THE IMPORTANT CINEMA CLUB’S SUPER SCARY MOVIE CHALLENGE DAY 28: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

28. A Horror Film That Runs on Dream Logic.

How much dream logic is in this movie? Well, it’s based on a book named Traumnovelle (Dream Story) by Arthur Schnitzler.

This movie has the world record for longest shoot — 400 days — and has an entire New York City street recreated inside Pinewood Studios, so of course I’m obsessed. I love when movies could have been made on location or in normal places and are all made on a stage. I also kind of love that director, co-writer and producer Stanley Kubrick had created for himself a world where he could honestly get anything that he wanted.

Dr. William Harford and his wife Alice (the at-the-time married super couple of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) live in a world of wealth and sexual availability. At a holiday party thrown by Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack), an older man tries to take Alice while two models offer a threeway to Bill. He’s stopped when Zieglar asks him to save the life of Mandy (Julienne Davis) as she overdoses. The next evening, Alice confesses thinking of leaving him when she fell for a navy officer on vacation this disturbs him but he’s high and also on call and heads off on a house call to pronounce a patient dead and another attempted seduction, this time by that man’s daughter Marion, then picks up a call girl named Domino (Vinessa Shaw) and learns of a costumed orgy in which his friend Nick Nightingale (Todd Field) will play piano blindfolded while an occult-themed sex ritual will be held.

I mean, somehow this descends from Tom Cruise wanting to get laid to him narrowly avoiding HIV and death at the hands of an underground cult that rules the world, all while his wife is asleep. And then,  when they go holiday shopping with their daughter, she tells him that they have to do something as soon as possible: Fuck.

It’s weird that the novel is all about anti-Jewish persecution and Kubrick removed all those references. Keep in mind both his parents were Jewish.

But maybe, as some have claimed, this movie is an in-code atonement for Kubrick’s conspiracy ties. He’d been wanting to make this since 2001. Or maybe he just wanted to make his porn movie, who can say. As it is, some think the movie wasn’t even finished. Like Garrett Brown, inventor of the Steadicam, who said, “I think Eyes Wide Shut was snatched up by the studio when Stanley died and they just grabbed the highest number Avid edit and ran off as if that was the movie. But it was three months before the movie was due to be released. I don’t think there’s a chance that was the movie he had in mind, or the music track and a lot of other things. It’s a great shame because you know it’s out there, but it doesn’t feel to me as it’s really his film.”

Then again, who knows?

Kubrick was, of course, an absolute maniac about every moment of this movie.

Here’s an example. For just one minute of the dream within a dream where Alice makes love to the navy man (model Gary Goba) Kidman had to shoot six days of naked sex scenes — fifty positions! — with a male model. Kubrick banned Cruise from the set.  He also would not allow Kidman to tell him what happened during the shoot. Yet this was one of Kidman’s personal favorite experiences, saying that working with Kubrick was like attending film school.

But let me hit that one harder. In a scene that never made it into the film, Kidman had a merkin over her private parts and Kubrick ordered Goba to go down on her. The model would later say, “He really wanted me to go for it.” I did and he was like, ‘You’ve got to really push in there and really move your head around,’ and I’d see him laughing and she would be like, ‘Oh God, Stanley!’ So I was really grinding away in there, with my mouth on her patch and there was hair in my mouth, too, and I’d be pulling one out.”

I find it hilarious that Kubrick was basically cucking the biggest movie star in the world.

Then he made him walk through a doorway 95 times for one shot.

And pretty much it makes fun of Scientology if you believe that theory.

Ah man, Kubrick. You were one weird dude.

Back to dreams: Kidman said, “It is a great memory for us, and at times it was almost a dreamlike state.”

Eyes Wide Shut opened on the same weekend that John Kennedy Jr., his wife and her sister were killed in a plane crash. I can’t even imagine what Q people would think of this movie because like all Kubrick, it’s filled with so much, well, stuff, that you can make it about anything. But hey this has an occult sex party set in the mansion of the Rothschilds, so that has to mean something, right?

Then again, it ends with a very easily explained way of saying that this was all a fantasy:

“I think we should be grateful. Grateful that we’ve managed to survive through all of our adventures, whether they were real, or only a dream. Sure as I am that the reality of one night, let alone that of a whole lifetime can ever be the whole truth. And no dream is ever just a dream. The important thing is we’re awake now and hopefully for a long time to come.”

Oh man. I could obsess — and I sure will obsess — over this movie for my entire life.

One thought on “THE IMPORTANT CINEMA CLUB’S SUPER SCARY MOVIE CHALLENGE DAY 28: Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

  1. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, October 29 2022 – Chuck The Writer

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