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The Horrific Magic Behind the Comedic 'Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas'

Terry Gilliam’s, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas may be the greatest example of terrifying comedy. Blending complex laughs with terrifying visuals, it’s near imposble to neglect the terrifying elements of this outrageously intelligent comedy. If you’ve somehow missed the macabre in this film, perhaps you should focus on eliminating preconceived notions: you entered this viewing experience with a solidified idea, and it rendered you a victim of tunnel vion.

To dive into the storyline would actually far exceed the brief synops you’d expect. This is a layered film, despite the shallow guise proposed as a promotional front; there’s content here, and quality plot twists. Therefore I’ll give you the extremely condensed, lame man’s breakdown: Two buness men travel to Las Vegas with enough drugs to keep a healthy party entertained for a month, but a series of unfortunate events lead to plenty of trouble. That out of the way, allow me to open the gates of fear. While under the influence of various hallucinogenic drugs, these gentlemen, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and

Dr Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) find themselves struggling to juggle reality and fantasy while tangled up in the glitz and glamour of 1970’s Las Vegas. When I say struggle, believe me, I mean struggle.

Intense hallucinations produce hideous visages; from blood-thirsty overgrown reptilian beasts to manifestations of the devil: Raoul and the Doc are plagued by unbearable aesthetics. Some of the undulating faces are particularly creepy; If you’ve ever experimented with mind altering drugs (hey, I had a few rough years) you likely found these specific sequences absolutely petrifying.

Amazingly, Gilliam’s screenplay plays the comedy with the horror evenly. For every moment to send chills up your spine there’s another to syphon a healthy guffaw. It’s this unique quality that makes Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas such a masterpiece. The shenanigans are outlandish to put it lightly, the visuals are absolutely hypnotizing, the scares are tangible, and the clong monologue, while brief is one of the best you’ll hear in any film today.

If you’ve never viewed this gem as a horror film, I can’t blame you in the slightest. I can however suggest you give this one a chance, as there are some legitimately creepy moments in this flick. One of the finest films of the last few decades, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has earned it’s cult status: it lives up to every bit of the hype, and then some.
Matt_Molgaard Saturday 9/10/2011 at 05:54 AM | 82407
Only Gilliam could have pulled a visual wonder like this off, the Criterion Collection edition is well worth it. Especially for the Thomson commentary track which is goddamn hilarious at times when he goes off his own rails and onto one of his characteristic insane rants.

"...just wait'll you see those goddamn bats man..."
Shadow Jerusalem Saturday 9/10/2011 at 06:01 AM | 82408
I'm glad someone else can appreciate this beauty for what it is :)
Matt_Molgaard Wednesday 9/14/2011 at 08:19 PM | 82717
One of my favorite films. Over-played it a bit when i was a teen but still a great film.
DeadMou$e5 Wednesday 9/14/2011 at 11:26 PM | 82730
This movie is a clasc! I love Terry Gilliam's movies. Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus... The only limit to this guy's creativity is the film's budget.
Jonny Sicko Wednesday 9/14/2011 at 11:38 PM | 82731