Visual White Noise Theater: Climb to the top of the “Holy Mountain” (1973).

When first viewing Alejandro Jodorowsky’s “Holy Mountain” I thought to myself “What is this pretentious hippie horse shit?” If thirty minutes in I was looking at the clock or the edge of my couch I was gonna shut the thing off and rewatch Jodorowsky’s “Santa Sangre” instead. But I gave it a chance and boy am I glad I did.

Through out this movie I was mentally spanked and sent to bed without my dinner, while some of it did have me rolling my eyes at the goofy flower child stuff, the more visceral and antagonizing scenes made me sit up and take notice. Jodorowsky balances the profane with the holy, and the ugly with the beautiful perfectly well. The movie is rife with alchemical, occult, tarot, and religious symbols. Some of it highly offensive to certain people. Pretty much it is the journey of a Christ like “Fool” of the tarot deck along with a limbless dwarf which is the “Five of Swords”. What ensues is crazy: temple prostitutes dressed like nuns topless and one looks like a ten year old girl, flayed animals on crucifixes, a historical reenactment of the destruction of the Aztecs by the Conquistadors done by iguanas and lizards dressed in miniature armor, a transvestite nun and his fat guards dressed like ancient Roman soldiers make a Christ cast of the Fool’s body, men in gas masks and guns having sex with tourist women etc.  I could go on and on.

 The Fool comes to a tower where gold is lowered down to the crowd. The Fool ascends the tower to find out the source of the gold and comes across an alchemist and his assistant who live down a rainbow tunnel. Various giant cards surround him, all of them a reinterpretation of tarot, the Fool shits in a globe and the alchemist transforms it into gold, the movie in this particular scene pretty much beats the viewer over the head with a hammer: “You are shit you can be turned into gold.” The alchemist starts the Fool on a journey to become immortal along with seven different manufacturers of various industries who represent the planets, one manufactures weapons, one cosmetics etc. who wish to become immortal, to do that they have to go to Lotus Island, climb the Holy Mountain and kill the nine immortal masters to learn their secret.

The characters go through various alchemical rituals that change them. I am not a guy who likes to spoil anything but the ending will either have you snorting in derision or making you think. Yes its pretentious, hippie horse shit, but its interesting, pretentious hippie horse shit. I wouldn’t watch this every year, there is certain scenes in this thing that should be put in a physical frame because of how interesting or beautiful they are. This visual white noise might piss you off depending on who you are, some will absolutely love it and be inspired by it, people like Peter Gabriel, Cedric and Omar from Mars Volta, Brann Dailor of Mastodon etc. were inspired by this movie in their various artistic endeavors. Don’t let the fact that Yoko Ono put up money for the production dissuade you from watching this. Like I said this isn’t for everybody, you might very well be picking at the thread of your pants and having a better time doing it than watching this. You’ve been warned.

So where do you start the climb? Well you can start climbing here:

Good luck finding an affordable dvd/blu ray that is one Holy Mountain your gonna have to climb yourself.