November 15, 2019 zachary

Welcome to Moundspotting where we celebrate the Mound form in cinema. Spotting the multitude of mounds in a film is not always easy but once you train your eye to look for them they pop up damn near everywhere.  We went with certain Criteria: It has to be a self standing natural form, It can be mound-like and it should appear prominently at least once in a scene. Film quality and film popularity is waived for this survey. The ordering of these mounds is purely at the discretion of the assembly of moundspotters any and all disagreements or contentious comments are strongly encouraged and will be subject to harsh criticism. Please contact and allow thirty to sixty business days for us not to reply. 

The assembly of Moundspotters are filmmaker Joey Garfield, author Todd Hasak-Lowy, and humorist Matt Morris. With illustrations by Zöe Lotus.


CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A THIRD KIND (1977) This Speilberg classic features one of the more iconic Mounds in all of cinema: The Devils Tower. Located in Wyoming, this gem of a Mound won the Academy Award for best supporting actor in 1977.

JURASSIC PARK (1993) : Jeff Goldblum’s character Ian Malcom comes face to face with a prehistoric mound pile in the first of this blockbuster science fiction adventure film trilogy.

FREE SOLO (2018)- this is our only documentary in the moundspotting category and rightfully so. It raises the question can a mountain be a mound?  The answer is No. No, and of course. The Free Solo mountain (El Capitan) is shaped somewhat like a mound but it is a giant mountain. More than that, it is a symbol of the ability of humans to scale an impossible obstacle. Scaling a mound is also impossible but only in as much as your foot will fall right through the snow or leaves. It will also hurt their feelings and damage their generally wide bottoms.

THE REVENANT (2015)  One wonders what a mound is not made of and the short answer would be “not much”. For example, in the middle of one of the most relentless of revenge films, sits an impressive and poignant mound of buffalo skulls that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass encounters on his way back from the dead. This film is considered a masterpiece for such details like this mound.

manjhiMANJHI (2015) This is a Hindi film about a man who by the looks of the trailer has to prove his love by breaking through a giant rock mound using nothing more than a sledgehammer John Henry style. Now we here at Moundspotting don’t condone destroying a perfectly good mound. The only exception would be, of course for love.

TRAINSPOTTING (1996)  Perhaps the most poignant moment in Danny Boyle’s 1996 hit film is the “Going for a walk scene” where the innocent and heartbroken Tommy tries to get his three strungout and hungover friends Renton, Sickboy, and Spud to take a walk up a wee mound in Rannoch Moor Scotland for some fresh air. Here, Renton played by Ewen Mcgregor, delivers a scathing monologue of the collective self hatred all Scotts have or should have for themselves and convinces Tommy to give up on the walk. “It’s a shite state of affairs to be in, Tommy, and all the fresh air in the world won’t make any fucking difference!”. It is a pivotal scene that flips this dark comedy to darker with Tommy becoming a sacrificial lamb type metaphor for the soul crushing effects of heroin on the youth.

ScarfaceSCARFACE (1983) The small but powerful mound of cocaine that sits on Tony Montoya’s desk in the final scene of Scarface exemplifies the mound spotting experience. We except mounds of all shapes and sizes. Despite the illegal and addictive quality of this mound we rank it at 7 for it’s pure and uncut form.

ConanConan The Barbarian Battle of the Mounds scene (1982). Cmon..any film that has a mound scene written in the screenplay is going to get a mention…its like Arnold Shwartzenegger did this on purpose just for us to mention the film in our zine decades later. This is probably why it grossed over $16 Million at the box office. Here is the scene breakdown according to Wikipedia: Valeria is mortally wounded by Doom after he shoots a stiffened snake at her. She dies in Conan’s arms. acknowledging the price of the “toll” forewarned by the wizard in exchange for Conan’s life, and is cremated at the Mounds, where Conan prepares with Subotai and the wizard to battle Doom. Conan asks Crom, the god of his people, to grant him revenge. By using booby traps and exploiting the terrain, they manage to slay Doom’s warriors when they arrive. I don’t get it either. For a lengthier explanation go ask Crom yourself.

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)  Wes Craven’s cult horror film makes the list on the merits of its title alone. There is no mound to be found here unless Michael Berrymans forehead counts.

 Dune (1984) Duh.