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Red rain and red skies

Photo collage courtesy of Liz Burleson / Red Dirt Report
Images from "Donnie Darko" and "Superman: The Movie"
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OKLAHOMA CITY – With the sounds of Peter Gabriel’s 1989 release Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ playing in the background, I think about a sequence of numbers that I recently saw: 28:06:42:12. For sci-fi film buffs, you may recognize that as the amount of time it will be before the world ends in the 2001 Richard Kelly movie Donnie Darko.

Those numbers, added together, equals 88. The film, of course, is set over the course of October 1988, a month and year I remember well. The film was relased in October 2001, right after 9/11 and the same month the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.

There was such concern about Muslim terrorism, that the Arabic font for Donnie Darko was toned down and even changed for the movie posters. And this film was made in 2000. The feeling of dread and helplessness pervades in Donnie Darko. It isn’t surprising that Kelly paid homage to Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ in the opening of the film and noting it on the marquee of the theater (along with The Evil Dead) where Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Gretchen (Jenna Malone) go see a film, much like a similar “lovers in a dangerous time” scene in 12 Monkeys where James Cole (Bruce Willis) and Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) to hide out in a theater playing a 24-hour Alfred Hitchcock fest. They watch North by Northwest, a particular favorite.

Ten years earlier, in December 1978, the Richard Donner-directed superhero film Superman: The Movie, was released, with Christopher Reeve starring as Clark Kent/Superman.

As I’ve noted multiple times, my 3/11/11 dream involving the destruction of Krypton by the red sun coinciding – exactly – with the destruction of the northeastern Japanese coast (and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant) by a tsunami, created by an earthquake.

In Superman, our superhero is trying to stop Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) from using a nuclear missile to detonate on the San Andreas Fault in California. A nuke, causing an earthquake. Causing destruction on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean from Japan - a place that would truly be devastated in this reality.

This film just happened to be on yesterday. I watched it with great interest. And syncing with Donnie Darko were two things. The first was when Superman first makes his appearance and is saving cats from trees, nabbing bank robbers, etc. But one scene in particular caught my attention. Air Force One is flying through a stormy sky and one of the four engines is struck by lightning (sync Richard Kelly's The Box) and is destroyed. It appears the president’s plane is going down. But Superman saves the listing aircraft just in time by flying where the engine used to be.

And where was the engine? Did it fall from the plane and land on a house in Virginia 10 years later? Considering how time travel plays a role in both films (remember how Superman reverses time and saves Lois Lane by allowing the Earth to go backawards and causing it to go back in time?), it’s a thought.

The other scene was when Luthor’s bumbling henchman Otis sneaks into the nuclear missile transport truck and attempts to change the coordinates for the test. This is so Luthor’s missile will go off course and strike the San Andreas Fault. Naturally, Otis fouls it up. The numbers were: 38 67 11 7. Otis got it wrong by punching in 38 67 117. And like Donnie, Otis writes it in black marker on his left arm, which presumes both Donnie and Otis are right-handed.

Between 38 and 67 one can see 8+6, or 86. I have been seeing this number quite a bit lately, particularly in reference to the wild year of 1986, which featured everything from the Challenger explosion to the Chernobyl nuclear accident to the breaking of the Iran-Contra scandal.

Musically, there was much to appreciate. One of the best albums of 1986 was Peter Gabriel’s So album, which featured a song that has been coming up a lot for me – “Red Rain.”

Just as The Fixx’s “Red Skies” has been addressed, “Red Rain” is also coming up a lot. It is an unsettling song in its own way. Is Gabriel talking about acid rain? Nuclear fallout? Something else? It’s never clear. But considering the fact that we were still in the middle of tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (Gabriel’s old band Genesis released the apocalyptic “Land of Confusion” that same year – and for good reason ("Superman where are you now?"). It also resonates today – 28 years later!) it makes sense. And here we are, syncing with ol’ 86 in ’14 as tensions mount between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and Syria. And the U.S. and Venezuela. Some things never change. Just look at my "Red Skies" piece - from Russia with love and "Christ the Redeemer" bathed in red ... 

And this all brings to mind the strange phenomenon that struck Kerala, India in the summer and into the dark fall of 2001 – just as Donnie Darko was about to be released. It was then that “red rain” was “coming down, pouring down” all over people in that area of India. "I am standing up at the water's edge in my dream," sings Peter Gabriel in "Red Rain." And for me, the "water's edge" is very, very important in my dreamscape.

Back on Earth, it remains a mystery to this day as to what caused the “red rain” in India. Was it algae? Dust from Africa? Was it from an extraterrestrial source? That last suggestion is explored further in a just-released Indian film called Red Rain, which explores the ET connection to the “red rain” mystery.

There is more to examine. Poseidon. Trident. Kuala Lumpur. Cape Town. And lots and lots of red. 

And our final question: Where is Malaysia Flight 370? Water. Airliners. Terrorism. Alien contact. These should be further examined in these troubled times. 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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