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David Bowie’s Jareth the Goblin King Costume, Wig and Props from Labyrinth (Photographed By Gail at Seattle’s EMP)
All of this very sad David Bowie news is the only thing that is making people click on links this week, it seems, and we are all in need of a serious laugh, as a respite from our endless weeping. So, here you go, just in case you missed this brilliant piece of alternative film criticism by Rob Bricken when it was originally published at This Link in April of 2013:
A curious movie watcher [asks]:
I realize that you may not be able to answer this question in the same way that ladies and gay men would be, but in your professional opinion as a nerd and movie watcher, which had the greater visual impact in their respective films: David Bowie’s pants in Labyrinth, or Sting’s eagle-shaped codpiece in the Dune movie? In both cases, I felt strongly that their respective directors filmed them in such as way as to convince me that [their crotches] were completely independent, possibly sentient entities. If so, do you think they should have also received separate acknowledgement during the end credits in their films?
Well, you’re right in that I might have a different answer than some, so consider this my opinion, and nothing more: I say the Bowie Bulge in Labyrinth had more visual impact than Sting’s Stinger in Dune, and here’s why:
First of all, Sting’s underwear in Dune — while winged and containing a massive bulge — doesn’t really show off a lot of detail. Obviously, Sting’s packing something down there, but the underpants themselves cover a volume of space, which Sting’s junk could be contained with room to spare, or fill to the brim. The underpants are solid and opaque, so there’s no way to know for sure.
Meanwhile, Bowie is wearing tights in Labyrinth that show off his Diamond Dog in stunning detail, so we know it’s enormous. It might — might — be smaller than Sting’s package if it truly maxes out its container, but I say the visual proof of Bowie’s gargantuan batch beats Sting’s potential.
But that’s not all; Sting is only in his skivvies for one scene in Dune, while Bowie is strutting around in his Pants Magic Pants for almost the entirety of Labyrinth. More importantly, the way Lynch made Dune, the film — well, Sting’s near-naked duel makes sense, visually and conceptually, within the film’s style. It has a visual impact, but it’s an impact on par with things like the Sandworms and Baron Harkonnen and all that.
Meanwhile, Bowie’s package is the sexual tyrannosaurus hiding in plain sight in what is supposedly a fun kids’ fantasy-adventure movie. While technically more subtle, this half-hearted attempt to hide it is like trying to hide an elephant in your closet — it just makes the elephant a lot more obvious. And most importantly, remember, Labyrinth is about a teenage girl trying to rescue her baby brother from goblins — and the fact that the Goblin King has a massive, massive dick adds this weird, omnipresent sexuality to the entire movie, which I’m not 100% sure wasn’t included on purpose. I say Bowie’s bulge definitely had the bigger impact (so to speak). Also, I am 99% sure Bowie’s penis has its own SAG card.
Should I mention that “Postal Apocalypse” is my favorite thing I do at io9, or does the fact that I got to write 300 words about David Bowie’s crotch in Labyrinth make it go without saying?