Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Stranger Things 2 Autopsy, Part II - The Weird



INTRODUCTION

Sorry for the delay. I had to move out of my castle! Fall was over and I was about to house myself from the public to usher in the new season by talking about Stranger Things 2 when there was a knock on the drawbridge. This weird couple shows up with a deed and it turns out they owned the place, but they graciously allowed me to stay the night while I packed up my stuff. Long story short, the lady died, it turned out she was the sister to the guy, he buries her in the mausoleum but she breaks out and kills him (because she wasn't dead) and then the whole damn castle collapsed and sank into a bog. I got out just in time.

So here I am back in the country, living in a house in California, and now it's time to talk about Stranger Things 2, Eleven, The Sheriff, Will, Kali, the Thessalhyrdra, the Mind Flayer, other dimensions, string theory, magic, conspiracy theories, quantum physics, government mind control programs and...wow, we have to talk about a lot of subjects. There's so much work to do! What are we doing, and why?

THERE IS NO THEORY

I watched the entire series, had a great time, and realized my whole conspiracy theory operation had been blown up because there wasn't really any theories to talk about. Stranger Things had deep roots in all sorts of scary, mysterious ideas about the government using science to tear apart the world and the human mind to study their contents to completely control it all. The Montauk Project, a conspiracy theory that's pretty big to believe, was the basis for Stranger Things, but the sequel didn't follow that theory all the way, although the work still transmitted other themes from the 70's and 80's regarding government abuse and the harmful effects of technological abuse on the individual.

It's enough to make you scream yourself horse.

Last time I talked about freaky myths that would turn any sane person nuts including theories such as MK Often, MK Search, The Philadelphia Experiment, etc. It's very important to recap at this point, so please be patient if you are already familiar with this material.

According to conspiracy theorists, whistleblowers, former deep state operators and even military veterans, the American government one day decided to take a large naval warship and hit it with so much electricity it would vanish from enemy radar. It didn't.

The story that follows is so scary even Chronenberg would label it as body horror. People vanished, melted, fused into the metal of the ship, and went crazy while the ship itself reappeared many miles away, creating a hole in spacetime that the government didn't know what to do with, which lead to Project Montauk.

BACK TO MONTAUK

It is important to once again mention that the original name for Stanger Things was going to be Montauk. This conspiracy theory is freakin' nuts. Wacky. Crazy. Total sci-fi stream of consciousness babble. What makes it worse is that the chief proponent of the story, Al Bielbek, basically claims to be the soul of another person transported through space and time into the past and then mind controlled to forget everything and...yeah, it's kind of like listening to a story about toys told by a small child who is playing with them.

One key revelation about Montauk that I kind of believe is how the government didn't mean to teleport a ship. They also didn't mean to carve a big battleship-shaped hole out of reality. Using science and psychics researchers supposedly sent people into this hole to find out what was going on, and then the shiznit got real. I'm talking cultural appropriation on a technological scale.

Even more Montauk for your buck.

Although the tunnel only seemed to go so far into the future, researchers (according to books written about the subject that have scary, ominous titles and feature images of bronze horses that mean nothing to people unfamiliar with the occult) found they could carve holes away from it, into the past and into alternate realities and timelines. Some people went insane. Some people died. Some vanished completely. The government kept going because what they got back was worth the body count.

On the other side of the tunnel was, decades into the future, the same operation going on, controlled by the American government sometime in the late 80's. Scientists from the future began to play a very strange, extremely ominous game of ping-pong. The Montauk Project from the future began to send technology to the past for study and improvement. This would affect the future, resulting in improved technology, which they sent back to the past. Over and over again, until the American government had stuff from the future they didn't even understand.

Whistleblowers who make a lot of money working the MUFON circuit claim that at one point, the experiment turned evil. Some powerful, shadowy force began to manipulate the experiment, forcing scientists to do very awful, extremely bad experiments and dark deeds that resulted in a few heroic types to band together and obliterate the entire place with a monster summoned from the very depths of one psyhic person's mind which wreaked havoc, killing people, shutting the portal down from both sides. Good times!

Do you think she could have done that in the first episode?

At the end of Stranger Things 2 (spoiler alert) Eleven confronts the Thessalhydra, shuts the portal and basically fixes the problem that necessitated the need for the existence of the scientific research facility. This is somewhat similar to the end of The Montauk Project, if you believe THAT story. Portal closed, no more tunnel, no more monsters.

Except that at the end of the last episode, it's clear that other dimension is still there, and the Thessalhydra is stll there, waiting to invade, corrupting the land, haunting Will. It's clear that in the world of Stranger Things, that other dimension is not the future, but a parallel universe. Characters that enter this parallel reality affect the real dimension on the other side. Christmas lights go off, they can be faintly heard, etc. So it can't be the future, it is now, just a terrible version of now, where everything is decaying, rotting and apparently sentient, trying to invade, corrupt and conquer.

Now we know why The Great Pumpkin didn't show up, Charlie Brown.

What happened in Stranger Things is obviously a rapid departure from the OG source material. Because of this I pretty much have to drop the whole conspiracy theory bit because it no longer applies. That's it! End of blog post. Bye!

Except that last time I did not just talk about conspiracy theories, I also talked about themes, the occult, string theory and on and so forth. One glaring aspect of the Netflix series is that at no place and time does anyone say, "Hey, I know a Catholic priest that could pull off an exorcism," or "Let's go to the library and find out if there are any books about the occult that can help us." No Shamans, no Wiccans, just people yelling "Jesus Christ!" and a whole bunch of D&D references combined with a little quantum physics.

Of course, one large reason we all like Stranger Things is the film references, including themes other films from the past also possessed. Hollywood has always had a dark obsession with American government military operations that explored other dimensions, extraterrestrials, and the occult. Do not attempt to adjust your television, I'm about to take you to the outer limits of The Outer Limits.

Before CGI ruined everything. 

LESLIE CLARK STEVENS IV

In contrast to The Time Tunnel, where the government knows that the military and some strange agency was going back and forth into the past and is pretty cool with it, the stuff going on in The Outer Limits occasionally causes the people encountering the results of their scientific journey into the unknown to realize that it's time to pull the plug before the experiment destroys mankind or whatever. The origins of The Outer Limits are scary, in fact, it's a conspiracy theory into itself.

When you watch The Twilight Show anything can happen in that magic, The Devil, witchcraft, the occult and the supernatural exist side-by-side with stories about aliens, space travel, scientists and the like. In The Outer Limits, at least for the fist two seasons, deals entirely with science and the effects of studying other dimensions, planets and extraterrestrials, or in some cases extradimensionals. The groups doing this stuff are usually scientists working for the military, and therefore the U.S. Government, similiar to the main characters of The Time Tunnel. Over and over again, evil forces employ science to do something bad, and the military industrial complex is right there, either causing it, investigating it, or trying to shut the whole machine down.

Leslie Clark Stevens, IV was a lion in the Hollywood industry with deep, deep ties to the military. He himself was a military veteran who became a captain at the age of 20 in the Army, and his father was an Admiral in the Navy. Over and over again in books related to conspiracy theories (check out www.disinfo.com, it's great for well-researched occult and alternative science wackiness), the story is that Leslie Clark Stevens, IV was simply working for a group of shadowy deep state operatives that were trying to get the word out about what was really going on in the military bases funded by taxpayers but far, far away from their awareness, understanding or oversight.

The Outer Limits

My point is that in Stranger Things, Hawkins is always behind the bad stuff. They caused everything, when you really think about it. The show and it's sequel aren't just about other dimensions, people with powers and weird monsters, it is also about the Franz Kafka horror of a corporatist military industrial complex entity doing what it wants, spying on people, killing everyone and getting away with it. Paul Reisner does a great job of (spoiler alert) cleaning up the mess and helping to control the portal, but we still have no idea of knowing how loyal, or good, he really is.

This theme is prevalent in many other works in the 80's, such as The Entity, Dreamscape or Poltergeist where science studies the occult and runs away screaming, just as it was a theme throughout the decades shows like The Time Tunnel, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and other films where science encounters the dark side of reality and takes it on...only to agree that such great knowledge is too much for the public at large, leading to silence, secrets, rumors and finally conspiracy theories. This was a generation that had seen thousands of people die in The Vietnam Conflict after JFK got his head blown off. You are probably not going to trust the government if you grew up with that on the television, and never forget that JFK was an officer in the Navy, too.

The Time Tunnel

By the way, have you noticed I keep mentioning The Time Tunnel, but I'm not really talking about it? Have you noticed the parallels between the story behind The Montauk Project and the premise behind that show? Did you also notice that the shows seems to take place somewhere in the desert, so it's probably Area 51? I don't have to tell you everything, you know. Sometimes you must think for yourself.

SILKWOOD

I watched Stranger Things 2 and thought to myself, "Silkwood." That movie was a big deal when I was growing up, and it is about the corporatist abuse of nuclear power that goes so unchecked it poisons the earth and kills people. To cover up their mistakes, the government entity kills Karen Silkwood and silences whistleblowers. When the media or the law tries to find out more about what's happening, the company simply says, "National security," and the crime goes unpunished. You can't really trust the government, in Silkwood, and you can't really trust the government in Stranger Things. Welcome to the 80's, The Vietnam Conflict had just ended and people were still paranoid. After all, The Cold War wasn't over, yet.

It was a hit and everybody knew it.

The nuclear power plant in Silkwood is not too much different than the Hawkins facility. Both are slowly poisoning the land, killing people, and Karen Silkwood decides to spy on the company within. The power plant destroys her life, and the government gets away with it. Of course, Will's mother is also similar to Karen Silkwood, but the theme remains the same. Incredible power requires incredible responsibility...and the final horror is that the government cannot be trusted to wield that power while at the same time respecting human life.

So that's one parallel. You can see it in many science fiction films throughout the 80's. Hell, Alien and Aliens also have the same theme running through them. You can't trust the corporation, they will sacrifice you to bring forth monsters to use as weapons of war and sell the technology to the military. When they were creating Eleven and studying her powers at Hawkins, it wasn't to make the world a better place through peace, love and understanding. It was to help destroy the U.S.S.R. 

Note the reptilian nature of the villain in Dreamscape.

Dreamscape is very, very similar to Stranger Things in this way. I highly suggest you watch it. Of course, Escape from Witch Mountain also features a simliar theme. As does Firestarter, another book by Stephen King, who is a huge influence on the show. "The Mist" deals with the aftermath of a research project gone bad, and that work was certainly a huge regerence to H.P. Lovecraft. The government is selfish, murderous and has a monstrous hunger for knowledge. It occasionally screws up, their mistakes escape, the word gets out, and somebody stops the scientific program before it does more damage. Yadda yadda yadda, etc.

Stay tuned next time (very soon), true believers, when I delve deeper into ST. We are going to talk about conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. You'll read about the path of the hero and how Eleven's journey is another theme from the past we can study to understand the present and predict the show's future. Until then, bye kids, and have fun storming the castle!


Monday, October 22, 2018

The Stranger Things 2 Autopsy - The Weird



"The Lord said to Satan, 'Where have you been?' And Satan said, 'From going to and fro in the Earth, and from walking up and down in it.'"

-JOB 1:7
The Bible

"And the king said unto her, 'Fear not; what have you seen?' And the witch said to Saul, 'I saw gods and spirits ascending from the Earth.'"

-1 SAMUEL 28:13
The Bible

"And He said unto them, 'I saw Satan, as lightning, fall from Heaven.'"

-LUKE 10:18
The Bible


"She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness."

-Fleetwood Mac
"Rhiannon"

"They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind...twice dead...wandering stars, to whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever."

-JOB 1:13-14
The Bible

"In this book it is spoken of...Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results will follow."

-Aleister Crowley
Magick in Theory and Practice

"Can you bind the chains of Pleiades?"

-JOB 38:31
The Bible

"The single supreme ritual in the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. It is the raising of the complete mass in a vertical straight line. Any deviation from this line tends to become black magic. Any other operation is black magic."

-Aleister Crowley
Magick in Theory and Practice

Fuck waiting. 

INTRODUCTION

"Stranger Things 3" is not coming out until next year. I did not know this because when I'm not watching sci-fi horror shows on Netflix I live in a dungeon under a castle in Scotland. Which means that until someone tells me otherwise, I think there is going to be a "Stranger Things 3" and get all ready to talk about it, but nooo it turns the release date is 2019 so now I have to wait, like you, and it is as depressing as the Loch Ness when you are standing on a dark shore at midnight under a moonless sky, trying to summon the Monster, and it doesn't show up. If it does, I promise to put that shiznit up on YouTube.

This is MY safe space.

So now I'm going to do what I did last time...talk about the underlying themes in "Stranger Things 2," connect them to films and television shows that have also explored similar dark territory, and then show you, Dear Reader, the references to The Montauk Project, other conspiracy theories, and the occult. I'll avoid going into the obvious stuff, or things that have been discussed before by my august contemporaries, and instead show you the occult references, and the deepest, darkest truths of black magic and Hell, itself. Pass the popcorn.

The trick is to avoid hitting you with the obvious references. Gremlins, Creepers, Ghoulies, The Exorcist, Ghostbusters, Poltergeist...you get it, you got it, you know its good. Why cover that again? I'm not saying The Duffer Brothers are just copying what has been done before. No. Great literature references previous works, great films do the same. "Stranger Things 2" made very wonderful references, and then spun off into uncharted regions that defied expectations, kept things mysterious, and most of all, entertained immensely. Can't ask for more than that.

Nobody you know has ever seen this movie.

My hope is not to impress you all with my big fucking brain. The Duffer Brothers have done an awesome job of splicing a lot of crazy, important material together, and the references should be appreciated so they can get even more credit for their work. It must have taken many hours of research into the darkest abyss of the Internet and conspiracy theories, as well as the occult, to slice it all up right, and it is great fun for all to enjoy everything "Stranger Things 2" referenced by the end. I'm also hoping to bring more attention to 80's sci fi and horror films that most of you lovely people might have missed.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Eleven began to turn evil and had to confront her dark side, and the source of her trauma. Kali was introduced, and there's something about her that seems not good. Eleven's mom is a babbling wreck. Looks like she's going to need saving in "Stranger Things 3." An immense, demonic shadow hunted Will until it possessed him, turning him into Somebody Else. Will can see the shadow, called "The Thessalhydra" (which is a terrible description of what it seems to do, although it explains the reptilian nature of the Golliwogs), one of the kids finds a reptilian thing spat out by Will and they tunnel through the town, spreading pestilence, rot and ruin.

Eventually the little monsters grow up to look like Demogorgon and try to kill everybody by drinking their blood. Eleven comes back after a mental epiphany involving another girl with powers from the Hawkins Research Facility and finally has the power to shut the portal...although in the end, Will can still see something still exerting an evil influence. The game ain't over, yet.

"HERE I AM. ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE."

MY WRONGS

I was totally wrong about Eleven's electrocuted mom being the source of her power. Sorry. Fucking sue me. Otherwise, The Duffer Brothers follow the path of H.P. Lovecraft and constantly don't explain things. The scientists and adults and children all have theories, but it's never enough. They can only figure out the tip of the iceberg based on their own, limited perceptions. If only they had talked to me. Just kidding. My point is that, just like in the original Stranger Things, nobody ever sat down and totally explained exactly what the frack was happening. They could only deduce a facet of The Unknown based on their perceptions.

Even if I was right, it would not matter. Since I am analyzing a facet of The Unknown based on my perceptions, it would not matter if I was right, based on the logic of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and The Duffer Brothers writing. Nobody is ever completely right about Cthulhu, Azathoth, Nyarthlotep or Hastur the Unspeakable. Unless they are insane.

'Member Dreamscape? Because The Duffer Brothers sure did.

HIGHER SELVES AND LOWER LOWS

One of the things I was right about was not only Eleven once again confronting her dark side, only to merge with it in the usual Hegelian Dialectic voyage of self discovery bildungsroman cinematic/literary plot arc (try saying that ten times fast while your killing somebody with an axe), but also that "Stranger Things 2" went deeper into ancient occult Kabbalah magic descriptions of the metaphysical, in both directions. There is an evil dimension, right next door, and it wants in our world to control, horrify, hurt and kill. Since the threat has no personality, the danger is impersonal, which makes it more horrifying.

While this other dimension could still be the future reality that got a hole bored into it from the past (google "The Philadelphia Experiment" and "The Montauk Project" for more details) the other dimensions experienced by the characters still correspond to the Shepiroth and the Qliphoth in the Jewish Kabbalah. These other dimensions also correspond to modern quantum physics, string theory and even actual scientific studies regarding teleportation, telepathy, telekinesis and 80's films about the U.S. Government conducting a scientific study to learn how to assassinate people in their sleep through dreams. That is what is so wonderful, and horrific, about The Duffer Brothers. No matter from where you stare, the nightmare is there, and it is still original, although the roots of their story dig deep into horror, science fiction, and all that cool old skool 80's funk.

A GODLESS UNIVERSE WITHOUT MAGIC

The people who exist in the Stranger Things universe are doomed. Just like the Zoroastrians, ancient Hebrews and Greek Gnostics described, they exist inside Demiurge. There is no religion. There is no occult or magic to free them from The Matrix that is Plato's Cave. All they have is science, willpower and each other. There is never a point where a Jewish rabbi describes other dimensions and how they relate to the problem the characters face. We never see a Catholic priest offer his services to exorcise the demon, and these people must have seen The Exorcist, right? It's like, the greatest horror movie ever, even back in the 80's.

Raise your hands if you love The Exorcist!

A Muslim holy man never shows up to point out that Will is possessed by a djinn, and if you look up "Muslims and djinns" on YouTube you will get some pretty spooky results, my friend. We don't see a witch offer to bless Eleven or throw out some cool Wiccan spiritual guidance, Anton LeVay doesn't fly out of the night with giant bat wings and explain the relationship between Pazzuzu and the Thassalhydra...you get it. "Stranger Things 2" carried on the same trend as number one. The best you get is a mention of, "religious mumbo jumbo" (how offensive to voodoo bokors possessed by the Baron Samedhi). Why?

One, to be different. Two, H.P. Lovecraft. In his universe, the people who explore the Cthulhu mythos are fuckin' doomed. They will either be killed, vanish, go mad, or vanish but it's pretty obvious something from another dimension turned them into crimson meat before carrying off the remains because there's blood everywhere. If a person does understand the occult, they are usually a sorcerer that becomes possessed, goes mad or vanishes, but it's pretty obvious that...yeah, you understand. Religion never helps anybody, when Cthulhu is involved.

H.P. Lovecraft was a logical, scientifically minded, rational materialist. In his own private journals he only admits to seeing a satyr in the forest as a young boy, and even then he thinks it was just a figment of his imagination. He was a total atheist, and if the rumors about his parents being members of a Satanic cult that practiced black magic so they ended up going mad and dying in a mental institution are true, I'd love to see some serious proof. It's just a rumor, but only the occultists I've read up on talk about it, and just ask a barbarian, magic-users cannot be fully trusted.

Run away! It's a Straight White Male!

The world of H.P. Lovecraft is pure science. Only, science doesn't understand that it is doomed. In a lot of his stories professors who teach at universities, well-grounded in chemistry, philosophy, physics and whatever gave them their education, have no idea what they are really up against and usually try to explain away clearly supernatural phenomena through the scanner darkly that is their materialistic worldview, right up until they die.

Even when they do see something horrifically alien to this dimension, they admit their minds couldn't even fathom what they just saw. These scientists don't believe in magic or the occult, and even the zany, psychedelic mystical nature of dreams his characters experience can be explained away as a hallucination. Probably too much absinthe or opium.

What goes up will also go down.

MY PREDICTIONS

"Stranger Things 3" will be the same way. All science, no magic or religion. I believe they are going to bring in even more science to deal with what's going on, maybe a little Valikovsky and more quantum physics, plus computers. Expect to see the children hacking government machines for the truth, or coming up with solutions using a Macintosh computer. You'll also see an old-skool telephone modem. Why not?

Eleven is going to still have problems and will experience hallucinations resembling UFO experiences. The 80's got into some serious UFO territory regarding aliens and extraterrestrial abductions, I mean, abductions by extraterrestrials, and she's also going to encounter an enemy that has mental powers, but works for the government, or a greater evil. She's confronted her dark side, now she has to take on her real Adversary. In literature and cinematic works worth writing about, the hero always confronts a villain that is their polar opposite, their dark half, in the form of an antagonist that personifies everything they oppose. I predict it will be Kali. Eleven's father is also still out there, according to episode 7.

The real secret of Netflix's success? PRODUCT PLACEMENT.

THE KING AND THE LAND ARE ONE

Eleven never met Kali. She exists, but they talked to each other in their minds, on the astral plane, while Eleven was sleeping on the train back home. I'm going to prove that, too. Eleven is going to save her mother in the psychodrome, but be opposed by that hideous shadow in a different form while she is doing it. Why? Aside from the film Dreamscape, H.P. Lovecraft talked a lot about The Astral Plane in The "Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath." Televisions will probably be a factor.

Will still has problems. The hole might be closed, but the rot remains and Eleven is still the source of this entity, unless her mother is. That rot in the ground (biological waste from the Golliwog's probably caused it, since they used the tunnels to move around) is still there, so expect it to mess up everything and cause death, madness and worse. This is a very, very, very common theme in Stephen King's books. Something Horrible arrives that the town turns terrifyingly evil. I don't think Will is going to get possessed again, but other people will and he is going to be able to detect it. Many of the people working for the Hawkins facility sure seem possessed. Or mind controlled.

It happens in The Tommyknockers, The Mist, It, Needful Things, The Shining, all throughout The Gunslinger series, in Salem's Lot and The Dome and Maximum Overdrive, I mean, the short story, "Trucks." If the town doesn't go crazy, (and by that I mean the people are affected by the Thessalhydra in a mass mind control way), the Something Horrible that arrives usually destroys the whole damn town, but not before people go crazy along the way to help out. This is why, at the end of the series, I predict the whole damn town is going to be swallowed up by the hole Hawkins opened.

Run away! It's a Straight White (and Green) Male!

"THAT INNSMOUTH LOOK"

Remember, the rot is everywhere. The Sheriff getting a blast of spores is a great candidate for a Juju Zombie, straight out of AD&D, straight out of The Monster Manual II. I'm going to predict more strange, pseudo-scientific, blood-drinking related behavior from the supernatural forces the kids are going to face next in "Stranger Things 3." Zombies, ghosts, ghouls, vampires...and serial killers. Demonically possessed, mind-controlled serial killers, as well as government entities that, like Will, are possessed...but aren't trying to fight it at all. You see, in D&D the undead are discussed quite thoroughly. When the kids encounter the new threat, their RPG background will benefit them.

FROM NAHEMAH TO LILITH TO GAMALIEL

There were plenty of films in the 80's that had everything I've just described. Serial killers, Satanic cults and child abductions were also very big at that time, with books like Communion becoming national best sellers that brought the subject of UFO's and aliens into mainstream culture in a major way. However, it must be remembered that The Duffer Brothers are very intelligent when it comes to repackaging the horror from the 80's in a major way.

You are here. Forever. Da'ath is basically a wormhole. Thanks a lot, Da'ath!

Sure, I predict zombies, ghosts, ghouls, vampires and demonically-possessed, mind controlled serial killers, but it is going to be reprocessed and delivered in a very fresh, extremely alien way so as to be unrecognizable, just like Demogorgon, the Thassalhydra, the Polliwogs, etc. It won't be a vampire exactly, but it will be a human, influenced by dark forces from beyond, that does evil and drinks blood for personal power. Possession and mind control will certainly be factors. Billy sure went fuckin' crazy and tried to kill everyone after his parents showed up. That happened in It and The Shining. Mind controlled, possessed people, possible government agents, killing everybody. Fun times.

THERE SHALL BE MORE

That will be all for now. There will be more very soon. I'm re watching the series, going on YouTube to study the fine works of my august contemporaries, drag them screaming to my torture chambers until they tell me the bloody truth (I personally enjoy listening to Iron Maiden while shoving somebody inside my iron maiden). Soon I shall have something dreadful for you to enjoy, Dear Reader. Will, Kali, Eleven, Billy, the Golliwogs, the Thassalhydra...there is so much to talk about, and by the time I'm done you're going to know why going somewhere over the rainbow can be so very important for a mental epiphany, personal enlightenment, and most of all, finding your dark side to become one with it.


The Official Site of Stranger Things

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Benkei - Art

This is how a total badass dies.

If you ever go to Japan you will see this guy everywhere. The image of a defiant warrior, killed by many impaling arrows, staring defiantly. It is called "The Standing Death of Benkei." Let me explain.

Saito Musashibo Benkei was a man that lived in feudal era of Japan. He was born in 1155 AD. The son of a noble samurai and a blacksmith, Benkei was 6' 7" and had incredible strength. So he became a warrior.

Benkei was ill tempered, unruly and somewhat savage, so no feudal lord would take him. After getting kicked out of a Buddhist monastery for fighting, Benkei decided to guard a bridge and force every samurai trying to pass to fight him, go the long way or give up their sword. He ended up with 999 by the time he met his match.

By the way, Benkei also had a badass mustache.

One day an epic hero by the name of Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a young samurai and feudal lord who was a champion of the common people and enemy of the current reigning evil government, dueled Benkei for the bridge. Yoshitsune, trained by tengu (Luke Skywalker is based on him), beat Benkei by knocking him unconscious with a metal fan.

Impressed and humbled, Benkei offered to serve the young lord until death. From then on the two were inseparable, and there are many kabuki and noh theater plays based on their adventures.

Although loved by the common folk as a champion of good and justice, Yoshitsune, like most benevolent Japanese epic heroes of legend, was doomed. While inside a castle planning his attack on the reigning evil government, he was betrayed by his allies, who switched allegiance and sent a massive army to capture Yoshitsune.

Knowing that defeat was inevitable, the young lord's friends, family, allies and army deserted him. Since retreat was dishonorable and capture was even more disgraceful all Yoshitsune could do was commit honorable suicide. He was betrayed and all alone. There was nobody left to defend him.


Except Benkei.

While his lord went through the appropriate rituals for a proper suicide, the last friend and warrior he had went out to perform one final mission: delay the enemy until the end. The reason was simple. Back then being captured by the enemy didn't just mean defeat, failure and dishonor. It also meant torture. Days and days of serious torture. Worse than being chained to a toilet, eating shit pudding and watching episodes of "Hee Haw." 

This is what a non sequitur looks like. 

A single bridge led to the castle where Yoshitsune was, and Benkei placed himself on the bridge in the center. The army sent to capture his lord arrived and prepared for a siege. Surely, they thought to themselves, this must be a trick. Where was the rest of the army?

Benkei challenged the other army to single combat. From the perspective of Bushido, this was extremely bad for the enemy army. All alone, he had just performed something so full of honor and badass that it would mean a tremendous loss of face to just attack. They had to respond appropriately to the challenge. So they did.

One by one, and then two by two and three by three's, the enemy army sent samurai warriors out to fight Benkei on the bridge and he killed them all. This was no surprise. Benkei was a monster, since the average Japanese man at the time was about 5' tall.

"O.G."

Another relevant factor was that in Japanese martial arts, a quick, strong downward strike to the enemy's forehead, resulting in a mortal frontal lobotomy, was how a sword fight usually ended (aside from a tsuki to the throat). Since Benkei was using a 6'+ long weapon, and the average samurai katana was 3' long, you can guess exactly what the fuck happened to Benkei' brave, but doomed, opposition. They didn't have a chance because they didn't have the reach.

This went on for quite some time until the enemy army paused, staring at this awesome, fearless warrior that could not be killed. Realizing his own general was about to be dishonored by being defeated by one single man, an officer in the army dishonorably ordered all of the archers to shoot Benkei to death. So they did.

In Japanese kenjitsu there is a stance known as the "Fuck you, you can't hurt me" stance. You basically spread your arms, weapon in one hand, and stare. That's what Benkei did. Hundreds of arrows impaled his body and killed him instantly.

For a long time, the enemy army stood in formation, afraid. This was because the arrows that killed Benkei also propped him up, making him look like he was still alive. His corpse stood there, glaring, swaying in the wind, saturated with gore and surrounded by many, many dead warriors. Who would want to approach that?

"No offence to your exquisite archery skills, but FUCK YOUR ARROWS." 

Eventually they did and the general and the army found Yoshitsune, quite dead. Their mission was successful. They had followed orders. But the damage was done.

From the perspective of Bushido and the code of honor at the time, what the enemy army had done was incredibly bad. The officer who ordered the arrows was ordered to commit suicide for his disgrace. The general was also dishonored, was stripped of his title, and retired to a monastery. The entire army was mocked until their death. Some even committed suicide at Benkei's grave, or on the bridge where they had once opposed him. A single man had defeated them all. Why?

Even more Benkei for your buck.

Because Benkei won. From the perspective of Bushido, he had indeed carried out his last mission: to delay the enemy so his lord could die with honor. Dying to achieve this only made him look more badass. Yoshitsune's enemies all looked like cowards.

Hundreds of years later, Benkei is honored in throughout Japan. There are paintings of him, illustrations of him, tattoos and even statues and shrines. Even to this day, a person who has dedicated themselves body and soul to a cause, whether this is becoming a doctor, an actor, founding a company or achieving a black belt in the martial arts, will bow and burn incense to a Benkei in order to show their true dedication and humble spirit.

As for the general who led the army that killed Benkei, and the officer that ordered the arrows? They are dishonored. Forgotten. Nobody remembers their names.

In Japanese culture, literature, history and art this means,
"BRING IT THE FUCK ON."