Array The Magic Solution by Gilles Bechard

By Gilles Bechard

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J. (Robert Haley), the shots seem more concerned with demonstrating that their function is in the service of these vehicles than alerting us to any narrative importance and, to be perfectly fair, Elder and P. J. have little narrative value beyond their service to the machines. In this manner, Elder and P. J. become simply two more figures who circle the machines that are the central concern of these sections. The purpose of these techniques, then, appears to be the desire to capture (or be seen to be appearing to capture) reality unmediated by the distractions of narrative.

Nothing in the film’s opening sequence prepares us for the next sequence which, as noted above, functions almost as a film-within-the-film. Thus the tenth shot of the opening sequence passes us over to the second world of Fast Company, wherein the film becomes a documentary of the world of hot rods, fuel and funny cars. This world is visually distinct from the diegesis of the previously established drag-racing genre film. While the film’s narrative isn’t entirely discarded in these sections, it is no longer the motivation for the film’s technique as it was in the previous title sequence.

Graphic exhibition, then, is one of the most obvious tropes of Body Horror – an extreme attention paid to the various sufferings of the body-on-screen – and in this Cronenberg certainly excels. Here the body functions metaphorically, with Romero’s shuffling zombies a representation of an increasingly consumption-driven middle America. Similarly Starliner Towers, ‘a self-sufficient high-rise complex with the infrastructure of a small community’ (Caldwell, 2002), stands in for North America as a whole.

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