Pig teepees, phallic rocks, and thong-wearing gunmen: A blow-by-blow recap of Stuff to Watch For in "El Topo"

When Peter Keough wrote that "The '60s officially ended for many baby boomers when they stumbled into a midnight screening of El Topo (1970) and something happened to their minds that was unpleasant and irrevocable," it reminded of something. A few years ago, I decided to use my Twitter account for something useful insane: Inspired by my favorite reviews, I did a Twitter blow-by-blow recap of El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky's notoriously bonkers psychedelic-cult-cinema masterpiece. For your gawking pleasure, I've replicated it below -- if nothing else, it should give you pretty good idea of how unfathomably weird this film is*.

Checking out tonight's midnight El Topo screening at the Coolidge? Consider this a little amuse bouche of the madness that awaits you. (Since the "plot" is pretty loose, Spoiler Alerts would be kinda moot here, but just in case ... consider yourself alerted.) Enjoy:


(0:1:53): In desert wasteland, Zorro-esque rider makes naked boy bury childhood toy and mom photo.

(0:2:00): "El Topo" means "the mole," BTW.

(0:3:45): Shantytown massacre. Cicadas buzzing madly. Victims swaying from meathooks (?).

(0:6:40): Cowpoke lovingly caresses high-heeled shoe. Bald-pated perv molests female bean sculpture. Meet the baddies.

(0:12:30): El Topo gives naked boy (his son) a gun, while mowing down some villains. Goats are distressed.

(0:22:20): This teepee contains an improbable number of pigs.

(0:29:00): El Topo shoots The Colonel's wig off! (Jodorowsky must've spent half his budget on red paint.)

(0:32:25): Naked Boy just got served ... and clothed. El Topo's new ladyfriend decides to lick the shrubbery a little.

(0:35:00): Coaxing water out of an _extremely_ phallic rock (in the middle of the desert, natch).

(0:42:05): Blind, female-voiced, thong-wearing gun master decides to train El Topo. Adoring retinue braids hair with feet.

(0:45:55): El Topo fights dirty. Never mind hitting a guy wearing glasses -- he'll whup an armless men _and_ a legless man.

(0:52:18): How to be a badass: 1) Wear a fur coat in the desert. 2) Build toothpick pyramids. 3) Keep a pet lion.

(0:59:45): So great is El Topo's angst, it can kill an entire herd of bunnies from miles away.

(1:13:17): Mystery Lady gives El Cheato a little stigmata as a souvenir.

(1:17:40): Vest + diaper + frightwig + lipstick = El Topo's new Rocky Horror outfit.

(1:24:55): Good times at the Deviant Cultist Rodeo.

(1:30:42): El Topo & dwarf sidekick bust out a little mime routine. Nothing like pantomime to impress a town full of weirdos.

(1:41:53): Russian roulette makes church exciting!

(1:59:11): Shootout at the Very Much Not OK Corral.

*Apologies if I've whiffed on any of the details here ... as you may imagine, El Topo is not the easiest film to make sense of.

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