The Rambler is like a bandage applied to a wound that doesn’t quite stick; it is not the profuseness of the blood that’s important. It’s the terrible occurrence.
“I’m taking you to Spokane,” announces the driver. Gauzy red light boils out from his black glove worn like a shield, while he turns the steering wheel in a normal way that is not quite right. The Rambler sits in the front seat wearing sunglasses and a blue shirt. He turns his head and wears no expression. Two mummies in the backseat. In another minute: a mud driveway beside a shed posing as a farmhouse. The scene is washed in surveillance green. The Rambler walks around. (cont'd below)
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A snarling engine of a machine starts up. Zoom closer on a girl’s face like an apparition in the trees, while The Rambler, oblivious, exits frame on the left.
(“Make yourself at home, Stranger!”)
Red light covering a red room. The Rambler looks around, puts his guitar down. Pink teddy bears on the sick mystery-girl’s bed. Vomit, first the normal kind (off-brown?), then the green kind, preceding the red kind, which unfurls from the girl’s mouth and splatters the Rambler’s face—okay, okay, it’s blood. The girl’s lips bloody as a cannibal’s, from a flash image sensed much earlier. She sits on The Rambler and sways above him, and the light that wavers above and around her head is normal light. However, logic follows that the blood and guts that unfurl from her mouth are not normal.
These images are a morbid zigzag in the body of the film; they warned of one another by the appearances of red (in the driver’s gloves, in the truck) and green (in the the harmless green of the trees and grass, in the surveillance-night). The interconnected warnings and stylizations of the film are the inevitable outcome of Jodorowsky’s freak-out Westerns. But the roots of these images extend deeper. The iris of the girl’s eye as dirty water swirls down a drain is Hitchcock; so is the sense that we are being monitored. Hitchcock wanted thematic imagery to stay in our head. The Rambler’s Writer-Director-Actor Calvin Reeder wants yucky occurrences to confront us. The Mummies. The pink teddy bears. Blood-vomit as sexual release. Um…are we still going to Spokane?