Posts Tagged weirdness

Grey Gardens: Hawthorne by way of Lovecraft

The 1975 documentary Grey Gardens first came to my attention many years ago.  I heard bits and pieces about it, probably saw a clip or two, and then moved on.  I recently thought about it again and streamed the movie via the magic of the intertubes.  It’s a truly, deeply strange cultural artefact.  From the beginning, it jars and disorients the viewer.  We watch as Big and Little Edie Bouvier-Beale bicker, argue, eat, dance, sing and entertain friends and family in their crumbling 28 room mansion.  They open themselves to the camera in a way that no contemporary reality tv “star” could manage.  Yet, these two East Coast society women in the collapsing mansion bring to mind Hawthorne’s decayed gentry in their mouldering houses  – delivered to us via Lovecraft’s long gone mad gentry rotting in foetid, inhuman placidity. It’s the House of Seven Gables parasitically living with the Whaley Manor from the Dunwich Horror.

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