The House That Fahey Built
But Fahey was only partially correct.
It was sometime between the days and months of last year that a bunch of news ricocheted through the ether, and how startling that news was. In an unexpected and wholly surprising event, Jeff Fahey’s name was to be shifted from the past to the present tense, as all of a sudden he was attached to the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez exploitation reminiscence Grindhouse.
This cinematic gospel came to me late one night, not whilst I dreamt of seeing Tom Hanks tangled in the brown of an envelope, but during an insomniac cavalcade of IMDB browsing. Ever reliable for dispelling the myths of hearsay, it told me of a film imitating the classic routine of B-movie double features, where two schlocky, low-budget gems of taboo and excessive spectacle were conjoined into one almighty cinema-going experience. Obviously, from the names of the directors and a wealth of connotative prior knowledge, this was a transparent nostalgia trip, a couple of fanboys rollicking in the underground grime of movies.
All was moderately anticipated. Truly an occasion for positive sensations, maybe even some haptic gaiety, but all sans over-zealousness, for what might the mention of such a project bring about in normal, everyday lived existence?
A hasty conversation with a newsagent, stilled by a barrier of cultural (in)difference, suddenly Grindhouse is brought up in an effort to circumvent anymore silence, and before the syllables tumble down the inner-ear a debate about which Kill Bill was better has erupted. A phone-call received from the pernicious fiends of telemarketing, flatlined by ideological (in)difference, suddenly Grindhouse enters the fray to abrogate the discomfort, and before the binary beeps of the telephone transmogrify into speech a soliloquy of Pulp Fiction quoting has commenced.
There was risk attached to this film, or to be more precise, risk strapped to the tingles of my sensory organs, each and every one of them eagerly awaiting this filmic release. I could hear the Doomsday Clock ticking towards as I sat there gawking at the screen.
Then, unforeseen by a cortex enmeshed in the present, tensions were alleviated, lifted off to a land not seen since Mario last got trapped between a pipe and a hard place. This mighty anodyne gush, assuaging a mass of contradictions and distressing cultural arrogance, was the revelation of the fact that Jeff Fahey was to have a role in Grindhouse.
This brings us up to the present, to a temporal position placed some four months before the release of the film, and to this piece of writing, this assemblage of morphemes and lexica indulgence, made entirely possible by the presence of Fahey in the cast list.
This is a cast list that doubles as an aphrodisiac to all fans of bad movies, its magnetism bolstered twofold by the inclusion of Michael Biehn and Kurt Russell, Nic Cage and Tom Savini, and many others. However, their names, regardless of how arresting the font is, would not open the gates to written commentary in quite the same way that Fahey’s does.
What is Fahey’s role in the film?
Fahey stars in the Rodriguez-directed part, ‘Planet Terror’, as JT, the owner of a Texan barbeque eatery, often frequented by sordid and dodgy types travelling off the beaten track. In fact, there is a rumour that Michael Biehn is going to be playing the beaten track. But anyway, JT is especially proud of his barbeque sauce, which he hopes to make it big with. In the course of the narrative, Fahey’s food emporium, and now I’m speculating, probably becomes inundated with a troupe of local citizens infected with a mysterious virus, leaving Fahey to fight it out with the other protagonists, or so the synopsis would suggest.
My favourite incident of this whole Fahey/Grindhouse phenomenon has been the film’s official website, where if one were brave enough to penetrate its front page, a deluge of knowledge would be exposed to the eyes. And if that same person were to click over to the ‘Planet Terror’ section, and then to click the characters/crew tributary that flows from it, they would be able to observe a wonderful flash-led cut-out of Fahey surfacing and resurfacing at the click of ‘JT’. And there he is, attired in the sort of chef’s outfit that’d give you food poisoning at the very sight of it, with the baseball cap and one-week-beard of the everyman, the guy at the bus-stop still waiting for the American Dream to pick him up.
The bus has now arrived for Jeff Fahey.
Visit the Grindhouse official website here - http://www.grindhousemovie.net/