Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Death Scenes

"Ugh! Aaaaauggggh!! Waaaaahhh!"

Oh, hello there. I am just practicing. Come, watch me rehearse.

"Gaaah!!! Aaaaauuuggghhhh!!!!"

What do you think? Was that blood-curdling? Can you feel the cold shaft of a blade in my gut? I am not sure how to research this role. It is up to me and my imagination. Oooh. Wait. What about this?

"Hooaaahh!!! AAAAAAAAHHHH!!! Hhh-eeeeeee-eeeeeehhhhhhh……"

Was that better?

How about my stagger, does the stagger look good? I am clutching my chest as if to warm a cold spot that I cannot reach, a chill that has penetrated my heart. With my screams I am conveying the horror of a man who feels the perforated liver hemorrhaging toxins into his body, and the warmth of uncontrollable bleeding.

You see, I got the call today. The kind of call actors long to get. A part! A speaking role in a feature film! Granted, I'm a redshirt. The serial killer at the center of this movie fillets me before I suck up too much screen time.

These teeny roles are especially challenging, you know. I must realize a multi-dimensional and complex character in the brief time I am allowed before I end up as stock-character satay. The character is a Mormon, you know. A door-to-door Mormon who knocks on the wrong door and interrupts a serial killer en flagrante. There are complex issues of status and ideology to explore in this. I am a trained actor, you see.

In my scream, I trust you are picking up on that slight upward inflection, intended as an echo of the Christ saying, "Father, why have You forsaken me?"

"Aaaaauuugghh!! AAUUUUGGGGHHH!!!!!! Baraaaaaaaaaaa?????"

Yes, something like that.

Okay, the fall.


You know, the way a human being falls when they die is very significant. It says a lot about who they are. Class, education. I mean, you know a supreme court judge wouldn't die this way: *THUMP!* And an undocumented worker keeling over from heat exhaustion in Fresno would certainly not succumb in this fashion: *PUH-DUMP.*

Hmmm. Actually. It really is not all that distinct, is it?

*KLUMP.* *THA-BUMP!* *Daaaa-BUMP! Sssllllllllliiiiiiiiide…. THUMP.*

Zen Master Seung Sahn once said there are only two kinds of human beings: "Late go" and "soon go."

But even "late go" and "soon go" die sort of the same.




This is the moment my mother has been waiting for.

My father and I used to watch "Creature Double Feature" on Channel 56 every Sunday when I was a kid. One of them would always be some Godzilla flick, and one of them would be the classic 1930's fare: Dracula, Frankenstein, or Boris Karloff's mummy. Later, dad and I graduated to gorier things. You know, those movies with partially nude teens getting offed by big guys in hockey masks. We would eat sour cream and onion potato chips and watch the slaughter together, commenting on how good the monster looked and picking out people in small roles who later became well-known.

Now dad can eat those potato chips and watch his own son get dispatched by someone with a large, sharp implement. "Gaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! This one's for you, dad!" *SLUMP.*

"Ladies and gentlemen, the Motion Picture Academy does not often hand out special achievement awards, and more rarely still do we honor artistic achievements in the common horror film, but once in a generation there comes a performance in a small role that cannot be ignored. And so, we confer this Special Achievement By A Newcomer award, for a man who wowed Hollywood and America with his nuanced performance as The Dead Mormon – ladies and gentlemen, we give you – Algernon. Algernon! Put that ukulele down and come get your Oscar!"

Now I worry about being type-cast. Will I be so identified with The Dead Mormon that I shall never break free? I play the living! I play atheists, Catholics, all kinds of people! I play people who don't die!! Am I going to be stuck on Jay Leno, begging to talk about my newest project, yet having to answer questions about the goddamned Dead Mormon I played back in 2006???

Ahem. We will just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

"Aaaaaahhh!!! Graaaaaaaaauuhhhhh!!!! NO!!! Eccckkkkkk…… aaaaaaaaah."


Come to think of it, I was wrong.

I do not play people who don't die.


Ji Hyang Sunim said...

Dear Algernon,
You are the very prince of darkness, and your death scenes blog has three parallel lives.

By the way, I'm watching the princess and the warrior, by the director of run, lola, run, so I really like the theme of parallel lives, you are perfectly in synch.

Wingtiphsu said...

Dang, and I forgot to get your autograph whilst I had the opportunity to grovel.

Wingtiphsu said...

Incidentally, I am a high-school classmate of David Caruso and avidly followed his career before NYPD Blue.

I made my Mrs. aware of his oeuvre, so to speak, and she faithfully rented each film.

In every single one (except "Mad Dog and Glory") Ma-Lie remarked "You frien' DIE!" As you point out, don't we all?