Alejandro Jodorowsky
By: Jason Grote | Categories: HiLo Heroes

Filmmaker, playwright, comic book writer, and occultist, ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY (born 1929) has an origin story that could have come from a Greek myth, or an issue of Heavy Metal, or one of his own films: according to his 2005 memoir, The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky, he was conceived when his father, a Russian-Jewish émigré to Chile, beat and raped his wife in a fit of jealousy. A brutality so extreme as to border on black comedy informs all of his work. A missing link in the chain between Jean Cocteau and David Lynch (the former an early supporter of his work, the latter citing him as an influence), Jodorowsky’s films have recently enjoyed a resurgence after being tied up for decades in a dispute with rock & roll accountant Allan Klein. His best-known film, El Topo, invented the “Acid Western” and went on to become one of the first hit Midnight Movies on record, paving the way for The Rocky Horror Picture Show, John Waters, and George Romero. El Topo made John Lennon a fan, which subsequently secured funding for Jodorowsky’s masterpiece, The Holy Mountain. Combining astrology, anti-imperialist critique, lowbrow humor, and (un)healthy doses of nudity and LSD, The Holy Mountain is an amazing document of Latin America’s swinging psychedelic era, before the crackdown of right-wing dictators throughout the region.

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On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Alfred Adler.

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Jason Grote is a playwright, television writer, and librettist. His best-known play is 1001, a deconstruction of the tales of the Arabian Nights. He wrote for season one of Smash, and is currently a writer for Mad Men.