Movie Night

Date: 5 Jan 2001

Watched the following movie last night:

"Twilight of the Cockroaches", part-animated and part-real-world
late-80s Japanese movie. Human-cockroach interaction, from the
roaches' point of view. Plot: A man named Seito is living in deep
depression. His wife left him several years ago. He has fallen
into a rut, doesn't clean up his house, leaves food and drink
sitting all over the place. Spends hours sitting around brooding.
Naturally, the roaches love it. They've become so spoiled that
they walk around openly in his house, unafraid. They give praise
to Seito for ending the constant warfare between man and roach.
For his part, Seito has found the roaches to be a sort of perverse
entertainment which suits his mood perfectly. So he does nothing
to try to keep their numbers down.

Elsewhere, roaches don't have such a good life. They live in a
highly militarized society, making commando raids for food,
staying under cover at all times, and suffering a staggering
mortality rate. In Seito's house, only the oldest roaches can
remember the days when they lived the same way, when Seito
still made an effort to keep his house clean. Their warnings
about the hazards of the roaches' current well-fed lifestyle
go unheeded. But they are about to suffer a holocaust. Seito
has met a new woman, and wants to impress her by cleaning up
his act. First priority: kill the cockroaches.

Verdict: two antennae up.

Bonus for frat-boys: this movie contains what may be the most
socially-responsible talking-turd scene in cinema history, in
which a talking turd berates a pretty young female cockroach
(never thought I'd say *that*)for being prejudiced against
talking turds.

But 'Twilight of the Cockroaches' is not the strangest movie I've
ever seen. Not even close. That honor goes to "Wax; or, the
Discovery of Television Among the Bees." This is an early-90s
film which makes extensive use of simple, homemade computer
generated images.

The background: In the late 1910s, an Englishman who has taken
part in efforts to photograph the souls of dead soldiers, and
who is also a beekeeper, imports into England a load of bees
native to Mesopotamia. They soon prove to be, in all respects,
superior to normal bees; they begin to spread quickly across
the English countryside. Before long, he packs up his bees and
moves to America.

The present: the grandson of this beekeeper grew up in the town
founded by his grandfather: Garden of Eden, Kansas, a community
filled with eerie, disturbing statues of Old Testament people.
Now, he lives in New Mexico, working as a computer programmer
with the Defense Department, as does his wife. His hobby is
beekeeping; he spends several hours per day working with the
descendants of his grandpa's Mesopotamian bees. One day, he
blacks out and begins receiving visions. When he comes to, he
begins to slowly come to the realization that the bees have
implanted into his head a tiny television receiver, through
which he is receiving signals. Under the influence of the bee-TV,
he goes on a journey, first by car and then by foot, across New
Mexico, wearing his beekeeping suit the whole way. His eventual
destination: Carlsbad Caverns, where he intends to find the
Garden of Eden.

I won't spoil the rest for you- the last third or so of the
movie is pretty impenetrable anyway- but it involves the main
character being reincarnated as one of a pair of twin female

Verdict: One Antenna Up. Pretty interesting until the muddled
final section. And my description really fails to do justice
to how weird this movie is.

I rented both of these movies at the local Blockbuster, by the

Joel T.