Cult Movie Essentials

Cult Movie Essentials: Naked Lunch (1991)

Based on the book Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs, David Cronenberg’s movie interpretation of the same name follows exterminator William Lee (Peter Weller) who makes a shocking discovery that his wife Joan (Judy Davis) is stealing his insecticide to get high. William is later arrested by the police and starts hallucinating because of “bug powder” exposure.

Under his hallucination William believes he is a secret agent with two handlers in the forms of a talking insectoid typewriter and an alien “Mugwump”. The bug assigns him the mission of killing his wife Joan because she is an agent of an organization called Interzone Incorporated. William dismisses the bug and its instructions and kills it. He returns home to find Joan having sex with Hank (Nicholas Campbell), one of his writer friends. Shortly afterwards, he accidentally kills her while attempting to shoot a drinking glass off her head in imitation of William Tell.

After accidently completing his assignment in killing Joan, William goes on the run to Interzone, a city somewhere in North Africa. He spends his time writing reports for his imaginary handler, and it is these documents which, at the insistence of his literary colleagues who later visit him, eventually become the titular book on which the film you are watching is based on; that’s only the tip of the weird iceberg in this  movie though!

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