The Cloverfield al-Qaeda Witch Project

Promo postcard for CLOVERFIELD“Whatever it is, it’s winning.”
Our Lady Liberty beheaded, smoke and ash circa 9/11, Cloverfield would seem to know what it’s insinuating. So this is The Blair Witch Terrorist Project, where there’s nothing in focus but black void, and we’re to fear what? The unknown? Kids are afraid of it already, it’s called the dark. I’d be afraid of fearing the unknown: that was the Dark Age.
The marketing campaign should offer this caveat:

As the media conglomerate Hollywood studio behind this movie, in the interest of full disclosure, I am an agent for WHATEVER (where “whatever” is defined as totalitarian oppression by reign of fear). Thus it is my interest, and that of WHATEVER’s, to make you believe we are winning. After all, winning is simply the act of convincing you, by deed or by decree, that your protectors have lost. In effect you must come to see that your upstream is obsolete, and of the necessity to fall in with new masters. Whether or not it is true, it will become true. That is how another is victorious, how the conqueror vanquishes you.

You’ve seen this presumably pompous routine from prizefighters. It’s the same unspoken intimidation from athletes to chess grand masters: the psych-out. You’ve lost the match before stepping into the ring, do not fool yourself otherwise.

Military propaganda fliers say it from the sky: resistance is futile. I’m Psych-Ops baby! I’m a ruse permitted by the conventions of war, so long as I’m not perfidy: I can’t lie and tell you an armistice has been signed, but I can mislead you into thinking you’re surrounded. The clever propaganda convinces you it will be easier for you if you lay down your gun. Easier for us too. We can shoot you but it’s a lot more effective to conquer you en masse, that you survive to resume your peacetime task in what becomes our labor pool.

Look at this Cloverfield promo. (Ignore for the time being what you might have gleaned from their viral marketing campaign that this is a movie about a Godzilla-esque hydrant who takes the head of the Statue of Liberty for a game on kick the can around Manhattan.) Can you think of anything more chilling than the Statue of Liberty with her head torn off, dark gaping slashes across her back, leaving vulnerable every American’s liberty?

I can.

Imagine headless American zombies who don’t know right from wrong, up from down from a hole in the ground, running from every sudden noise, every unexpected voice they don’t recognize, even and especially, in another language or praying to another God, anything that deviates from their norm or the accepted behavior they believe will not displease their masters. These zombies will be insisting that you run and cower as they do, lest you draw wrath and misfortune upon all. Or be treated as a deviant about whom they have been warned.

NPR movie critic Bob Mondello in his review of I AM LEGEND tried to insinuate that its zombies reflected the terrorists we fear, being as they were determined to destroy America for nefarious zombie-terrorist reasons. What a crock. We are the zombies.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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