And so the trailer for the long-awaited 9th film by Quentin Tarantino (I go into the significance of the Number Nine as it relates to the subject matter in my post “The Manson Frequency”) has dropped on the Day of the Goddess Eostre, Ostara, the Vernal Equinox.
It is a reproduction from Alphonse Mucha’s 1900 Les Saisons series: but of Autumn, not Spring.
Autumn, of course, is closer to the date of Tate’s murder, August 9th (there’s that number again)…Autumn, the time of the harvest & reaping. With the death of Tate & friends at the hands of the Manson cult in 1969, it marked the end of an era that began with the Summer of Love in ’67…the end of Summer, heading steadily towards the eventual perishing of the Sun God.
Now, Tate & her husband Roman Polanski resided at 10050 Cielo Drive…”Cielo” Spanish for “Heaven.” The goddess of Heaven being Nuit, Nuit being one of the key figures of Aleister Crowley’s classic Book Of The Law…Nuit being another form of Babalon, Babalon worshipped by Jack Parsons…both Parsons and Crowley concerned with the creation of a “magickal child,” a “Moonchild”…Crowley announcing through the Book Of The Law that we were entering the Aeon of Horus, the age of the “crowned and conquering child.”
Tate, of course, being pregnant at the time she was murdered.
Watching this groovy madcap trailer, you get very little sense of the type of foreboding you might expect regarding a movie about Manson and this very bloody era in American history. Even Manson’s own cameo in the trailer makes him out to be just some cool guy…maybe slightly “kooky”…but basically, a cool guy.
Here’s where we have to accept the point of view Tarantino is coming from; the point of view of a lifelong film fan & longtime member of the Hollywood scene.
It is my personal belief that within the “mythology” of Classic Hollywood, Tate’s murder has been fetishized as a type of ritualistic slaughter. You see no sorrow in that trailer. It’s just a madcap Pulp Fictionesque romp. I’m not trying to bust Tarantino’s balls here, I’m just telling it like it is.
In the context that I’ve just laid out, Tate was a lamb to slaughter. Her demise was as much a symbol of the new Aeon as her husband’s Satanic-themed movie Rosemary’s Baby the year before…as was the image from another 1968 film, that of the “Starchild” (Moonchild) from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
To me, when I think of Sharon Tate, I have the same feelings I have about Marilyn Monroe…she had no idea what she was stepping into. She was not in a safe space. And in death she is fetishized for being this “sacrifice.” Nobody really gives a shit for her as a “person” who had her own goals, dreams, ideas, etc. Hollywood burns through such women every year. And so: you’re just not going to get a sensitive epic about this woman’s death in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The death is going to be a fetish, and Manson is going to be portrayed as that same “kooky-kool” maniac as the sadistic Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs & all the rest.
Because our current era is the era of the Kooky-Kool Maniac & the Tate-like slaughtered lamb. It is the era of the “crowned and conquering child”…for better or for worse, and right now it seems kinda for worse.
As I have pointed out in both my “Manson Frequency” and “Tripping The Manson-Nixon Line” posts, our current era—2019, on the precipice of 2020—resonates 1969. And there is no way in hell Tarantino wasn’t super-conscious of this.
Leonardo DiCaprio as the struggling Westerns actor Rick Dalton represents America. America, the former “leader” of the world; its illusion dying.
Brad Pitt as Dalton’s stunt double Cliff Booth is basically symbolically playing another “alter ego” character as Tyler Durden (even wearing a Durden-type shirt); he is the protagonist’s “Double,” doing all the things the protagonist can’t do. Him as Dalton’s double basically helps prop up his wavering image; the same way America tried to prop up its wavering image with various mythologies such as the Cowboy.
Now, as Loren Coleman points out, two American pop-culture idols are connected to this movie: Burt Reynolds, who was supposed to play George Spahn but died before shooting began, and Luke Perry, who shot all his scenes but then died suddenly of a heart-attack. So we see this idea of a dying American Hollywood mythology already interwoven with the film itself.
Finally, we have the “return” of Bruce Lee in the film. What is the symbolism here? Well certainly, it foreshadows his own early demise in 1973…but it also brought to mind the death of Kill Bill star David Carradine. Both Lee & Carradine’s deaths were rumored to be murders as a result of underworld types or affairs gone wrong. (Carradine also co-starred with Lee’s doomed son Brandon in the 1986 TV-movie Kung-Fu: The Movie)
Tarantino is a Hollywood insider. He knows, as they say in the tired old phrase, “where the bodies are buried.” The same way that Shane Black knows where the bodies are buried, and that was the theme of his 2016 effort The Nice Guys. And if I had to guess…I’d figure Once Upon A Time In Hollywood & The Nice Guys are probably very similar. There is probably also a lot of the “feel” of the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar! as well…all three flicks the story of a dying American mythos, a mythos that was propped up for years by the Hollywood dream factory.
And the Hollywood dream factory is being ripped apart in the current era by the Age of the Revelatory Matrix..and I’m sure Tarantino is in “mourning” for that as well. I feel like in his mind, both Polanski & Manson are twin little Kooky-Kool Maniacs to idolize; two sides of the same coin. Just trying to see it all from Tarantino’s particular reality-tunnel; I’m not making any judgements, just telling it like it is.