There is a cliché I want to see retired, no made illegal – the cliché of comparing something edgy to something bland by claiming ‘Such-and-such is like (insert bland item here) on acid’. The only exception would have to be El Topo, which really is a ‘Western on acid’. More specifically, this is a spaghetti western on a heavy dose of surrealist artist Luis Buñuel, author Herman Hesse and general 1960s esoterica.
It’s obvious why this, the original midnight movie, was embraced by the likes of John Lennon, Dennis Hopper and Timothy Leary. It’s a violent, brutal, confusing, occasionally fascinating and allegorical film. Alejandro Jodorowsky infuses the violence of Peckinpah, the style of Leone and the eroticism of Arrabal. Jodorowsky not only writes and directs, he also plays the title role (which translates as ‘The Mole’), a mysterious black-clad gunfighter who claims to be God travelling through the desert, initially with his naked seven-year-old son . . . Read More