Bag of Crushed Child was born and crushed in 1976, and the single film that he starred in, Bag of Crushed Child
(1979), defined his entire career. He was not, however, credited in the original. As a result of the uproar surrounding the release of Freaks
(1932) and the general censorship that has arisen in the film industry, especially concerning the exploitation of minors and cruelty to animals, the film's Producer, Lawrence I. Eltburg
followed in the grand tradition of Hollywood: He shafted his star on pay and failed to credit him for his work in order to duck an industry rule.
Bag of Crushed Child was born and crushed in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of Felix Silla and Claire Brennen, who met on the set of She Freak (1967), and whose nine-year affair was never publicly revealed. Rumors abound that Lawrence I. Eltburg actually abducted Bag of Crushed Child for use in this film, which Eltburg held dear to his heart. Eltburg's obsession with this film rivals that of D. W. Griffith's unhealthy devotion to The Birth of a Nation (1915), differing only in that Griffith's film made film history as a landmark film and Eltburg's made history as possibly the worst cinematic attempt until League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). Eltburg's obsession has fueled numerous and violent debates concerning the possibility of Bag of Crushed Child's status as a special effect or a real person, and whether or not he was abducted. This debate has since been cleared up, as we will soon see.
Eltburg acted as the Bag of Crushed Child's guardian for some time after the film's completion, but turned him out on the street when the film ultimately flopped. Neither of his parents were willing to claim Bag of Crushed Child, and he was taken into an orphanage four years later after extensive testing at several area hospitals and multiple reconstructive surgeries. Bag of Crushed Child stayed at the orphanage until he was turned out at the age of eighteen. He made a humble living for a few years acting, unaccredited, for General Mills. He did several Hamburger Helper commercials which earned him no recognition and even less pay.
This would have been the end of the story for Bag of Crushed Child, and he would have been just another meaty, squashed, face lost in the crowd of washed-up actors if not for Merrick Meyers. Merrick Meyers did extensive research at the University of Iowa, which lead him to contact the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, where he suspected that Bag of Crushed Child may have been treated just after his abandonment by Eltburg. This proved to be a fruitful lead. Bag of Crushed Child had, in fact, been treated there, but only for a short time, where he picked up a few procedures on Uncle Sam. Hospital records showed him transferred to a government institution at an undisclosed location for several years, and then transferred back only to be released within a week. The events that took place during that time are still completely unknown to Historians of film and science alike. What had appeared, however, was a location and date of Bag of Crushed Child's ultimate release into the world.
Tracking Bag of Crushed Child was a much more difficult matter. It was almost as if he was evading detection. Bag of Crushed Child was always suspicious of credit cards and loans, considering them to be the tools of a corrupt capitalist regime, and therefore always paid for everything he could in cash. Furthermore, Bag of Crushed Child held a Swiss bank account, which made tracking him all the more difficult. The key that gave Bag of Crushed Child away was a trail of forged documents. Red flags had been erected concerning a long string of transactions, trailing from Los Angeles to Texas, which had been executed with various stolen identities. What led Meyers to look for criminal activity in the financial records of the time is still unknown, but remains a miraculous decision.
This string of crimes finally lead Meyers to General Mills, who had faced a few fines for failing to regulate their employees' payroll properly. Specifically, they had been posting income to incorrect Social Security Numbers. Meyers had found Bag of Crushed Child living alone, wallowing in his star-studded childhood, and working for General Mills as a lowly prop. After following leads through multiple pseudonyms, and across 60% of the United States, as well as a few trips to Europe, Meyers finally located Bag of Crushed Child, primarily through his long list of tax crimes, which had grown in severity over the years from identity theft for survival to minor forms of embezzlement targeting General Mills. Meyers had finally done what historians had not been able to do; he had solved the riddle of Bag of Crushed Child.
In October of 2003, Meyers made the fateful phone call, confirming his suspicions. Having traced some illegal Internet activity in following with Bag of Crushed Child's criminal style to a specific town in Maryland, he started looking up all of Bag of Crushed Child's many pseudonyms in the town. He found a match, and dialed the number.
"Hello, my name is Merrick Meyers, and I would like to speak to Gregory Duchovnay."
"Greg? One moment please…"
After a long conversation Meyers convinced Bag of Crushed Child to come to Iowa and help him remake the film that defined Bag of Crushed Child's career: Bag of Crushed Child.
As is evidenced in the primary document provided above, Meyers did much of the work for the release of Bag of Crushed Child (2004). In the film we see a more mature Bag of Crushed Child who has refined his bludgeoning techniques to perfection. This, as well as Thunderland's Oscar-worthy performance, is the only thing perfect about the movie. Of course, just like any subjective statement, this may be debated. Many of the long, continuous shots, such as that of the band Thunderland performing, may be considered to be the result of the ineptitude of the director or editor, or they may be considered to be an avant-guard rejection of more glamorous scenes including close-ups and cross-cutting to an audience as bourgeois symbols of modern excess. Despite many criticisms of the poor acting and editing, and the questionable camerawork, it must be considered that these devices may have been in Homage to the earlier film The Blair Witch Project (1999), which does, in fact, surpass this new Bag of Crushed Child in quality.
The interesting thing that must be noted, however, is that in the document above, Meyers addresses the process of replacing the original Bag of Crushed Child 'prop.' As it turns out, Meyer's motivations were less than immaculate. Meyers had, several years earlier, become involved with the occult, and believed that he was the reincarnation of Eltburg (despite the fact that Eltburg was still alive at the time). Meyers was trying to recreate and properly construct the Magnum Opus that is Bag of Crushed Child. Though he did credit Bag of Crushed Child on film to appease him, he undermined this effect by releasing multiple statements and commentaries discussing the 'Choosing of props.' Bag of Crushed Child was not crushed by this, however, because he never found out. Both Bag of Crushed Child and Meyers died days after the release of the second Bag of Crushed Child film of Heroin overdoses in Meyers' garage.
Merrick Meyers: A Biography Harcourt Press: 2003
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