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Enter The Void

A podcast about films that are just completely bonkers.
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Enter The Void
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Oct 31, 2018

At last, it's the season 9 finale, and we go out with a bang: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER by writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos and co-writer Efthymis Filippou is one of the most searing film experiences of the last few years. Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan star in this family drama / suspense thriller / haunted house / horror film, which despite being a tough hang that no one's really sure what it's about, was also widely praised upon release in 2017. In this episode, your hosts discuss their experiences watching it a second time, the story's roots in Greek mythology, Lanthimos' cold but invigorating style, and appraise the slippery career of one Mr. Farrell. Also: RIP FilmStruck, the streaming service that was too good to live.

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Oct 24, 2018
For the penultimate episode of season 9, your hosts alter their consciousness and explore ALTERED STATES, a 1980 sci-fi horror film written by Paddy Chayefsky, directed by Ken Russell, and today known as much for its far-out story as for its creators' infamous feud. William Hurt stars as Eddie Jessup, an academic whose experiments with sensory deprivation and hallucinogenic drugs lead him to "regress" to an earlier evolutionary state. (Literally!) Fully committed and totally bonkers, Altered States is something you have to experience for yourself, especially the wild, sexually charged religious visions; the preposterously verbose dialogue; not to mention that whole thing with the acrobatic caveman. Plus: did this movie make anyone else think of Ghostbusters?
 
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Oct 17, 2018

In today's episode, your hosts grapple with the Danny Boyle-directed, Alex Garland-written 2007 science-fiction horror-thriller SUNSHINE. A commercial failure at the time, with a mixed reception among critics, the film has over the past decade gained an appreciable cult following. But what do your hosts think? Is it a spooky, contemplative outer space film with some third act troubles? Is it a stylish but conceptually thin entertainment that needed a major rethink? Maybe both! You'll just have to listen and find out. Also discussed: which story elements worked and which ones didn't; how much we should care about scientific accuracy, the career arcs of Boyle and Garland; and whether it's ever a good idea for smart characters to do dumb things.

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Oct 10, 2018

Once nearly impossible to find and now... still pretty tough to obtain via legitimate means, Dalton Trumbo's JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN—the 1971 film he wrote and directed based on his own 1939 novel—is both legendary and forgotten at the same time. It tells the disturbing tale of a young soldier who loses his limbs and nearly all of his senses, but whose mind remains intact as he's trapped inside his own body in a military hospital. Adapted into Metallica's music video "One" and rubbing shoulders with the great anti-war and surrealist films, Johnny Got His Gun is not easy to watch. Also discussed: the film's most effective techniques; Trumbo's career and politics; other adaptations on stage and film; and its maybe-possible influence on Better Call Saul. Plus: does Metallica really own the film outright?

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Oct 3, 2018

Alan Parker's 1987 ANGEL HEART contains explicit sex, voodoo rituals, amnesia, chickens, and a few shocking twists that your hosts figured out at different points. In today's episode, they reveal when they knew what and compare their impressions of this not-quite-successful but still semi-legendary Hollywood thriller, now more than thirty years old. Combining elements of gothic horror and film noir, featuring performances from early period Mickey Rourke, mid-period Robert DeNiro, and only-period Lisa Bonet, Angel Heart is worth considering for its religious motifs, keen historical detail, uncomfortable datedness, sometimes horrifying imagery, sometimes goofy dialogue, and its relationship to films like Devil's AdvocateJacob's Ladder (which we covered in season 3) plus Sixth Sense and even Big Lebowski.

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Sep 26, 2018

Our third episode this season is about the semi-obscure but recently-Criterioned 1973 French animated film FANTASTIC PLANET, or La Planète Sauvage (literally, "wild planet"), from the minds of René Laloux and Roland Topor, with music by Alain Goraguer, based on a novel by Stefan Wul. It's a psychedelic audiovisual trip, and tells the story of an advanced alien society of blue people who like to meditate almost as much as they like to toy with the fates of the comparatively-tiny humanoids who roam their planet. It's a film about interplanetary race relations, or maybe it's unfamiliar environmentalism, or telling the difference between pest control and genocide. Also discussed in this episode: what other animated works would you like to see get a Criterion release? 

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Sep 19, 2018

Is Julia Ducornau's 2016 film RAW (French: Grave) a coming of age film about cannibalism? A body horror film about family relationships? A tale of sexual discovery and veterinary practices? Yes, no, and maybe—but not necessarily in that order! In this episode, Bill and Renan consider a film they might not otherwise have been drawn to... with sexy results! Discussed: what the film has to say about cannibalism and teenage sexuality, not to mention college hazing rituals; whether Raw is a true horror movie or something else; references to Kubrick, PTA, and Cronenberg; other films about bloodthirsty teenage girls (and veterinarians); what would people say about Raw if a man directed it; and, Bill's own recent up-close experience with wild horses.

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Sep 12, 2018

It's not too often that we examine a major Hollywood blockbuster on this show, but it's not too often that the studios release something as baffling as TOTAL RECALL, and by that we mean the original 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger–Paul Verhoeven sci-fi schlockfest. Is it all a dream? Did he read Word Up! magazine? Did Quaid ever get his ass to Mars, or is he lobotomized in the chair at Rekall? We may never know for sure, but in this first episode of our ninth season, your hosts Renan and Bill go long to discuss the film's vision of the future, its context in our recent past, Ahnold vs. The Rock, Philip K. Dick's posthumous Hollywood takeover, the long adaptation process and many almost-was versions, and other big-budget mind-benders. Also: prefacing our discussion of the film, a conversation about how the films we watch for this show might reflect on the mind-bending real world we live in.

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Sep 5, 2018

Get excited... the ninth season of ENTER THE VOID begins next week, and today we present our patented "episode zero" with a short preview of the eight films we'll be covering in the weeks ahead. Once again, major thanks to the ETV Podcast Club for helping pick the films for discussion. Here's what's we've got for you:

  1. Total Recall (Verhoeven, 1990)
  2. Raw (Ducournau, 2016)
  3. Fantastic Planet (Laloux, 1973)
  4. Angel Heart (Parker, 1987)
  5. Johnny Got His Gun (Trumbo, 1971)
  6. Sunshine (Boyle, 2007)
  7. Altered States (Russell, 1980)
  8. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Lanthimos, 2017)

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May 30, 2018

For the final episode of our eighth season, your co-hosts revisit a dorm room film classic, the 2000 action-adventure-thriller-satire BATTLE ROYALE, about a Japanese classroom forced to fight to the death on an abandoned island. Upon release in Japan, it was both hugely controversial and hugely profitable. But in most of the Western world, it didn't receive a proper release for another dozen years. In between, it both attained an exalted cult status and maybe (or maybe not?) inspired one of the biggest Hollywood franchises of the current decade. Discussed in the season finale: the generation gap in Japan and abroad, Tarantino's inspiration, our favorite scenes, some lingering questions, multiple versions, the lamentable sequel, comparisons to other novels and films, violence in the media, and yes of course The Hunger Games. 

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May 23, 2018

For the penultimate episode of our eighth season, we consider MOON, Duncan Jones' 2009 debut science fiction picture, starring Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell, and the disembodied voice of someone you probably now wish wasn't involved in this picture. Discussed in today's show: how the film deploys its twists; what it has to say about cloning and artificial intelligence; references to 2001: A Space Odyssey and other films; and, what has Jones been up to since?

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May 16, 2018

What did you think of Jonathan Glazer's 2013 minimalist sci-fi UNDER THE SKIN, starring Scarlett Johansson? Did it all make sense when you watched it the first time? Or did it only reveal it to yourself after another viewing? Today your hosts, Bill and Renan, come at it from different perspectives and have, well, different perspectives on it. Topics discussed include how the film was made and what it means, how it differs from the book and early scripts, and how it relates to ScarJo's stardom. Plus: other films that double as commentary on their actors, big stars in weird movies, and possible foreshadowing in Glazer's music video career. 

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May 9, 2018

Wow, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN sure is something! Alejandro Jodorowsky's 1973 follow-up to El Topo is a wild psychedelic trip, a critique of the militarization of 20th century life, and even a satire of the counterculture that spawned it. At least, we think. Today, Bill and Renan try to explain to each other what they think happened in the movie, what it's supposed to be about, recount how the film was made, how it disappeared from public view, how it's influenced other artists in the years since—and discuss the perfectly understandable reason why George Harrison turned down the lead role.

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May 2, 2018

REPO MAN (1984) is a bit of a departure from our usual kind of film, and boy is it worth it: written and directed by Alex Cox and starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton, Repo Man is a gritty, funny, occasionally baffling ride through 1980s LA, through a wasteland of generic brands, smarmy televangelists, flying cars stuffed with aliens, and fears of nuclear annihilation. Your hosts explore these themes, plus: how the film was saved by punk and yet challenges the idea, what kind of kooky things Alex Cox has been up to lately, and offer a remembrance of the late, great Art Bell.

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Apr 25, 2018

This week, the delightful motion picture under discussion is Takashi Miike's AUDITION (1999), which you definitely should not read about before you watch this movie—not to mention listen to this podcast. Once you're all caught up, rejoin us as your hosts attempt to explain the film's second half, discuss misogyny and #metoo as well as sympathy for flawed characters, torture porn and gearshift movies, creepy romantic comedy tropes, parental advisories, and whether your hosts have ever lied to get a date.

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Apr 18, 2018

For our second episode of the season, your hosts return to the eerie beauty, philosophical pondering, and deliberate pacing of Andrei Tarkovsky with STALKER (1979). Less a science fiction film than Solaris and more of an unconventional road movie, Stalker takes the viewer on a journey through a mysterious Zone where three protagonists seek the fulfillment of their greatest desires at risk of equally great peril. Or... do they? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Meanwhile, Renan and Bill discuss the film's infamously troubled production, the film's influence on Annihilation and Blade Runner 2049, Tarkovsky's faith and defection from the Soviet Union, and what he might make of our relentless social media age.

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Apr 11, 2018

For the eighth season premiere of ENTER THE VOID, we're tackling Mary Harron's 2000 adaptation of AMERICAN PSYCHO, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. Originating as one of the most controversial novels of the 1990s to becoming one of the most iconic films of the 2000s, there's a lot to unpack here: the uneasy balance between satire and horror; how a dark fantasy of male rage became a feminist statement; how the novel and film differently present the character of Patrick Bateman; when exactly the movie becomes a mindscrew; what the film has to say about contemporary U.S. politics and society; and oh, by the way, are the murders even real? Also in this episode: your hosts revisit, update, and debate their criteria for describing the genre this podcast is meant to explore.

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Apr 4, 2018

Our long national nightmare is over! Wait, no it's not. But at least here's some good news: Season 8 of ENTER THE VOID is coming! Renan and Bill are back with today's preview episode, giving you the rundown on what you need to watch to keep up with us over the next eight weeks. And a big shout-out to our fans in our Podcast Club, who picked every single one of this season's films. Here's the lineup:

  1. American Psycho (Harron, 2000)
  2. Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
  3. Audition (Miike, 1999)
  4. Repo Man (Cox, 1984)
  5. The Holy Mountain (Jodorowsky, 1973)
  6. Under the Skin (Glazer, 2014)
  7. Moon (Jones, 2009)
  8. Battle Royale (Fukasaku, 2000)

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P.S. Big thanks to Michelle LeClerc for the new logo! (The previous ones were hers, too.) You should follow her on Twitter @michelleleclerc.

Jan 31, 2018

For the final installment of the seventh season, Bill and Renan welcome back third season guest Ray Patnaude to discuss ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Chances are good you not only have heard of it, but it's very possibly a favorite film of almost everyone you know. In this finale episode, the trio discuss how they felt about it on release and upon revisiting; the techniques director Michel Gondry and writer Charlie Kaufman deploy to make it both emotionally effective as well as dream-like and disorienting; Gondry's music videos and the film careers of his fellow video directors; plus, what else belongs in the list of best films of the century so far?

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Jan 24, 2018

Which FUNNY GAMES is your favorite? Is it the Michael Haneke film about a bourgeois couple subjected to home invasion by a pair of sadistic killers from 1997, or the Michael Haneke film about a bourgeois couple subjected to home invasion by a pair of sadistic killers from 2007? Is either of these films your favorite telling of this particular story? In today's episode, Renan and Bill compare the two versions, try to understand what Haneke was trying to say with them, explore what is compelling about them in spite of the subject matter, make unexpected comparisons to the filmography of James O. Incandenza, and discuss other close remakes.

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Jan 17, 2018

Today we're talking about arguably 2017's most controversial film, and one of the most controversial on this podcast: Darren Aronofsky's MOTHER! (technically, mother!) starring JLaw, JBard, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Plus, joining us to bring a skeptical point of view is Vulture's movies editor, Rachel Handler! In this episode: mother! as Biblical allegory and environmental parable; or, is the movie actually all about being a demanding artist?; the religious concept of eternal return vs. scientific concept of the oscillating universe; plus: what's that yellow substance, and how obvious is it he wrote it in five days?

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Jan 10, 2018

Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 WEEKEND (or WEEK-END, if you prefer) is a scathing political satire if you understand what's going on, or a long strange trip if you don't. Your hosts have been on both sides of this divide, and today they come together to talk about seeing the film as a clueless undergrad; Tarantino and Wheatley as JLG fans and other films it influenced; the automobile and capitalist society; anti-colonialist speeches with sandwiches; a digression on the legacies of Hunter S. Thompson and Jann Wenner; Black Mirror, Get Out and other contemporary satires; and the puzzles of Lewis Carroll.

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Jan 3, 2018

To discuss Ben Wheatley's 2015 dystopian drama HIGH-RISE—based on the J.G. Ballard novel of the same name, adapted for the screen by Amy Jump, and starring Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons—we welcome to the show Simon Owens, a past colleague of Bill and Renan's and a journalist based in DC. The film looks and sounds amazing, the source material is first-rate, and the acting is all around superb. So why does this movie actually make less sense than some of the crazier movies we've talked about this season? Debate ensues.

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Dec 27, 2017

Today ENTER THE VOID considers its first (and maybe last?) Coen Brothers film, 1991's BARTON FINK, starring John Turturro and John Goodman. Examined in detail: how this movie swept Cannes and is somewhat overlooked today; what it has to say about about writers and writing; Barton Fink's real-life influences and Hollywood wrestling pictures; its amazingly detailed Wikipedia page; and, is this a classic mind-bender of the sort this podcast is supposed to be about?

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Dec 20, 2017

Nobuhiko Obayashi's 1977 HAUSU (or ハウス, or HOUSE) is possibly the most insane movie we've ever discussed on Enter The Void Podcast—and that's really saying something! This week Renan and Bill are joined by Teo Bugbee, who brought this psychedelic slapstick haunted house bubblegum horror comedy to our attention. And yet, as crazy as it is, it's also immensely enjoyable, and worthy of discussion for its distillation of childhood fears, commentary on the atom bomb, debatable feminist content, and of course its pure sensory overload.

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