The virtues of Caligula
The manner in which I depicted Nerva in the latter of the two bizarre pieces of nonsense I have written so far today – not counting e-mails – was inspired by John Gieldud’s performance in Caligula, one of the most underrated films of the 20th century and one of only two works of which I am aware that manages to convey to the audience a feel for the inner sanctums of powerful men who have gone “mad,” or, more accurately, whose view of humanity has been informed by the expansive view that one only gets from the top of the pyramid. The other work in question is William Gibson’s Neuromancer, in which the Tessier-Ashpool family is seen to have largely closed itself to the outside world and redefined itself as something akin to a hive of wasps. Caligula likewise depicts Tiberius Caesar with extraordinary accuracy. I know this because I was there. I’m a vampire, blaaaaah, blaaaah.
Anywho, here’s the utterly fantastic trailer for Caligula.
Notice the absolute insanity that comes out of Bob Guccione’s mouth. There’s a man for whom I would gladly write advertising copy assuming that he is not already dead. I’m planning on billing my own next book as “A force that will cause a nation to rise up and slaughter millions of their own countrymen out of sheer misplaced enthusiasm.” Nobody’s going to out-pompous Barrett Brown.
Caligula is a misunderstood film because it was well ahead of its time. Today, one can download it to a computer, watch the first fourth or so that Gore Vidal probably wrote, and then skip all the crappy parts written by whomever they brought in to retool the script after everybody got mad at each other for reasons I will likewise skip over because no one cares. Technology has rescued film from the filmakers, allowing us to skip around. It’s also kind of a plus that we can now steal them. I recommend The Pirate Bay.