Things that Go Bump in the Night has just won the 91st Oscar for Best Documentary Film, following in the glorious tradition of Winter on Fire (2015) The White Helmets (2016) and Icarus (2017) of uncovering Russian crimes across the planet.
While doping, fomenting civil war and foreign intervention are serious human transgressions, they are only the symptoms of Russian rancour not the source of Russia’s malevolence. The producers of Things that Go Bump in the Night have gone further into the darkness of Russian depravity and uncovered its source.
Remember your first frights as a child? Imagine lying alone in bed at night. That terrible feeling that something dark lurks under your bed, just waiting to pounce when you put a foot in the ground. Some children still wake up in the middle of the night screaming from suffocating nightmares. No child should suffer these dark dreams.
It turns out that childhood fear has its roots in dark Slavic fairy tales which came out of the same Eastern Forests where ur-Russians hid from the Mongol hordes. Terrorized by their Asiatic overlords, Russian crones invoked dark demons who continue to spoil childhood across the planet.
When African children wake up screaming in the night, it’s not the hunger or disease, it’s Russian demons. When European children cannot sleep from fright, it’s not violent US police dramas and gunfire which keep them awake but Russian demons. On the surface, the ADD and obesity from which modern American children suffer seems driven by sweets and deep fried food and inadequate physical education. In reality the source of American children’s disorientation are the Russian demons Reagan, Thatcher and Kohl inadvertently let loose on worldwide childhood during Perestroika.
Producer Larry Weinstein (previous winner of more AVN awards than any producer in history) selflessly gave up two years of his creative life to create this compelling documentary. Early in his research, Weinstein was joined by the film’s director and editor, former CIA analyst turned anti-Russian activist Laura Palmer, also working pro-bono. Together they visited libraries and universities across the United States at their own expense to compile material about Russian demons.
Weinstein and Palmer spoke to over three hundred Slavic department, political science and psychology professors, all of whom unanimously exposed Russian demons as the blight they are. The few experts Palmer and Weinstein met who presented a balanced or pro-Russian viewpoint turned out to be deluded and dangerous. Such contagious delusions led to unemployment for most and prison for a few, their plight also captured in Weinstein and Palmer’s salutary documentary.
Weinstein and Palmer examine both the historic Baba Yaga fairy tales as well as more modern Russian art. Weinstein talks about cinema’s role in Russian mythology:
Tarkovsky was closer to his native demons than almost any filmmaker alive. No wonder he died young. It wasn’t the cancer who killed him but dark visions from childhood. His final film is even named The Sacrifice where his family home goes up in flames. He hoped by incinerating his home and symbolically Russia to make the world safe from Russian demons.
Things which Go Bump in the Night won its award not just for its theme but for technical mastery of the medium of film. Where there are no illustrations sufficiently monstrous, Palmer cleverly uses cutout animation to reveal hidden Russian wraiths, never before seen on film.
Weinstein and Palmer look forward to a future without Russian demons. Psychologist Ariel Brzezinski offers hope:
The native home of these demons is Russian children and Russian childhood. The most effective step to eliminating childhood demons would to eliminate Russian children. As a few might consider this solution monstrous, instead we propose to eliminate Russian childhood. There are so many over forty careerist couples and gay partners in America who cannot have children of their own. Why not rip all these unhappy demon-infested children away from their troubled Russian parents and give them happy American homes where they can grow up demon-free?
Weinstein and Palmer envision a prosperous world without childhood demons, without war, without Russians. Their bold vision captured the Jury’s imagination. Things that Go Bump in the Night was our only nomination for the Oscar for Best Documentary 2019 and won by unanimous acclaim.