HOWTO:Enjoy “Equus”

Every so often,Netflix sends me a movie whose arrival is utterly inexplicable. Why the hell would I queue up Equus? A 30 year-old allegory about the dark perils of homosexuality? (I must have queued it up after seeing it mentioned in an episode of “American Dad.” These mystery arrivals usually turn out to have been something I saw referenced in a cartoon.)

Last night I intended to put the movie on and get some hard-core knitting done,since I didn’t actually want to watch it. But when I got home I discovered it was a mere 45 degrees (7 C) inside. Unfortunately,I can’t knit when it’s below 60 degrees (15 C). So I fired up the wood stove,put the movie on,then crawled under my black and yellow duckhunting sleeping bag to wait for the temperature to rise.

Here’s what you have to do to enjoy “Equus.”You have to interpret the movie as literal truth.

i.e. that it’s a story about the Horse God,a deity who is both commanding and subservient,who calls a young boy into his service. The boy’s avocation inspires him to enact peculiar rites to appease the Horse God. These rites get him into a bit of trouble,and at the end of the movie…well,I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say that the problem with deities is that they’re just so pushy. In trying to help the boy,a psychiatrist falls under the spell of the Horse God himself,and who knows what trouble he’ll get up to?

I’m telling you,if you watch this movie the right way,it’s positively Lovecraftian.

Now this trick is easiest if you’re half asleep,and you’ve recently spent a lot of time with the works of Neil Gaiman*. (In the last month I’ve watched Stardust and listened to the entire Fragile Things audiobook.)

Actually,I would very much like to see a version of “Equus”re-imagined by Neil Gaiman. Or maybe Stephen Fry. (I picture the Stephen Fry version as being something halfway between “Brokeback Mountain”and “Good Omens.”)

It’s been 50 years since the play was first written;surely we can do that,can’t we?

* I see that today,Neil Gaiman posted the awesome story behind his (equally awesome) dog. But no Cabal post could be considered complete without a mention of his handsome cape.

10 comments to HOWTO:Enjoy “Equus”

  • I have those mysterious arrivals at my library. A book comes in with my name on the paging slip and I. Have. No. Idea. Why. But,like you,I read them. Or attempt to;life is too short to read books I am not enjoying.

    Neil Gaiman has a blog? Who knew? Clearly,not me. Bloglined it,thanks. Look me up next time you are in Wisconsin and we’ll go stalk him. He lives in Menomonie,

  • Equus got a lot of press over the past year because Daniel Radcliffe played Alan in the recent London stage version. That’s how it ended up in my Netflix queue anyway. :)

  • Jennifer

    I never saw Equus. How does the naked part fit into the story? That’s about all I ever heard about when people mentioned it.

    (Hey,*I* live in Madison. I had no idea Gaiman was that close to me. If you go stalking,maybe it could be a group effort?)

  • I loved Equus :o

    and awww at Neil Gaiman’s dog.

    My sister had a white german shepard that was a quarter wolf…

  • Jennifer

    Hmm. OK,I read the synopsis of Equus above linked. The nakedness question is now answered.

  • Kelly

    I probably would’ve caught this one:Wiki entry- Equus was briefly mentioned on an episode of That ’70s Show.

    That dog is to drool for. And I don’t think you have to stalk Gaiman. He sounds very approachable for a chat. Email him! I do enjoy his writing,but it just dusts over the void in my heart where Douglas Adams is…

  • Erika

    I definitely think we should all go stalking some day!

    For the record,this is my favorite Neil Gaiman post,nay,one of my all-time favorite blog posts overall.

  • Jennifer

    oh…avocados…that was a drink from hell,no doubt. Wow! Do you think they were pulling a prank on him? Does anyone actually drink that??

    I miss Douglas Adams too. *sigh*

  • Patti

    It’s odd –I remember seeing that movie with my parents when I was a kid,and the year given in that review does not jibe with how inappropriately young and confused I was by the whole thing.

    I love Mr.Neil. Do you know Birdchick,his neighbor and co-beekeeper? She wrote the Disapproving Rabbits book,has a great blog,too. http://www.birdchick.com/blog.html

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