Naked Lunch

Synopsis: Not an adaptation of beat writer William S. Burrough's novel but a mix of biography and an interpretation of his drug- induced writing processes combined with elements of his work in this paranoid fantasy about Bill Lee, a writer who accidentally shoots his wife, whose typewriter transforms into a cockroach and who becomes involved in a mysterious plot in North African port called Interzone. Wonderfully bizarre, not unlike Burrough's books.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): David Cronenberg
Production: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
  13 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min



You want I should spit right in your face?

You want, hmm?

You want? You want?

I ran out.

You ran out?

Oh, that's nice.

You ran out.

It's impossible you run out!

What'd you do, eat the stuff?

The Chink shortchanged me.

No "glot." Come "Fliday."

It's funny.

It's actual very funny what you just said.

Ran out.

They can either paint it, or draw it, or write

it down and then pass it on to somebody.

They read what you're saying,

and then they reexperience.

That's the only connection

you have with that, man.

So you can't rewrite...

'cause to rewrite is to deceive and lie...

and you betray your own thoughts.

To rethink the flow and the rhythm

and the tumbling out of the words...

is a betrayal.

And it's a sin, Martin.

It's a sin.

I don't accept your, uh...

Catholic interpretation

of my compulsive, uh...

necessity to rewrite

every single word at least 1 00 times.

Guilt is -Thanks.

Guilt is the key, not sin.

Guilt re not writing

the best that I can.

Guilt re not, uh, considering everything

from every possible angle.

Balancing everything.

Well, how about guilt

re censoring your best thoughts?

Your most honest,

primitive, real thoughts...

because that's what your laborious

rewriting amounts to, Martin.

Is rewriting really censorship, Bill?

Because I'm completely f***ed if it is.

Exterminate all rational thought.

That is the conclusion I have come to.

What is the man talking about?

I'm being serious.

So is he.

So how is the extermination business

going there, Bill?

Somebody's stealing my roach powder.

Somebody's got it in for me.

Hmm. Well, Bill,

maybe you should take it as a sign.

Maybe you ought to try your hand

at writing pornography.

Yeah, a novel a week at 120 bucks.

It's serious money.

I can connect you with the guy.

We're thinking of

collaborating on one ourselves.

I gave up writing when I was 1 0.

- Too dangerous.

- Only if someone reads what you write.

So far we haven't had that problem.

I've found my profession.

I'm an exterminator.

Of course, Bill. That's just

what the world needs...

- ...more literate exterminators.

- Give me a cigarette.

Of course, then, you know...

you're gonna have trouble

if you can't keep track of your roach powder.

Wait a minute.

Do you boys know something about this?

We don't exactly know anything.

No, but we suspect

it's a domestic problem.

- My God, what are you doing?

- You weren't supposed to see this.

Well, now that I'm seeing it, what is it?

I'm shooting up your bug powder.

You might like to try it yourself.

Or you might not.

I ran out in the middle of a job.

You gotta stop using the stuff,Joan.

They ration it out like snakebite serum.

Well,just do what everybody else does -

cut it with baby laxative.

The roaches will

sh*t themselves to death.

It's the best job I ever had.

If I run out again, I'm finished.


It's, um -

It's a very literary high.

Very literary.

Is that why Hank and Martin

know all about it?

No, we just, uh -

We all just tried it together-

spur of the moment thing.

They didn't like it, I did.

What do you mean,

it's a literary high?

It's a Kafka high.

You feel like a bug.

Try some.

Well, I don't know.

I don't know.

- I think our metabolisms are very different.

- Whose?

Yours and Kafka's?

I thought you were finished

with doing weird stuff.

I thought I was, too,

but I guess I'm not.


I prefer a pyrethrum job to a fluoride.

With the pyrethrum...

you kill the roaches right there

in front of God and the client...

whereas this starch and fluoride-

leave it around,

the roaches eat it...

come back a few days later,

they're running around fat as hogs.

And there it is, Bill.

You want to put on some weight...

you gotta switch

from that yellow powder diet of yours...

to some of this good

fluoride stuff right here.

Sure works for the Chink.

He's healthy enough.

You see him scarfthat poison down?

He doesn't really eat it.

It's sleight of hand.

The hell he doesn't. Been breathing in the

powder so long, it just makes him laugh.

Just like them roaches.

William Lee.

- What is this?

- He's Hauser. I'm O'Brien.

City Narcotics.

We're gonna take you downtown, Bill.

Little matter of possession

of a dangerous substance.

You've got quite a record, Bill.

A lot of drugs poured down the old vein.

I was a troubled person then.

I'm married now.

Straight. Got a good job.

That's good, Bill.

That's nice.

- What's this, then?

- That's my job.

I use it to kill bugs.

- He says it kills bugs.

- He could be right.

- I'd like to see it.

- Me, too.

- I'd like to see it, too.

- Well, gee.

I'd like to demonstrate, but I already

got rid of that last case of crabs I had.

Very funny, Bill.

But, you know...

I think we got a bug

around here somewhere.

You're right.

Let's see

if that yellow stuff will kill it.

We'll be back later

to see how it worked out, kiddo.


Break a leg.

William Lee?

I have arranged all this

just to have a moment alone with you.

I am your case officer.

- Uh, my what?

- Case officer.

You are my agent.

I, in turn, report to your controller.

Come, come, Mr. Lee.

You don't have to play dumb with me.

Oh. No. Well...

that would be foolish, wouldn't it?

It would. Say, Bill...

do you think you could rub

some of this powder on my lips?

Uh, yeah.


Well, now.

As you might have expected...

I have instructions

for you from Control.

It's about the little woman.

- The what?

- The little woman.

Your little woman.

- Your wife.

- Tell me.

Your wife is not really your wife.

She is an agent

of Interzone Incorporated.

You must kill her.

KillJoan Lee.

It must be done soon-

this week.

And it must be done real tasty.

Interzone Incorporated?

An organization based in Interzone...

a notorious free port

on the North African coast.

A haven for

the mongrel scum of the Earth...

an engorged parasite

on the underbelly of the West.

Ah, I can't see it.

Why would a classy

American woman likeJoan...

ever want to work for a two-bit outfit

like Interzone Incorporated?

But who says Joan Lee

is really a woman?

In fact, who says she's human at all?

- What do you mean by that?

- I can say no more.

Hey, where you going?

Don't do it. Don't do it.

There'll be hell to pay.

We've been made.

We gotta get out of town.

Wait a minute.

- What's going on?

- I got busted for bug powder.

I started

hallucinating behind the stuff.

God knows what I really said

to those two flatfeet.

I'm not even sure

how I got out of there.

Did you bring back

tomorrow's bug powder?

Did you, Bill?

Did you?

My God, Joan.

You're acting like a full-fledged junkie.

And it's bug powder,

for Christ's sake!


I do have a little bit of a habit, yes, hon.

You ought to at least give me

a few marks for originality.

How did you know

it just wouldn't kill you?

I don't know, Bill.

I felt drawn to it.

You know?

Like you feel an old lover.

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William S. Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs II (; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American writer and visual artist. Burroughs was a primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author whose influence is considered to have affected a range of popular culture as well as literature. Burroughs wrote eighteen novels and novellas, six collections of short stories and four collections of essays. Five books have been published of his interviews and correspondences. He also collaborated on projects and recordings with numerous performers and musicians, and made many appearances in films. He was also briefly known by the pen name William Lee. Burroughs created and exhibited thousands of paintings and other visual art works, including his celebrated 'Gunshot Paintings'. He was born into a wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri, grandson of the inventor and founder of the Burroughs Corporation, William Seward Burroughs I, and nephew of public relations manager Ivy Lee. Burroughs began writing essays and journals in early adolescence, but did not begin publicizing his writing until his thirties. He left home in 1932 to attend Harvard University, studied English, and anthropology as a postgraduate, and later attended medical school in Vienna. In 1942 Burroughs enlisted in the U.S. Army to serve during World War II, but was turned down by the Office of Strategic Services and Navy, after which he picked up the drug addiction that affected him for the rest of his life, while working a variety of jobs. In 1943, while living in New York City, he befriended Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, and out of their mutual influence grew the foundation of the Beat Generation, which was later a defining influence on the 1960s counterculture. Much of Burroughs' work is semiautobiographical, primarily drawn from his experiences as a heroin addict, as he lived throughout Mexico City, London, Paris and Tangier in Morocco, as well as from his travels in the South American Amazon. His work also features frequent mystical, occult or otherwise magical themes – a constant preoccupation for Burroughs, both in fiction and in real life.Burroughs accidentally killed his second wife, Joan Vollmer, in 1951 in Mexico City with a pistol during a drunken "William Tell" game; he was consequently convicted of manslaughter. Burroughs found success with his confessional first novel, Junkie (1953), but he is perhaps best known for his third novel Naked Lunch (1959), a highly controversial work that was the subject of a court case after it was challenged as being in violation of the U.S. sodomy laws. With Brion Gysin, he also popularized the literary cut-up technique in works such as The Nova Trilogy (1961–1964). In 1983, Burroughs was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1984 he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by France. Jack Kerouac called Burroughs the "greatest satirical writer since Jonathan Swift", a reputation he owes to his "lifelong subversion" of the moral, political, and economic systems of modern American society, articulated in often darkly humorous sardonicism. J. G. Ballard considered Burroughs to be "the most important writer to emerge since the Second World War", while Norman Mailer declared him "the only American writer who may be conceivably possessed by genius".Burroughs created visual art throughout his lifetime, but never exhibited it until 1987, after the death of his friend and collaborator Brion Gysin. For the next and last 10 years of his life, he presented his paintings and drawings at museums and galleries worldwide. Burroughs had one child, William S. Burroughs Jr. (1947–1981), with his second wife Joan Vollmer. William Burroughs died at his home in Lawrence, Kansas, after suffering a heart attack in 1997. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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