The news of David Bowie’s death yesterday hit me harder than I expected, in part because it was so sudden. Just days before my social media had been full of tributes wishing him a happy birthday, and then he was all over my feeds again for a much sadder reason. I’ve read lovely remembrances of Bowie, feelings about how much he inspired a generation to feel free to be weird, and of course listened to a plenty of my favorite songs (and maybe cried a little to a last pre-bedtime listen to Under Pressure…here’s hoping those two are jamming together in rock n’ roll heaven), but I have to pay tribute in my own way.
Let’s talk about Labyrinth.
Oh, Labyrinth. The movie’s actual release was a bit before my time, but cult films live forever. I watched Labyrinth for the first time in middle or high school and didn’t properly appreciate it (though I was, even then, enraptured by David Bowie’s appearance in the film)…I really came into Labyrinth fandom properly in college, and one of my best memories of this past summer was watching the movie with hundreds of other fans at Film on the Hill in Humboldt Park.
David Bowie and his ridiculous outfits are to this day one of my favorite parts of the movie – a leather vest with ridiculously poofy shirt and knee-high boots? Yes please!
Just hangin’ out in my navy blue sequined frock coat, like you do. Jareth’s eye makeup choices in this movie (an ultra extended/almost vertical cateye with super short straight brows) are not ones that I would emulate for myself, but I love the otherworldly, feline appearance they give him. Plus, that hair!
This movie is so gloriously 80s. If I had a giant white fur cape, I would wear it everywhere, and probably try to steal children and entrap people in my mystical labyrinth. Maybe it’s best that I don’t have one.
And the piece de resistance, the hands down best part of the movie, the scene that ignited romantic stirrings in a million teenage hearts…
The masquerade fantasy. First off: any nerdy fantasy-loving girl who tells you she doesn’t love over-the-top masquerade scenes is lying to you. (Maybe she’s not, I don’t know her life, but she probably is.) In fact, I had to take a break watching this post to go watch the scene again. Feel free to take a break from reading it to go check it out. Masquerade scenes are my bread and butter, and a ridiculous glitzy 80s fantasy masquerade is like taking that bread and butter and pouring glitter and sprinkles all over it. The only thing bigger than Sarah’s sleeves in this scene is her hair, and the only thing more fluffy and ridiculous than both of those is the waterfall of ruffles that Jareth is using as a cravat. Plus SEQUINS. and LACE. and MORE GLITTER. Also, check out those blue highlights in Jareth’s hair – now that’s commitment to a look.
Although obviously I didn’t know David Bowie personally, I’ll be sad knowing that we’ll never see anything new from him again…I’m grateful he’s left us one more album. There’s one less fabulously weird, creative person in the world, and that’s always a sad thing. May we all work to add a little bit more weirdness to the world in our own small ways.