Thursday, August 25, 2016

Attack of The Killer Tire, or Thoughts on Rubber

 Rubber (2010), a French movie production set in America and filmed in English, is about the birth of a sentient tire with a compulsion to kill.  Reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s brain exploding Scanners (1981), except with an actual, non-CGI tire that rolls around the California desert, the movie goes out of its way to offer no explanation or reason for its existence.  It’s simply a living, breathing tire that enjoys watching TV, swimming, and killing people.  In that sense it’s no different than the audience investing a puppet with personality, which has been happening from King Kong to BB-88.
Rubber is experimental and self-referential, a literal movie within a movie where we as an audience watch another audience in the desert, as they, along with us, watch the story unfold.  In an interesting twist, the actors themselves are aware that they are actors but cannot stop performing if even a single person keeps watching.  The tire for his part, keeps on rolling down the road, looking for his next victim.
There is a tradition for killer things with no explanation, HItchcock’s The Birds (1961) being the classiest and most well regarded, along with John Carpenter’s Christine (1983).  The list degenerates from there with entries like Attack of The Killer Tomatoes (1978) and Death Bed (The Bed That Eats People, 1977), which incidentally inspired a fantastic Patton Oswalt riff.
Written and Directed by Quentin Dupieux, the movie was polarizing with the critics, and currently holds a 68% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  It’s important to remember that this is a French film with a completely different narrative style and cultural intent than your average American horror movie.   In many ways Rubber bookends quite nicely with Bagdad CafĂ© (1987), another quietly surreal movie in the American Southwest by a European director. This is how the rest of the world sees America, a confusing land of mystery, reinvention and danger.



my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hr diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon)