“All political power comes from the barrel of either guns, pussy, or opium pipes, and people seem to like it that way.”
It’s been six years since Hunter S. Thompson shot himself and had the best party in the history of funerals. Today marks his 74th birthday.
As any Gonzo fan knows, there are endless articles, books and movies on the man…most of the documentaries are the same rehashed shit, especially those that sprouted up after his death.
The best Hunter S. Thompson footage is in the DVD extras of the Criterion edition of Fear and Loathing. It has a commentary track with Hunter as well as commentary from Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. Also in the extras is the BBC documentary “Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood”, a short documentary of Hunter during the making of the Fear and Loathing film called “Hunter Goes to Hollywood”, video of Johnny Depp reading letters from Thompson and lots more. Basically all the interesting footage used over and over in the other Hunter documentaries are all in these extras.
My favorite Gonzo movie and really one of my top ten favorite movies of all time is Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Very few film adaptations of books, especially one as erratic and psychedelic as Fear and Loathing are able to be able to capture the essence of the story well on screen but Gilliam managed to do it despite his claims of never having done acid in his life.
Some people like Where the Buffalo Roam but I thought it came across as a 96 minute Saturday Night Live skit. Bill Murray’s SNL Hunter didn’t do it for me.
I’m looking forward to seeing The Rum Diary movie though. Johnny Depp will be reprising his role as the Good Doctor. The film seems to have been stuck in development for 100 years but a release date has finally been announced: October 28, 2011!
The Rum Diary is Hunter’s Great Gatsby which is the first book he ever wrote but didn’t publish until the 90′s. If you haven’t read it, you should. As amazing as his non-fiction/partially fictitious work is, The Rum Diary is a great American novel that is incredibly underrated.
The Gonzo tapes are a must have for any Thompson fan. The makers of Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson actually went over the boxes of audio tapes Hunter recorded from 1965 to 1975 and transferred the good stuff into an audio box set. The recordings during the Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing period are incredible stuff. You’re listening to history being made and Hunter’s musings are as hilarious on audio as they are on paper.
Most of us who have at least lightly dry-humped “the edge” have been heavily influenced by Hunter’s work. Often imitated but never close to being replicated, Hunter S. Thompson is the godfather of freak culture.
So as you sip your Wild Turkey and go one toke over the line on this special day, here are some Gonzo links to peruse through:
-Hunter S. Thompson Books Comprehensive Gonzo site dedicated to linking every article and book about HST.
-An Unpublished Interview from The Quietus
-Owl Farm Blog Hunter’s widow Anita is still holding down the fort over at Owl Farm and blogging about Hunter-related stuff including politics and musings that she knows Hunter fans will appreciate.
-Recent interview with Anita to promote HST-related beer and books
If you have any favorite Hunter quotes, pics and links please post them in the comments section.
From all the freaks still on the coaster ambling up towards the giant inversion, Happy Birthday Grandpa!
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”