When I was at the Toronto Film Festival this year, I went to have drinks with one of the filmmakers before the midnight premiere of his film, and while I was there, I had a long conversation with Colin Geddes about The Chickening.
Colin, for those of you who don't know his name, is the programmer of Midnight Madness at the festival, and one of my favorite people walking the planet. His excitement about The Chickening was positively infectious, and once I'd laid eyes on the film, I understood that excitement. It's since played at Fantastic Fest and then again here at Sundance, and now the filmmakers have released this big fat slice of insanity online for all of you to enjoy as well.
In some ways, this feels like the endgame of remix culture, a short film that is built onto the bones of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Directed by Nick DenBoer and Davy Force, they describe their work as “Cinegraffiti,” and it's remarkable what they're able to do by manipulating footage and adding digital work to the original imagery.
In some ways, this is how I've always described what I like about Mystery Science Theater 3000. I don't watch it just to see them making fun of terrible movies. I watch it to see them transform terrible films into fascinating new films. They add entire storylines and character arcs, and they do it in such a way that I often think back on the movies and think of the MST3K versions as the “real” versions.
While DenBoer and Force may not be able to make money off of The Chickening, it does sound like they're talking to certain companies about taking some old TV shows and doing this to them. I think their work is technically impeccable, and while I don't think every joke lands in this thing, who cares? It's such an overwhelmingly insane five minutes that I feel like every film fan owes it to themselves to check it out and then imagine how weird film is going to get in the next hundred years.
Enjoy. And I dare you to try to forget Tony after this. Good lord.