Recapitation (On beheading, Hammer, match cuts, and the surprising voracity of an acid bath)

“Take off the head, it's no use to me...”

            The Hammer Frankenstein films – seven of them, stretching from '57 to '74 – constitute cinema's most committed body of work on adding and subtracting heads.  Not because they have the “best beheadings”: even restricted to the small galaxy of Hammer, something like the lopping pop of the worse/sexier of the titular Twins of Evil takes that prize.  Not because any of them “thinks well” about headlessness.  Yes, there are guillotines, of a properly counter-revolutionary stripe, and there are hack and saw doctors, of a indeterminately revolutionary bent.  Above all, there are heads: heads that get themselves removed, scythed, heads that go missing, heads that house the wrong brain, heads in picnic baskets, heads that are trepanned, heads that square off against bone drills, heads that disapprove, heads that get stuck on top of white armoires and command others to murder, heads to be held aloft in the springtime air while you speak to them in the throaty neckless voice of the body from which it came.  

“It's the head that's the problem.”

No.  These films are films of – not about – decapitation because they are only such as a sequence.  Even taken one by one, they hang like multiples, able to be ordered only by the degree to which the  boredom and fatigue of those involved can be detected or ignored. Taken as a series, then, the films work out the act of decapitation as 1) belonging to a set of many, always plural 2) an injunction to make that set grow, 3) the production of a left-over with which to be dealt, an unwanted that belongs to the set but is never the right one, and 4) the insistence that removing the head is not a subtraction but the founding additive gesture, the freeing up to be worked on.  That is, the first move of montage. 

(They work decapitation out, they do not “think” it.  For such  a thought is not, like some philosophy that  dreams fitfully of being corrosive, an acid bath of clarity.  It has been dropped entire into the acid, and what remains is just the compulsion to keep going and the fizzing grey-pink froth of past matter.)
Let us begin from the beginning, the origin that doesn't take correctly, from The Curse of Frankenstein (1957).

Unlike the Universal films, this strain cares not a whit about generation.  Father – the one who is supposed to express the hope for a “son for the house of Frankenstein,” thereby disowning the naughty necroparthogenic son he already has – is nowhere to be seen.  He's a blurry mark at best, such that the young Baron (already the imperious asshole he will blossom into) is the one to make the hiring decision on the tutor his father had selected for him.  When a woman does emerge on the scene, it is not with the weighty doom and avoidance of an encounter fated to end in an infant.  No one is much concerned whether or not the Frankenstein name will live on, even before it comes to mean something suspect.  No, Elizabeth comes to live with Victor for reasons we are not given to discern: maybe a lingering hold-out of social propriety, perhaps the abstract sadism of not being a proper sadist to one who, for all intents and purposes, seems to be asking for that recognition.  

 Rather, she simply stays on the scene, as do women throughout the series, until Frankenstein Created Woman gives a woman real agency (read: ability to cut off a head).  Not pushed to the side, merely unregistered and occasionally pushing into the screen with increasingly baroque productions of cleavage in a failed attempt to get the Baron to break that hawkish coldness.  To impel him to see her as more than just another spray of pattern and ornament, albeit one that does not, like his whirring tubes, spinning flywheels, and clicking hydraulics, serve a putative purpose in the project to separate and put back together.

For the problem, from the start, is not creation, bringing forth, growing, or production as such.  Rather, it is management, allocation, distribution, organization, combination, selection.  It is economics, in its proper rooted sense.  What to do with what is, not how to make what could be.  It is of how to make wholes from parts, not how to create from scratch, seed, or homunculus. 

“People just aren't dying off as quick as they used to...  It's the welfare state.”

            However, it's a world with too few spare parts.  The ones that can be found are reeking and inadequate, scarce or still attached to other bodies attached to being whole and alive.  Such that you must pull parts.  The prospect of a fully demystified science disdainful of the human animal will depend on salvage operations.  Such operations are not difficult.  The protestations of those from whom you will borrow or who find such work to fly in the face of God's labors aren't particularly loud or resistant.  What is insistently, perniciously hard to handle is all these leftovers.  It is an endless problem of disposing of scrapped bodies, of swapping brains around, of tossing into the fire, and, above all, of dropping into that  acid bath which punctuates the series like a guillotine.  That's the full auto-consumptive fantasy, matter chasing its own tail into naught, such that you can have negation with no trace.  But the only time it works, it works against the Baron, against the project of construction out of negation.  Evidently an acid bath – the consumer of evidence – is not the best place to hide the sapient trace of your experiments from meddling authorities and clumsy children.  As in the voracious swallowing of plot, character, and sense that ends Hammer's Scream and Scream Again and the very sequence of British Horror from which these films can't be untangled, once you introduce a corrosive into your work, it will not go away.   Things will go missing.

“Forget the whole.  No, we must take the part.”

In the first instance, it is the body of a thief hung high, any crucifix echoes wrecked in the potato sack thud of the corpse hitting the wagon bed when the Baron and Paul cut its tether.  And the plan is not, initially, to use it partially or even to take it as a stripped frame on which to build, substitute, or add.  It is to be taken entire, laced through with tubes and hydraulic pressures til its dull heart slurs back into motion. 

“Well, the birds didn't waste much time, did they?  The eyes...  Half the head is eaten away.”

Indeed, there are holes in this head.  And so begins the first decapitation, sawed through slow.  From a hole to a line.  The Baron removes the head, diligently, and bears it to the acid bath.  With a plop and fizz, the entire apparatus of the sequence – not the narrative arc but the structure that wrenches the narratives in and out of place – begins.

[The head, coming apart, is not shown: at the moment of its immersion, the camera cuts to Paul, the shot's frame cutting his head loose as well, and his sick shock is a pathetic registration of the pecked head.  A sympathy of decapitation, from one head busy turning to foam and one that is turning to sludge in its attempt to make sense of that.]

For when the head, removed after death, hits the acid, there begins the fundamental miseconomy of the enterprise: we have a body without a head, but we don't need another body, we just need another head.  But to get another head, we will need to sever it from a whole body, thereby producing another body without head.  (Herein lies the similarity of these films to their French counterpart, Georges Franju's Les Yeux Sans Visage.)  This cannot be made right, other than by a proliferation of decapitations.  After all, every prospect of recapitation requires an act of decapitation.

The axiomatic refrain then, is: one head too few, one body too many...
In this way, these films become a sequence. A severing – and a dissolving – of a head  inaugurates a circuit of repetition, a repeated circulation of rotten corpses, corpses to be, and money, all predicated upon the fact that the head that was not severed to start was not adequate.

“No, it simply won't do.”

The first cut therefore removes what was not enough of a head.  Decapitation is just the pruning of the inessential.  Yet it produces the driving force – the drive to sever, saw, swap, and stitch – on which the arc is composed.  

And from there out, the bent of the sequence will be to not solve this lop-sided economy, for it cannot be solved, and to not leave it alone or stop reproving its absent thesis.  (The severing isn't just instrumental: it is a requisite act to be repeated again and again, until the cut goes wrong and decimates either the body or the head, until there is finally an equivalence.  But such is not to be the case in this series)  Insofar as it has a task, it will be: how to get rid of those pesky remainder bodies, those buried in your flower bed and brought to fetid light when the water main bursts, those which may be burned but which bear their traces in the brains planted elsewhere, those which interfere, nag, misbehave, and do not rot fast enough?  How is it all to be done away with?

And how to produce by subtraction.

Because there is a making, and it is in the name of the production of one whole body.  To thereby restore a unity never there to start and to  assemble, via montage and binding, a mocking, shambling refraction of a body not originally carved up, not badly glued together after the fact.  It is in the name of the production of this whole, this composition that sneers at the very project of being whole, that coherent wholes will be taken to pieces.

“And yes, you should expect some scarring.”

And think here of how it took a guillotine and thousands of heads rolling, lopped off and staring still, to finish paring the head off the king’s body.  To take off that thing which, of course, was diffuse, cloudy, and which, of course, smoothed over its joints and declared itself both One (the manifest will of the people) and the One and Only (the untouchable, the pinnacle above the stinking hoi polloi).  Gilding doesn't just make it shine: it makes flat. Such that it takes a whole lot of cuts to peel back that surface and find the seams, the junctures.  Until a guillotine is designed to deal with a hydra in disguise, things do take a while.

Here, it is a guillotine that ends the first film, that begins the second, that dominates the fourth, and that looms over them all.

[Spoken drunkenly]”We are going to make a people – I mean a person...”

Because the problem is not, as it might seem, the inversion of regicide: take apart a person (the king) in order to make a people.  Rather, it's that slippage – we are going to take apart a people (including the king) to make a “person.”  Like a non-culinary Modest Proposal, this is a demotic, mass severing, all under the banner of a new, built from scrap First Man: the subject of capital.

In other words, the collective singular, not ended at 21 feet per second, but born of it.

“I’ll get another… and another… and another...”

Which is of course to say, we’ll chop another and another and... And it is to say, there can be no end to this “getting,” because consumption and possession here only serve the accelerated decomposition of a body, via a very particular application of force.  The sooner you own, the sooner you will ruin.

In this way, so too the logic of these films, which emplpys a general logic of seriality as a counter-measure to that initial act of making incoherent (the head is no use to me).  If you can't make sense, you can at least make more, repeat the moves until they pass from a boredom of the same to a strangeness of that same.  We've seen it all before, and that's why it's so wrong.

More importantly, these guillotines, this attempt to go forward from a first cut in the medium, points up the fact that if the series is “about” cinema in any way, it is about editing.  And not because Frankenstein's creature is a facile analogue for “putting together pieces into a work,” but because it understands that once you inaugurate the logic of editing  at all, once you make film not just an unbroken, unreeling registration of what pours out of the factory at the end of the day, once you break the position of vision and relocate sight elsewhere, once you cut, all wholes are tattooed with dotted lines, just waiting for the axe to fall.  The viewer's head, in speculation, floats off and occupies an infinity of positions, plans, POVs, cranes, and pans, and with the decisive sshhhhiikkt! of a guillotine larger or small finds itself tossed, in sight, into those positions.

The head was and is the problem.  But only because there will be a body without one: the reels of film, the field of all that might be seen and won't, not dark or impossible, but simply unwatched.  That's a wet topped mass that cannot go unadorned and unregarded.  It  has not learned to make sense of or from itself, and so cries out for another head (the head that doesn't exist until it is cut).  It demands a cleaving to bring about that stitching back together, no matter how ugly such an affair may – must –  turn out to be.

And that is the story that follows, the plot that eclipses any particularities of who is threatening whom, which assistant is in love with which woman, who is deformed and will take on another body.

(How right the Tribune's scathing review of the film in '56: "Character and story have faded into the background, suspense and surprise simply do not exist, plot has become a perfunctory filling-in of time between each macabre set-piece.”  How wrong that this was written as a condemnation.)

What, though, of the modulations of this bare bones plot, its dressing up into different names, faces, and actions?

Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) opens onto a guillotine, hanging behind neon crimson text, the same color as that which announced the title and credits:

In the year 1860, Baron Frankenstein was condemned to death for the brutal murders committed by the monster he had created...
The whole continent breathed a sigh of relief when the guillotine was called upon to end his life of infamy.

The guillotine is figured as explicit answer to the monster (both the editor-artist Baron and his creation).  Beheading here is already displaced from the private labor of the Baron, who stood unbesmirched by labor and state intervention until thrown into jail.  Now decapitation is institution, a law-bound regulation of the order of what should and shouldn't be made, ready to take off the head of the arch-decapitator, because he goes so far as to recapitate.  The technocratic invention of death alone can deal with the not-quite dead and interrupt this disrupted economy by taking it down at the source.

Or that's how it's supposed to go.  Further bolstering his role as Robespierre echo in dress, conviction, tone, and indissociable linkage to the guillotine, the Baron manages to get himself out from under the blade and put a priest in his place.

When he resurfaces, he is established in society – rather than aristocratically outside/above – as a doctor to the rich and to the poor, tending gratis to the latter in a filthy, crowded hospital in which an elevated frequency of amputations won't be especially noticed.  Or more accurately, this salvage from the rabble will be noticed, but the protestations will not be heard by any with the power to intervene, until the “unwashed” band together and give him a long-overdue and vicious beating with arms, legs, stumps, and canes.

The major shifts borne out across the series are present here already.  

It will come to be about life: living tissue and still-warm limbs, scrapped while the donor's heart still pumps, or swapped between two bodies such that one of those two will be discarded at end.  (In this case, the contorted, disfigured body of Karl, who helps the Baron in exchange for the promise of a new body, is burned by Karl himself, if the transfer of the brain counts as continuity of subjectivity, in a new hunky body built from the scraps of the poor.)

The Baron will get older, more tired, and poorer. (The Baron is no longer an “independent researcher” using his estate to hit up the black market or his social standing to commit unnoticed murders.  He is now a practicing doctor, forced to work for that bit of respectability and required to find loopholes – i.e. general deafness to the protests of the poor – to get his materials.)

It will introduce a practical primacy of spirit, even in the pseudo-material form of “the brain,” over the matter of the body.  Although it is partially blamed on a stiff beating he receives, Karl's transformation is a revenge of the intellect against the success of manipulating matter, his new body deforming into an approximation of his previous twisted shape, with the addition of murderous appetite to boot.  Yet it comes in the defense of the body.  The conservative impulse therefore tries to have it both ways:

No, we're not just piles of meat, we have unique essences – we have distinct content – that allows us to “be us” even in different form!

No, that content cannot be dissociated from its original form: it will insist on remaking its perverse new frame in the lost image of the spirit's rightful home!

The film ends by laughing it off, transposing it onto a profound gag, as the brain of the Baron, rescued from his red mess of a body after the attack, is moved to a new body, one itself built from the parts harvested from those very attackers.  (One of the more sublime iterations of the endless capacity of the master to recuperate and incorporate the antagonism of its underclass opponents.)  The operation is a success, insofar as the film ends not just with the Baron setting up shop elsewhere with a new name and an old commitment to keep doing this, but impossibly, with the Baron still played Peter Cushing, distinct only in having picked up a rakish mustache and a prison tattoo.  As if, given enough time, the brain will rearrange the body in full to accord with what it remembered to be the case.

(There is Evil of Frankenstein in '64, but for a number of reasons, it willfully places itself outside the general drift of the series.  I leave it there, to shuttle around in its own awkward orbit.)

“Do it now!  Come on, it’s my head, you’re going to have it off anyway.”

'67 is Frankenstein Created Woman, a scrappy, kinky, savage film of broke characters and broken lineages.  The guillotine is back where it belongs, right at the start, removing the head of Han's belligerent, joking father who badgers the priest, harangues the executioner, and only loses his blowhard cool when he realizes his son is about to watch the whole thing (bringing out those questions of fathering previously absent and pointing them out as all the more incapable of explaining what is to follow).  Like Karl of Revenge, the signs of a damaged spirit are externalized and worn on the body in the scarred and bent Christine: her head declared, by the social world, to be also “not enough of a head” but without those pecking birds.  Rather, she has a clot inside the brain: a scar without surgery, without even a cut. 

Like everyone in this world (including Christine herself) other than Hans, her lover /witness to his father’s execution, the Baron neither wishes to acknowledge this nor ignore it.  He swerves instead to new heights of immateriality, plus a defense of both vital urge and particular arrangement of subject buried within but independent of its charnal bonds.  (Some of his experiments, we see, consist of freezing himself to death for lengthening periods of time to see how it is that he is still himself after being revived.)  His burned hands unfit for surgery and dependent on the nervous blustering fingers of his assistant, he's not content just severing the spirit from the body.  He wants to sever it from the head, to unhouse the intellect.  In this instance, to parse it into floating balls of energy that bear the essence of an individual, through the capacity to make the transfer with the head already missing.  The body as such, give or take a head, is the new seat of the soul, and it can be unsettled.

But there are those who remember the fact of beheading and who keep an eye on those missing heads.  Those who won't let it go so easy.  The film tells of their revenge, their insistence on not letting the miseconomy of one head too few, one body too many be settled so cleanly or with so little blood.  The children of the guillotine and their lovers hence continue the abandoned project.

(Which is to say, they pick up the scene of that intermittent anti-political project: something along the lines of an acephalic insurrectionary modernism, which demands of the foundational act – the severing, that barbaric technocracy and destroyer of kings! – that it remain no certain foundation.  For what it brings about is the bad simultaneity of the too few, too many.  It inaugurates a broken set which is, however, the only way to actually count masses, crowds, and hordes, to take stock of that which is neither a people nor a person, not even a persons (as the sloshed Baron slurs in a later film)Just a collection of material, a collection of wills, perhaps gathered together under one or more abstractions, and the potential operations that may follow.  This project insists that nothing is ever settled without the constant vigilant work of recounting, rekilling the king, recalibrating, revolting.)

So after the decapitation of Hans at the guillotine (just like Daddy), and the consequent suicide of Christine, after the transference of Han's soul/anima into the body of his lover, after they fix Christine’s limp and hunch and face scars (and inexplicably, make her bottle blonde for good measure), after she kills the first two aristocratic fops responsible for the death of her ex-lover who is now also incorporated into her, we find just where that head has gone, and just where it can go.

Namely, impaled on the decorative top spike of a white armoire, commanding her to kill the last murderer.  (Therein a different historical echo of the beheaded, less Francophile and more homegrown Brit: Cromwell's head impaled on a spike 20 ft above Westminister Abbey.  Vengefully severed after his posthumous exhumation, dragged through the streets in an open coffin, and hanged at the injunction of Charles II, it was stuck on high and remained there, weather-beaten, for a full 24 years until a storm tossed it to the ground.)

Yet this head, literally stuck where it does not belong, jammed into an absurd man-furniture hybrid, is not a singular shot.  It is the second half of a match cut, the gasping conclusion – the recapitation – of the first cut.  From the exhumation of Hans' body and the voiced question “Where has the head gone?” to the purely answer to that question: well, there it is.  This is a red thread between locations that do not line up, and it’s a tremendous whiplash.  It produces the sympathetic wrenching of our necks as we pass smoothly between what matches up indeed (the missing head in speech, the found head in sight) and what indeed does not stop being a cut (the space between the expectation and the shock of finding it).

If there is a formal hallmark to the entire series of these films, it is the match cut.  Fisher is consistently demeaned as being not much of an auteur, too “workman-like”.  What is actually meant by this is that he is a skillful editor.  His films are consummately put together, and they tend not to draw attention to the medium.  He is one who matches cuts together, who knows how to enjamb and enjoin, such that we both keep the beat and gain a shudder, a laugh, and a twist in the process.  Such that when Christine swings the axe down on the writhing body of an aristocrat, it will not touch him.  It will make contact only on a log, the wood splitting like meat, hours away, in another house where she and we alone recall the starting point of that falling swipe. 

And then there is the cephalophoric moment, perhaps the most striking of its kind in horror, when she stabs the last of Han’s murderers and raised her lover’s head from of a basket.  (At which point we realize she’s been carrying it around for a while…)  At which point she speaks to the severed head in the voice of that head, when she speaks as Hans, in the body of his lover (after she has gone about seducing and murdering men in his name), to Hans.  The film, understandably, pulls back from this: it is at that moment when Christine has most vanished, that the Baron calls to her and brings her back to herself.  She drops the voice, the head, and, in a few moments, herself off a cliff edge.

Still, at the end of the film, she – the one who has never been an acephale even as she has been a cephalophore, carrying the head that became her own but which was never lopped off her body – claims that she knew what she was doing all along.  That this was not fugue but project.  With her decapitational picnic basket and all the loneliness of the one who knows she has been lied to, so she speaks to a head with no throat, in the hissing calm tones of the falling blade.

By the time we hit Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (69), that basket is now a special head-shaped bucket and the blade – a sickle – is right for the task.  It is heads we sever,  that is what we do, and it’s no longer of the exception or breakthrough, but the mundane, the chore.  Brain transplants into bodies living or dead is no surprise, with few kinks to be ironed out.  And that collapse of surprise, there’s little remaining desire for vindication or to become a celebrity in the field.  At most, just the old habit of a low-level fuck you to the doubters.  And so it is here, in the film that sees the Baron most conclusively terminated (carried into a burning house by the one whose brain he swapped), that series as such spells out, with a rather bemused plainness, its basic logic:

“I must therefore transfer it to a healthy body to keep it alive.  When the recipient is fully recovered, I shall operate again to cure the insanity.”
“You can’t mean any of that.  You can’t!”
“I mean every word of it.”
“But that would mean you’d have to remove someone else’s brain to do it.”
“Of course, Karl.  How else?”
“But that would be murder!”
“You’re used to that by now.”

Indeed, he is, they are, and we are too.  Frankenstein must be destroyed, perhaps, but the only way to save a head is to give it another body.  And, in its weary matter-of-factness, this film returns a base materiality to it all, cutting back against Revenge’s and Woman’s version of a damaged brain that produces a damaged body yet which leaves the subject intact. In Destroyed, a brain isn’t just trapped in a body.  It is strangled by it, slowly choked out such that the I becomes imbecilic.  The head was never a single unit in the series, but here the gap between form (skull) and content (brain) becomes a toxic one.  The brain must be saved from head, and so, late in the game, we get a destroying that saves, as the Baron and Karl turn to trephination, slowly grind a bone drill through the skull to “let the brain breathe.”  The brain in question is that of Professor Richter, an old colleague of the Baron’s who still has the knowledge necessary to work out those last kinks in the transplant process.  At the very start of the series, they couldn’t find a head in decent shape to save them.  Now, saving their project requires putting holes in another head and leaving it unusable.

Nothing much changes in the last film of the series, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, other than the Baron’s very weird coiffure.  We cycle back through the options and permutations of living dead, poor, following the lead of Destroyed and taking the bodies of the insane, particularly ones that are very large and hairy.  The creature will look more like a werewolf, and he, rather than the Baron (himself a patient, merely with some special privileges), will be taken to pieces by the patients.  But for the most part, he wasn’t made of their parts: he simply was a hulking brute, with a key additions to retrofit him to the purpose of idiotic rage.  The only labor of the many lies in that tearing to bits, not in the significant, albeit unwilled, contribution of the unwashed collective in Revenge.  It’s fitting, as cutting and repairing here can no longer be a solitary enterprise.  Frankenstein's hands, burned earlier in the series, are inoperative.  As such, for his surgical operations, our cutting and splicing editor becomes merely a director, here in the last film that Fisher directed.  As the Baron puts it when reviewing what went wrong, “Too much reliance on surgery and too little on biochemistry.”  And isn’t this a renunciation of cinema itself, of montage, of the way that decapitating and recapitating never really meant to reproduce a whole? And so we get the familiar gag at the end of the film, when the Baron brushes off the death of the creature.

 “Oh, that's of no importance.  The best thing that could have happened to him.  He was of no use to us or to himself.  But... next time.”
“Next time?”
“Why, of course!  We'll discuss the details later.  For the moment, we must get this place tidied up so we can start afresh.  Now we shall need new material, naturally.”

But for once, there may be actually something new here in the stated declaration to have done with surgery, although it is a line that won’t be followed past the end of the series.  It won’t be answered here, and not by Hammer, busy falling to pieces in the years of this film, but it gestures further ahead toward different processes of the production of images and wholes, closer to biochemistry and that which does not need to cut, which won’t have to start with chunks of what already exists.  That is, if the primary special effects of the Hammer Frankenstein was not the squirt of blood or the caked make-up but the basic logic of the match cut, taken to its extreme, made into a principle that resonates from micro to macro, to leave behind surgery is to point toward a world of CGI run amok, of things cooked up in laboratories that require no cuts because they don’t exist outside of this genesis.  Of combinations with other footage that involves no montage but merely intertwining, green screens, and overlays.  There may be cuts, but they will often be simulated, just a weightless shift from one weightless field of pixels to another.  There’s not a scar in sight.
            That, though, is another story, and this one ended more properly in the film between Destroyed and Hell, where the burning of the Baron was answered by a black comedy reload of sorts, The Horror of Frankenstein (1970), where we have neither Fisher nor Cushing.  Instead, a return to origins and, fittingly, painting them as joke all along.  It slots in the absent sex, it declares as comedic what was already funny, and, above all, it ratchets up the frequency of those match cuts until they provide nearly every transition between sequence.  Almost no question is left hanging without a wrenching shift to a new locale and a verbal or visual answer to it.  Nothing, of course, is new, and the attempt to remake what had already been a remake and about remaking means that it can only collapse under its own weight.   

Or, in this case, dissolve in whole at the site in which this whole miseconomy began, in the acid bath that first abolished the head we’ve been chasing since then.  Trying to hide his creature from the investigation of Lieutenant Henry, the Baron convinces him to climb into giant empty acid bath in his work-shop, vats of acid poised precariously above.  And despite the questioning, there’s no evidence to be seen of his labor.  He’ll get away with it all, and he’ll continue his work, keep buying cut-rate dead bodies, keep cutting them up, keep making cut-rate wholes.   

But the young daughter of Henry, bored with being ignored  by the adults, pulls the rope tied to the acid and “accidentally” floods the bath.  There is a sound that rushes and hisses.  Only the Baron knows what it means, and he is alone when he climbs to the side of the bath and watches two shoes bob up from the gurgling brown froth.  He makes a face to the camera that is supposed to be meaningful but which remains inscrutable.  Yes, he will go on after all.  No, he’s had enough.  Yes, there is still cutting to be done.  No, cinema has not had enough.  For there’s no bath big enough to dissolve all those stitches.

1 comment:

Lena said...