A renegade from the world of Beetlejuice, you could only know him as “The Panther Man”.
Up from the swamps of the southern outback like gutter-fried insanity, he mutters on. Not quite a military combat veteran, but “a wannabee” as it’s Tarzan USA pitted-up against a safari of feral jungle cats. . . . . all but in a loin-cloth, cammo-jacket, and spiked razor-back hair like some kind of wild hog, on two legs.
There have been pictures of “ground zero” down at an outdoors “Poison” concert, a mud-hole of stump-frump, dazed-eyed slope-heads looking like they crawled out of a Babylon latrine with bloody animal-bones and pin-prick eyes, your relative of the Florida boardwalk barnacle in an Hawaiian shirt and a pager, making drug deals.
But this is the St. Louis zoo, up north. “Big Cat Country”, in fact or the area closer to the sunset and golden roar of the highway as true as when the concrete was poured for this outdoor exhibit back in 1977. You have the roarin’ tiger, a circus poster of a ferocious maned lion like leopard-skin seat-covers and zebra Memphis-Mafia hats like pimps.
This, as the families walk by pushing strollers. Their mindset is more a relic of the stuffed-animal you would find in the gift-shop.
Out here, though– it’s about testing yourself “against that primal scream, out there” as a muscular-shouldered snow leopard trains past with its muzzle snorting through its whiskers by the wire-mesh cage, when it’s not lurking beneath a piss-soaked tree trunk like captured malevolence.
Part “Deliverance”. . . . . maybe “Prince of Tides”. . . . . THE PANTHER MAN slurs through an inner-monologue like Jerry Lee Lewis high on Hadycol and mountains of coke atop a piano, or maybe just the chipper, low-slung brightness of a mechanic in a Jiffy Lube cap and coveralls. The subject always turns to the killing-power of firearms, or bodybuilding, or fast cars down at the Tri-City Speedway.
Crack-brained incoherence, like “white-line fever” after an amphetamine binge. He grips a pocket knife in his teeth and hooks his fingers into the cage as he climbs up like “G.I. Joe” with the stealth of a panther.
It’s to prove his manhood, after-all. Like youthful exuberance and “BLACK CAT FIRECRACKERS” with a head muddy with alcohol and mischief.
He lives to tell the tale! Don’t mix vodka, orange juice, and a whole spleen full of “panther piss”. You could have your face end up on “COPS”.
Beetlejuice– THE DIRECT ANCESTOR (1986)
If all gravel roads lead somewhere, you wouldn’t be surprised to pass old, broken-down trailers in the neighborhood. And a fixture of riff-raffery, some of Beetlejuice’s low-down neighbors poking around a grill like a whiskey-guzzling musk-rat.
Brutal, lordly. NSFW– (“Not safe for work) as if a dude like this even worked.
It’s “El Duce” from the shock-rock beer-belly set. You’ll recognize him for his sadomasochist stylings, concealing his objectionable identity with a black hood and guttural offensive charms as he fronted “The Mentors” like THE KINGS OF SLEAZE festering on the Pacific Coast.
Langouring trailer-park women in leather and garters, his presumed harem as he bulges out his eyes like bonk-headed, glazed space mutants in foam-rubber monster costumes “demanding to be gratified”.
Indeed, “a threat to health, wealth, and morals” whose raunchy lyrics were presented before Congress in hearings by “The Washington Wives”, calling for restraint and decency in the music industry. Good luck with that– the only thing they succeeded in doing was getting “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” stickers on tapes & CD’s and probably just making the offending music THAT MUCH MORE ENTICING.
No matter what, you’ll always have the bottom-feeders like ole’ El Duce putting on shows and selling underground records out of a car trunk, a slap on your shoulder and an ice-cold beer in the other hand as he yuks it up like an unsubtle statement about America.
Just another misfit in the world of Beetlejuice “who fits”.
Call him “Uncle Perv”. . . . . though I think Lydia would remain wary to the proposition of returning to a motel with his guy. After all, she broke-off the marriage contract with Beetlejuice in the movie, spared from obscene fate, an X-rated boast.
If even from El Duce– who once sensationally claimed that Courtney Love offered him money to whack Kurt Cobain. Maybe a nugget of some off-color joke “grows with the telling” but watch as everyone attempts to cash in.
Like a dubious character witness, I wouldn’t trust him either as you can’t forget Beetlejuice “selling used cars” at the cemetery lot with the giant lit sign– the giant arrow pointing to “dirt-low” credibility, the rotten truth in all “the fine print”.
A foul trickster, free speech for the dumb as you can’t “outlaw evil”. Keep this movie PG-rated, IF YOU DARE. Or else my name is Jerry Springer. . . . .
Don’t “Shake Hands with SNAKE”
Karma, Purgatory, Bureaucracy
“Just another number”.
Be there “no Karma about it” but THE RECENTLY DECEASED will hit that old after-life office with the thud of paperwork.
(Reminds me of the ole’ Social Security office)
Franz Kafka couldn’t have said it better, whether just the victim is mad or “THE SYSTEM”, itself is even crazier. . . . . and remember, that guy in the “Metamorphosis” story did turn into an insect. OR EVEN A BEETLE.
A lot of people “kill time” in the waiting room, bearing the incarnation they took when “struck-down, mortally”. The visual cue—its own kind of karma whether you’re a shrunken-head on the leash of a witch-doctor as it didn’t end well for the big game hunter.
Don’t go smoking in bed, either—or take poison which will turn you into an icky, translucent green like the secretary behind the sliding window.
Perky, pert, and sarcastic—if not despondent in this perfect illustrated example of the mind/body and material/spiritual splits that cleaves the world into an alienated hell.
Ole’ Beetlejuice pops his head in and takes a seat. I’d imagine him probably sticking his hand down the front of his pants like Al Bundy in “Married with Children”. Half-resourceful or maybe just fool-hardy “no one will notice” as he lopes across the parking lot to grab a cooler of beer.
You’d imagine he’d only lose his place in line.
Solely the balance between evidence and lyricism can allow us to achieve simultaneous emotion and lucidity. . . . . but there he hollers at his loss.
In this last week, we’ve lost Chris Cornell—the singer from Soundgarden—and Roger Ailles—the chairman of Fox News. Only out of an episode of “Adult Swim” could these figures every encounter each other.
The moody rock singer leans up on the chair, hang-dog with his hands stretched over his knee while the right-wing chieftain tries to bluster and glad-hand his way out of federal commitment for dinner reservations “elsewhere”.
There’s only a few things certain in this life. . . . . death, taxes, and irate constituents.
End up here and you have to meet your quota of lingering, ghostly “overtime” back on earth. Spook the hell out of the living for a spike of adrenaline and ecto-residue that kicks into your early retirement, building enough parasitically-fueled power to ascend up the spiritual pyramid to eternal bliss.
Sounds like Medicare and Social Security.
You’ll pay though. . . . . they’ll take everything “but the squeal”.
Death. Taxes. Hollywood sequels. . . . .
Welcome to America. You could die laughing. . . . .
“No dream”, kid. This was your life! Remember to Linger in the graveyard and pick the daisies before summoning for pizza on the Ouija board.
If it’s anything St. Louis has no shortage of—it’s the various small-dive punk clubs. Some open, some close—R.I.P. as rents go up with the gentrifying neighborhoods. Your best bet is something in the shuttered industrial-district on the grimy edge of city limits, a rose-carving in a wrought iron-gate for the dank atmosphere of auto-exhaust and the sewers.
Cheap shows– $10 for a night of mayhem, if the bands on the bill aren’t terribly well-known.
You have a thrasher, maybe a left-wing skinhead from the old Eastern bloc countries who weaves through the audience in a green bomber jacket, his boots laced-up with red anti-fa shoelaces. Punk is maybe an open-minded series of observations, individually subjective for all the strange flavors of variety. He looks like “that guy from Anthrax”, as you could only be referring to Scott Ian, like earnest gung-ho driftwood and goofy-foot guitar hopping like cargo shorts and raked guitar strings.
You also have “wise-guys” with the sly, perceptive art of observation. Maybe he’d be a cartoonist or just a clerk at 7-Eleven. View-askew, a cap turned sideways and a clever t-shirt of some scribbled vintage. His state is constant bemusement through a pair of pop-eyed glasses.
Don’t forget the crew of goth chicks, skin as pale as cottage-cheese in the artsy, performance-based world of witchcraft and “large, in-charge” antics. She definitely knows what she wants, the raven-haired streak of appetite and life-force like a fish tank of gleaming glass beads and murkier smells of paint and incense. Pick one or the other, like sisters differentiated slightly by personality but still wonderfully mysterious.
You have the blonde, dreadlocked stoner and “outside-the-box” thinker with a tragic overbite and clenched, silent intent hanging his arms out of his Rastafarian shirt colors for a hop and kick of the hackey-sack. . . . . a game of ultimate-frisbee. Attention Deficit Disorder as the mild, silent-type who fits the bill of all stoner-lore and comic-relief.
And there’s a sour, chirpy lark who’s small but as overflowing with punch as an atomic warhead for chewing gum and eyes lighting up with mischief. Contrarian and street-wise like a pill of cyanide, swallowing a straw of pixie-stix and flailing around until she collapses from a blown-out sugar-high and gets back on the stage to do it again, diving back in the pit.
These would be Lydia’s friends. . .. . . a gang of indie-media slackers living off their parents’ largess and in the artistic lifestyle of alt-rudderless experience. Where Lydia goes, they go—fleshing out this Beetlejuice 2 movie as the plot coalesces in a strange world and becomes a film.
You will here more about them. . . . . the St. Louis experience. Stay tuned!
Wal-mart. . . . . box-store of enchantment. And number 1 employer of what you and I know as “THE RED-STATE EXPERIENCE”. Never has someone had to show such gung-ho, merry customer service for serfdom as you otherwise have employees in blue-vests singing “Zippity Do-Dah” out of their assholes, “Mousketeer” style– with a kazoo.
Maybe “working for someone else” is merely getting yourself forced along “by someone’s obsession”, be that customer service or the retail mission statement like giddy “Jim Jones” cults for customer savings. Indeed, irony has little place here and even Beetlejuice has to “get with the program”.
Cribbing a bit from the fellow Warner Bros. property, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” you had “Wally-World” standing in for Disneyland with a cartoon moose as company spokesman. The happiest place on earth– open 365 days a year. Only in the movie, the family straggled in to find the park closed for a couple of weeks for maintenance and repair. . . . .
But make no mistake, Wal-Mart is open 365 days a year.
Why not call it “Small-Mart”? Yeah right, the largest box-store of its kind that stretches several football fields in length. You’d better keep Beetlejuice supervised amid all that “moral hazard” and easy thievery.
Smile, you’re on surveillance camera! Believe me, if someone thought of it– store security has set-up countermeasures to stop “shrinkage”. Think of a poster in the break-room of a troll-toothed bulldog brandishing a hockey stick and batting away “free scores” to keep the larger “goal” of staying competitive. Rolllff!
Of course, that doesn’t stop some mischievous cretin to hacking into the intercom system and playing the sound-FX from pornographic-movies while the manager scurries-around, trying to shut-down the public address system.
All sorts of stunts back there in the stock-room. Nailing a wallet to the floor and tricking some sucker into bending-over and straining his back.
Or kicking-around empty boxes like a deranged soccer match as the electronic board side-sweeps “Work is Fun!” across the sign. Tape up a piece of cardboard with work is (F)ucked squiggled in with a marker to give it an entirely-different meaning.
They don’t even have the easy jobs anymore where a retiree sits in a wheelchair and greets customers at the wide front-doors. Instead you have receipt-checkers halting customers to prevent “more shrinkage”. Such, such are the ways of the corporate retail world.
Lower prices, happier savings. . . . . ALWAYS.