Naked Lunch is a 1991 film loosely based on William S. Burroughs’s landmark 1959 novel of the same title. Directed by David Cronenberg, Naked Lunch stars Peter Weller (who also played Robocop!) as William Lee; Judy Davis; Ian Holm; and Roy Scheider (you know, from Jaws.) Set primarily in the Interzone of Tangier, Morocco, the film is a hallucinatory account of the protagonist William Lee’s attempts to find a cure for his depression, drug addiction, and writer’s block. Cronenberg also incorporated many elements from Burroughs’s life, and the death of Joan Vollmer plays a large role in the film. The characters of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac also show up, as they did with Peter Orlovksy to visit Burroughs in Tangier in 1957 and assisted with the manuscript of what became The Naked Lunch.
Typewriters morph into talking, desire-driven insects, like the one featured on the handbill. The film also brought to life one of Burroughs’s most infamous creatures, the Mugwump.
Naked Lunch is available in the Library’s Film & Video Collection.
Check out more from Special Collections’s current gallery exhibition Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted: William S. Burroughs at 100 at http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/burroughs/intro.html