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Wednesday, 26 January 2011

House of Leaves - The Navidson Record - Part IX

Hi guys, here we are again. Part 9. Just before I start I was wondering if I could direct your attention to the little rating boxes down at the bottom of each blog entry. I can see that occasionally people have been looking in and I'd love to hear your opinions about anything that comes up in these blogs, even if it's just a little click on the box you think most appropriate out of the ones listed below. Thanks.
Anyway, last time we had the SOS chapter, where everything seems determined to go pear-shaped. The rest of the team have gone in to try and rescue them, although personally I'm not sure why; call me a cynic but if they've been down there for 8 days already, the other team aren't going to be that successful either, especially seeing as they hadn't prepared for being a rescue team. But it does have to get worse I suppose.
We start with a footnote of Johnny's, in which he seems to be getting even more paranoid about getting out of the house. Although I'm sure the result of leaving the house is graphic enough that I'm sure he's rather glad he did; I mean, admittedly there's been sex depicted in this already, but that was a bit of a shock.
Back to the main text again, it begins to talk about mazes and labyrinths, which I suppose is rather apt really. What's interesting though is when some of the text is crossed out, specifically that of the Cretan Minotaur myth; maybe a hint that the house is the entrance to the minotaur's labyrinth (so to speak) and that the current cast reflects the figures of the Athenians sent down there to be eaten by the minotaur? Certainly the fishing line is very close to the magic thread used by Theseus. This certainly brings up some interesting implications if this is the equivalent of that mythic labyrinth. Zampano seems to make the case that the minotaur of legend was merely a metaphor for deformity, which is interesting in itself, but he seems to have wanted this section to be destroyed. Maybe whatever is/was/used to be in the house was more dangerous than the mere deformity argument would suggest? Any answers don't seem to be forthcoming any time soon though. What we do get though is lots of stuff about centres and structures, so basically stuff that is incomprehensible to me due to my general lack of interest in architecture and/or physics. I probably should, seeing as I'm kind of actually studying centres in a way when analysing the city, but I will studiously ignore this in favour of being dumbfounded. We seem to talk a little about how perspective changes the view of a maze, which is fair enough but somehow I don't think we can really apply it here, seeing as it's impossible to see it from any other view but inside the maze. The film itself is compared to a maze, which is apt; the irony being here that the entire narrative of this book so far is maze-like, having been given a glimpse of "the end" with Johnny and never quite knowing what is going to happen next. Frankly the text and footnotes have been a bit all over the place this chapter, so that increased the weird, dreamy, maze-like feel to it, although that's probably the point. The footnotes keep going back on themselves; I'm treading the same paths over again, which is really unsettling. As is the line I've just read regarding the structure of mazes; it's not especially openly scary, but it's certainly put me on edge a little:
  • "And if you do lose yourself at least take solace in the absolute certainty that you will perish."
Somehow Johnny seems to have interpreted Zampano's theory that in the face of a maze like the house, all solutions are personal to mean that Johnny's personal way of continuing a normal life is to have sex with any of the girls in his life. Well, I guess he took the "personal" aspect to heart. In any case, none of them seem to answer their phones. Actually, have any of them ever answered the phone? Oh well, he's gone drinking with his best mate Lude, which does seem the next best thing. Never mind, it's evolved into a one night stand. I should've have guessed, huh?
Back to the main narrative, we're finally beginning to find out what Holloway and his team have been up to. Seems they actually got to the bottom of the staircase and decided to explore further. Holloway's exploration seems to be getting more frantic as well, desperate to find something down there maybe. Maybe it's a reflection of how weird this is getting, but one of the footnotes has been boxed off and is floating towards the top of the page. The footnote itself seems too rambling and generally unimportant to be granted such detail and separation from the rest of the footnotes. Regardless, all Holloway's search finds is more empty corridors and more empty rooms. I really shouldn't be as tense as I am right now, I mean I just scared myself accidentally knocking something over on my desk. I'm going to come out of this a quivering wreak, aren't I? Just as you were getting to know me too. I've just turned the page and the layout's gone insane: the boxed footnote from the last page is there but in mirror-image, the footnotes are at the side, there's a new boxed footnote; it's just all over the place, but somehow still recognisably structured. Well kind of. The footnotes aren't even self-contained anymore. Please excuse me if I begin crying, seeing as I've realised I just have to backtrack quickly. Maybe that's the point. And that bloody boxed footnote was still completely pointless! I don't think I'll bother with the side ones either, seeing as that looks like a list of names again and the ones on one side are upside down. This is one screwed up layout, as you may have guessed from the barely coherant rantings I've just subjected you to.
In the main narrative (which is thankfully still pretty much recognisable) we've moved from the house's structure to the question of occupation. Specifically that of "who is the true occupant of the house?", which in turn brings up the idea that the house's original owner might still be there, a concept which is somehow vaguly terrifying.
On the way back up, Holloway and his team, having left some caches of food and supplies on the staircase to ensure they had stuff on the way back, find that their second cache has been destroyed by something with claws. Oh dear. In light of this, Holloway decides to explore some more, securing his status in my mind as a Grade A moron; if there is something destroying your stuff and obviously doesn't wish you well, why explore more or try to follow it? When his assistants say they're going home, he doesn't seem to take it well; then again, he's probably gone just a bit crazy now so I suppose it makes complete sense to him. While his assistants are smart and head back, he storms off by himself. Good riddance, I hope he gets lost. At least he hasn't gone postal, although knowing me and knowing this book I'll probably eat those words. Anyway, there's no sign of Holloway coming back, so it seems he has gotten lost. Yay. Never mind, he's back and has managed to shoot Wax. I should've known. Instead of helping Jed get Wax back to the main house, he wanders off again, hopefully for good this time. And he's back again, shooting at the assistants again. They run, understandably, but get lost in the process, hence the SOS signal last chapter. Somehow this links to Johnny's recollection of meeting a ghost;don't ask me how, I'm not all that sure myself. This leads on to meeting Ashley, a girl who keeps calling and seems to know him while he doesn't have a clue who she is. Fun. If very weird.
Back with Jed and Wax, things don't seem to be doing too well for them. Wax is in shock (the clinical version, although I would imagine the original version is there too) which I'm really not surprised at. This leaves Jed with medical duties, which can't be an easy job, especially when they can hear the evidence that Holloway has gone completely off the deep end. And I've lost track of the footnotes now. Hell, I'm just making do now, it's far too confusing to be made like this by accident. It diverges into comparing the current situation to mutiny, which is an interesting use of the word, although you can't really say that Holloway didn't deserve it. This has branched off from a discussion about how similar the Navidson Record is to Hollywood produced horror/ghost stories. Somehow, I'm kind of losing track now. Anyway, the main difference seems to be that the use of familiar actors, techniques and CG creates a sense of disbelief, reassuring the audience that it's all just entertainment, which the Navidson Record doesn't do. But, with the proliferation of CG, it's becoming more and more difficult to determine whether a picture is real or not, an idea that does make a bit of sense, even in my numbed state. This leads on to whether the film is genuine or not. Again.
Johnny chips in with a story of another one night stand, this time a girl that he scared off by screaming weird stuff in his sleep. Eerie, if vaguely funny at the same time; maybe the chapter's been too long to maintain tension for. And the girl in question seems to have contacted the editors about this bit, asking where Johnny disappeared to. Hold the phone, what the hell is this? That was a bit out of the blue. How can Johnny just disappear, I mean, he's one of the main narrators.
The chapter ends with whatever is making the growls beating at the door that Jed and Wax are behind. It's the last clip that is seen from them. But then, if that's true, how did they get the clips? In any case, I'm kind of sad to see Jed go, I thought he was sweet.
Anyway, I might read another chapter tomorrow (later today), but I may well need a recovery period after that.

Signing off,

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