Brian Huberman, documentary film screening as part of Dark Hopper Film Notes, Anthology Film Archive, New York, NY, December 2, 2016.
A Canadian tax-shelter movie that Hopper took the reigns of after the original director walked off the set, OUT OF THE BLUE was the first film Hopper directed following the debacle of THE LAST MOVIE. Despite coming to it late in the day, he made it decidedly his own, its brutality punctuated by the recurring riff of its namesake Neil Young track. Hopper stars as an alcoholic, abusive, no-good father to the young, Elvis-obsessed punk girl Cebe. The film’s subversive and disturbing undertone culminates in a devoutly depressing ending, but Hopper delivers one of his most accomplished performances.
“In many ways it’s maybe my best film; people who hate it have a real problem. It’s better than Bertolucci’s LUNA, and it’s dealing with the same subject matter: drugs, incest, and, rather than opera, rock-and-roll. It’s about the society of North America; the family unit is falling apart. People who say all this doesn’t exist in this country, where have they been?” –Dennis Hopper
Brian Huberman DENNIS HOPPER’S RUSSIAN DYNAMITE DEATH CHAIR PERFORMANCE FOOTAGE (1983, 4 min, digital)
“Russian Dynamite Death Chair performance”– what more do we have to say? Hopper paid a visit to Rice University in 1983, and gave this “performance,” a death-wish side-show act wherein he sits in a seat surrounded by dynamite and lights the fuse. Cheered on by his friends Terry Southern and Wim Wenders, Hopper miraculously emerges unscathed, and, in the words of the student newspaper, “frazzled and
splayed by his own petard.”