Wise Blood: The Movie

I’ve been meaning to mention that I finally got to take in the 1979 film Wise Blood, based on the Flannery O’Connor novel of the same name. The movie started as a black comedy, then got disturbing towards the end. Brad Dourif seemed to have this permanent scowl throughout, and Harry Dean Stanton was his usual fine self as the preacher. I got to hear Flannery O’Connor discuss “Southern grotesque” in the DVD’s bonus features, from a talk she gave back in the ’50s. There was no video, just the audio. She said something like, “Down South, we know a freak when we see one.” That got a lot of laughs from the audience. Thanks to Rick Rofihe for inspiring me to watch this. I’m a big Carson McCullers fan, and I think she’s in the same school of fiction as Flannery O’Connor. Though they both seem to enjoy writing about grotesque Southern characters, I find O’Connor much darker than McCullers. I attribute it to Catholicism.

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