DID YOU READ

20 Awesomely Absurd TV and Movie Gimmicks

ghost-remover

Posted by on

If you found yourself out of breath while watching IFC’s The Spoils of Babylon (season finale this Thursday at 10/9c), that’s completely normal. To bring his epic novel to life, author/director Eric Jonrosh filmed the miniseries in 93mm Breath-Take-O-Scope. Although revolutionary, TV and movies are filled with interesting promotional tactics. Here are 20 crazy examples.

20. Macabre

William Castle was the Godfather of movie gimmicks, and for his 1958 shocker Macabre he offered a $1,000 insurance policy to any audience member who died during a screening of the film.


19. Clue

The 1985 movie based on the board game had a seriously complex gimmick – theater seats had remote controls where viewers could vote for who they thought the murderer was.


18. Earthquake

This 1974 disaster flick introduced “Sensurround,” where the movie’s audio track would be amplified to room-rattling levels.


17. The Drew Carey Show

This sitcom did numerous gimmick episodes, but one of the most over-the-top was “What’s Wrong With This Episode,” where viewers competed to spot the most mistakes for prizes.


16. Wicked, Wicked

Projection gimmicks are common, too, but one of the weirdest came with 1973 thriller Wicked, Wicked, which boasted an entire movie in splitscreen.

Continue to next page > >
Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

maryhartman

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

ikea heights

IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

fresno

When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

soap

Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

cooks2

Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

darkplace

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

attitudes

Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

peaks

Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

invitation

Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

stomach

The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

joey

Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

acorn

First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

pointplace

In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

spoils

Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

spoilsdying


15. All My Children Finale, SNL

allmychildren

SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

11 Best Catfights in Movies and TV

buffy-fight

Posted by on

When ladies get rowdy with one another, things can get pretty wild. In this feature, we’ll celebrate the 11 best girl-on-girl battles ever put on film.

11. The Spoils of Babylon

On Spoils this Thursday at 10/9c, Cynthia Morehouse (Kristen Wiig) and Dixie Melonworth (Jessica Alba) get into an slap-fight over the love of Devon Morehouse (Tobey Maguire). Watch a preview clip below:

video player loading . . .


10. 2 Days in the Valley

Charlize Theron and Teri Hatcher rip each other up in this nasty scuffle from a near-forgotten sleazy 90s big-star exploitation flick.


9. Fast & Furious 6

When you cast professional MMA fighter Gina Carano, you know your catfight scene is going to be over the top.


8. The Player’s Club

Oh, you don’t want to walk into the back room of a strip club and start some noise, as this vicious beatdown clearly illustrates.

Continue to next page > >

The 10 Weirdest Superhero Origin Stories

epic-month-batman

Posted by on

On Saturday, Jan. 25 (starting at 8/7c), we’re airing a double dose of Batman Begins – one of the greatest origin stories ever put to screen. While a rich man donning a bat costume is bit far-fetched, most superheroes got their start in much nuttier ways. Here are ten examples.

10. Captain Marvel

Radio reporter Billy Batson was lured into a magical cave behind a subway tunnel by an aged wizard, who taught him a magic word that would change him into the super-powerful Captain Marvel.


9. Geckoman

Radioactive animals cause all kinds of trouble in the superhero world, but Malaysian film Geckoman pushes the absurdity envelope when a loser drinks coffee contaminated by a contagious gecko and gets lizard powers.


8. Flaming Carrot

They say comic books will rot your brain, and they’re right. Underground superhero the Flaming Carrot was dared to read 5,000 comics in a single sitting, and the experience deranged him so badly that he put on a giant vegetable mask and set out to fight crime.

Continue to next page > >
Powered by ZergNet