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Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse (1991)

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11 April 2004 (Hong Kong)  »

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Grotesque infusions
14 March 2010 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

'Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse (1991)' was described as follows by its creator: "The primary "Molten Horror" is TV - though there are other horrors metaphored in the film. Four superimposed rolls of hand-painted and bi-packed television negative imagery are edited so as to approximate the hypnagogic process whereby the optic nerves resist grotesque infusions of luminescent light." Before you all scramble for a dictionary, the word "hypnagogic" means "of or pertaining to drowsiness." With this in mind, the film does do a fair job of recreating those hazy seconds before one falls asleep before a television, an indistinct garble of flickering lights and shadows, their incomprehensibility an open invitation to surrender to one's fatigue.

However, most overwhelming is the sense that one can feel the radiation emanating from their television screen (similar to the smothering warmth of 'Cat's Cradle (1959)'). The ten-minute film is a succession of "warm" colours, occasionally interrupted by a distorted screen flicker that suggests one is sitting far too close to the television. At one point, Brakhage focuses on a molten red "eye," perhaps a magnified artifact on the screen, which rather disconcertingly blinks in unison with the viewer. Though I later failed to capture it frame-by-frame, there's also a lengthy succession of images that I could swear depicted the shimmering skeletal frame of a human (mostly the pelvic region), as though the radiation is passing straight through skin and flesh.


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