In the darkness we hear the sound of a foghorn and Doctor Sinistrari appears out of the fog in Doctor Sinistrari on Zombie Island, welcoming us to the island and telling us that he is evil and has locked us in his cabinet of horrors. He says it does not matter that Aquanetta cannot act because she is “unspeakably beautiful.” He says that we are dreaming the dream he has put in our heads and that the sound of the movie is poor because the nitrates are disintegrating the film. He says that in his scenes with Aquanetta she looks only at his left ear perhaps because she is afraid his eyes will turn her into a zombie or perhaps because she fears he will see that she has no idea what the hell she is doing. But she is a nice girl, the kind you want to bring home to Mother in a cardboard box. He tells us that the zombies are having a picnic but that he would not want to be a zombie sitting in a darkened movie theatre “watching crap like this.” He tells us his punishment for coming to America is to be surrounded by zombies in Hollywood, the zombie capital of the universe. Although he has worked with all the greats and near-greats, he is very lonely and has been unable to escape from the island. His theory is that no one is paying to watch “these unspeakable monstrosities,” that the theatre is empty and the film keeps repeating endlessly. He thinks he hears a fog horn and cups his hand to his ear. After a moment, we hear the fog horn. He says the excursion boat is here and that the devourer will be arriving soon. Again he says he hears the fog horn and cups his hand to his ear. Again we hear the fog horn, and he begins his welcome with the opening words of the monologue as the light on him fades and goes out.
The lone actor in The Tale of Mr. McGregor speaks from his walled garden which he says would be a paradise if it were not for the damned rabbits who eat all his vegetables, talk to the mice and the crows, and wear clothes. The rabbits, “the damned Satanic rabbits,” stare at him and are becoming more aggressive, attacking the cat and carving their names on the tool shed. The rabbits hang about the rubbish heap, smoking and drinking with the squirrels. He tells us that one day he found six baby bunnies and put them in a burlap bag, but when he showed them to his wife she said there were no bunnies but just a bunch of rotten fruit. His wife tells him that he is very sick, and he sees bunnies laughing at him. He tells us that he lies in bed at night unable to sleep, seeing the red rabbit eyes staring at him, waiting to attack and drag him kicking and screaming to their holes where they will dismember him with little rabbit knives, and bake him in a pie. “Help me. Somebody help me. Help me.” The lights go out.
In The Little People, O’Mullligan, an old Irishman, sits in a wooden chair illuminated by firelight on a dark stage. He speaks of the Little People, whom he loves and has seen many times. He leaves dark chocolates, creamed corn, and applesauce out for them at night. He says the Little People are mischievous and change the tv channel when he falls asleep and once they painted his tallywhacker green with a little smiley face on top. He says the Little People are good, with tender emotions. Around Christmas every year “we” put out mouse traps with dark chocolate and, if the trap doesn’t kill them, their necks are snapped and then they are fried in butter. The women and the little babies, he says, are delicious, their little heads crunching like walnuts. He loves the Little People, but he prefers enchiladas.
A young actress speaks to and of Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock Blonde, calling him a “fat pig,” “gutter cockney,” “compulsive liar,” and “compulsive thief,” accusing him of spying on her, undressing her when she is unconscious, training birds to peck out her eyes, making her into a caricature of his desire, “the tortured eros of (his) Freudian freak show.” She says he wants her to love him, but she hates him and he makes all love seem sick. She wonders why she is trapped with his “fat, ugly face forever leering” at her, his camera raping her. She calls out for someone to help her, to get her “out of this damned motel,” so she can take “this fucking key” and “gouge out” his eyes.
In One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji, a young woman, Mujina, speaks to the audience as if presenting a lecture, with slides, of pictures by Hokusai, who drew the mountain from every possible angle and said on his deathbed that if he could live another five or ten years he might begin to understand something about drawing. The monologue continues as a series of imagistic sentences unconnected by a narrative structure, with ambiguous pronoun referents, creating an intellectual-emotional complex involving death, violence, snow, reflections, burning, birds, animals, ghosts, demons, water, caves, trees, and sex, all perhaps associated with the various views of the mountain.
Professor Roeg, in Pomerene Hall, speaks from a circle of light as if rehearsing a guided tour, telling us the history of the Hall as we hear the sounds of all the activities the building has housed and that Roeg, a former student there, is describing: silverware and dishes clattering, girls laughing and splashing in water, running footsteps, water from a shower, a girl screaming, sneakers squeaking and basketballs bouncing, wind, pigeons, a creaking door, a girl sobbing, a shower room, girls whispering, a girl saying no, wind, again the girl saying no, and wind and pigeons. Roegspeaks of stories of supposedly haunted areas in the building and of her friend Cheryl whom she took on rides up a now-abandoned shaft in a “small old fashioned elevator.” Roeg speaks of excess emotional energy permeating physical environments and of Cheryl leaving a trail of broken hearts in her wake, an epidemic of suicides. Cheryl “allowed herself to be violated by a monstrous troglodyte who sold drugs from the back of a Volkswagen bus” and who involved her in drugs and orgies. When Roeg warned Cheryl and told her she loved her, Cheryl looked at her with shock and pity and went to get her books in the changing room by the swimming pool. Roeg tried to restrain Cheryl and got “very, very angry,” but does not remember what happened next. In the morning, she tells us, she went to Cheryl’s apartment but it was empty and Roeg assumed she had gone to Mexico and that she would never see her again. And, she says, “I never have.” But she has had dreams of Cheryl lying broken and dead at the bottom of the elevator shaft. She says she comes back to the blocked-up shaft at night, even after all the years that have passed. She says she knows how to open the door at the top of the shaft. We then hear the sounds we have heard before but now jumbled together, ending with the slamming of a door. Blackout.
Rose, a young woman sitting wrapped in a sheet, barefoot, speaks the monologue Croatoan, a word carved into a tree or post of an abandoned fort on Roanoke Island. Rose says that she is incoherent and talks of being defiled, of seduction, of intercourse being another form of murder, of desire being pointless, of every act of love being a betrayal. She speaks of looking at old books in a shop on the wharf and going for a walk in the garden with a man she met there who may make love to her or beat her to death with his walking stick. She says a girl carved the word into a tree and then all the settlers disappeared into the woods and nobody knows what happened or what it means. She says it is time for us to go and the light fades and goes out.
Rose, a young woman who sits on her bed wrapped in a sheet, tells us in Bogle of her experiences with a creature who has always been there, a shape changer, who, in her dream, raped her in a bog, and, in another dream, licked cream from her breasts. When she woke up she found it was the cat. She tells us not to laugh, that she is not trying to be funny, and asks why she has milk in her breasts. She says the creature is always out there, watching her, waiting to play tricks. It is a “horrible thing, impossibly old,” but sometimes it appears as a young man who wants to touch her, and sometimes at night it sobs like a child begging to be let in. She warns us to keep windows closed at night because we can’t let anything in, ever, because every intimacy is a violation. She repeats, “Don’t touch me,” and then says, “Listen,” before the light fades out.
As Lighthouse begins we hear in darkness the sound of seagulls and a bell from a bouy. Aggie, a woman in her thirties, speaks from a wooden chair as a light passes across her like the revolving beacon of a lighthouse, creating regularly spaced intervals of light and darkness. She says that people told her she would go mad, trapped in a lighthouse, but she thought that with her blue-eyed husband and three small children she would be content. She says she was very happy at first but then she began to see things, something slithering across the floor. She tells her husband that there are snakes in the lighthouse, but he doesn’t believe her, and the snakes are so fast that no one could see them. She had nightmares and couldn’t sleep as she prowled the lighthouse with a flashlight at night. She decided that the snakes were after her children and one night stepped on something that caused a horrible, stabbing pain in her heel. Her husband tells her she stepped on a walnut shell and was not bitten by a snake. She feels hate toward her husband and thinks that she has been inoculated with the wisdom of the serpent. When she fell asleep she dreamed that snakes were everywhere in the lighthouse. Realizing she had to save her children, she threw them from the windows. She then tells us, after a silence, that she was taken to a place where she couldn’t hear the sea. They tell her the children are dead. When she asks if the snakes killed them she is told that there are no snakes in the lighthouse. But all she can see is a snake from her dream, a snake with cold blue eyes.
The Pine Barrens is spoken by a woman named Marla who tells us that as a teenager she saw a creature with wings, a horrible snout, and feet like hooves that flew in “this impossible clumsy, dorky way.” She says she loves living in the Pine Barrens, in the presence of possible danger, and realizes that the creature she saw, the Jersey Devil, was her brother. When her Crazy Aunt Betty died, Marla tells us, she moved back to Betty’s ramshackle house in the Pine Barrens and found the creature in her house one evening, making murmuring noises in the upstairs bathroom. She left some food on a tray outside the bathroom door and went to sleep. In the morning the food was gone, but she kept putting out food and discovered that the creature liked ham sandwiches and Ding Dongs and liked to sing or wail along with the radio. After months without seeing the creature, she noticed when she was outside that the upstairs bathroom window was open. The creature was getting out at night and coming back to spend the day with her. Needing company, Marla sang with the creature and told it all her troubles. She found out that the Delaware Indians used to live in the Pine Barrens and called it the place of the dragon, and she says there was a story about a woman named Leeds who in 1735 supposedly gave birth to something with “a forked tail, bat wings, hooves and a horse’s head.” She says the Barrens have always been a place for the strange, oppressed, and odd because we are herd animals and kill what is different from us. She is afraid that if she opens the bathroom door to look the creature will go away and she’ll never see it again. She says love isolates and eventually kills you and that she doesn’t go anywhere or do anything except make ham sandwiches. She asks how her isolation is different from the life of anyone who’s lucky enough to love something, because love is doomed and the only real love is love without hope for a person we have imagined. She says time is passing and she can’t seem to move; but, she adds, everyone else is trapped, lost, doomed, strange. “We’re all monsters,” she says, but she thinks she is lucky because she has found somebody to love.