True Detective on HBO

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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby Plutonia » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:54 pm

What I thought when I watched that scene: Piggy's Palace - the non-profit party house where the Picton's and the HA's mixed it up with RCMP, Vancouver cops and politicians. It operated unbelievably recklessly (in retrospect) as a quasi open secret.

The only part that seemed implausible to me was that, while Cohle was "tested" via the drugs he was offered, it was all snort/smoke but no needles. That he would also be tested by being included in the commission of a crime is, I think, SOP. There's a term for it that I came across recently, but can't remember at the moment.

I really hope that they aren't setting up a bait and switch plot device, but whatever, it's still apart of the dominant culture messaging machine.

For those who are enjoying LD, I recommend The Counselor - screenplay by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott. The trailer is deceptive - makes it look like a slick heist film. It's not. It's as conversational and nihilistic as LD, but with even less ironic distancing.

Guruilla has written a RI worthy essay about it- PDF available here: http://auticulture.wordpress.com/2014/0 ... age-movie/
[the British] government always kept a kind of standing army of news writers who without any regard to truth, or to what should be like truth, invented & put into the papers whatever might serve the minister

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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby 0_0 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:13 pm

I saw two movies in 2013: the hobbit 2 and the counselor, and i hated both. I thought the hobbit was stupid and too long, and the counselor deeply misogynist. And both were corny as hell. Sorry to be a partypooper. :crybaby
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby fruhmenschen » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:48 pm

When I was pre-pubescent I went through some training re: Saul Alinsky that was being taught by Andrew Vachss.
His wife Alice Vachss had her book on sex offenders
featured on top of the pile of sex crime text books books in McConaughy's bare apartment room during the 1st episode when
Woody Harrelson visits his apartment for the first time.
see
On Sunday, 2.3 million people tuned into the premiere of HBO's new series, "True Detective." The show stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, playing two Louisiana homicide detectives. When HBO needed to establish in the opening minutes that Det. Rust Cohle knows his way around sex crimes, where did they turn? To the work of pioneering sex crimes prosecutor and Weiss Center trainer, Alice Vachss. To read more, click here.
http://www.vachss.com/updates_page.html
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby Plutonia » Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:04 pm

You aren't alone O_O, lots of people hated The Counselor for all sorts of reasons:
https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_counselor_2013/

I think that it is a difficult subtle movie- one that I suspect was not made for American audiences. These days, the whole world is watching..
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby KeenInsight » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:54 pm

So what is this show actually about? From those clips above I'm getting the idea he goes a little crazy trying to figure out a bunch of murders?
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby sunny » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:07 pm

Ok, so I gave in and watched. First, it felt like a pretty standard psychologically driven police procedural. Raw-boned, as somebody else has already said. Then it got weird. LSD and child sacrifice. Rich men. Children who draw sexually explicit pics and stage sexually disturbing Barbie doll tableau. Anybody else notice the location specific lookeys? Strange but suggestive. I don't think this one will be pulling punches about 'rich men sacrificing children'. Whether the satanic aspect of the killings will turn out to be genuine or a screen remains to be seen.
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby divideandconquer » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:54 pm

The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective
Two episodes into the series, True Detective dropped a reference to one of the strangest, most compelling tales in the canon of weird fiction: Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, a collection of short stories published in 1895. Knowing this book is key to understanding the dark mystery at the heart of this series.

This collection of stories has influenced writers from H.P. Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler, to Robert Heinlein, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. The King in Yellow and his legendary city of Carcosa may be the most famous character and setting you've never heard of.

In fact, the more of the show you watch, and the more carefully you pay attention, you'll find a number of Easter eggs aimed squarely at hardcore fans of the weird fiction genre. I'll touch on a few of the more prominent ones, but I have a feeling the rest of the series will be a bonanza for true detectives of strange fiction.

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.

Stranger: Indeed?

Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.

Stranger: I wear no mask.

Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

—The King in Yellow: Act I, Scene 2

The King in Yellow is a fictional play within a collection of short stories—a metafictional dramatic work that brings despair, depravity, and insanity to anyone who reads it or sees it performed. Chambers inserts only a few selected scenes from the play into his story collection, and all of them are from the first act. This act, we are told, is a bit of a honeypot, luring readers into the cursed text. If they read even the first few words of Act II they are driven insane by the revelation of horrible, decadent, incomprehensible truths about the universe.

Anyone familiar with Lovecraft's "cosmic horrors" should see the thematic similarity. For his unfortunate protagonists, the ultimate truths of the universe are too much for their overloaded minds to handle. It should not be surprising that Lovecraft incorporated Chambers's The King in Yellow into his overarching Cthulhu mythos, embellishing the elements of the story and adding the fictitious play to his growing bookshelf of equally fictional mythos tomes.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,

Where flap the tatters of the King,

Must die unheard in

Dim Carcosa.

—Cassilda's Song in The King in Yellow, Act I, Scene II

For many fans of weird fiction, the surprising appearance of this madness-inducing play into what ostensibly appeared to be just another police procedural was a bolt of lighting. Suddenly, the tone of the show changed completely, signaling the descent into a particular brand of horror rarely (if ever) seen on television. The first mention of the play comes in episode two when Rust Cohle, the cynical, nihilistic detective played by Matthew McConaughey, finds the journal of a young former prostitute, Dora Lange, who has been ritualistically murdered.

"I closed my eyes and saw the King in Yellow moving through the forest," Cohle reads aloud from her journal. "The King's children are marked. They became his angels."

The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective

The journal pages flash briefly on the screen. Lines from Chambers's play have been copied verbatim into the notebook.

The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective

Along the shore the cloud waves break,

The twin suns sink behind the lake,

The shadows lengthen

In Carcosa

Strange is the night where the black stars rise,

And strange moons circle through the skies,

But stranger still is

Lost Carcosa

—The King in Yellow, Act I, Scene II


Note the black stars, which become recurring symbols in the series. Black stars also appear as tattoos on the neck of the character of Carla, who first alerts Cohle and Hart to Dori's involvement with a strange "church."

The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective

But the weirdness gets even thicker in episode three. A revivalist tent preacher has the unusual name of Joel Theriot, which is one letter away from the name claimed by famed occultist Aleister Crowley, who referred to himself as Master Therion, aka The Beast 666. And I had to pause the show when I watched Theriot lower his head and make the sign of the cross on his chest—because he does it backwards (right to left, instead of left to right). Given the meticulous layering of clues and symbols throughout the other episodes, my guess is that was intentional.

Later in the episode, our detectives interrogate a convict named Charlie in a bare, concrete room, attempting to get information about their prime suspect, Reggie Ledoux, aka The Tall Man. Charlie had been a former cellmate of Ledoux's. Charlie was privy to some of the Tall Man's peculiar stories, which he relates to the detectives:

He said that there's this place down south where all these rich men go to, uh, devil worship. He said that, uh, they—they sacrifice kids and whatnot. Women and children all got—all got murdered there and, um, something about someplace called Carcosa and the Yellow King. He said there's all these, like, old stones out in the woods, people go to, like, worship. He said there's just so much good killin' down there. Reggie's got this brand on his back, like a spiral. He says that's their sign.


The spiral was found painted (tattooed?) on the murdered Dora's back, as well as on another victim Cohle discovered in the police archives. And in a recursive layering of clues, we've seen the spiral in another unusual sequence in episode two. As Cohle observes a group of birds outside of a burned church, they swirl and coalesce into the identical spiral formation before flying away. It's a chilling moment that has already been dissected by many viewers.

The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective

The idea of ancient standing stones as the scene of bizarre pagan rites and atavistic sacrifices is a common trope of weird fiction, too, and was employed by authors as far back as Arthur Machen and Lovecraft ("The Dunwich Horror"), up through Stephen King (in his short story "N"). I used such a scene in my own novel, Blackwater Lights.

And those are only a few of the Easter eggs and symbols embedded in this clever and meticulously constructed television drama. Take note, for instance, of the regular use of yellow—in Cohle's dim, depressing apartment and the smoky haze at the illegal warehouse rave. Yellow is visually linked to insanity, mental collapse, and decadence—another explicit echo of Chambers's iconic mythology.

But where, one might wonder, is this all going? Is this just writer Nic Pizzolatto dropping nods to his favorite authors and their fans? Some critics have dismissed the idea that the show is moving into the realm of the supernatural, but I have little doubt that it is going to only get much weirder and much, much darker. The clues are all there for those with eyes to see.

Why The King in Yellow? I think it's obvious, and I'll go out on a limb and say the season will continue with detectives Cohle and Hart edging closer to the abyss of what Lovecraft termed "cosmic fear," which he defined as:

A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces . . . a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.


In a revealing interview with the The Wall Street Journal, Pizzolatto discusses his love of existential horror and its most prominent authors, from Chambers and Lovecraft to modern masters of the weird Laird Barron and Thomas Ligotti:

Their fictional visions of cosmic despair were articulating the same things as certain nihilist and pessimist philosophers, but with more poetry and art and vision . . . It's important for us to confront the potential of the true abyss. . . .

Clearly, the present-day Cohle, with his glazed, vacant eyes and brutally nihilistic philosophy, is someone who has experienced the chaos and daemons lurking just over the edge of the interminable abyss. He explains his philosophy in his interview with the two current-day detectives:

You, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never anything but a jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will and you could just let go, finally know that you didn't have to hold on so tight. To realize that all your life, you know, all you love, all you hate, all your memory, all your pain—it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams . . . there's a monster at the end of it.

Cohle has seen the monster. I suspect we will, too.


http://io9.com/the-one-literary-reference-you-must-know-to-appreciate-1523076497?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+io9%2Ffull+%28io9%29
'I see clearly that man in this world deceives himself by admiring and esteeming things which are not, and neither sees nor esteems the things which are.' — St. Catherine of Genoa
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby Jerky » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:24 am

I was beginning to wonder how there could be so much talk about this series without any mention of Lovecraft/The Yellow Sign/Dim Carcossa/Chambers yet.

Good io9 article (a rarity these days)

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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby jakell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:09 am

sunny » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:07 am wrote:Ok, so I gave in and watched. First, it felt like a pretty standard psychologically driven police procedural. Raw-boned, as somebody else has already said. Then it got weird. LSD and child sacrifice. Rich men. Children who draw sexually explicit pics and stage sexually disturbing Barbie doll tableau. Anybody else notice the location specific lookeys? Strange but suggestive. I don't think this one will be pulling punches about 'rich men sacrificing children'. Whether the satanic aspect of the killings will turn out to be genuine or a screen remains to be seen.


What did you make of the ZZ Cop scene?

I haven't got to episode 5 yet, so it's difficult for me to find a larger context
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby sunny » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:18 pm

jakell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:09 am wrote:
sunny » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:07 am wrote:Ok, so I gave in and watched. First, it felt like a pretty standard psychologically driven police procedural. Raw-boned, as somebody else has already said. Then it got weird. LSD and child sacrifice. Rich men. Children who draw sexually explicit pics and stage sexually disturbing Barbie doll tableau. Anybody else notice the location specific lookeys? Strange but suggestive. I don't think this one will be pulling punches about 'rich men sacrificing children'. Whether the satanic aspect of the killings will turn out to be genuine or a screen remains to be seen.


What did you make of the ZZ Cop scene?

I haven't got to episode 5 yet, so it's difficult for me to find a larger context


Anomalous but suggestive, like the parents who begin to discuss how concerning it is that their young daughter is drawing sexually explicit [!] pictures only to dissolve into incoherent psycho-babble relationship talk which leads into sex.

Watch the detectives arrive at the 'bunny' ranch in the woods. The roof of the white house on the property very obviously does 'the wave'. Subsequently, neither Hart nor Cohle ask who lives in the house or if they could talk to the owners. They hold the interview in a trailer and never mention the house at all.

Inside the episode the director Cary Fukunaga mentions that the power dynamics between Hart and Cohle have shifted. Cohle is now in the lead. The waving roof could be an artifact of his LSD flashback prone pov but that doesn't explain how Hart failed to notice or mention the house. Is it a case of DID? Are Hart and Cohle one and the same? Other characters mention 'the two' of them, both interact with others etc but that could be an artifact of a delusional pov.
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby jakell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:45 pm

sunny » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:18 pm wrote:
jakell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:09 am wrote:
sunny » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:07 am wrote:Ok, so I gave in and watched. First, it felt like a pretty standard psychologically driven police procedural. Raw-boned, as somebody else has already said. Then it got weird. LSD and child sacrifice. Rich men. Children who draw sexually explicit pics and stage sexually disturbing Barbie doll tableau. Anybody else notice the location specific lookeys? Strange but suggestive. I don't think this one will be pulling punches about 'rich men sacrificing children'. Whether the satanic aspect of the killings will turn out to be genuine or a screen remains to be seen.


What did you make of the ZZ Cop scene?

I haven't got to episode 5 yet, so it's difficult for me to find a larger context


Anomalous but suggestive, like the parents who begin to discuss how concerning it is that their young daughter is drawing sexually explicit [!] pictures only to dissolve into incoherent psycho-babble relationship talk which leads into sex.

Watch the detectives arrive at the 'bunny' ranch in the woods. The roof of the white house on the property very obviously does 'the wave'. Subsequently, neither Hart nor Cohle ask who lives in the house or if they could talk to the owners. They hold the interview in a trailer and never mention the house at all.

Inside the episode the director Cary Fukunaga mentions that the power dynamics between Hart and Cohle have shifted. Cohle is now in the lead. The waving roof could be an artifact of his LSD flashback prone pov but that doesn't explain how Hart failed to notice or mention the house. Is it a case of DID? Are Hart and Cohle one and the same? Other characters mention 'the two' of them, both interact with others etc but that could be an artifact of a delusional pov.


I'm glad I've saved the downloads of this, because I can go back and watch this now.

The ZZ Cop scene did have a certain symmetry (the clean shaven one was wearing biker gear), so that made me think it was intentional somehow. I'm also aware that mistakes by the programme makers can be explained in retrospect in this fashion, so I'm wary about looking too hard for explanations
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby 8bitagent » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:02 pm

Soooo good. Yeah a lot of the dialogue in the first episode seems familiar from serial killer slow burner detective movies, but man FINALLY a new tv drama series that doesnt look like television cheese
I absolutely hate the look and vibe of Hannibal, CSI, Fringe, and pretty much every show on tv from the last decade when it comes to non comedy/drama/procedurals.
It doesnt even feel like a tv series but a really long movie directed by David Fincher. Anyways, only up to the end of episode two, gonna watch the other three soon.
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby cptmarginal » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:02 am

divideandconquer » Fri Feb 14, 2014 10:54 pm wrote:The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective
Two episodes into the series, True Detective dropped a reference to one of the strangest, most compelling tales in the canon of weird fiction: Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, a collection of short stories published in 1895. Knowing this book is key to understanding the dark mystery at the heart of this series.

This collection of stories has influenced writers from H.P. Lovecraft and Raymond Chandler, to Robert Heinlein, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and George R. R. Martin. The King in Yellow and his legendary city of Carcosa may be the most famous character and setting you've never heard of.

In fact, the more of the show you watch, and the more carefully you pay attention, you'll find a number of Easter eggs aimed squarely at hardcore fans of the weird fiction genre. I'll touch on a few of the more prominent ones, but I have a feeling the rest of the series will be a bonanza for true detectives of strange fiction.

Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.

Stranger: Indeed?

Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.

Stranger: I wear no mask.

Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!

—The King in Yellow: Act I, Scene 2



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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby 8bitagent » Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:46 am

Wow! Just watched the four available episodes(cant wait for the fifth episode tonight) Havent been into a non comedy tv series since the X Files and Millennium, but to me True Detective feels more like a film than a tv show. Especially since its shot on 35mm and has an insane eye for detail. Even the period is down pat.

Definitely was like "whoah" when episode four opens up with the bohemian grove/HST type tale. And man, the ending to episode four was a doozie. A lot of times I found myself thinking during the four episodes how
badly NBC or cable networks woulda botched this series...with cheesey dialogue, bad acting, crappy cinematography, etc. But yeah definitely has me hooked.
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Re: True Detective on HBO

Postby jakell » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:58 am

8bitagent » Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:46 am wrote:Wow! Just watched the four available episodes(cant wait for the fifth episode tonight) Havent been into a non comedy tv series since the X Files and Millennium, but to me True Detective feels more like a film than a tv show. Especially since its shot on 35mm and has an insane eye for detail. Even the period is down pat.

Definitely was like "whoah" when episode four opens up with the bohemian grove/HST type tale. And man, the ending to episode four was a doozie. A lot of times I found myself thinking during the four episodes how
badly NBC or cable networks woulda botched this series...with cheesey dialogue, bad acting, crappy cinematography, etc. But yeah definitely has me hooked.


I found the ending a little unsatisfactory and it seemed rushed. I say 'seemed' because I don't know yet if the oddities eg the ZZ Cops and the sudden transformation of the m/c gang leader into a weak compliant pussycat (who nonetheless displayed tall fence climbing skills at the right moment) will gel with any later events.

I'm also awaiting episode five, but as I do not have a televison of any description, I am relying on my nautical friends to help me out with this.
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