Jacob's Ladder (1990) - full transcript

New York postal worker Jacob Singer is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam. Although his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain.

{\an8}Uh, Charlie-Fox, Charlie-Fox-6,

{\an8}Roger, be advised...

We'll have resupplies
down by chopper. Over.

Strong shit, man.

Where the fuck are the
Goddamn gooks already?

I don't think the fuckin' things
are even out there.

Jesus, this shit's something else.

Hey, Professor...

how many times
can you shit in an hour?

Professor got beaucoupshits, man.

Why do you even bother pulling them up?



You jerking off again, huh, Jake?

Come over here and jerk on this.

Come choke my black root.

Please?

He's asking politely.

Ain't got a fucking tweezer, man.

Oh, ho! Yeah!

Shit! We got movement in the treeline.

Shit!

Movement in the treeline!

1, 3, 2, 0!

Fuck, something's wrong.

What the fuck's wrong with you?

Motherfuck.



It's my head.

Help me!

Get up!

Paul, help me!

Get up!

Help me!

What the fuck's wrong with you?
Come on, get up!

Medic!

Medic! Stop it!

Aah!

Medic, we need you here!

Come on, man.

Stop it!

Aah!

Medic!

1, 2, 3, 0!

Fire!

Aah!

My arm! My arm!

Aw, fuck!

Aah!

Oh, God.

Fucking shit!

Excuse me.

Uh...

Do you know if we've passed
Bergen Street yet?

Bergen?

Um, I fell asleep.

Um, alright. Ok.

Fuck.

Shit.

Hey, Chester.

Go back to sleep.

Get insomnia again?

Jake, is that you?

What the hell did you do,
move all the furniture?

I just moved the chair, that's all.

That help?

Yeah, thanks.

So what do you think?

About what?

The room.

Ask me tomorrow.

It is tomorrow.

How come you're so late?

Bud Nash didn't show up again.

Called in sick.

He's always sick.

So I worked.

Got some overtime.

What happened to your pants?

Don't ask.

You look terrible.

Thanks.

Help me.

Help me.

Oh, fuck.

You're up?

Oh, fuck.

What's that?

Your kid dropped it off.

Who, Jed?

No, the little one.

Eli.

Why can't you remember their names?

They're weird names.

They're biblical names.

They were prophets.

Well, personally,

I never went for church names.

What?

Where do you think Jezebel came from?

Nobody calls me that.

You're such a heathen, Jezzie.

How'd I ever get involved

with such a fucking ninny?

You sold your soul, remember?

That's what you told me.

Yeah? For what?

A good lay.

Look what I got--

- The best.
- The best.

So what's in the bag?

Pictures.

Your wife was gonna toss them,

so what's-his-name dropped
it over on the way to school.

Eli.

Eli. Ee-lie.

These are great.

Yeah?

Look at this baby.

Aw, who's that?

Isn't that the cutest
baby you've ever seen?

Little fat little thing.

That's me.

That's you? Let me see.

No, that's all right.
This fat little thing.

You don't have to look.

Who's this?

Sarah.

Sarah.

I can see what you mean.

What?

Why you left.

What do you mean?

Jake, she looks like a real bitch.

Well, she looked good then.

Not to me.

You didn't marry her.

Hello, baby.

How you doing?

What's wrong?

Is this the one who died

before you went to Vietnam?

Yeah, it's Gabe.

Oh, God.

Sorry.

Took me by surprise.

I didn't expect to see him today.

What are you doing?
Stop it!

I don't like things that make you cry.

I didn't cry.

♪ When there are gray skies... ♪

♪ I don't mind the gray skies... ♪

♪ You'll make them blue... ♪

♪ Sonny boy... ♪

Hey, Donald.

In to get your check?

You one greedy motherfucker, man.

Don't you know that?

Hi.

How's it going?

Better now.

Yeah?

Mmm.

I'm gonna go home.

What's wrong?

Oh it's just one of those days.

My back's killing me.
I'll go see Louie.

Oh no, not again.
Your boss is gonna kill you.

What can you do?

Well, I'll miss riding home with you.

I was looking forward to it.

Easy. My back.

Come on, Jake,
that didn't hurt.

How do you know?

I know you.

How come you're so tense today?

I don't know.
What can I tell you?

I saw Sarah the other day.

Oh, yeah?

Mm-hmm.

Her knee acting up?

A bit.

So what'd she have to say?

Turn on your right side.

How about the other right?

I don't understand you philosophers.

You got the world figured out,

But you can't remember your left.

What did she say?

Not much.

She's like you that way--

two clams.

No wonder your marriage didn't last.
Put your hand on your hip.

Take a deep breath...

And let it out slowly,

slowly...

That's good.

Now turn to your left.

Did she talk about the boys?

She said you're a son of a bitch,

and she regrets the day she
set eyes on you.

Thought she didn't say much.

She didn't, that's about all she said.
Put your hand here.

Take a breath.

Easy...

On your back.

I think she still loves you.

I don't think so.

She doesn't stop talking about you.

That's love, Jake.

I think you should go back to her.

She threw me out, remember?

Your problem is you spent
six years getting a Ph.D.

and then went to work for the post office.

What can I tell you?

After 'Nam, I didn't
want to think anymore.

Any other brain but yours, I'd agree.

Now relax...

Relax. This is going
to be a little strong.

That a boy.

That a boy.

I found one.

I think he's still alive.

Wh--

What did you...

What did you do to me?

I had to get in there.

It's a deep adjustment.

Rest a moment.

Let it set a bit.

I had a weird flash just now.

What?

I don't know.

I've been having them recently.

You know, you look
like an angel, Louie.

Like an overgrown cherub.

Anyone ever tell you that?

Yeah.

You.

Every time I see you.

You're a lifesaver, Louie.

I know.

Mr. Postman.

Mr. Postman.

Where's your letters, baby?

Hey, Mr. Postman.

Where's your bag?

Shake your thing.

♪ Wait ♪

♪ Oh, yes, wait a minute, Mr. Postman ♪

♪ Wait, wait, wait, wait, Mr. Postman ♪

♪ Please, Mr. Postman, look and see ♪

♪ Whoa, yeah ♪

♪ If there's a letter in your bag for me ♪

♪ I've been waitin' for such a long time ♪

♪ Whoa, yeah ♪

Where you going?
Where you going?

- We don't remember the words.
I'm sorry...

Look out!

Singer?

Please, Elizabeth, sit down.

I need to see Dr. Carlson, please.

Carlson?

Is he new here?

No, he's been here for years.

Not according to my charts.

Do you have an appointment?

Uh, no. Listen I need to see him,
I know where his room is.

Just give me a pass.
I won't be long, 10 minutes.

Our doctors are seen
by appointment only.

Damn.

I was in the veterans'
outpatient program.

He knows me.

What was your name?

Singer. Jacob singer.

I've got a lot of work here.

Haven't even had my lunch yet.

I'm sorry, but, uh...

there's no record of a Jacob Singer

in our files.

What do you mean, no record?

Do I have to spell it out for you?

There is nothing there.

That's ridiculous.

I've been coming here for years.

Listen to me. I'm--I'm...

I, uh...I need to see Dr. Carlson.

If it is an emergency,

we have a staff of psychiatric
social workers.

There's about an hour's wait.

Would you just fill out
this form, please?

I don't want any social worker.

I want to talk to Dr. Carlson.

He knows me.

Hey! Come back here!

Hey!

Hey, come back here!

Hey!

Look out.

Get out of here.

Hey, come on!

Hold him.

He made it.

Can I help you?

Where's Dr. Carlson?

Isn't this his office?

Be just a minute.

Why don't we step out in the hall?

It's ok.

I'm so sorry.

Dr. Carlson died.

Died?

It was a car accident.

Oh, Jesus.

Oh, Jesus.

When?

Uh, about a month ago.
Just before Thanksgiving.

How'd it happen?

No one really knows.

They say it blew up.

Blew up?

What do you mean, blew up?

I really don't know.

Is there anything I can do for you?

Do you...

Do you want me to get you someone?

No...

I'm ok.

Maybe it's the pressure, Jake.

You know, the money.

Things like that.

Or your wife.

Why do you bring her up?

She's always on your mind.

I never talk about her.

It has nothing to do with talking.

Maybe it's the war.

You can't spend two years in Vietnam

and expect--

Aw, Jezzie, come on.

How does that explain
barricaded subway stations

or how does that explain
these fucking creatures?

Creatures?

Jake, New York is filled with creatures,

and lots of stations are closed.

They're like...

demons, Jezz.

Demons?

Jake, honey...

they're winos and bag ladies.

Lowlife. That's all they are.

The streets are crawling with them.

Don't make them into something
they're not, hmm?

These guys were trying to kill me.

They were aiming at me.

Kids on a joy ride.

It happens all the time.

They were inhuman.

Oh, come on.

What were they, Jake?

You still love me?

What?

Do you love me?

Yeah.

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi...

Hey, where are you going?

Come with me.

Do you have a girlfriend?

Do you like her an awful lot?

Do you want a new girlfriend?

I live very close to here,

and I'm very lonely.

♪ More... More... More ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ♪

♪ Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir... ♪

Hey.

Let me look at your hand.

No, thanks.

Go ahead, Jake. Let her.

She's real good.

Come on.

It's fun.

You left-handed or right-handed?

Um...right.

Give it to me.

Ok.

Mm-hmm. Married man.

Please.

Oh, no.

Oh, divorce.

I like that.

You see this here, that split?

Where?

Right here.

It's a paper cut.

Ooh, and a sense of humor, too.

I love it.

Hey, Jake, Jake.

Come on, baby, come on and dance
with me just one, huh?

What, are you flirting?

Hi.

Let's see, this is your heart line...

and your head line.

Huh?

And your life line.

You have a very strange line, hon.

No, it's not funny.

See, according to this,
you're already dead.

You're out of here, baby.

What can you do?

Just give me your blue
eyes before you go, ok?

Wait, wait. Jake, come here.

Come on, come on, you can dance.

I don't want to.

Come on, baby, shake it.

Come on, man, move those legs.

Move them legs brother,
move them size 13s.

Those are some big fucking feet.
Shit.

Jesus, look at that.

His guts are hanging out.

You'll have to push them back in.

I have never--

I have never been so
mortified in my whole life.

Screaming like that.

I don't understand what's
gotten into you, Jake.

You're not acting normal.

There's been too many
crazies in my life.

I don't want it anymore.

I'm tired of men flipping out on me.

If you go crazy,

You're going crazy by yourself,
you understand?

What's it say?

Oh, my God. I'm calling the doctor.

What's it say?

It's gone to the top.

Great.

Dr. Forrest, I'm so sorry to bother you.

This is Jezzie Pipkin up on 14-G.

I just took Jake's temperature,

and it says 106.

Could that be right?

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God.

Get out of bed.

I can't. I'm freezing.

Jake, for Pete's sake, get out of bed!

What did the doctor say?

That you'd die on the
way to the hospital.

Come on, up, up.

Hold on, hold on.

You're going to be ok, Jake.

What are you doing?

Get in there, I gotta get more ice.
- I'm freezing!

What's happening?

I need some ice right away. He's
running a 106 fever.

It's an emergency-- ice.

Thank you.

Come on, sam.

Oh, my God.

Oh, Jake, oh, Jake,
don't you die on me.

Sam, help me!

Sam!

I'll help.

Come on.

Be careful with him.

Hold on.

Come on. It's for your own good.

Come on, Jake.

Come on, get him in there.

You're going to be fine.

Hold him! Hold him!

It's going to be ok.

Is he all right?

He doesn't like this.

Help me!

Stop it!

Jake, don't you die on me.

Stop it! You're killing me!

Shit.

What was that?

I'm freezing.

I'm not cold.

Of course you're not cold.
You have all the covers.

Must be 10 degrees in here.

I'm telling you, Sarah...

if you want fresh air,

you can sleep on the fire escape.

From now on, that window's closed.

It's not healthy when it's closed.

Healthy? You call this healthy?

I'm going to die of pneumonia.

This is healthy?

What a dream I was having.

I was living with another woman.

You know who it was?

I don't want to know.

Jezebel from the post office.

You remember her. You met her at
the Christmas Party that time.

I was living with her.

God, what a nightmare.

There were all these demons,

and I was on fire.

I was burning from ice.

Guilty thoughts.

See what happens when you cheat on me,

even in your mind?

She was really good in bed.

Go to sleep.

She had these great thighs.

Oh, I thought you said
it was a nightmare.

It was.

It was a nightmare.

It was a terrible, terrible nightmare.

Daddy, what was that noise?

What are you doing up?

It's cold.

Well, tell your mother.

Go back to bed, darling.

Will you tuck me in?

Who, her?

No. Daddy.

Shit.

Good night, sweetheart.

Oh, God. Come on.

Good night, darling.

Ok. Close your eyes.

♪ I don't mind the gray skies ♪

♪ You make the moon-- ♪

Blue?

♪ Sonny boy ♪

♪ When I'm old and gray, dear ♪

♪ Promise you won't stray, dear ♪

♪ I love you so ♪

♪ Sonny-- ♪

Boy

Dad?

Yeah, Jed?

You forgot my allowance.

Your allowance?

It's 5:00 in the morning.

We'll talk about it at breakfast.

All right, but don't forget.

I love you, Dad.

What is this, a convention?

I love you too, Pickles.

Go back to sleep.

Wait.

Don't go.

I'm not going anywhere.

I'm right here.

Close your eyes.

See you in the morning.

Don't shut it.

Open it a bit more.

There?

A little bit more.

There?

Good.

I love you, Sarah.

Watch the head.

Move it!

Don't think we got a
fucking chance down here.

Declare an emergency. Over.

You're a lucky guy, Jake.

You must have friends in high places.

Let's get down to Orson.

I was going to vote for three,

and I switched to two
with some trepidation,

because she said one over one,

which means number one
of an addition of one.

I think only an artist would know that.

Jake?

You're going to be all right, Jake.

Oh, you're going to be fine.

Am I...

Am I home?

Yeah. You're right here.

Home.

Doctor says you're lucky
your brains didn't boil.

What a night, Jake, huh?

You were screaming and kicking...

and you kept saying,

"Sarah, close the window,"

over and over.

And talking to your kids,

even the dead one.

Weird, huh?

You know you melted 50 pounds
of ice in 8 hours?

Am I... am I dead?

Oh, no.

No. You're right here.

Doctor says you got to rest.

You see, he says you have a virus.

That's what they always say

when they don't know what it is.

Now, you just lie here, ok?

You know, you really
ought to get out today.

You can't just sit around
like this all the time.

It's not healthy.

It's not good for your mind.

Go take a walk or something.

Do something.

Go to a movie.

Go enjoy yourself.

One of us should be having a good time.

Anybody in there?

Anybody home?

Who are you?

Fuck you.

Two weeks of this shit!

I've had enough.

Go ahead and rot if you want.

Have a good fucking day.

Hello.

Jake?

Yeah?

It's Paul. Paul Gruniger.

Paul Gruniger.

Paul.

Paul Gruniger. Jesus, how are you?

It's been like five, six years.

Yeah. A long time.

So, what's up?

Nothing much.

Yeah. Well, same here.

I need to see you, Jake.

I'd love to see you, man,

But I've been kinda laid up.
I've been sick.

I need to see you.

All right.

Something's wrong, Jake.

I don't know what it is,

but I can't talk to anybody about it.

I mean, I figured I could talk to you.

You always used to listen,

you know.

I'm going to hell.

That's as straight as I can put it.

And don't tell me that I'm crazy

'cause I know I'm not.

They're coming after me.

Who is?

They've been following me.

They're coming out of the walls.

I can't trust anybody.

But I got to talk to somebody.

I got to talk to somebody,

or I'm going to fly out
of my fucking mind!

Mind your business.

I don't know who they are

or what they are,

but they're going to get me,

and I'm scared, Jake.

I'm so scared, I can't do anything.

I can't go to my sister's.

I can't even...

I can't even go home.

I don't know what to do.

Paul?

Shit.

Paul, I know what you're talking about.

What do you mean?

I've seen them, too.

You've seen them?

I've seen them, too...

Everywhere, like a plague.

My God, I thought I was the only one.

Yeah, me, too.

I thought I was going out of
my fucking mind.

I know, I know.

Look, I carry these around
everywhere with me,

but they don't help.

Nothing helps.

What happened?

What happened that night?

What have they done to us?

I don't know.

Profile.

Great. That's it.

Give it to him.

My lucky day.

Be advised, we have heavy gunfire...

Mayday, mayday, mayday!

Five minutes to Da Nang.

No, no.

You have to be strong for your children.

Listen to what she's saying.

Did anybody see the police report?

Sounds like a bomb to me.

The paper said it was electrical.

It was an accident.

That's bullshit.

Someone's covering something up.

That was no accident. It was set, man.

Why? Paul wasn't hated
by anybody in the world.

So what did he say when ya'll went out?
Did he say anything?

Well, he was upset.

He thought people were following him.

Yeah? Who?

He didn't know--

Demons.

Demons? What the fuck
you talking about, demons?

He thought he was going to hell.

Well why did he say that for?

What would make him say that?

I mean, that's strange.

What else did he say, Jake?

He was scared.

He was seeing things.

Coming out of the woodwork.

"They're trying to get me," he said.

Did he say what they looked like?

Excuse me.

In one end and out the other,
huh, George?

Still a fucking spaz.

Hope he can hold his dick
better than he can his bottle.

What?

Something weird is going on here.

Ya know, Paul isn't the first one
who's died.

Remember Dr. Carlson over at Bellevue?

His car blew up, too.

Dr. Carlson's dead?

Yeah. An explosion just like Paul's.

We got six guys here
going fucking crazy.

Yeah well, not me, buddy.

Alright not you, Rod, but the rest of us
are going out of our fucking minds.

You think this has something
to do with that night?

It's got something to do with something.

I think we have to go see the Army.

They're not telling us something.
We have to find out what it is.

Oh, come on, Professor. What makes you think
the Army's going to give you any answers?

You're gonna be butting your head up
against a brick wall.

We'll have to get ourselves a lawyer.

You should find yourself a shrink.

You're all fucking paranoid.

It was bad grass.
That's all it was, man.

I mean there's no such things
as fucking demons.

Come on.

Carol, I'm going to need you with
your pad in about 15 minutes.

Well, I'm sorry,

Mr. Singer,

but you know how many people come to me

with the injustices of the world?

It would break your heart.

Listen, Mr. Geary, this is very
important to us.

The Army did something to us,
and we've got to find out what.

The Army? Jeez, what's with you guys?

This is not a walk to the library
we're talking about.

This is the U.S. government
for chrissakes.

This is red tape coming out of your ass.

You know what I mean?

Yeah I know what you mean,
that's why we're here.

Do you think you can help us?

What am I, Perry Mason?

All right. I'll look into it.

You think we have a chance?

I need sworn depositions
from all of you

I need a list of every other member
of the platoon or their survivors.

This is great.

Yeah... I'll tell you one thing.

If we do find that the military is implicated in
this, you all stand to make quite a bit of money.

Not that I can predict anything,

but class action suits of this kind

have been awarded fairly
generous judgments.

That wouldn't be so bad, would it,
Mr. Singer?

We're not in it for the money.

- That's right.
- Right.

All right, gentlemen,

who wants to go first?

I put a hungry man in the oven.

It will be ready at a quarter of.

Ok.

I also made you a tossed salad,
it's in the fridge.

Ok. Thanks.

I got you some apple juice.

No, not Red Cheek.

Red Cheek.

Ah, shit.

Don't drink it all.

All right.

Oh, and your lawyer called.

When?

When you were in the shower.

You didn't call me?

He didn't give me a chance.

He hung up on me.

Look, Jake, don't be upset, ok?

He's not taking your case.

What? What do you mean?

He said you didn't have one.

What's he talking about?

I don't know. He was very rude.

He said that your friends backed out.

I don't believe this.

Oh, baby, I feel terrible.

I'd stay, but I'm so late.

We'll talk when I get home, ok?

Yeah.

Are you all right?

Yeah, I'm fine.

You sure?

Give me a kiss.

I'll see you later.

Bye, sweetheart.

Hello?

Frank, hi. It's Jake.

Listen um, I just got a strange
call from Geary.

He said the guys backed down.

What's he talking about?

Uh...

Yeah, that's right, Jake, we did.

Why?

I don't know. It's hard to explain.

Well, try.

You know, Jake, um...

War's war.

Things happen.

Things happen?

What does that mean?

I thought we were going
to do something, Frank.

There's nothing to do, Jake.

Who's been talking to you?

What's going on, Frank?

I'll call the other guys.

They're not interested, Jake.

What do you mean they're not interested?

They're not interested.

We all talked about this.

We're all suffering the same symptoms man.

Listen, the Army's hiding
something from us.

We got to find out what it is.

Uh, Jake, I got to go.

No, no, no, wait. Hold on.

No, wait. Don't hang up.

Jake, don't call back anymore, ok?

Wait!
I can't do this by myself.

Frank?

Frank?

We'll get them this afternoon.

Have a good lunch.

Geary.

Mr. Geary.

Excuse me.

Who's been talking to you, huh?

The Army?

Have they been talking to you?

Nobody's talking to nobody.

You don't have a case.

Keep your hands off me.

Leave me alone.

Listen, you can't do this. You can't walk
away like this. We need your help.

You need a doctor.

I don't need a doctor.
The Army did something to me.

I got to prove it. You gotta help me!

There's nothing I can do, all right?

Just leave me alone.

Something's going on here.

You're not telling me something.

What's wrong with you?

I'll tell you what's wrong with me.

I don't know you from Adam, right?

You walk in to my office
with some bizarre-o story

and demand I check it out.
Alright fine, I did.

Now I don't know what kind of fool
you take me for,

but you've used and abused me sir,
and I don't like it.

Used you?

That's right I checked with the Army's
Bereau of Information,

You never even went to Vietnam.

What's that supposed to mean?
- It means that you and your friends are wacko!

You were all discharged
on psychological grounds

after some war games in Thailand.

Don't you see what they're doing?

We were in Da Nang.
You got to believe me.

Go fuck yourself, Singer.

Hey!

What is this?

What is this?

Help!

Help!

Come on, get in there, you cocksucker.

Get off of me!

You little fuck!

Mr. Singer.

What an appropriate name

for someone who can't
keep his mouth shut.

Who are you? What do you want?

We've been watching you
for a long time--

you and your friends--

Frightening people with foolish talk

about the Army and experiments.

You're in over your head, Mr. Singer.

Men drown that way.

The Army was part of another life.

Let it lie.

I hope we've made our point, Mr. Singer.

Kill this motherfucker!

Help!

Look out!

Please give a little something

to help the poor families.

You poor, poor man.

Merry, merry Christmas!

This guy's really hurt.

You better get something in him.

Hi, I'm Dr. Stewart.

Can you tell me what happened?

My back.

I--I can't move.

Get my chiropractor.

Your back?

Did you fall?

He said he slipped on the pavement.

He may have hit his head.

Does he have any identification?

No wallet, nothing.

He stole it.

Who did?

Santa Claus.

I got to get the bastard.

It had my son's picture in it--

Gabe's picture.

It's the only one I had.

Get an orthopedic man in here.
Is Dr. Davis on call?

I'll page him.

Call my chiropractor.

We're doing everything we can.

Louie Denardo,

Nostend avenue.

I'm gonna have to move you a little
bit just to check for injuries.

No, doctor.

This may hurt a little.

No, no--aah!

I don't have to ask you if
you could feel that.

God damn it. I need Louie.

Who's Louie?

He's out of it.

Let's take him down to X-ray.

Gabe?

Jezzie...

Get me out of here.

Where do you want to go?

Home.

Home?

This is your home. You're dead.

Dead?

No. No, I just hurt my back.

I'm not dead.

What are you, then?

I'm alive!

Then what you doing here?

I don't know.

This isn't happening.

What is happening?

Get me out of here.

There is no out of here.

You've been killed.

Don't you remember?

Careful.

We're losing him!

We're losing him!

Watch it! Careful.

Shit! What the fuck's taking them--

He's still pretty doped up.

I don't think he'll
be able to talk yet.

and I doubt he'll recognize you.

I just want to see him.

I'll be outside if you need me.

Dad?

Hi.

It's us.

You ok?

Jake,

it's me.

We heard what happened.

I'm not dead.

What?

I'm alive.

I'm not dead.

Oh. Oh, no.

Oh, no. Of course you're not.
You just hurt your back, that's all.

It'll be fine. It just takes some time.

A month they said.

Just hang in there, dad.

Now stop it.

It's not funny.

God.

What a mess, huh?

Oh, Jacob.

I still love you.

For whatever that's worth.

Dream on.

Oh, God, no!

What?

What?

Oh, god, what?

Tell me, what can I do?

Help me.

Hold on.

Jacob?

Shh.

Jacob Singer!

Shh!

Jacob!

Sir, keep your voice down.

Where's Jacob Singer?

Louie, I'm in here!

Jake? Where are you, Jake?

You can't go in there.

Can I help you sir?

Jacob!

Good god, Jake, what have they done?

Can I help you?

You can't go in there.

What is this, the Middle Ages?

Don't touch him!

They call this modern medicine?

This is barbaric. Barbaric!

All right, just calm down.

Why don't you just burn him at the stake
and put him out of his misery?

Sir, you're gonna have to leave!

Stay back! Don't come near me!

Stay back!

Take one step

And I'll wrap this around your neck.

Calm down.

Back! Back!

Calm down.

Come on, Jake.

Come on.

You can't do that.

Make sure that security's alerted.

You can't do this!

Out of the way!

I'm upset.

I'm really upset.

That's a crazy man.

That man is crazy.

Watch your toes, Jake.

Well, you've done it
to yourself this time,

haven't you?

Am I dying, Louie?

From a slipped disk?

That would be a first.

I was in hell.

I don't want to die, Louie.

Well, I'll see what I can do about it.

It's all pain.

Straighten out your head.

Relax.

You ever read Meister Eckhart?

No.

How did you get your doctorate
without reading Eckhart?

Relax.

Ok, good. Now turn over gently--

right side.

The other right, ok?

You're a regular basket
case, you know that?

Eckhart saw hell, too.

You know what he said?

He said the only thing
that burns in hell

is the part of you

that won't let go of your life--

your memories, your attachments.

They burn them all away.

But they're not punishing you, he said.

They're freeing your soul.

Relax.

Good.

So the way he sees it...

if you're frightened of dying
and you're holding on...

you'll see devils tearing
your life away.

But if you've made your peace,

then the devils are really angels

freeing you from the earth.

It's just a matter of how
you look at it, that's all.

So don't worry, ok?

Ok?

Good.

Relax.

Relax.

Relax...

And wiggle your toes.

Come on, wiggle your toes.

Perfect.

We got it.

We got it.

Get on your back. Come on.

Easy.

Ok?

Now let's just give it a little try.

I want to see if you can stand.

By myself?

You can do it.

Come on.

Just give it a try, Jacob.

Come on.

Come on.

Attaboy. Go ahead.

Go ahead.

Go ahead.

Hallelujah.

Jake?

What's wrong?

It's me.

Are you ok?

Jesus Christ, where have you been?

I've been worried sick.

I mean, it's two days,
and you don't call me?

I was in the hospital.

Oh, Jesus. In the hospital?

Jake, honey, what hospital?

I called every hospital in the city.

No, don't.

What's going on?

I'm not here. You haven't seen me.

Hello?

Is Jacob Singer there please?

No. I haven't seen him all night.

When do you expect him?

I don't know.

Could you please tell him something for me?

Could you tell him I was in Vietnam--

- Vietnam?

There was a secret experiment--

- What experiment?

I need to see him as soon as possible.

Hello. This is Jacob Singer.

Jacob, I was in-country in '68.

I was a part of a chemical
warfare unit out of Saigon.

We conducted secret
experiments for the government.

My God.

Are you there?

Yeah.

Do you want to know more?

Yeah. Where can I meet you?

On the corner of 128th and
Westside Highway

in front of a coffee truck.

Ok. How will I know you?

You already know me, Jacob.

I do?

Yes. Just listen, make sure you're
not followed, ok?

All right. Bye.

I knew it.

Who was that?

A chemist.

Part of a chemical warfare
unit out of Saigon.

I knew something was going on.

Jake... please don't go.

Oh, I'm sorry.

Jacob?

Hi. I'm Michael Newman.

Yeah.

I told you you'd know me.

I've been tracking you for a long time.

I just wish I would've spoken to
you before tonight.

Why are you following me?

You're one of the survivors, Jacob.

Come on. We can't talk here.

It's not safe. Come on.

So, first I'm arrested, right?

Best LSD I ever made
right down the drain.

I figured, "This is it, man.

20 years in the can if I'm lucky."

That was 1968.

Long time ago.

Really. Next thing I know,
I'm on Riker's island.

You ever been there, man?

Well, suddenly, they
take me from my cell,

they throw me in a waiting room
with bank teller windows.

Four army colonels with
medals up their asses

are standing on the other side.

They say to me, if I come
to Vietnam for two years--

No action, just work in a lab--

they'll drop all the charges
and wipe the record clean.

I'd only been in jail for like 13 hours.

I knew 'Nam couldn't be any worse.

Shows how little you knew.

Yeah, really. They had me by the balls.

So next thing I know, I'm in Saigon.

I'm working in a top-secret lab

synthesizing mind-altering drugs.

Not the street stuff.

They had us isolating
special properties--

the dark side.

They wanted a drug that increased
aggressive tendencies.

They were scared. They were worried.

They figured you guys were too soft,

not fighting up to your potential.

They wanted something to stir you up,

make you mad, you know,
tap into your anger.

And we did it.

Most powerful thing I ever saw.

Even a bad trip, and believe
me, I've had my share,

do not compare to the
fury of the Ladder.

The Ladder?

Yeah. That's what they called it.

A fast trip straight down the Ladder--

right to the primal fear,
right to the base anger.

I'm telling you, man, it was powerful.

I don't need to tell you.
You already know.

We did experiments on jungle monkeys.

It worked.

They bashed each other's heads in,

gouged out their eyes,
chewed off their tails.

The brass loved it.

Then they made us try it on charlie.

We, uh...

took these POWs, you know?

Just kids, really.

And... we put them in this courtyard,

And we fed them huge
doses of the stuff.

I mean, they were worse
than the monkeys.

I didn't know men could do those things.

Anyway, there was this big
offensive coming up, right?

Everyone knew it--

Time Magazine, Huntley Brinkley--

And the brass were scared man,

because they knew we couldn't win.

Morale was down, it was
getting ugly in the States.

Hell, you remember.

Yeah.

So, a couple days later,

they decide to use the Ladder...

on one test battalion...

Yours.

Just an infinitesimal dose in
the food supply, they said,

just to prove its effectiveness
in the field.

They were sure your unit would
have the highest kill ratio

in the whole God damn offensive,

and they were right--
you did--

except not the way they thought.

No one can remember that night.

I get flashes, but
they don't make sense.

What happened?

Was there an offensive?

Yeah, a couple days later.
It was fierce,

but you guys never saw it.

But there was an attack?

It was a fight, right?

Yeah, but not with the Cong.

With who?

You killed each other.

What?

It was brother against brother.

No discrimination.

You tore each other to pieces.

My God.

I knew it would happen.

I warned them.

I fucking warned them!

Ohh, fuck.

I was just some hippie chemist, right?

What did I know?

Fuck.

I talked to the guys
who bagged the bodies.

They were in worse shape
than you, believe me.

They saw what was left.

I needed to find you, you know?

I felt responsible.

The Ladder was my baby.

I'm going to Brooklyn.

Not with me, you're not.

I get lost in Brooklyn.

I know the way.

Listen...

This is all the money I have.

Take me home, please.

Where's your home?

Dr. Singer.

Well... it's been a long time.

Hello, Sam.

Are you all right?

Yeah, I'm ok.

Do you want some help?
I can call upstairs.

No, no. That's ok.

Thanks, Sam.

Sarah?

Jed?

Eli?

If you're frightened of dying

and you're holding on,

you'll see devils
tearing your life away.

If you've made your peace,

then the devils are really angels

freeing you from the earth.

Gabe?

Gabe?

Hi, Dad.

It's ok.

Come on.
Let's go up.

Come on.

He's gone.

He looks kind of peaceful, the guy.

Put up a hell of a fight, though.

What's the guy's name?

Singer. Jacob singer.

♪ I don't mind the gray skies ♪

♪ You make them blue ♪

♪ Sonny boy ♪

♪ Friends may forsake me ♪

♪ Let them all forsake me ♪

♪ I still have you ♪

♪ Sonny boy ♪

♪ You're sent from heaven ♪

♪ And I know your worth ♪

♪ You made a heaven for me here on earth ♪

♪ When I'm old and gray here ♪

♪ Promise you won't stray, dear ♪

♪ For I love you so ♪

♪ Sonny boy ♪