Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."

Advert

Slusho and Super 8: Or how J J Abrams is screwing with my mind

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

It used to be so simple. I would see a film trailer, think ‘Ooh I would quite like to see that’ then later go and see it. Let’s say I saw some kind of psychological thriller. If I didn’t understand what the heck was going on, I would fret about it for a few days then move on. The advent of Wikipedia started the problem. I could now read about a confusing film and learn things I hadn’t seen, and perhaps watch the film again. Then something changed. J J Abrams started making movies and blew the whole thing out of the water.

The first thing to learn is that to simply watch a J J Abrams film is to only know part of the story. Starting off in television, he already had the idea for seemingly irrelevant plot devices in shows like Alias and LOST. I now know that there is a purpose to everything we see in an Abrams project, and that is why he is a mental genius. Today he is so productive that he has any number of shows and films in the works. Allowing him such creative freedom has meant that I now become hooked on the premise of a film months before it arrives.

 

Cloverfield

For me it all started when I heard that Cloverfield was coming out. Such a novel film and so clever in its execution. There was a rumour after its release that there was another version of the film buried somewhere, which was filmed solely from mobile phone footage featured in the original film. But my ultimate damnation came from the online madness that taunted me before the film came out.

The best place to start is with Slusho. The word first appeared in Alias, and is frequently seen in Fringe, but is of paramount importance to the plot of Cloverfield. Slusho is a Japanese drink with addictive qualities. And how do I know this? Because strange little websites started appearing informing me so. You can find the Slusho homepage at http://www.slusho.jp/ It’s a bouncy colourful site loudly proclaiming the tagline Slusho: you just can’t drink six”. So Slusho might be a tiny bit addictive? Its relevance fits into place in the first ten minutes of Cloverfield, when lead character Robbie is given a job as Vice President of the Slusho corporation in Tokyo. Slusho is the very reason that the characters head on over to Robbie’s NYC leaving party, where Hud infamously uses the handheld camera to film goodbye messages and so set the premise of the film. Does Slusho have anything to do with the Cloverfield alien?

Abrams launched the site http://www.1-18-08.com/ simultaneously with the Slusho site. The site has no explanation but is filled with moveable photographs, which grew more alarming as the weeks drew closer to the film’s American opening date 18 January 2008 (hence the website title). I realised the photos were interactive and I could flip them over to reveal hidden wording (some of it in Japanese). One of the more disturbing photos is below, which when I clicked up made some even more disturbing sounds. What was that thing?

 

The very first picture on 1-18-08.com was a ‘Missing’ notice for someone called Teddy Hansen. A later photo appeared showing Robbie, a guy and a girl drinking Slusho. On the back reads a good luck message to Robbie from the girl, called Jamie. Jamie and Teddy are minor characters at the start of Cloverfield and can be seen talking at Robbie’s leaving party.

This leads me to find Jamie and Teddy’s own personal Cloverfield story, which is played out through twelve YouTube clips, the first of which can be accessed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-DHcDW3uyk . Jamie spends these videos recording personal messages for Teddy. It transpires that Teddy has gone away on an ‘expedition’, to where we do not know. The videos are very cringe worthy. Teddy has sent Jamie a present, which she finally opens on video 6. It is a recorded message from Teddy saying he has been captured by something called Tagruato, because he found something or saw them making something at the ‘station’. Yep it’s that vague! The parcel also contains a silver packet of something labelled ‘primary evidence’ which Teddy tells Jamie not to eat. By video 8 Jamie tastes the evidence and the remaining videos show her becoming increasingly unhinged.

So with the clue Tagruato, I found the www.tagruato.jp website. This looks like a corporate website about a company that specialises in deep sea drilling stating:  “there is much more our planet has to offer than has already been discovered. “

The site talks in veiled terms of deep-sea discoveries, ocean dumping and sea nectar. I saw that Tagruato’s CEO made a trip over to NYC to see his drilling rig there and that Slusho is a subsidiary company of Tagruato. All this did was wind me up. Did Jamie eat sea nectar? Did the Cloverfield monster have something to do with Tagruato’s ocean drilling?

Unfortunately for my brain, the secrets don’t stop on the web. Long before Cloverfield came out the teaser posters were intriguing. In the poster below you can actually make out the monster in the clouds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0_cCM2y38Q

The film itself is riddled with clues. We were never given an explanation as to why the monster came and what it wanted. If you look carefully towards the end of the film, when the handheld camera trips back to earlier footage for a split second you see something drop into or float around in the ocean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2ZlMMzs0KI . The Tagruato website mentions this as a Hatui satellite. Was it that?

By the time I actually saw the film I was a deluded mess. I patiently waited until the very end of the credits and heard a crusty old radio signal saying “it’s still alive”. Hear it for yourself: http://popcritics.com/2008/01/23/cloverfield-end-credit-static-revealed

So after all that brain-frying, I wasn’t any the wiser as to where Cloverfield came from, what it wants, and if we might see Cloverfield 2 one day. I breathed a sigh of relief for a year and sauntered off to See Star Trek (arguably Abrams most mainstream movie). But the Abrams bug is following me. What do I hear in a bar scene but this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbUODnN-u5g

Argggghhhhh!

 

Super 8

So now the Abrams intrigue is back at its peak, and this time it’s all to do with his latest film: Super 8. The film is getting a lot of media coverage, partly due to executive producer Stephen Spielberg and partly due to us Slushoheads obsessively looking for secrets about the film. A Super 8 is a type of 8mm long movie film format released in 1965. It is used in a nifty little camera and created better quality pictures than were available on standard 8mm film at the time. It also allowed the magnetic recording of sound.

From the teaser trailers I can already see that there is so much more on screen than meets the eye. The trailers are a blur of images concentrating on a group of teenagers making their own zombie movie with a Super 8 camera somewhere in the USA. I see flashes of white light all over the trailer. And thanks to my lovely pals on the interwebs, I can now see the images that were hidden in those flashes. So far those who have been able to slow down the trailer speed have discovered images of a bulletin board showing ‘help’ references, of scientists looking at data and of a toy doll. Oh joy, what on Earth do these mean? The trailers are being manipulated every time Abrams’ hoodlums release a new version of the TV spot, so that each time the images in the flashes are slightly different.

Excellent analysis on the latest TV spots can be found at the sites: http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Super-8-Trailer-Analysis-What-Does-The-Super-Bowl-Teaser-Reveal-About-Abrams-Film-23027.html and http://www.firstshowing.net/2011/mystifying-viral-photos-found-hidden-in-multiple-super-8-trailers/ (thanks Phil). Never before have trailers been so closely analysed. Even when you’re watching them, you are seeing things you didn’t know are somehow interconnected. Thanks JJ, now I am really spooked.

One of the references in the flashes is the date September 19 1962. The only thing that I found of any interest, was that the USSR performed a nuclear test on that date in history, but watch this space.

It isn’t as though I wasn’t warned that the Abrams madness was returning.  A good six months before these trailers appeared I fell back into Slusho related territory with the onset of the Rocket Poppeteers phenomenon. Rocket Poppeteers have not been mentioned in any of the trailers but I know it is related to Super 8. It started with a very child friendly website at http://www.rocketpoppeteers.com/ which now very colourful and let’s you play about with rocket ship controls. The star of the website, Captain Coop tells me that we are going to ‘blast into the past’ soon.  Does this mean Super 8 is about time travel? Good lord.  I of course registered my interest in joining the ‘rocket poppeteer astronaut program’ (even though I don’t know what that is) as soon as I could. Soon afterwards I began to receive direct email communication from Rocket Poppeteers. This is a lot more interactive than the work on Cloverfield.

I was asked to click a link and fill out the survey below where I had to choose between 1 and 5 as to whether I strongly disagreed (1) or strongly agreed (5) with a list of random statements. Some included “you prefer stories with happy endings?”, “you would tell the teacher if you caught your brother cheating on a test?’ and “you could defeat an evil Kladrog all by yourself?”. Again I answered them, none the wiser.

 

 

 

 

I dutifully sent off my survey, including giving them my full address, let’s hope Abrams isn’t indulging in identity theft. I recently found that other Rocket Poppeteers are receiving physical certificates in the mail, as far away as Argentina and Australia.  See the below link to see what they look like: I hasten to add I am still awaiting mine. http://www.super8news.com/2010/12/22/rocket-poppeteer-certificates-begin-showing-up/

Ah but what else did I discover, but a reference to rocket popsicles; which according to rocketpopeteers.com are the favourite food of astronauts. Of course they are. No word if these are made from Slusho yet, but I very much expect there to be a connection revealed at some point.

 

 

 

 

So to date, as with Cloverfield, I am left with more questions than answers. What is a rocket poppeteer? How do I kill a Kladrog? Er what exactly is a Kladrog? What happened on 19 September 1962? Will I ever receive my certificate?!

Already I know I am hopelessly addicted to Abrams magical marketing powers again. Not only do I want to see the film, I feel I am now becoming part of it.  I am desperate to make sense of it all. Although being an Abrams film, I doubt I will ever know what is going on.

But I have learned one valuable piece of advice: Don’t try the Slusho.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Amazon Prime Free Trial