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YMMV: Naked Lunch

The book:

  • Designated Villain: Salvador Hassan O'Leary is the intended villain, despite not being anywhere near as bad as Dr. Benway and only being slightly worse than A.J.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Dr. Benway, by far the most memorable character in the book, goes on to get small roles in several other Burroughs novels, like The Soft Machine, Cities of the Red Night, and The Western Lands, with brief mentions in several others. In The Film of the Book, he's a One-Scene Wonder (well, two scenes) and is played by Roy Scheider. Scheider is appropriately scene-stealing, even when (during one of the two scenes) as Benway he's pretending to be an ordinary doctor running a clinic.
  • Magnificent Bastard: A.J., Hassan O'Leary, and Dr. Benway.
  • Squick: The descriptions of the blue movie sets make repeated note of piles of moldy jockstraps and used condoms - and that's far from the last of it!
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Believe it or not, some people are confused by this book.
  • Values Dissonance
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Burroughs wrote in the preface that the hanging scenes were a tract against capital punishment 'in the style of Jonathan Swift'. One would find that easy to believe if he hadn't gone on to write about three more books about hanging, which makes the whole thing dubiously reek of Author Appeal.

The Film:

  • Narm Charm: Again, William S. Burroughs's legendary voice.
  • Special Effects Failure: Cronenberg admits that he didn't like the way the centipede Cloquet puppet turned out.


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