Monday, September 15, 2008

Something Weird On Demand


Whenever people ask me what happened to Atomic TV - the analog video dinosaur Scott Huffines and I breach-birthed in 1997 and which ran through 2001, give or take a few holiday specials here and there in the 'Naughties - and why we don't do the show anymore, I go through my usual litany of excuses/explanations, including: unemployment, employment, the rise of digital video, YouTube, On Demand, Internet broadcasting, my computer crashing, my editing VCR dying, my frustrations with Baltimore City Cable, apathy, lethargy, ennui, and so on and so on.

All of the above were valid reasons, but now I have a much simpler explanation: Something Weird Video's Select On Demand programming for Comcast cable television.

It's everything ATV tried to do, only better and briefer (in 4-10 minute easy-to-consume clips) and done with today's fancy editing software, so what's the point of competing with a better idea? Seattle-based Something Weird Video used to be Mike Vraney and Lisa Petrucci's video emporium, but that operation soon begat DVDs, then a website, and then slickly packaged and edited content for Comcast On Demand, showing selected retro striptease clips, vintage educational/classroom scare films, and psychotronic film trailers.

But now (September 2008), Something Weird On Demand is offering its first "original" programming with the debut of new programming entries Weird U, Ad Nauseum, Trailer Trash, and Naughty Bits. Each program applies the Mystery Science Theatre aesthetic of adding smartass commentary to the original campy footage, only whereas MST just added a voiceover track of the MST crew's commentaries, Something Weird's approach is that of a remix: they re-edit the footage, add new narration and semi-synched dialogue - as well as new title cards and graphics - to create mock instructional films (Weird U), commercials (Ad Nauseam), movie trailers (Trailer Trash) and miscellaneous horror/TV/music spoofs (Naughty Bits).

Normally, I hate this sort of thing, reflecting as it does the smug and ironic sensibilities of today's digitally savvy, retro pop culture-appropriating 20something hipsters. I mean, I much prefer the unadulterated original content lampooned by the MST crew and I hate the Rhino Video reissues in which Johnny Legend and Elvira insert their "personalities" into the mix (though in the case of the 1961 semi-3D cult classic THE MASK, Elvira's "Mistress of the Dark" version is the only one currently available, albeit used - for which I'm eternally grateful). And I'm not sure I won't soon grow sick of it...but on a recent dull Sunday afternoon I found myself watching these with great amusement.

Maybe that's fueled by pure ego, because I see a lot of the techniques and 'tudes we used on Atomic TV - context broken-up and transitioned with TV static, drive-in intermission ads, exploitation/psychotronic film trailers - only done slicker and better.

The best of the lot is the Trailer Trash clip that has faux trailers for "Tighty Whitey" (a redubbing of Joe Wiezycki's 1975 film oddity Satan's Children, delivered in a raspy Blaxploitation voiceover) and the chop-socky spoof "1001 Ways To Die" (a redubbing of 1,001 Shaw Brothers movies from the '60s and '70s).

SATAN'S CHILDREN provides fodder for "Tighty Whitey"

I guess I liked "Tighty Whitey" because it reminded me of the footage we used to air on Atomic TV of Chris Jensen (former Atomic TV cameraman and still-legendary Charles Village proprietor of Jensen Plumbing Service) dancing around in his (soiled) tighty whities. Of course, since then Chris the Plumber has tried to circumvent his "stained" reputation by going full-on "commando," as shown below:

Chris the Plumber goes commando during Plumber's Union Initiation Ritual

At the very least, Something Weird's new programming has spurred me to seek out the original Satan's Children, a film that not only features tighty whiteys, but also incest, torture, gang-raping gay bikers (who may or may not be on acid), and homo-hating Satanists (I see a potential conflict if the alternative lifestyle-detesting Satanists ever run into the en masse-molesting gay bikers) for good measure. (Satan's Children is available from SWV as an economy class DVR-R, as well as a special edition DVD double-feature paired with Asylum of Satan.)

So don't fret, psychotronic film purists. Something Weird is still the national depository for "the strange world of exploitation films, drive-in thrillers, grindhouse B-movies, youth scare documentaries" in their original, unadulterated, feature-length form. They're just playing around with a remix experiment, but remain the primo source for sensational and outrageous cinematic cheap thrills.

Unofficial Something Weird Episode Guide:
OK, here's my unofficial episode guide to Something Weird On Demand's new programs for September 2008:

A Career in Stripping
F**king Steady

Party with the Right People
Let's Go Mugging

The Black, Angry Talking Car
The A, B, Cs of Babysitting

Duck & Cover
Kids Army Recruitment Promo

The Sticks
Toothade Festival

Goliath Pest Control
Victor's Secret Lingerie

Frankenstein for Mayor

Otto the Mad Butcher's Meats
Neumann Moustache Solution

Dick Justice
Teenage Hellcats on the Road To Hell Are Going To Hell!

Tighty Whitey
1001 Ways To Die

Raging Bull 2
Stereotype Smackdown

Trauma Unit

Brush Your Teeth Like Drew Carey's Dad
School Safety Patrol

Transylvania Games

The Real World Hell

Related Links:
Satan's Children (IMDB)

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Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah, but Something Weird has only filled part of the void left by Atomic TV. I miss all the local coverage you guys always included in your episodes.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I forgot what a spectacularly muscular man-ass Chris Jensen has. Reason enough right there to resurrect Atomic TV!

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom,
Thanks for the nice write-up. Be on the look out for some more original Something Weird stuff coming October 15th to On-Demand. Something Weird News- a mock newscast using footage from our library. SW Top 10- a hosted countdown of clips and SW Mini Movies- a double feature of SW titles cut down to under 3 minutes.
The Something Weird On-Demand guys

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do I order DVDs of the wierd U videos?

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, but Something Weird has only filled part of the void left by Atomic TV.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for name-checking the clips used in the "Tighty Whitey" trailer! I'd been trying to find that movie on Something Weird's site but didn't know the title.

PS - I loved AtomicTV. It was the only place to see trailers for the campy exploitation flicks I enjoy. Though SWV and YouTube are a blast, it's not the same your's and Scott's show.

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. Revelry will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles will survive the 1000 years. They will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during Planet Earth's history.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new population, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial element in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.

Only children go to heaven. By the time you hit puberty it is too late. This is charecteristic of the gods:::Once you realize what you have lost it is too late.
Now you are faced with a lifetime to work to prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.

2:14 PM  

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