Part of what made the Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. dynasty so great beyond its characters, was its limitless ability to mock and satirize Hollywood. At a time where Hollywood was adored and enamored by so many, Warner Bros. actually did a great job of taking the piss out of people like Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. In 1993, Fox Studios and Warner brought back the formula that they’d abandoned for decades with “The Animaniacs.” While the show was primarily a series filled with segments primarily aimed toward children, some of the segments brought back a lot of the classic Warner Bros. traditions, including satirizing modern Hollywood.
Richard Elfman’s “Aliens Clowns & Geeks” is the type of indie zaniness you’ll only find in back room of modern cinema. It’s a fearless, and bizarre mish mash of comedy, satire, science fiction, music, and just about everything else you can find. There are transgender individuals, and evil clowns, and a hero who can fire lasers out of his anus. And that’s really the tip of the iceberg when you manage to soak it all in. And you’ll need a hell of a lot of booze and weed to soak it all in.
By 1996, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” was known as a cult comedy series that had gained enough mainstream traction to earn a feature film. By 1996 the once unusual comedy had become very much a hit for fans of cult cinema and science fiction. The series as a whole, when first stepping in to it, is weird. I fondly remember first watching the series and literally thinking “What the hell is this?” But when you get in to the nuts and bolts of the concept, it’s not only genius but hilarious. Suffice to say, I was hooked, without apology. Essentially you’re watching a man watching bad movies with two robots.
That’s the gist of the whole shebang.
It’s been a while since I’ve delivered the Shorts Round Up of the Week as I was previously incapacitated with the flu for most of December. Now that we’re on a new year and a new chapter for the site, I thought it only fitting to unveil the first “Shorts Round Up of the Week” for 2021.
Chris De Pretis’ indie horror scifi film has its heart in the right place, but at the end of the day, I can’t say he re-invents the wheel here. I was never quite sure if “Death Blood 4” was intended as a meta-horror movie or not, as it puts up this gimmick of it being a sequel to three movies that never quite existed. It goes about this “Grindhouse” novelty until the introduction of the actual narrative where it’s played fairly straight faced and with a stern tone bereft of any notable satirical content.
With many calling the death of physical media and some studios switching over to streaming for some of their titles, the market for collectors is as interesting as ever. What with the theaters closing, studios are rushing to release a lot of their films on new formats or present them in a new way for movie fans. Sadly there haven’t been a lot of really big unveilings in terms of titles unleashed. Save for a few surprises here and there (“Rad,” “The Gate II,” “36.15 Code Père Noël”), it’s all more of the same ad nauseum (Do we really need yet another edition of “E.T.” or “Back to the Future”?) there are still so many movies out there that have yet to see a release on Blu-Ray, 4K UHD, and yes, even Standard DVD.
That said, these are five very good movies that deserve a home media release.
Creator Julian Carlile’s “The Meeting Chronicles” is certainly one of the most bizarre and fascinating comedy movies I’ve seen all year. That’s by no means an insult as “The Meeting Chronicles” concocts an unusual tale of people trying to find their goal in the writing field and end up just falling in to an endless stream of nonsense including confrontations with homeless speakers, and overly enthusiastic porn stars. I can’t say I loved “The Meeting Chronicles” but I enjoyed its charming, minimalist aesthetic.
I guess you could classify “Scare Package” as a horror movie, and yes even a horror comedy. But if my arm were twisted I’d be more comfortable just classifying it as a comedy. “Scare Package” is that movie that has a great time breaking down horror tropes and satirizing the clichés we’ve seen in various horror movies, but never actually includes any kind of scary content. Every single segment in this anthology is played with a tongue in cheek, and it’s a shame since a movie with this concept has a chance to re-imagine horror tropes.