Zack Snyder’s Orgasm Death Gimmick

I have always found my view of the genius perceived by others in Alan Moore’s Watchmen (1987) to be obscured by the looming presence of the bleeding obvious.  I respect the form, less so the matter.  Zack Snyder’s  Watchmen (2009) failed to turn this respect into love.  For most of the film I felt the adaptation so submissive and passive that I might as well have stayed at home and read the comic.  However, there are moments of greatness in Watchmen.  Moments that have very little to do with Alan Moore and a lot to do with Zack Snyder.  Moments when Snyder allows himself off the leash, and no… I am not talking about the stupid fight scenes.

In an essay entitled “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), Freud argues that pleasure stems not from stimulation but rather a lack of stimulation.  The lack of stimulation that comes, for example, from taking off shoes that pinch your feet and the moment not of orgasm but the instant of satiation immediately after the orgasm but before post-orgasmic tristesse sets in.  If pleasure is the complete lack of stimulation then it follows logically that death is the ultimate pleasure and that the pursuit of pleasure is somehow also the pursuit of death.  Freud called this drive towards death Thanatos.  No film maker argues the case for the connection between pleasure and death more aggressively than Zack Snyder.

Continue reading →