“Excerpts From the DVD Commentary for “Born to Lose, Dying to Win” (1978), Recorded by Director Homer Hornbecker for the 2010 Criterion Edition”
This opening scene came almost verbatim from a dream I had after my third wife left me for the chimp handler on that show “B.J. and the Bear,” and I’d gone out and gotten whacked on Everclear and set fire to a cactus in Joshua Tree National Park. Woke up the next morning and found I’d vomited a perfect pentagram around myself and was handcuffed to a coyote that was wearing a wedding veil and some Indian fella told me I was the mayor of a local shanty town. I looked him right in the eye and then and there said, “Son, I got an idea for a movie.” Funny how these things come about.
[sound of vomiting]
Guy playing the gas station attendant here was our producer’s coke dealer. I only gave him the part because he put a hex on me.
Lot of people don’t know it, but I tried to include a motif of big fuckin’ titties in this film. If you look for it you start to see them everywhere, just jigglin’ around. Feminist get on my ass about this stuff, but really I’m just showing my appreciating for the female form. Also sweater meat gives me a boner.
[sound of vomiting, followed by prayer]
I don’t remember this scene. That’s not too surprising though. I don’t remember my fourth wife, five of my kids’ names or most of the mid-to-late 1980s.
You see right there where Johnny stabs that guy? That really happened. I mean, he’s really getting stabbed right there. Fake knife got mixed up with a real one we used for a close-up, so basically Johnny killed a guy. Since we were shooting without a permit, an accident like that would have shut us down, so I made the crew sign a blood oath never to speak of it, had the craft service guys chop the body up, and we ate it. Few beers, a little salsa, didn’t go down too bad. Problem was there was like 50 of us, so there wasn’t enough to go around. That’s why we filmed this second killing here, I think it was some local. Let’s just say a lot of death scenes in this film are noted for their verisimilitude.
We should probably cut this part of the commentary out.
[ten minutes of spoken-word Carpenter’s lyrics]
You see that quick little jump cut there? We had to stop filming when we got into a gang war with the local townsfolk because of all the people who went missing after we showed up. It was pretty brutal. I’m pretty sure that’s when I lost my left pinky. I don’t know, it was the left or right one. Either way, some old lady bit it off. Our gaffer ended up beating the chief of police to death with a length of dolly track and I’m pretty sure someone set a church on fire. Anyway, that’s why Johnny goes suddenly from wearing a leather jacket to wearing a decapitated dog’s head as a hat.
[sound of cigarette being lit and a few minutes of grunting]
This dream sequence is an actual dream I had. How the fuck did we film my dreams, is what I want to know.
[sound of cigarette being lit, inaudible mumbling, occasional prayer]
The ending here has caused some debate apparently, but it’s pretty simple. We ran out of money so we just set everything on fire for the insurance so we could flee the country. I had just consumed an entire coffee thermos of DMT and was trying to start a knife fight with my own skeleton, so I was pretty much up for any idea the goat I had dressed in a tux and called out “executive producer” said was worth trying. I spent a lot of time in Nicaragua after that. I completed the editing by sending death threats via telegram to my ex-wives and a few key political figures. One day I woke up in an ancient lava bed with a note stapled to my chest telling me I’d won the Palme d’Or. Go figure.