The Ninth Configuration, 1980 - ★★★★½

The Ninth Configuration, 1980 - ★★★★½


..::Dissociative December - A Cold Month Of Mind Control::..

“I believe in the devil, you know why? because he keeps making commercials.” - Cutshaw (Scott Wilson)

The war in Vietnam saw a massive rise in US combat fatigue and soldiers claiming to have psychological anxieties. In order to treat or discredit these claims the govt created various army insane asylums. The last of these outposts was Center 18, a castle shrouded in mist on a remote island. A new military psychiatrist Colonel Kane is sent to the hospital to survey the patients. These include discredited astronaut Captain Cutshaw, whom the doctor builds a bond with. Kane whose got more than a few skeletons in his closet, becomes determined to change Cutshaws view that there isn't a god, by proving to him theres good in the world.

William Peter Blatty's brilliantly beguiling and confrontational The Ninth Configuration is so heavy on philosophy, religious dogma and theology, that its not for everyones tastes. But its such a damned unique experience, its hard not to be spellbound. Apparently Blatty went out on a limb to get the film made, self funding most the $4 million budget and choosing to direct it himself. Both Stacy Keach as Kane and Scott Wilson as Cutshaw, turn in arguably their best performances. I've seen it a fair few times and it always seems to bring something I'd not picked up on before. The film kicks off a little like Altmans M*A*S*H, if it had been set in a mental institute instead of a army hospital barracks. We follow our ragtag group of insane dropouts, just goofing around acting crazy. The midway the mood of the film gets progressively darker and the humor less obvious.

[Personal Reasons For OBEYING]

This is a pretty vague entry for my themed month, though the film does skim around human control a little, hypnotizing patients is mentioned. I guess its more about deep rooted operant conditioning. But its worth noting Blatty was apparently once in the US air force, and became the head of the 'USAF' Psychological Warfare Division.

[x] It features an air force captain who believes he can walk through walls, same subject was used years later in 'Men Who Stare at Goats'.

[x] Theres another amusing rorschach test.

[x] wtf moon crucifixion

[x] Killer Kane possibly be a former Manchurian candidate like sleeper assassin? seems to have no recollection of his former war crimes, only bad dreams. Plus he clearly shows dissociative behavior which force him to need sleep at odd times.

Originally taken from Letterboxd

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