Seasonal Satire

Private Joker learns about team work from Sergeant HartmanThe Toronto Star recently posted a link to a cleverly edited short called Full Metal Christmas, aka ‘Stanley Kubrick’s Lost Christmas Film,’ which is basically clips from the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer short edited to the verbal assault by Sergeant Hartman in Kubrick’s severe black comedy Full Metal Jacket (1987).

As a seasonal short, it works. As a piece of modern humour, it works. And as an editing exercise of pure fun, it works, and it undoubtedly gave its creator waves of prideful giggles because he or she transposed material from one film to another, and created a whole new context for the visual and aural elements from two very disparate films: the destruction of holiday cheer in Santa’s sweat shop toy room.

The clip can be viewed HERE, but the short is part of a fairly common practice that was once far more rarefied because editing equipment was way more pricey in the eighties, and editing know-how was mostly in the hands of practical editors, either commercial, semi-professional, or amateurs with their own fancy gear (even though one could create the same piece using wits and decent consumer gear - if one was passionate, and creatively deranged).

The most classic examples of editors taking film clips and affixing them to rude narratives are the following:

- Blue Peanuts [requires YouTube registration by adults due to potty contents], where Frank’s F-word hurricane in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986) is uttered by a mean old Snoopy.

- Apocalypse Pooh, where chunks from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) are edited to footage from Winnie the Pooh.

Prior to the internet, these videos (along with Marv Newland’s animated classic, Bambi vs. Godzilla) were available on washed out VHS rentals at some eccentric indie shops. How they got there, one can assume all kinds of theories (director submission, fan submission, anonymous mailing) but they did do the rounds and became cult items that happily haven’t been obliterated from the internet.

These are valid forms of pop culture humour from which no monetary gains were ever intended, and are kind of shareware projects that probably get people to re-watch the original films, since they’re classics in their own genres. (That’s at least the reasoning I hope is keeping these flicks unfettered from litigious-minded folks.)

It’s nice to see them easily available for a quick peek, and one would hope Kubrick is having a good chuckle upstairs, since he too possessed a gift for vicious wit and sharp satire.

Coming next: Bob Clark’s holiday classic, Black Christmas (1974) from Critical Mass/Anchor Bay/Starz, plus a comparison with the recent and utterly unnecessary remake.



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