Tuesday, December 11, 2007


It’s my lunch (quarter) hour, and since it looks like I’ll be blogging on the run from here till Christmas, I wanted to take a couple of seconds to post a couple of videos in lieu of forthcoming actual content, one of which should make your holidays merry and bright. (The other is more appropriate for Halloween, but I don’t like to discriminate…)

The season-inappropriate clip is from the 1973 grindhouse classic Messiah of Evil, directed and written by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz and released the same year as American Graffiti, which they also wrote. (Credit them also with the scripts for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Radioland Murders, Lucky Lady, More American Graffiti and Howard the Duck.) I have yet to see Messiah of Evil myself, but with a cast like this-- Marianna Hill, Joy Bang (featured in the clip), Anitra Ford, Royal Dano and Elisha Cook Jr— none of us should deny ourselves for much longer. The clip itself is an eerie, wordless six-minute scene shot (I believe) inside and outside the old Fox Venice theater in Venice, California (Can someone confirm or deny this, please?) and captures exactly the vibe I’ve had at many movies where I felt like I was the only one there in the auditorium who felt the way I did about a movie, and it includes the gruesome, logical extension of that feeling of alienation. In fact, this actually happened to me once during a screening of Jingle All the Way when I started making snide, sacreligious remarks and pelting the screen with holiday-colored Sno-Caps. I have no idea how the scene functions in the movie, or whether there actually is a messiah of evil present (which might make the movie tangentially related to the holiday season after all, I guess), but as a single it’s top of the charts.

The second is one that has apparently been around for a couple of seasons, so those of you more familiar with the broad spectrum of Internet comedy than I am may have already been exposed to this little nugget of benign subversion. But even if you have, it’s funny enough that I’m guessing you won’t mind being steered its way again. It comes from the good folks at Stupid Videos.com (I don’t name ‘em, I just pass ‘em along), and it recasts the beloved holiday TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in a somewhat more militaristic disciplinarian light. Not Rudolph’s relationship with Santa-- we already knew that was a clear case of opportunistic exploitation. And to my mind, Santa has to go a long way further to make up for his humiliating condescension toward our titular, glowing hero in the early scenes of the special than he ever does. No, this video zeroes in on the peculiar, nasty specifics of the tortured relationship between Hermey the misfit elf (here referred to, for some reason, as Private Joker) and the humorless martinet who runs the toy-making workshop, nameless in the special but here sounding an awful lot like R. Lee Ermey. So pour yourself a steaming mug of hot cocoa, nestle up next to the fire and have at a little yuletide cheer as we present “A Full Metal Christmas.”



Peter Nellhaus said...

According to Peter Biskind, Huyck and Katz also co-wrote the screenplay to this little known indie film called Star Wars.

If you're looking for some holiday cheese, I mean cheer, check out Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That MESSIAH OF EVIL clip is really creepy--and it does make me want to see that movie, which I've never had the urge to see before. I also loved the FULL METAL holiday special...hee hee...and of course the shot from the classic TALES FROM THE CRYPT story: scariest Santa Claus ever! Happy Holidays, indeed!