All the animals come out at night
“So this is your wilderness,” says the vampire to her long-distance husband, as he gives her a driving tour of where he lives now. “Detroit.”
He lives in an old red and black house surrounded by empty lots. He keeps his Jaguar hidden in the weeds.
They cruise the streets at night, under street lamps running out of juice. It is Jim Jarmusch ruin porn, lush, languorous minimalism. The romance of the feral city, immanent dystopia fully manifested. Skunk cross the sidewalks. Magic mushrooms grow from lumber going back to dirt. Coyote prowl in the shadows of abandoned buildings. Grand temples of American promise slowly collapse unto themselves. The melancholic vampire composes electric guitar skronk channelling a medieval funeral dirge, and the whole thing settles in on your soul like a loving paean to the eternal entropic now.
Spooky action, they say.
At the end you walk out from the Tangier night where the vampires are prowling into the Austin night where the silverbacks are prowling. The aging baby boomers with salted hair and striped shirts untucked throng the streets outside their wine bars, celebrating the ways money can simulate the prolongation of youth.
The silverbacks and cougars come and go from the the W tower, a Disneyfied Dionysium that combines chic hotel, luxury condominiums and a live music venue that commodifies vintage cool. Uniformed policemen in twos and three guard every gilded entrance. Inside, there is a labyrinth of bars designed to let you pretend you are a celebrity. One is a room packed with vinyl records as fetish objects. Curiously, the design palette is a lot like the Detroit vampire squat, but cleaner.
Upstairs there are condos of the ultrarich with closets bigger than your entire home. You know this.
The vampires cruise the dying world in their Jaguar, and lament the ravages wracked on the planet by the “zombies.”
There is a DJ in the W bar, spinning electronic rhythms that are designed to make you feel it, but only numb.
You walk through the 21st century city of light, where everything you see is new, and everyone you see freshly reinvented. You wonder if we can all live out our lives as actors in extremely well-made commercials.
The vampires drive by the ruins of the Packard plant, where they once built the most beautiful cars in the world.
“This place will rise again,” says the female vampire. “There’s water here. When the cities in the south are burning, this place will bloom.”
You look at all the happy people enjoying their beautiful new urbanist southwestern downtown on a Friday night and wonder if the vampires are right.
You retreat to your home at the edge of the urban woods. In the morning, you find a little green snake in the kitchen, slithering with difficulty on the concrete floor, covered in lint. As you put the snake back outside, you think about the illusory wall between us and nature. And you wonder what the filmmaker really meant by naming the vampires Adam and Eve.