits of evil to attack and destroy Mankind. Abrams has acquired a 4 1/2 hour time slot devoted to his “LOST“ finale, assuring maximum viewership. Using other plot devices from this season of LOST, what if the “Sideways” universe depicted...is here? Just suppose Abrams will precipitate the REAL Smoke Monster’s escape from the Island by bombarding the continental U.S. with electromagnetic radiation from a rogue satellite, simultaneously as millions of people (wearing Silver Shamrock masks of their favorite characters) are glued to their televisions, watching the same show? What if...at that very moment, the evil that is the Smoke Monster can “cross-over”, into the interconnected psyches of millions of fans and escape into our reality while turning viewers' heads into massses of black smoke?! Now all we need is a rogue satellite...oh wait...got one. Galaxy 15, solar-fried zombie satellite at your service. Now if we can only make it run amok on the date of the finale...ah yes. It’s scheduled to interfere with another broadcast satellite...23 May. Perfect. Cue creepy music.

Now that all the pieces are in place, do you STILL read Sutter Cane? Like Cane, will Abrams make himself a deity to an ancient race of Lovecraftian smoke creatures who aim to wipe-out mankind and reclaim the Earth? Not if enlightened, concerned citizens see through this nefarious plot, quit playing "Alan Wake" long enough to call up local affiliates showing the “LOST” finale and scream into the telephone, “Turn it offffffff!” Go on...do it! Save the world. Or else insert maniacal laughter here.





Writing copyright Jack Lee© 2010.You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this material without prior written permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LOST Finale Leaked from Sideways Universe




Taking out the proverbial "4th wall", the camera first shows a wide open, bloodshot eye with a finger in it, accompanied by the sound of a fan screaming in agony. Then it pans out to reveal the menacing figure of the Smoke Monster hovering over the remaining Losties. Jack steps forward. “We’re going to stop you, you monster!” Jack says.

“Whaaaat?” snarls the Smoke Monster. “YOU stop ME? With what? A scruffy beard and surly attitude? You’re toast...just like your original fate was in the pilot episode, Jack!” And with that, The Smoke Monster slams Jack into the sand, leaving a dent with a full body imprint before flicking sand over the inert body like a cat in a liter box. “BWA-HAA-HAA-HAAA! Fix that, Doc!”

Kate steps forward. “Oh no you didn't! You’ve gone and hacked me off now, Monster. You just killed my true love!”

“Whaaaaat?” asks Sawyer, perplexed. I mean, come on, Freckles. We’ve done the horizontal bop since we got here. You and Jack had that off-Island thing, but that ended as badly as everything else Jack does.”

“SILENCE!” bellows the Monster, shaking the trees. “Cease your infernal bickering, you hormonally driven side-kicks. You, Kate, were supposed to be the hero of this thing, but for the past few seasons, your character has disintegrated into the hypotenuse of a dysfunctional love triangle from hell. You serve no further purpose!” With that, the Monster, slings her around in a tight circle then tosses her far out to sea. “Let’s see how long you can tread water in those tight jeans, fish-bait. AH-HA-HAA-HAAA!”

Sawyer steps forward. “Listen here you big mass of intestinal gas, I’m not afraid of you. I'm taking you down, Mr. Stay Puff!”

“Whaaaaat?” snickers the Monster. “Mr. Stay Puff? Isn't that’s what you called Hurley the first season?"

"Um....no!"

"Sure you did. Season one, episode....10?"

"Get...out...of...my head!"

"You retweeting your old, wiseass remarks, Rerun?” But, Sawyer furiously denies previous use of the clever description and while he’s distracted thinking of another, the column of smoke forms an enormous fist behind his back and smashes him into a tree. “Enough of your inane nicknames, pancake-boy. Begone! BWA-HAAA-HAAAA!”

Hurley, remaining conspicuously alone, tries to back away nonchalantly. Quickly, the Smoke Monster cuts him off. He tries a new direction and the Monster circles him, cutting him off again. “Dude, I don’t have a dog in this fight...”

“Shut the hell up, Ghost-Whisperer. For six years, I’ve been trying to determine what your actual purpose is. Now I think I know. It’s TO DIE with the rest of the meddling Scooby Doo kids...now come closer so I don’t have to drag your fat ass all the way over here."

“Naw, I don’t think I’ll be doing that...Dude.”

“Whaaaaat?” asks the Monster, somewhat irritated as Hurley shows a rare defiance. Suddenly, the column of smoke simmers then changes, morphing into the one thing Hurley cannot resist. “Scooby Snack?” the Smoke Monster asks as it manifests the illusion of that scrumptious delicacy.

“Ruh Roh!! Well, I could eat...” Hurley steps forward...and is immediately set upon by the Monster, who strains to lift him before giving up and just dropping a huge boulder on his head.

“Damn, it’s been six years and you still weigh as much as a minivan! I’m curious, though. Now that you’re dead, can you SEE YOURSELF? HA-HAA-HAAAA-HAAAAA!!!!”

Bellowing in triumph like Godzilla, The Smoke Monster does a short victory dance until he hears, “Forget about me, Brutha?” The Monster spins around.
”Who dat? Who dere?”

“It’s me...Desmond”. The Monster pauses for a few seconds, pondering.

“And you arrrrreeee...who?”

“I’m the guy who was in the Hatch pushing the button for three years.“

“Oooooh, yeah! The sap in the hole. Who knew all it took was a $5 quarantine sign to hold you captive? Seriously, I thought you were long gone.”

“Funny story...I was living on a boat with my wife and kid when Ben traveled through time and space and tried to kill, Penny...then Widmire kidnapped me and...”

“Booooooring!” the Smoke Monster cuts him off. “Why should I not...I dunno...eviscerate you and make haggis or something?”

“Because if you do, you’ll never get off this Island.” Suddenly there’s silence. The Smoke Monster ceases its roiling and sends a tendril with inches of Desmond’s face.

“Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Desmond?”

“I suggest we take that sailboat over there and sail to the Sideways Universe," says Desmond calmly.

"I see. Sort of a reverse River Styx kind of thing," muses the Smoke Monster.

"Why invent mythology when you can rip one off?"

"True that," laughed the Smoke Monster, tossing a copy of "The Third Policeman" into the jungle. "All that, and it's about a freaking bicycle..." he remarked, apparently about the book.

"Can you please pay attention," Desmond gets a little impatient.

"Oh, sorry. What then?" The Smoke Monster gets back with the program.

"Once we get to the outside world, we’ll create a television show, pitch it to JJ Abrams and you’ll live in syndication forever! BWA-HA-HA-HAAAA!” cackled Desmond.

“You’re scaring me here, Des...but that’s a brilliant plan! So, let’s get the hell out of Dodge, Scotty!” Smokie makes a move towards the boat, then stops. “Um...can you carry me? I’ve got a thing about water,” he says submissively.

“Yeah, I heard about that. Not only that, Brutha, but you’ve got to change into something more presentable. I mean, how do you plan on blending in being all smokey and stuff?”

“Oh, I see your point. How’s this?” With that, the Smoke Monster changes into Carlton Cuse.

“Better, but how about the less goofy one?” suggests Desmond.

The Smoke Monster ponders this for a moment. “Six of one, half dozen of the other, ain't it...but, OK, how’s THIS?” as he changes into Damon Lindelof.

"Perfect!"

"Does this ego make my head look fat?"

“It'll have to do,” notes Desmond. "Just let me turn this Frozen Donkey Wheel back to 2004 and we’ll be on our way.”

"Whaaaaaat?"

"Just trust me. I know where we're going."

"I think I heard that somewhere circa 2004, as a matter of fact," muttered Smokey/Lindelof. As the two make their way to the sailboat, he asks Desmond, “Soooooo...how’s this damned story supposed to end anyway?”

Desmond smirks. “It doesn’t...all we have to do is flash the show’s logo across the screen after the finale and the fans will spend the rest of eternity trying to make sense of it all in a self-imposed literary purgatory!”

“Genius!" screams Smokey/Lindelof. ”And to think they call ME evil...”

“You ARE evil, Brutha. And it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood! With any luck, we'll be in the Sideways world by Tuesday night.”

"And what are we going to do Tuesday night, Des?" asked Smokey/Lindelof.

"The same thing we'll do every Tuesday night, Smokey.....try and take over the world! Without the risk of copyright infringement."






--------------------------------THE END (Part 1 of infinity)------------------------






Writing copyright Jack Lee© 2010.You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this material without prior written permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cuse and Lindelof Come Clean


Was the plot-line of LOST a pre-conceived plan or not? Here's the answer to one of the most prevalent mysteries surrounding that damned Island in LOST.

Or maybe the answer lies in a Sideways Universe, far, far away.

Writing copyright Jack Lee© 2010.You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this material without prior written permission. All rights reserved.

LOST: Top Five Ways to Tell You are Doomed


“SunDown” can be summed up in a nutshell. “Smocke” sends The Bouncer to The Temple to deliver The Word and Sayid tells them all: “I don’t care where you go, but you can’t stay here.” Then people started dying. In “The Candidate”, the submarine should have come with a warning sign: “How long can you tread water?”

At what point in time during the course of events do you, as a long time Island dweller, size up the situation and realize that you are thoroughly screwed? Is there a lull in the anxiety like it was with Indiana Jones between the time he swapped out the artifact with a bag of sand and the moment the large rock started rolling down on him? Or is it more of an instantaneous comprehension, like watching that fireball hurtling through the traffic-jammed streets in “Independence Day”? Here are the top five ways to tell that you are absolutely, positively doomed.

5) You’re minding your own business on the beach, looking forward to a seafood dinner, a little coconut milk, and watching the sun set when some crazy French lady waltzes into the camp and scares the crap out of you. Not a necessarily a conventional precursor of "doom", but even Sayid seems a little wary, which kicks the alert status up a notch. But when she points out an ominous pillar of black smoke in the distance and tells you, “The Others are coming,” it just may be time to get the hell out of Dodge.

4) It’s a typical day in DharmaVille: armed school teachers, occasional attacks by Hostiles, a sonic fence to keep the Smoke Monster out and some ageless dude who just walks on in from time to time. In short, just another day in paradise. The fact that there’s toxic gas stored in the Tempest might give one pause, but after living under the constant threat of nuclear annihilation in the outside world, something like that doesn’t even show up on your radar. Then one December day, you notice a little bleeding from your nose and a few spasms. Might be bad potato salad but wait...isn’t it Ben Linus’ birthday? If that’s the first time that particular coincidence has occurred to you...doomed! See you in the mass grave!

3) You’re minding your own business, idly passing the time building a church, carving bible passages into your Jesus Stick, plus part-time work entering numbers and pushing a button. Being gainfully employed, you see no reason for alarm….until that same guy who hired you tries to stop you from doing your job. Maybe that creates a little anxiety, but it isn’t until everything explodes and you get dragged unconscious into a cave by a polar bear that you start to worry that you may be screwed. Then the guy that hired you, and later fired you, comes to your rescue. Sure, your day certainly has improved...but you're still doomed.

An apparition that resembles your dead brother appears. OK, that might not be so bad, at least you two have a chance to talk. But, when he wants you to confess your sins, run away before he lures you into the jungle, turns into a Smoke Monster and…oops, too late. At least you have satisfaction of knowing (as it slams you into trees and the ground in the shape of a cross), “I may be doomed, but I’m getting some hellacious style points”.

2) You’re hanging out in the food court at the Temple when three things occur in rapid succession: a dead guy comes back to life and gets the bum's rush out of town, a crazy, homicidal woman walks in with a message, and the dead guy himself comes back with news and an attitude. Before you even read the memo, if you’re not scurrying around looking for a secret passage out of the area, you’re doomed. If you need more proof, the “Get out of town by sundown,” message is a dead giveaway. And if you’re STILL around by the time they’re lighting the torches, you’re as screwed as an Ewok after dark in Wookietown.

1) If you’re the pilot of a plane in the pilot episode of a potentially long-running series, then slap on a red-shirt and join that away mission because you...are...doomed! And even if you are the last survivor and live long enough to figure out Colonel Mustard did everybody at Hydra Station with a Tiki torch (all on a bet with the Devil, by the way) would you even care by then? So why aren't you running yet?

Writing copyright Jack Lee© 2010.You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this material without prior written permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 03, 2010

LOST in The Eye of The Beholder


The theory that events in LOST are simply the hallucinations of one of the characters is virtually universally despised and rejected as a possibility. First of all, it would fly in the face of a vast fan base that has invested years in watching individual character development, only to discover it was just the imagination of the same autistic child of St Elsewhere fame. Even Bobby Ewing would prefer to wait out that backlash in the shower. This is why demonstrating the plausibility is such wicked fun!

With apologies to Rod Serling, I submit for your consideration a short story first published in 1890 by Ambrose Bierce entitled, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”. In addition to being a “Twilight Zone” classic, it has also been referenced in LOST, specifically the episode entitled “The Long Con”. This short, but poignant tale describes what happens to a man condemned to hang in the instant between the fall and the end of the rope (http://extend.unb.ca/wss/1145demo/owl2.htm). Ironically, it was Locke looking through this particular book in the episode, a bit eerie given his ultimate fate.

The concept that the human mind can construct intricate designs bordering on reality lends credence to the theory, especially when supported by the oftentimes incredible coincidences that surround the characters. Could the ghostly encounters with people who couldn’t possibly be on the Island, the ancient architecture and the Smoke Monster, be the final, collective hallucinations of dozens of people dying in the aftermath of a plane crash? Another book adds support to the possibility, plus a few other connections to LOST.

“The Third Policeman” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Policeman), written under the pseudonym Flann O’Brien around 1940, was not published until 1967 and has also shown up in the background of LOST. Without giving away the story itself, there are some interesting parallels between this tale and LOST. There is a vast underground chamber where time stands still, significant numbers, and an “anything box” from which anything you desire can be produced. While these “parallels” may be intentional red herrings, the state of mind of the narrator begs the question, “What exactly is reality if not what we directly observe and experience?” Is THAT what the “open eye” at the beginning of many episodes implies?

Then who’s doing the hallucinating? Hurley would be hardly the “twist” we‘re looking for, so it would have to be more intricately unexpected. One possibility is psychic Miles as part of a recovery team, trying to salvage the final thoughts of the corpses to determine what actually happened to the plane. “Get anything?” asks another team member who looks mysteriously like Richard. “Nothing, just gibberish…” Miles says sarcastically as the camera pans away from the open, dead eye of Jack.

Writing copyright Jack Lee© 2010.You may not copy or otherwise reproduce any of this material without prior written permission. All rights reserved.