Midsommar (2019) and its haunted ambient hypnagogy, part 3.

Rev., Oct 15, 2019.

Continuing with Midsommar (2019), on the final day of the event, I think, things are now in full festival action. The group is worried because some of them have gone missing, then, they are even more directly drawn into the ritualized processing of the spell, without even knowing it, or it even seeming to happen on camera. Thus one can only assume that the love spell calls for the to-be-jilted lover to cook the pie in which the red head has put her charm, her pubic hair, I also strongly suspect these are meat pies, so a Sweeney Todd vibe, with meat of the missing others in them

1they then have a very strained lunch, but Christian finds a hair in his pie, they are all grossed out, worse that Mark thinks it is a pube, which is really gross.

2this kind of grossness is “normal.” Indeed, I made light of it on FB, as this fact exploded when I saw it, thinking of other movies, about the coincidence of upon the opening of MOMA the one thing that NF wanted to write about was a hair in Starry Night, and I commented.


the hair


then, in Surpisia (2018), there is a cult portrait in the kunstkammer that Sarah finds in which it seems that the cult support of Markos and Blanc

5is reinforced by the inosculation of hairs from every memory of the coven in it, to, by that magic, as if magically deepen the cult power of this aegis (aegis being a goat skin, so that it is here made of hair from all the women of the coven relates).

6I then could not resist thinking that Starry Night was given a strange partner in Rousseau’s lion, and suggested that by the virality of this urban legend sprung up in the instance of a moment’s thought at a press preview, it might develop in time that somehow the hair is of a lion, or something like that.

7then, even more exploding in my head, the pubic hair in your pie moment made me think of a far more famous pubic hair in a line in The Exorcist (1973), which launched a new phase of my meta conspiracy theory about that movie, also in Facebook.


Like most Americans who deal with food urban legends, chefs are getting hairs in food all the time, so

9but the inference from the response in the movie is that all of them simply thought of this incidentally as just a symptom of bad unhygenic country cooking, and not an intentional insertion for the sake of local voodoo

10the alien pubic hair in the drink of dennings (“I think there is an alien pubic hair in my gin, I can’t imagine how it got there”), in The Exorcist (1973), remains equally problematic. The Lady in Black is a character I have studied, of late, weaving a conspiracy theory about her, by her Fr dyer on the piano–a real priest in real life later accused of abuse of high school boys–might’ve been implicated in some sort of attack on Regan.

11she also sits to listen to Chris ask about the church over the way

12I have also entertained the idea, since he died after he found a way to get with Regan alone in that room, then obviously offended her, to be thrown by satan out the window, that dennings himself earlier during the party went up to the room to abuse her, and by way of oral sex got a pubic hair on his lip that then made it way into his gin (this being written later, dec 5, I now also think some of the less narrative elements of The Irishman  (2019) rely on an inference of sexual abuse of the girls in the movie, in some way; the movie as a whole not unlike, in fact, Midsommar, in mapping out a crime covering its tracks at every point, to explain its sinister nature more thoroughly).

13dennings’ predilection for sexual infraction that might even be reported these days is, in fact, shown, when, drunkenly, he, leaving, takes advantage of the moment to grab way too much of Chris than she clearly wants, this perhaps a backwards inference of his guilt with regard to her daughter.

14here, though, it is confirmed, more so, later with the mistress in charge, when she says “sounds about right”, to his complaint that he thinks he ate one of the girl’s pubic hairs, being told that the red haired one is a perfect match for him to mate with

15dani seems to recognize what it means, however, or that it is part of……something that is going on

16so that spell is going. But, now, time for the climax, so we ratchet things up. Aster gets entoptic, making a screenwipe of the toxic hallucinogen tea, to prep dani to win the May dance

17in the lodge Christian is served glass onion level symbolism, the bear burned by fire, whatever that means (but it, of course, signals that the candidates to be that bear in the rite are interviewed here, there is also a nude girl lower left there)

18there is one undercurent of what appears to be a completely cryptic level of glass onion symbolism in the movie, there seems to be graphs for magic flowers on the walls of the room Christian is given his talking to

19they are a regalia bouquet, if you will, of the flowers, displays of magic

21then, when Christian comes out, to look across the long lot to where the far off May Queen circle is, there is a small tree

22the trees were there earlier, but given no mention

23after taking the tea, dani feels like a plant too, again seeing her feet turn into vegetation

24these planted trees are instrumentalized later, as if part of the day

25later still, after Christian has fullfilled his procreative duty, he is cast out, as it were, as the cult has no use for fathers, it as a group to raise families, so he runs about now abjectly naked, and begins to see that parts of his friends have ended up planted, as if in an urge by magic to bring nature to a more fertile level, Josh’s leg in the garden

26then he runs into a shed, and sees Simon all strung up like a garnished gourmet item, flowers all over and in him

27then his insides are as if lifted up out of him to make him a magic man-plant, a kind of mandrake. This could also be a reference to the “blood eagle” manner of execution said to have been practised by the vikings, as raised in the tv series five years ago. Is it true?


scholarship argues


this from Smithsonian magazine


this could be the blood eagle, or, at least, related

33Like Attestupa, it appears that the blood eagle is also an urban legend horror story invented by sensationalizing historians of a later time, and not real. But, of course, this is horror’s wheelhouse, may it ever feel free to spin the lore another time. If, however, it is meant to be a blood eagle, then it signifies that his pleasure was in the killing, and the power in it too; and that creating a kind of pollard of vegetation-animal is not quite the purpose. A moment, for this, when we see the rest. But, the important point is, we are first seeing them, now, here, at the point of fertilization, before we get to the final sacrifice; between the procreation and death, as if to create an in-between place (all of this related to a chain of being of terms I have developed to describe recent developments in Euro body sculpture, with, even today, with a Norwegian artist).

Since I first had an inkling of what the forces of insomnia leading to nightmare were by finding it in the symbolism of Van Gogh’s sunflowers in movies, signifying being caught up in the bright uncaring world–there is also a sunflower painting on the landing in the house where The Exorcist (1973) takes place–the fact that Simon seems to have sunflowers in his eyes signifies dead eyes as well.

36and his appearance can be explained as meat was part of the simple peasant way to bless the land

37this would suggest a simple vegetative culture chain of being view of nature in which it was thought that in order to ensure that the lower order of vegetation be fruitful it had to be fused with charms from the higher order of meat, and that if that fusion creates a hybrid higher up on the scale, a mandrake conjure figure, then that would make sense as basic peasant magic…..which brings me back to the beginning.

I started out wondering why they pollarded figures back to an object state, in preparation for sacrifice. In these two, they effectively cut back on their humanity, to make of them herms, apotropaic boundary marking figures.

38My basic outline for the shelf-life of a conjure figure is this


the Presence (or Throbber) is the first form the conjure figure takes at one’s far periphery, in the entoptic ambient zone; then, second, half way coming in, its coming in makes you see it as an animated presence, a herm-conjure figure, or Figment, with somewhat human shape, but still inanimate, crossing the boundary of one’s alarm zone; when, then, the conjure figure passes in from the ambient zone back to the hypnagogy zone, to become, at that crossing, an immediate threat to you, it becomes the Herm-Mannequin, or Famulus, which is, a lifelike figure of you or another, in a half human half object way, that symbolizes the surfacing or the closing into the dream; then it sinks, and as a Symbolic Herm , or Conjure Figure, it is recognized in horror as human, which causes it to manifest as algamata sacrifice, in the whoosh, with the leap, imagined as pleasing to the god. The question of why the god is here like this is here. In my view, hypnagogically, the focus on the sun and the brightness and midnight sunniness of it all means that their god is the High Sky of eternal blinding brightness. They, in calculation of rite, secretly practice murder to recruit the sacrificant anathemata, but the conjure figure only gets there because way out at the edge of the ambient, looking back from that point, its gaze back up to the High Sky god, is their measure of how far the god is from them, and what is required to symbolize and thereby overcome that distance. Who this god is, is an issue, but, for me, the Greek version is Apollo Far-Shooter, as he it is who navigates the movement of a conjure figure from far out, for it to then in terror come zooming in on you, thus Apollo Hecaergus, with Apollo Ismenus presiding over Apollo Ambias, the one who crosses over on in. As above, I argue that this pollarding is attributable to communicating across a perceived distance between them and the gods. But, now, some context.

The whole hypnagogic of the movie is about opening them up to the wide space of the high sky, making them submit to its glare, Apollo Agletus (or Norse equivalent, Sunna?), of the sun, then a series of ambient-sent diversions to carry it off without any confrontational complaint.

But, the amazing thing to me here is that in Hereditary (2018), Aster’s first movie, without premeditation (meaning, I did not look back until now), I ALSO found a tripartite eldritch nightmare formation (first nightmare, leap out to more hypnagogy; second nightmare, sleep walking, bounce out to waking; third nightmare, peering down into hidden truth), but, again, in a slightly externalized form in the third approach to truth-seeing. Then, it keeps going. And though I find the bounce of this movie to be somewhat harder than the latter, in the sense that she bounced out to Ambient space, beyond “the trap” in which she gets caught up in her own house in Hereditary, the movement is more or less the same, and the Aster signature seems to be to continue on exploring the exploitation space of the horror after most horror movies would’ve stopped, at the end of the nightmare. I wrote:

But, here, where is she? dreamwise, she has splatted, that is, been shocked out of herself, by what is going on, we THINK she is just now continuing on her journey to discover and defeat the evil; but, no, she has splatted off to the side, that’s what happens when a search for Ophthchtony (seeing through the darkness), dream truth, fails, and she splats off to be situated in an adjunct space which in this movie they keep within the confines of the hypnagogic. In my system thus far if you splat right into a black out you are in Chthon (darkness), if right into a white-out to Ophthon (seeing), but since she splats to the world of both, a conjuring world where SHE is now as if going through the motions of moving the conjuring forward, without knowing it, I place her as going into a kind of trap, which I will just call, combining binary prefixes, Chthonophthon (darkness with apparent seeing), a splat lateral space, WITHIN the confines of the hypnagogic, but, locked in deception, controlled by a demon, she thinks she is moving forward and out to the saving, but a lot like Captain Howey in a movie I have compared this movie to, the Wicker Man (1973), she is unwittingly moving up and into the cult


Chthonophthon is a silo of deception, moving upward back through the adjunct spaces, through the nexus space, to find, at the verge of reentry into a new life in vigilogogy, the final secret. Since it is bracketed, and not in parenthesis, it seems best that I call this particular version of it, Pseudochthonphthon, that is, a false place, controlled and exploited by ambient or sentient demons. It is, in this, also characterized by the extra stress of, say, gravity, in that, oddly, the movie starts having her and everyone else move upward. This zone then is more packed in, blinded, less wiggly-roomish. In fact, it is pulled upon by an Ambient and perhaps even Sentient force, which flattens out its levels so that plus-minus, good-bad fade into one. The Ambient pressure is now exerted because the observation of the ritual has begun, the cult has invaded and taken over the house, everyone in the house from this point on is a pawn, being “turned’, as it were, as a spy is, in the house. This is represented by the emergence of the old nude people, closing in on the space, and, in a shot later, see below, even surrounding the house and the walkway up to it, signifying that it is in their control. Furthermore, there was the voice used at school, the cult members crying from across the street, “I expel thee,” and the odd fact that Charlie and then Peter both hear this tongue-clicking noise behind their ears (Charlie makes the noise, Peters hears it from Charlie’s spirit, I think). This places Paimon somewhere out in the outer darkness, beyond the movie (since most of the movie is situated inside the hypnagogic zone). It is the “pull” on the whole intermediate, adjunct, rare, upward trajectory space of Pseudochthonophthon (fake darkness, trying to see in) that makes it, at least in my thinking, a new space, and a space that very, very few horror movies have ever gone (again, I think of The Wicker Man). It is this pull that results in the delirious almost unpredictable zero to sixty spins in Annie’s character, as, shockingly, after she played the part of the mother putting up the good fight to ward off evil, she is taken in too, and completely reverses herself by actually being the agent of the cult in destroying what is left of her family and delivering Peter to the cult (she ends up as well with her head cut off, to signify that she had lost her selfhood).

And the triple loop symbol in Hereditary (2018) seems to map out a triple loop that nonetheless stayed put within hypnagogy in the house, and did not go ambient. Whereas here, I am saying that, while the same formation is present, in Midsommar it bounced out into the pure Ophthon space of the white out. This is my map of the world where Collette went in Hereditary, stylized to accord with the attic symbol


but, in Midsommar, already out in ambient space, it is a matter of the demonic aspect, that is, the exploitation by external controllers, to involve more intense, more diversional, more complete and final rites, to fulfill their ritual with these two sacrificial lambs. What spaces are these?

First, I have to address the hypnagogy of the double rite itself, the dance in which dani wins May Queen, and the ceremony of fertilization where Christian is the seed donor for the cult to get a new baby this year. The dance, first, is set as if in a nexus cross-communicating with the fertility rite. In the dance the woman and Christian will be distracted, whilst the red head goes off to strip to get ready for Christian to fuck her.

42the fact that Christian is as if surrounded, trapped, by their social pressure exerting him to make the correct move, is part of it.

43Pugh, throughout the movie giving as good a face-making-based acting performance as Cushing might of, looks at him, kind of lost, bereft, she seems to realize something has begun to happen which has pulled them apart, for good.

44the really interesting thing is how Aster films her in the dance, he uses a kind of dissolve in which previous frames are locked, for the next frame to spin out from it, etc, so that there is a sense that while the dance is going at its pace, she is somehow, mentally, lagging behind; or, in fact, losing herself, in a blur, in a whoosh.

45this also posits her mind being split off from her body, her body is going through the motions, but her mind projects a “what am I doing?” worry

47the fact that both overlays get very pastel also interjects an element of entopty into it, as if to say all of this is happening inside herself, but inside a self knowing something is happening

48it is quite good

49in the process she loses herself to just become a machine, in the cult, following along, moving on, automatically

50then, something weird happens, another light seems to rise up into the shot (perhaps to signify a great deal of time passing), she now looks entirely out of herself exhausted.

51at this point, she gets entirely lost in the blur of the dance itself, she is reduced as if to a conjure figure to herself, her vacated, emptied out psyche, barely able to see where she is.

53then into full white out, or glow out, the sun.

54which becomes the blindspot, in the High Sky

55then, whatever that does to her, she then comes out the other side, remade, something else, as if here in a frame of lavender.

56this, in effect, on the other side of the spell, prematurely crowns her May Queen, the winner, which is highly improbable, that a newcomer come in to then win it, so it is fix, part of the ulterior motive plot. Where do I place this? Previously, I argued that, with the Attestupa, even though the “Utrillo Town” set up was already in place, the movie then transferred over in whole an echo of the central core for it to then in the Ambient zone mineralize into a cliff face from which a nightmare could be enacted as an external ritual event, then recreating in it a nightmare fall to splat, and then the aftermath (Note, dec 20, 2019: my explanation here shockingly similar to Girard’s explanation in The Scapegoat (1983) of why scripture put a magic cliff in Gerasa where Jesus encounters the demon, Legion). This was allowable because it was part of a larger three-part nightmare sequence too. Now, there is another sequence, even nearer the climax, and she is lost in it in a way not seen before.

Though I have not previously done so, I have often written about how the Ambient spin can accelerate, whence it passes over into the Sentient dark zone beyond, so that it becomes a quicker spinning that can psallict one, that is, by psalliction, tear one apart. This tearing apart can be literal, or mental. If mental, then that results in mental illness, which I define as lying out in precincts of brain action where the mind is pulled apart. In that pulling apart then, there is ego death, and once a thing is torn apart, in sentient space, it becomes a psallictioid, a being which hath been torn to pieces by the universe. Though I want to keep it that the splat at the bottom of a nightmare whoosh is the worst psyche-related thing that can happen to someone, obviously, if one can leap or bounce out so easily, it is not. By far, far worse is the spin that spins out of control, after the nightmare, after the bounce out, after the ambient-spin, after all that, and, in far sentient space, tears you apart. I believe the dance more or less tore dani apart, when she won May Queen was when she lost herself. Aster has used the classic dissolve in an intense way to convey the idea that beyond the nightmare, there is what the universe has waiting for you.


now, totally stunned, after having 48 hours before been a total stranger, she is now the center of attention of the whole cult, and she is so torn out of herself she cannot even resist, or suspect the calculation in all this fixing. There is, however, one moment where she seems to recognize the outrageous impossible hypnagogy of it all. Out of the crowd of congratulators she sees her mother

58who wafts right through (just like Pelle’s twin sister earlier)

59she just is like, “Mom? Mom?”

61This is her “truth shot,” but got to by a very circuitous route. The way in which living and dead mix, now, in this zone, is creepy. It also makes me think that this spin spun far or deep enough to spin down into Geithum, or the land of the dead, and, below the sentient, that would be, I think, what I have lately called Galooth.


she is now treated as if a mannequin, put up on a platform, that is carried, like an ancient queen, but, also, going directly to the table, like a roast pig ready for consumption at the banquet in celebration.

63the disturbing thing about the banquet is that it seems to be serving up some roast from the blood eagling of the others, it appears there is a suggestion that at this point, in the land of the dead, it is cannibalism that keeps things together

64she is aligned

65there is no attempt to describe what’s for dinner, but it sure looks like some sort of meatloaf in a mummy form, with the feet up facing up, and then notice that the crown of the other one covers over her crotch in the view (which reminds me that Patricia in Suspiria (2018) was afraid that the witches were “trying to eat my cunt”).

66This aerial shot confirms my suspicion, it is a formed “pie” not unlike in the shop in The Wicker Man (1973)

67it is almost as if she is being eaten in

68then there is a part of it, or whatever, laid out, all along the table, this remains something of a mystery; but a Eucharistic no doubt, eating of her, then eating of him. This view is aerial as it shows that under the radar of her coronation there is the reverse trajectory in the nexus wherein Christian is coming in to take his one empty seat at the table, and it is halfway down next to the centerpiece.

69as before, she is startled that her throne is a living thing, it moves to her touch, she is still entirely stoned

71then Christian takes his place

73but when the redhead leaves

74she calls him in, with the aegis of the head priestess on her head. Now begins the more solemn part of the ceremony. To be continued

Midsommar (2019) and its haunted ambient hypnagogy, Part 2.

rev., Oct 14, 2019.

But, now, in Midsommar (2019), there are two dynamics. We are in, essentially, a Village of dreams, but by my reckoning at the adjunct level of the whoosh, meaning that while things are dreamy, they are deceptive. They are right out in the open, but in a way to hide what is actually happening, That means that this is an exploitation space too, controlled by the powers that be, that lie beyond and above. There are two dynamics: 1) being exposed to the elements of the festival without proper explanation, to shock; 2) secretive carrying out of the festival second purpose event, behind their backs, but, again, out in the open. We see things, but we do not know what they mean. There might be a third level of secret activity, as, for example, I do not understand why Pelle introduces his twin sister, then, after she says goodbye, she goes off

0 0 1the camera keeps its eye on her going all the way across the main yard

0 0 2even into the far distance

0 0 3this is, basically, a village of dreams, in a veneer, it seems benign, but it is, for the primitive nature of the festival, on this sort of fair grounds, not. The array of agencies in the zone are deeper, and at the bottom of the whoosh, so closer to nightmare; the two major sacrifices transfer the center core of hypnagogy to a cliff for the attestupa horror; then the main cult event, in the bonfire disguised as a cult temple, is human sacrifice. So the form is benign, but the agency is far from it

0 0 4

this is also, to shift to my other graph form, a counterspace reversed by habit or desire of cult to make a dream real, rendered in a reverse agency form as pervertedly real, and in a way the acting out of the agency of which backbuilds into prototype space preexistent to the modern era, wherein we live in mediated rationality, suspended as it were, in our laws and habits, so it goes natural

0 0 5

this is, as far as I know, the first movie to take the White Out and populate it with a town that looks like the Village of dreams, but is really one of nightmares. But, it is important that it exists in the spinning exterior space of dream, in a prototype space, close to life itself. And, again, it is the everpresence of the High Sky, the force that flipped real life into an inversion of it in hypnagogy, then shines through dream to make all of it as if nightmare, or at least tending in that direction, it is a complicated Ambient formation of dysfunctions in the lightly dreaming mind.

0 0 6

so, once we get into that circle, the movie becomes, as it were, a game of three card monte, or a Ouija board, push-pulling from side to side and site to site in the festival complex. One is at all times of two minds, watching it, then wondering what is going on, when watching it.

For example, the lady of the place begins the festivities ceremonially early, but we are not aware (first time watching) that with the appearance of the two elders, we have already commenced the process that will lead to the attestupa. She is basically telling them, you’re life is over, be satisfied. That is, of course, the primary plot of the next half hour of the movie.

1but, then, there is a second plot playing out, as if the reverse side of the extinction of the old, the begetting of the new, the young gothically gauntly beautiful redhead knows that she has been given the byxmindiglast, that is, pants licence, meaning it is her role in the festival to get fucked and get pregnant from it.

2the rune symbol on the door of the bathroom, or whatever, means that she lives now inside the magic of another rune spell, go for it.

3she then also gets right into it, in a dance, the primary spinning ambient energy creator that manages the speed and energy level of the proceedings.

4and in typical peasant girl traditional village way, she kicks Christian as she passes him by, to let him know, I choose you, he is immediately activated

5which, of course, weirds dani out, so that drama has come back to life

6then I guess Pelle’s job, on the flipside of that, is to begin to indoctrinate dani so that she is acclimated to the concept of becoming the May Queen.

7which means it is time for another “no, no, no, no” by her, which all but clears out any suspicion of motve from the push-pull of the quartered acceleration, already! of the process. So we are caught, visually, by thinking we are still getting broken in, that nothing of importance has happened, but, in reality, it has. The “no,no,no,no” is all but dani’s spell to bring us back to the blank slate of wait and see innocent observance of the empirical world, without any cause for concern, it is, of course, one of the favorite postures of rationalization

8so, we are literally in the middle of an intense agentic array modelled on sacrifice ceremonies performed a million times by human beings in times past, the apotropaic casting away of old age, the contrary cultic rebirthing of new life; the initiation of dani as May Queen to (then there is an extra wrinkle) take her eye off the recruitment of Christian for the father, then, recoiling from that, he being the offering to the cult. It is all there, and the movie moves around the bases as it were of the agentic array. But, at present, the movie is cast over by a pall of rationalism, and rationalization, and out of politeness, or curiosity, or just being out of it still in PTSd, all dani can do is apologize away her failure to see the reality of any of it, so this is the No No No No Fourcorner curse that sinks her, and them, in the end. It is all here.


Then Aster gets into a radical dissemblance, as in movie theory if you do not forecast the weapon of destruction at the end of the movie with foreshadows earlier on, that is cheating, a deus ex machina, well, it isn’t here, because I think Simon just walks by and says in such classic mumblecore hipster nontalk, so we’re not even going to acknowledge the bear in the cage?

10but then Connie, I think her name is, wants to see a woman’s mural, so they go over and take a look, the camera in fact pans across it backwards, so we cannot read its sequence, there is also no comment by her or anyone, but to replay it from left to right it is a simple map of a love spell by which to steal another woman’s man, the girl has lovesick eyes, then she talks it over with the witch, the witch tells her

11I need some of your menstrual blood, then I will under the rune make a mix. then you have to go into the bathroom, or do it in front of me, cut off some of your pubic hair (70s style completely unshaven, meaning all around); then under the runes of the next morning, and like-to-like magic with the black feathers of the morning rooster, I will mix it and cook it

12then, well, now I see it seems to be about woman-to-woman attraction, she will eat the pie, then she will love you

13your energy will flow into her, you will be a couple

14now, this is pretty much the whole gameplan of the spell to get Christian involved with the other girl, by distracting dani, then having dani make a pie, it being the magic pie with pubic hair put in it, have Christian eat some of that pie and hair at a luncheon where they don’t even know that they are the main event; then he is recruited into sex; then, after bolting naked, is the primary victim sacrificed I suppose so that the group not a father can be the parent. It’s all right there, and we just pass it by.

In any case, to translate this strategy back to my other more scenic graphs, it now looks like to me that the agentic array overcasting the festival ground really creates four parenthetic passages extending out from each agency, and drama, and in each case in microview of the A-A I have, it is like how I have viewed adjunct space in hypnagogic zones out of the central core, but now formalize more as a crook or turn of A to A to A, etc, and that is, as it if in a gown prowl in a haunted house, you are negotiating your gaze through a bewegigungsapparat (plausibility enhancing device) that makes it believable or ok for the moment so you go on, and then an alibi formation for, if you are mistaken, explaining your mistake away, and just like in a haunted house horror movie you get deeper and deeper in until you are caught or surprised by a real agency to break through this adjunction process, to snap. Since this seems such a well mapped out “white out” space, and I have never, in fact, mapped this out before, I might concede some of this ambient space lateral to the whoosh, to also include “lighter” areas in the third level lattice, in which case it can be called Utrillo Town, which I have mentioned, but not previously mapped out. So, this particular array is an example on film of a Utrillo town.


then, we quickly accelerate into business.

Notice in this shot as the two sacrificants, who seem to have slept in the A frame overnight (and I of course love that it is an A frame, sign of Agency), notice that the crops have been harvested and laid out as offering to the god, then they come through that, perhaps imbued with crop power, to then drink and swear

16this last drink is something of a libation, swearing in, as it were, but that they also partake of ritualized gasping, again, again, this year in art, equating the metaphor of looking over the fence between life and death with gasping (as in aphyxiphilia).

17as they gasp

18the new mother to be is completing the carving of her love spell rune, which suggests a transference of last life to a new rune to bring new life from it, by transmigration

19then they carry them on chairs up the mountain for the attestupa. This sequence was, for me, the most imposing of the movie. It, like other acts I have looked at this summer, and look for in art today, it is a moment of schocking intrusion of primitive rite through the veil or veneer of rationality and civilizedness that we lay so calmly over life. On the one hand, this is deeply regressive, so that would suggest that Nordic paganism was more brutal, and hung on longer, because both the Egyptians and the Greeks, in their ancient eras, were proud to have weened themselves from human sacrifice, only resorting to it, such as in Iphigenia in Aulis, in dire emergency, to please the god. Because this is the scene which also echoes the most off of The Wicker Man (1973) it shocks for once again being about human sacrifice madly carried out by modern living people who nonetheless believe in the ancient exonarratives of expiation to the gods.

20the fact that this involves high cliffs, and that Aster does not skimp on the cliffs, adds greatly to the drama. Cars crashing over cliffs in California movies are common; suicide ideation over the cliffs of Cornwall are a staple in British horror; even Olivier’s Hamlet gazed on the sea over a cliff edge; I, of course, psychogeographically relate as I grew up in my wild space on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. But, it is the imposing “natural theatre” of this, as if the site is begging for some sort of brutality, that makes the scene. Equally exciting is that this is also a blood sacrifice, to symbolize that, there is a rune, bespeaking what exactly I do not know, but one assumes death

21then the hand is cut

22and given to the stone as if editing or completing the rune of the two runes on the sides, with bloody handprints

23and this was the best of the posters for the movie


then we see the whole formation, an imposing natural outcrop

25we see also from all the stones up there, that this has been being performed since ancient times, I count 24, that goes back to 400 b.c., straight, without a gap (which again might be a Nordic thing).

27and the rock is just a beautiful fulfillment of the horror of the idea, the set direction did not skimp on it.

29the form also resonates far and wide, all but “exploding” in the head (exploding is a word I use when an image or trope is used in such a new immediate way that nonetheles remains vibing on all previous sources of a great number that one doesn’t know where to go first to ground it in association, last felt this about Kara Walker’s Monument in the Tate Britain, which I will get to), it made me think, first, look up Attestupa, turns out that this was an urban legend in folklore invented to demonize the ancient nordics in the seventeenth century literature. This view, then, competes with a corpus of images, like this


this the Ättestupa in Västergötland as depicted by Willem Swidde in Erik Dahlbergh, Suecia antiqua et hodierna (1705).

and this

31but then the more immediate reference, because we know that this was true, whereas attestupa is a myth, Rome’s Tarpeiian rock, which, I have to say, appeals to me in a weird way, we know criminals of certain sort were in fact thrown off the Tarpeiian rock, a sacred sight due to the mythos of Tarpeii, daugher of a Sabine who one way or another, however the story is told, despaired at the rape of the Sabine women

32apparently, the rock, though built on, still exists in Rome

33but then, there is also a tradition in landscape painting to center things on a single outcrop peak that stands apart from everything else, and that makes for a great view, at least to the Victorians. I believe this is, in, for example, this Palmer, whatever mountain it is in reality, but as a trope in a picture, it is the mound of creation, it serves as a ground, the index, the most grounded and real place, the homeland of auchthonomous me, which makes you feel connected to the world.

34and it is worth noting, in Thomas Cole’s Empire series, the single form that stays put through the ages, through all the four paintings of the series, is, precisely, the same sort of distinctive mountain outcrop that in this context most clearly serves as the grounding element which makes of the picture a cult picture of one’s longing to be connected to the earth and to a mound of creation.


this, of course, also coming into movies in the form of the Mound of Creation shot, which is the show of the one single nipple, only shown once, in the context of a love making session which, this communicates, really hits home, and grounds her, so that she falls in love for real, in a movie in which she otherwise shows not one bit of nudity, this is a common modernist trope, signifying grounding, translated from mountains (this, Jacqueline Bisset, from The Mephisto Waltz (1973)).

36now, the really great part of this scene is that Pugh, having, remember, suffered a sister suicide who took in murder her parents with her, she suddenly cannot look, because, in horror, she knows what’s coming, a senicide, a suicide survivor being exposed to it.

40then in breathtaking shot, almost like on a high dive, he walks into position, and you cannot believe that this is what is going to happen

41its mad delirious ritualism conveyed by this vertigo shot of her or him and the target rock below, then all the spectators reduced to ants off to the side.

42the modern mad delusiveness of it is, I think, hinted at by comparison of that shot with the classic and common shot of the high diver from his board, gazing down, it is vertiginous

43he makes a gesture, then he goes, skydiving, but into rock, a suicide by our terms (though I prefer to call voluntary senicide by one’s own will “quietus”), to kill her

44then almost unbelievably, with Baconesque brutality, but with a hint of Jesus too, on golgotha, we watch her bounce off, her face having been torn by impact away

45this, I think, Baconesque, eviscerating the skin, showing the blood


(the curious thing here is that the sphinx was imagined by the Romans at least as being up on a tough to get at mountain; but also, I am trying to work out where in vigil- or hypnagogy Bacon has situated his paintings, and at present I find myself not far from the populated white out or Ophthon space of the Utrillo Town that Aster has cultivated here)


and Jesus always pictured as on that rock in the garden too


another interesting detail, when the body hit, it upset nature, the birds scattered. I had to go out to a clinic the other day, took the bus home, coming in on the steps, the wind was gusting, causing the birds to chorus all around my building in a crazy cacophony, and they were also all circling round, darting from tree to tree, just really upset, and this echoes that (I took it as an omen of loss, now I am told it was a seasonal hackenberry feeding frenzy).

48we even see the effacement, which, again, is, in terms of who shows this, Baconesque

50now the first time it happens, dani is upset to the point of shock, it is, obviously, triggering, for her to have exposed herself to this, or them to let her be exposed to it, given that in the previous six months she had lost her parents to a murder-suicide conducted by her sister (and, like the person in so many horror movies, a suicide survivor trying to avoid the strange pull it has on the living), she is in shock.

53but then Aster pulls out to the total Thomas Cole landscape scale, because it happens again

55then, worse, this time the fall does not kill him, so the crowd must partake in participative keening, or screaming to drown out his scream, or to join his scream so that until he is dead he knows they are with him.

56then, they have a solution for that, a guy with a big mallet comes and comes and finishes the job

57in full effacing brutality

58this is too much for dani, the camera therefore goes to close-up on her green eyes, this shot as a trope indicates that a person is in shock, that it has all gone inside the eye and is wrecing havoc on the soul, but, also, as if dissociative, blocking it out, it is not the easiest shot to read.

60so, for the second time, she runs

61one of the things that I like about Aster is that he loves the dissolve, an old modern technique, used often, almost as one of the ABCs of filmmaking, then discarded for a while, but now he makes dreamy use of it. Here they gather about for the cremation, dani skips that, but the shot more or less cremates part of her too: something has happened, has this shock shaken her out of her funk, that is, has it acted as theory as to the purpose of sacrifice, from Burkert on, say it does, though she is not part of the Mannerbund, has it, like with a Mannerbund, in its visceral shock, knocked her out of her crisis, to live again? (see also Girard on ritual violence).

63but, this continues (I will address the overall hypnagogy of this scene in a bit), with a dream that night, except for us it is a waking, so this would be, scenographically, part two of a nightmare sequence, she seems to be awake, or is awoken by a noise, so she gets up

64she is shocked to see, from in front of the dorm, the car sweep around from ambient left, in a spin, all of her friends are in it, they are leaving me behind!

65the creepiest part of this is that Mark grins out at her like an imp, as if this was a purposeful ditching her, which would touch of a torrent of whys? in her, he grins almost in the manner of echoing her sighting of Pan

66she is maginalized in the spin, almost as if SHE is the one now being turned into the conjure figure on the periphery

67then he gives her a no question impish grin, we’re leaving you behind

68I connect this shot to a previous shot of her seeing Pan behind her in the outhouse mirror

69and then forward to the strange cretin who looks down on Christian in the sex house

70which means to me that this dream of hers also was whispering a secret inside it, recording her nervous sense that, in fact, Mark was the one who that night was going to go missing, not her. But she cries out, but is stopped from, again breath, again gasping, I guess suggesting what happened to her breathing as a result of being symbolically cremated in that dissolve, it is just smoke, no voice

71then that shape, or effacement of her, in calling for help, makes her see the effacement earlier (which though she did not witness this way)

72that then makes her think of her mother, again, at the end of the hall

73making a strange gesture of communication

74then the mallet metaphorized as a symbol of time and fate erasing us

75then strangely enough, the face reforms itself after the blow, the action of her wish in memory upon her mother

76then an image of her mother in her bed gasping for air, so her mind imagining her dying but blocking out the part about the murder with hoses, it was just a breathing problem, this related to the earliest gestures of the attestupa rite

77with the explicit connection between the prologue of the movie, the trigger she is trying to disarm, but what her mind really saw, today (though perhaps there could’ve been a less obvious way of showing this connection, because we felt it in the eyes already)

78now, usually, this would be the shock shot that wakes her up, in nine of ten horror movies, this is the realization of connection that shocks the inner mind, waking her up. Since the leap itself was the first nightmare (a moment, please), then her shock and dream is the second nightmare, which leaps her up to waking, this is what is expected. But, then, in a sequence of truth-telling, getting to ophthchthony, getting up thinking one is awake but really it is sleep paralysis so that you experience the third shock which allows you to see through to the shot. But, in this case, dani does not wake up, this nightmare did not wake her up (suggesting that she already made the connection in consciousness, so it was not shocking enough in a dream prophecy to wake her up)

79but then the camera walks around the edge of her bed, bypassing her “under the bed” space, the ur spot where the pathway to the Far Place is undertaken, then it crosses the room, across an open area, like in the movie Necromancy.

80it continues to pan over to where we find the girl with red hair, charged to mate with Christian, that is, her correspondent, sitting, awake, watching her

81which is a sort of metaphor for the High Sky, and she is sitting there for a time, holding the love spell rune that she must make and use, so I guess holding it out is part of the spell

83she then crawls, in an under the bed posture, like a creature of the under the bed

85transversing the space between them

87and putting it under her bed

88then, while Josh sees her do it, and so takes it up, next morning, to then ask Pelle what it means, to get the info about the byxmindiglast, there is a very strange shot the morning after. It is a theater or puppet show shot, that is, showing the dorm as if a little stage upon which the tiny people in Attack of the Puppet People stood on, since Aster worked with models in Hereditary, he seems to be working that again, for what purpose.

90what I think he shows is that everyone but dani is awake, all the beds empty except hers

91this reasserts a shot earlier from over her bed

92all of these shots of the amazing art on the walls in the dorm are all over the movie, but earlier we saw special attention given to the above shot above dani’s bed as Pelle and Josh trade comments about the attestupa coming up the next day, dani clueless; and it would seem that in some way, a central figure, with something above, then six maids either side, that this is a kind of dream catcher placed there above her bed to signify some spell upon her, that she will wake up into, or maybe the suggestion is stay sleep walking ever after in that spell, after that (I have not at present a clear picture of this activiated spell picture over her, but right now I claim it is about her being the may queen).

94I can only assume that the loft, not seen before, above her, with what look like three trunks, have materials for something related to the rite, looked after by one person, of unclear sex

95so, three scenes, together, a nightmarish waking scenario, shocking her; then her dream of abandonment, and connecting the scene to the death of her parents, especially her mother; then a third sequence in which, surprisingly, she sleeps, while a rune is put under her bed. In my previous mapping of the space as a white out Ophthchon space in ambient zone, I gave shape to it by asking theory for the right to make a transfer of an echo of the central core out into the terrain too


what I meant was that the place was shaped as well by the central core nightmare formation. That is, there was in their ritual domain a place where the body could spin down vertiginously to go splat against the ground of a nightmare, but, then, not exactly to leap out, but the observer in shock could. That, then, would be the first nightmare. Then, asleep, one has a second nightmare, that one hits harder, in this case, dani goes deeper on the shock, connecting it to her parent’s death, that then would cause the second leap up, for one to them, sweating is the symbol, be awake. But, then, it turns out, in sleep paralysis, to then gaze down with ophthchthony to the truth, only in this case this gaze was coopted by the girl setting a spell on her, this part of it being to keep her off, while she makes a move on her man, and she does so by the peripheral way in fact of the second nightmare, the camera going round the under the bed to fetch her, to then place the rune amulet under her bed, to hex her. So, it IS the eldritch formation, but there is the twist of the third truth-telling peering down in, it is stolen by the camp to use against her.

97it is here, no question about it (now I am also thinking Aster sabotaged the formation in Hereditary too), but the difference is, the truth part was stolen from her, she was left under the spell, she wakes but she will, for not having woken with truth-telling, remain as if in sleep paralysis, in a waking dream state; more so then it is perfect that this all takes place in a bounced out white out space in the ambient zone.

In any case, on the open field, the clueless Americans, welcomed with explanation the day before, are now called on cultural infractions, the infractions then serving as alibi formations to allow the angry cultists to kill them, it gives them an excuse (as Burkert is always saying, they always need an excuse to kill).

98immediately thereafter there is the odd event of Simon now disappearing,

100then Josh learns a few things about the bible, it is in a cabin which is a chapel to it, it sits on a pedestal, earlier we saw the face of a mutant person, that is, a person with a serious disability, and he was drawing as if eyewitness drawings of the events he was seeing, at one point, he was drawing on a desk that seemed to be made of cloud,

it is now explained that these drawings are the source of the oracle. He is the oracle because purposely inbred so that he does not have an excess of prefrontal cortex rationality to get between him and the source, as such, then, because he is simple minded, he is closer to the source, in a more direct way, he lives entirely by intuition, so his drawings are in fact the oracle, then the elders interpret them; he keeps drawing, they keep interpreting, and as the shelves show, it is an unending book, it goes on forever (like my single vast chronicle), and that is that.

102why this might seem outrageous and ablist to mainstream modern rational culture, it is entirely undestandable given study of traditional culture. It is precisely the same model made use of at delphi in ancient greece; I used to think the oracle was somehow marginal to the culture, but Pausanias makes quite clear that consultation with the oracle was a central event in quite a number of historical events, so much so that you could almost argue that Greek history was run by the oracle, and maybe even perished by the oracle. But instead of an inbred, they had a woman who was drugged on gases, uttering nonsensicals, which the rational men, at loggerheads with each other, had to then defer to, because coming from a higher power, until at last they made a reading which everyone agreed on, because of the nature of the coincidence or symbol, was it, and they acted on that (this praise of mine for the oracle, which I suppose was wrong as often as it was right, and may have accounted for the short-lived nature of Greek supremacy) worries me, as it looks like in the past year the current President, with the jettisoning of the press briefing, taking it over with chopper talk, then his endless tweetstorming, every word of which is listened to, then for the day after that all the rationals try to make sense of what he meant, the Kurds didn’t help us in WW2!? it rreally does sound like an oracle situation, our fate in the hands of a pure cingulate-minded deflecting ego-protecting intellligence, and not rationality; the problem is, the intuitive nature of things attracts the people, and, I am sorry to even mention this parallel, it worries me as to how it is accepted by others). But then after that, Josh cannot resist his own nighttime adventure, he tries to get some bootleg pictures of the bible, so gets killed for it, Mark strangely cretinzied, a fact which suggests their creation of the inverted look is not just a birth thing, but a thing they do, frankensteinlike

103the camp now nicely accumulating its mannequins for the sacrifice. Which is covered in Part 3.


Midsommar (2019) and its haunted Ambient Hypnagogy.

rev., Oct 14, 2019;

In coming to terms with, and trying to work out the hypnagogics of Ari Aster’s Midsommar (2919), I start with the first idea that occurred to me, when I asked why would the bodies of the dead be prepared in such a way, as if pollarded back from their humanity, to merge with plantlife and food? Like the god Paimon in Hereditary (2018), this kind of treatment seems to be Aster’s forte. First Christian sees Jason’s foot in the garden, this is simple sympathetic magic, hoping to get the plants to grow that high

0 0 1but then he sees him strung up like the victim cop in Silence of the Lambs (1991)

0 0 2as some sort of bird habitat in the barn

0 0 3there is even some horrific fileting for display purposes which seem like to me to have something to do with a cryptic cannibalism of the parts too ( see comments in part two)

0 0 4flowers in the eyes, made to mystify, some sort of comment about the gaze of the group too

0 0 5then there are two other figures who have been pared back to herms, in effect, with branches like in scarecrows replacing arms, no legs, then disemboweled, their bellies filled with fruit. That is, a human being turned back into art.

0 0 6then too snarky Mark, who pissed on the sacred ancestral tree, then earlier properly remarked that they were stopping at Waco on the way to Pelle’s hometown, he is weirdly retrogressed back almost to the state of the oracle, that is, an inbred cretin whose face is distorted, as it was before he was killed, then arms removed, etc.

0 0 7the others are placed in too, also, lightweight, which I suppose was part of it, the practicality of it, but then also maybe to make them dummies to be more flammable, but, then, also somehow, I believe to make of them “anathemata”, that is, artistic doings using strange objects in offerings, made for them to be therefore “algamata”, pleasing to the gods.

0 0 8but they really are Boschian

0 0 9then, of course, almost rising to the level of taxidermy, to let humans serve as the innerds of the holy bear sacrificed to the sun god.

0 0 10so, even as the final shed, the A frame temple, is pretty much a transposition of the Wicker Man, and part of folklore, the question remains as to why they could not just sacrifice the humans qua humans and be done with it.

I have dealt with this issue several times before (see post on Tala Madani), but, perhaps, without definiteness. In my treatment of conjure figures in Whistle and Ill Come to You (1968) (see post), I argued that the haunting part of it involved a something seen way at one’s periphery, to then to announce itself as something, then, at coming at you, you to run. And as Whistle indicated, while in The Red Shoes fantasy you might dance with the human being who rises up out of the newspaper conjure figure, in Whistle, when he pulls the conjure figure up out of sleep, so that a bedsheet in the next bed in his room fluffs up, it manifests in his zone of life, and that is what drives him mad. And in this rubric, the key element of the conjure figure is that at first it is an uncertain presence, then it seems to attach itself to a thing, in Whistle it was a newspaper, then that thing seems to take on quasi human form, then it comes at you, and either you are haunted and defeated, or you madly dance with it. Conjure figures have of late been on my mind. On FB I mentioned that Michael E Smith did one in his current show in London

0 0 11then, last week, I saw that in a self-portrait of 1971, Bacon also was making use of the conjure figure as a haunting presence, and it was also a piece of newspaper, that he began to see take form, curling up his feet against it.

0 0 12

In ghost hunter shows, I often wonder of the proxemics of the haunting, that is, how the haunting is manifest in space. I figure that if the ghosts are shunted to so far away in haunted space that they can only communicate with humans by way of taps, emissions, moving Geiger counters of heat presence, then they are far away indeed, and the question is, why are they so far away? The situation seems to be the same here. Aster, as I will map out, is all about placing this place out in spinning ambient space, where everything is arranged, but all spread out on peripherals to each other, so that it is like a ritualistic game of three card monte and the victims can never quite tell what is going on, until they are allowed to know what is going on, to play their part in the dramatized aspects of the ritual. This is especially true in the underpinning that this entire event was a fertility ritual staged as a story of an unfaithful lover who got a local girl pregnant, whilst his love was made into the May Queen, so that she would be sure to vote against him, and he, the man who just impregnated the girl chosen, given byxmindiglast, pants license, would then be sacrificed, sanctified by his role, then associated with the bear god too, to make of him the most algamata offering of all.

Thus, my basic outline for the shelf-life of a conjure figure is this

0 0 12

the Presence (or Throbber) is the first form the conjure figure takes at one’s far periphery, in the entoptic ambient zone (1); then, half way coming in, its coming in makes you see it as an animated presence, a herm-conjure figure, with somewhat human shape, but still inanimate, a Famulus, crossing the boundary of one’s alarm zone (2); when, then, the conjure figure passes in from the ambient zone to the hypnagogy zone, to become, at that crossing, an immediate threat to you, it becomes the Herm-Mannequin, which is, a lifelike figure of you or another, in a half human half object way, that symbolizes the surfacing or the closing into the dream (3); then it sinks, and as a Symbolic Herm it is recognized in horror as human, which causes it to manifest as algamata sacrifice, the whoosh, the leap, imagined as pleasing to the god (4). The question of why the god is is there. In my view, hypnagogically, the focus on the sun and the brightness and midnight sunniness of it all means that their god is the High Sky of eternal blinding brightness, They, in calculation of rite, secretly practice murder to recruit the sacrificant anathemata, but the conjure figure only gets there because way out at the edge of the ambient, looking back from that point, its gaze back up to the High Sky god, it is their measure of how far the god is from them, and what is required to symbolize and thereby overcome that distance (the Greeks believed that Olympus was however long it was that it took a body to fall to earth in ten days time, and hell was also a ten day drop below earth). Who this god is, is an issue, but, for me, the Greek version is Apollo Far-Shooter, as he it is who navigates the movement of a conjure figure from far out, for it to then in terror come zooming in on you. Apollo Hecaergus, with Apollo Ismenus presiding over Apollo Ambias, the one who crosses over on in (of course, Norse versions thereof).

So, the whole hypnagogy of the movie is about opening them up to the wide space of the high sky, making them submit to its glare, Apollo Agletus, of the sun, then a series of ambient-sent diversions to carry the sacrifice off without any confrontational complaint.

So, that is my first thought. That this is an ambient horror movie, and the horror is really in how it finally gets dani and Christian, in their confused, half-broken up state, coming apart at the seams, to be the May queen and dying Bear god of the Nordic festivity. And this is done, by Aster, in what I found out better in the plus-four hour version of the movie when I looked at every hypnagogic scene for its trajectory, watching it all slow, and all of them were headed to or coming in from the periphery, all were far-shot, and ambient, with, then, diversions occuring in their blindspots.

The movie, in fact, starts with a horror, we come in through the pictures of the family on the dresser in dani’s parents’ bedroom, it is an old trope, signifying the family parade, in trouble or not it is hard to say, but to be shown in the dark, at night, I’d say haunted.

0 0 13then we come in over the couple in bed, everything seems ok,

0 0 14but this image does have the ambiguity fundamental to other such images like it, that when we sleep, if we sleep still, no tossing and turning, it is really hard to tell from far off if we are sleeping or dead. Wyeth used the same trope in his classic painting of a couple in bed on a winter morning, who might well be dead in bed

0 0 15but then we crawl up the wallpaper, then transfer over to another room, and come in from behind, on dani, the coming from behind a shot that usually means all that you see or hear for a while on screen is in her head, not reality.

0 0 16she is very worried about her sister, who seems to have sent her a worrisomely suicidal email, mentioning too that the parents are coming with her. She is frantic, but equally frantic that Christian is being overloaded with all this, his boys telling him dump her, she worrying to her girlfriends that she is killing the relationship by leaning so much on him. But, in short, it all turns into the horror she feared, and Pugh lets out her first no, no, no, no, as if a cry to the four corners of the universe, a quatre carnus curse. And then we come in on the aftermath. The firemen are in the garage, we see hoses hooked up to the exhaust pipes, the garage filling with carbon monoxide

0 0 17this is ambience gone evil, shots of tubes

0 0 18then from that red hell (Aster joining other filmmakers in making horror of the chromostereopsis of blue-red confusing-creating light of cop stop atmospheres created around crime scenes these days ), one of the men comes in the house, following the hose.

0 0 19it, shockingly, this like a reverse gown prowl of a woman searching in the night, evoking the sister having made this walk in exploitational calculation, planning, doing, spirals in

0 0 20it goes two ways at the top of the stairs

0 0 21then under a door, the door crack then ducttaped shut

0 0 22the fireman to now play the bogey man at the bedside, this, again, a reverse dream attack, in a posthumous form, the couple in bed, but they are dead, killed in their sleep by their daughter.

0 0 23above the bed a broad view panoramic landscape, spelling immediate death

0 0 24then, having finished that shock, we swing back to the other hose, which goes into the sister, a suicide

0 0 25this zooms in on her

0 0 26then keeps going to show how email failed

0 0 27we then spin around to Christian being forced by boyfriend duty to commiserate with her, but in an exhausted, compulsory way that only amplifies their problems.

0 0 28then the camera goes out the window as if to offer her no solace, in the cold, dark world of winter

0 0 30it goes out into the snow, to, only then, announce to us that the movie is about midsommar

0 0 31it is a dazzling piece of grim horror, its sequencing folding backwards in it several tropes, the gown prowl, the home invasion, the evil email, but all of it looped about in a reverse magic ambient spin from garage back through house, up the stairs, into two bedrooms; then swinging back to her, then out the window, into the winter. Two things. One, what this means is that heretofore, like in The Tenant (1976) and other movies I have encountered of late, this repositions their relationship on a level of grief, and recovery from it, and of suicide, where the fear of the infectious ideation leading to others is a prime worry. This never works, in horror, and, really, it is kind of a miracle that Pugh survives (more on that later). But, still a suicide survivor/family annihilation recovery scenario, pure horror. Two, there is a binary nature of the passing year in which at its half the mind as if flips from where it is to a far remembrance or forecast to its opposite at the other side of the year. Usually, this entails “Christmas in July”, being an expectation of Christmas, from deep in the drama of July. But, more to the point, it is usually in the dead of winter that one looks back upon the violent living action of the year, to assess and move on, and in situating her haunting in winter and then making of a midsommar visit its recovery, Aster is working with these deep calendric emotions.

This is also a classic trope, most horror movies happen in the zone of recovery, when a young woman in particular is in a bad place, and trying to get out, and very often in horror, as indicated by the picture of a bear (we learn later), it does not end well.

0 0 32The fact that the suicide is staged in the movie as an ambient spin itself means that the early dynamic of the film is about spinning, her spinning, and things out of control around her, she is really struggling. But, to be clear, the dynamic of the movie is lateral spin, more than vertical whoosh

0 0 33

that is, she was worrying, email was only making it worse, projecting it all, worry spun off from the blindspot, becomes an ambient spin that can take over; then it is realized as the crime itself and then our discovery of it were both ambient in that they spun by hose or cord from far out in the garage back into the home to send the two lattice positioned figures to death.

On the surface of the movie, this makes of her trip to Sweden another recovery effort. But she is filled with angst, and then things with the boyfriend are still decidedly shaky. But, Aster holds nothing back in signaling to us right away that this might not be the place of solution. Having taken us out of a window of a room where a girl mourns in horror, we are now taken out through a scene out a window into the bright sky

0 0 34again, the brightness

0 0 35then an aerial view, always uneasy

0 0 37but, then, for no apparent reason, and not mentioned in the script of the movie, there is a rumbling, that shakes the shot. Since it remains uncommented upon, one must read it as a pure form of an ambient warning, shaking things at you, warning you of danger. My thought is this could be Aster’s way of communicating that in general we are crossing over what I call the Luor, the in-between zone, leaving waking life, and entering a world of dream.

0 0 38once there, we get a typical ambient shot, car on the road, threading the needle of the road through the forest or field.

0 0 39in most horror movies, including even The Shining (1981), this shot usually means one is heading into a palliative situation, that is, a world where the dimensions are diminished, and, therefore, magic and terror can more easily happen. It could also be said that this shot has a sexual meaning, in terms of what their ostensible purpose is for a trip like that. But, the surprise here is that the car flips, and the view flips

0 0 40this is roller coaster enough, but then it goes all the way over, to open out to the view in front of the car, but all of this upside down

0 0 41now, I have written about this going upside down effect, the flip. It occurred in Paganini Horror (1987, Italy), at the crisis point of a whoosh, flipping over, that is, the flipping over of the vigilogogic onto the hypnagogic, to then drive all lower. Here is what I argued.

“But, what has happened? I have in a previous note, conjectured that at times when pressured by an intense blast of Sentient or Ambient noise or haunting, the whole structure of hypnagogy or vigilogogy can be turned upside down. There are two possible forms: first, if in the nexus, when you get caught there, you are flipped upside down, maybe that then relates being in hypnagogy as being upside down compared to being in vigilogogy. But, there also is a greater flip with I call the fold-over. That is, and this especially involved when the mind wants to enter an adjacent field, like leaving hypnagogy, and moving down into its realized reflection by way of ostension created by the pressure of the foldover into the land of the dead, this entails a much more holistic flip. I decided earlier this week that the only way the mind of the ancient could get from inside hypnagogy, to thinking that outside of it there was a real place called the underworld, whose form and visuality imitated in many ways the looks and styles of the hypnagogic, was if at a certain point in the spin down, the whole structure folded-over on the mirror formation below, and this in whole came down like a wave over it, to then touch down in a land of the dead, made physical by ostension.

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Weirdly, I have been sensing a fold-over occurring of this sort, in the world at large, for about two weeks. I am not sure what it is, but it scares me a bit…..

So, I worried, what is this? this fold-over? I think it is a possible final effect in the population of a field of dream or hypnagogy, that it can fill up to such an extent that one begins to think of it all as real, and it then by that pressure stands up as an embrasured whole, then can lean and then fold over a mirror space prepared for it in the field space below, and that is how the world of dream and myth-as-story become the land of the dead for real, as a real place, to, for example, the ancient Greeks. So, at present, I think that what is happening here is that Cozzi has flipped the universe, to take the Paganini haunting to a whole new level.” (Paganini Horror piece not yet posted).

What this means is that, for Aster, this is where he is saying, this entire thing is now going hypnagogic, into a dream world, a nexus has formed between the before, all a spin, and, now, this visit, and the one will in fact flip over on the other, to emphasize that throughout Pugh is not going to be forgetting about what she is going through. Even holding this effect, none too rare, this visual effect makes the sky concrete, so an intimation of the high sky pressing down, then the road becomes air, and the trees become a path into dream.

0 0 43there is even a suggestion of driving on that white road of sky, into the land, so it is a Land of Nod, literally, all made of sky gods and their influences.

0 0 44this is rare to appear so early in a movie, but it sets the stage as entirely hypnagogic, but, psychologically, entirely taking place in a flip of her recovery zone, by way of, literally, walking back the ambient curse formations of the suicide tragedy, to try, by like-to-like apotropaic magic, turn them away. This also posits, in the nature of the nexus, that one of the primary splits in the movie is between her involvement in this formation, and then the overlap on that of the cult’s involvement in their own ritual concerns.

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I also noted coming in, after the flip, that the sign announcing the town also opens to a path off to the right. That also symbolizes ambience, or that there is a hidden dream agenda here, this is a leading in, down a mysterious road.

0 0 50It is then consistent with the translation of the ambient spins through the plot space of the movie that their first arrival is on an ill-defined track of tire marks, over a broad field, where there is some sign of random ambient activity. This is an ambient place, outside of hypnagogy.

0 0 0after a humorous give and take, over whether or not to take shrooms right away, before they even get into it, because at first dani doesn’t want to, then Christian says, I wont either, because it would not be couply for him to go ahead, then the others are like, but, then, we wont be doing it all in a group, like we are supposed to, so at last dani relents. And their first arrival is on shrooms under a tree. I have seen this shrooms trope a few times, it seems remarkably unfruitful of vision, but appears to loosen the mind to the extent that one feels nature move in itself without the blockage of your consciousness between you and it. But it is in this context that they first talk about the midnight sun. Mark is upset by the fact that it does not turn into night. Surely, this is the High Sky. To repeat, the High Sky is like an extension of the High Light to a full ambient zone space, it is the sky that opens over hypnagogic events decedent from the blue dot of a framed entity like a computer screen (scientists call it Blue Light, and have documented that exposure to too much of it too close to sleep impedes sleep), stretching then out over the whole of the top of your entoptic field. What it means for them is that they are IN hypnagogy, but there is always something else going on right around or above them, they live in a deception,

0 0 52I have argued that the High Sky is an insomniac force that haunts dreaming, in the sense that preventing REM sleep, it creates a greater risk of nightmare bounce outs, rather than more positive outcomes. It is also like that voice heard from one’s waking mind which then interrupts and frames one’s lightest dreaming (like in Rosemary’s Baby (1968)). It also creates a too nervous energy that makes it impossible to sleep, and then, even, in me results in “idle churn,” that is having too much energy, unable to burn it, so I just tremble. The visionary aspect of this “trip” seems to be simple, she sees grass growing up through her hand which is not a bad nympholept affect, as if she is, like Syrinx, submitting to the earth god saving her from her woe.

0 0 53Pelle, who is indoctrinating them, also says the trees are breathing (given Lovecraft, the notion of self-ambient nature, taking on the qualities of a living body, is somewhat threatening to the human being)

0 0 54we are shown the shot, the tree on the right, its bark is crawling, this as it were projects her into what is in effect another suicide ideation, the same shot as seen by the dying Abigail Folger in The Helter Skelter Murders (1971), for me, then, this shot is a premonition of one’s last view of life.

0 0 55but, then, dani bolts. She has had a bad trip. She starts to walk away, out, down to a circle of people sitting, whom she then thinks are laughing at her, so she veers off .

0 0 56this lattice shot figures again that everything you see is in her mind

0 0 57then she has words with Ingemar, who tells her they were not laughing at her, but she keeps going, upset, on a bad trip

0 0 58so, this whole spin is another one, it started calmly, sitting under a tree, in ambient space, perhaps outbound from the village of dreams, but maybe that tree sighting activated her as a surrogate Hanged Woman sighting, the life of nature made her hyperconscious of the fact that her parents are no longer part of that world, so she bolted, a classic panic attack. She is going down, then, from the symbolic. Now, Aster finds a way to bring a bathroom mirror scare into it too, to reflect more directly on her. She goes into an outhouse

0 0 60there is a mirror, she reflects upon herself, what am I doing here?

0 0 61the picture pinned next to the mirror, as per trope, also means something; it could just be a random picture of one of the past fun events at that park; but it might also be of her mother, at her age, having a time

0 0 62she then gasps to see her face somehow, slightly, on the right side

0 0 63it is strange. It could be that whomever she is thinking of, her mother, has now taken over half her face, it looks like someone else’s face halving her face. This also could be somehow linked to local magic, later we will see that in the pollarding of Mark back to a state of low humanity, that is, as the equivalent I would guess of an entome, like what was done to Patricia in Suspira (2018), reducing a person to captive object, this is step one.

0 0 65it seems that this, on shrooms, is so odd, but she is living in an odd dimension, she sees, in a simple reiteration of one of the most classic tropes in all horror, the face behind her in the bathroom mirror

0 0 65that would appear to be a man with a beard, playing a pipe, it is Pan, isn’t it?

0 0 66he is rather scary, encountered just there

0 0 67this fold out, a classic bolt, she turns around

0 0 68knocks her out of her temporary landing area, on the lattice, in the lattice, and, frightened off, she bolts, she is now in the whoosh, full on falling panic

0 0 69then she runs back into a narrow opening in the woods

0 0 70it is a maze, but she keeps running (I note the armpit sweat because the Norse god Ymir created the rivers of the world from his armpit sweat, a rare mention in mythology of armpit sweat, a sign in movies of waking up in horror, but also somewhat gendered, and none too often shown on women, but here it means panic

0 0 71then we see her parents watching tv, and either her or her sister looks at her.

0 0 72then it is black

0 0 73and…then she wakes up from her dream, and I again make note of the fact that, I remember mentioning this in another movie, she comes out of as if by a path from under her arm, to under her chin, around her arm.

0 0 74in the negative space between her head and her body to as if in her awakening retrace and erase the path of panic attack, unclear if it was all a dream

0 0 75THEN, only now, hours later, they all regroup

0 0 77though there is a weird sense of there being another field past their field, and there are people there too, doing something organized, and they are part of it, or not, in any case, it is counterspace, meaning that after they have flipped into dream space, they have now circled back into even a counterspace from “normal“ swedish woods space, into mythological Pan space, as if nympholept.

Usually, in simpler horror movies, this is the shot that signals the heading into the danger zone. But here it seems much further down the path into the world of dream or death. Vigilogogy has flipped on them, for them to be in a world of dream, but ambient; that ambient world then spun in to a kind of initiation space, but then she had a dream, which cast it into nightmare. Now, they make a final descent.

0 0 78normally, this is just the entry, simple, but here it is the bounce out after the splat, after her nightmare, or dream, now, 5, having bounced out, on the “roof” of REM space, they walk on the Narrow Path to the Far Place, which is the door into the returned-to Ambient space, but this time it is the White Out or Phthon, with, I am tempted to say, “Geithum,”  its death zone, below.

0 0 79

it is of critical hypnagogic importance that as they walk it, though, it AGAIN flips to perpendicular, as there often are zigzags en route.

0 0 80then there is a classic Narrow Path shot, reminding me of drawings I made in my 20s, disappearing into the thick, dream woods atop the REM, walking out again into the Ambient

0 0 83almost like a Samuel Palmer

0 0 84the same little needle eye in the wood to be threaded

0 0 85they follow the path

0 0 86at some point, it literally turns into the primrose path of danger (usually a trope in an oval painting on a wall), paved, in fact, in flowers.

0 0 87finally they arrive, this is the Gate of Truth, statue of Aletheia near by, but also the Cursed door where they may see or fall to their worst wishes.

0 0 88so, all this, such a prelude, such a journey, but with the world flipping on them, the High Sky glaring down its potential to turn it all into nightmare, they appear to have arrived at some sort of heaven, though Mark rightly quips that they’ve arrived in Waco (it is the curse of being under the High Sky, you can know it entirely, what is going on, but still not be able to move against it)

0 0 89and after her dream lead them into the secret woods growing down at the bottom of the whoosh, along the Narrow Pathway, to the Far Place, they arrive at its Cursed door and go through and come out into an Ambient hell, if you will, adjunct to whoosh or even REM space, but saturated by a blinding light, bounced out into after nightmare, it is Ambient space, pushing out to possible Sentient, but, then, pushing worse, down, down, into a hell, a Geithum, or whatever I call it. But, this is where they are, hypnagogically. It is a far and far down place, after the imprint of suicide tragedy, after the world flips on her, losing its reality; after they upend it in tripping, then she has a bad trip nightmare whoosh where she meets Pan; after walking in, they arrive there, for whatever to ensue to ensue.

0 0 90

then the greetings start, and we are in the movie proper. To be continued, Part 2.