Logically, I must be holding a piece of red-and-white striped candy in the shape of an old Earth walking device known as a “cane.”
Therefore, Captain, I can only surmise that Christmas is coming. And soon-like.
For the first edition of Frankenstein Jones Presents at Fiasco Towers, we kick it back to the early ’70s, an era when road movies had evolved from Buz-n-Tod innocence and wonder tied inextricably to America’s newfound love of the automobile (“What’s out there? Let’s find out!”) to a wary, existential horror at the prospect of The Road actually answering that very question; posed (Vietnam flagrante, post-JFK, -RFK, -MLK and -Manson) with only a slight tweak in verbal emphasis, the Emptiness of the American Canvas becomes a nagging worry (“What’s out there?”) instead of a carefree lark, a symbol of the profound pessimism that weighed down the post-Hippy hangover.
You never know what’s around the next bend in the road, these two films seem to be saying. But you probably won’t be happy about it.
First up, Steven Spielburg’s made-for-TV classic, Duel. “A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.”
Yes, thank you RottenTomatoes.com, but Duel (1971) is so much more than that, and probably less, too. See Dennis Wagner battle impotence via metallic proxy! See one man wage helpless war against an implacable foe! See “man vs. machine” metaphors fly like cat fur! See Dennis Weaver cry! See Dennis Weaver scream at his car! See Dennis Weaver hoot like a baboon! See gorgeous vistas of the sun-baked high desert immediately north of Los Angeles! See red cars from the 1970s!