CFF Review: Two Maniacal “WTF” Shorts Reimagine Children’s TV As A Surrealist Trip
Hello children, today’s lesson is “movie review”.
As a parent of a toddler, I have seen my share of children’s television shows. From the classics to modern releases and everything in between, they have all graced my television. When I began working my way through the “WTF” (Watch These Films) block I was immediately hooked by two of the shorts, Meat Friend and The Blood of the Dinosaurs. Both take cues from children’s shows and turn them into something surreal, dark, and hilarious.
Meat Friend, directed by Izzy Lee, introduces us to our guide for the short: Meat Friend! A magical creature of hamburger meat brought to life in a microwave by Billie (wonderfully played by Marnie McKendry). Meat Friend reminded me of an episode of Sesame Street or Barney but instead of lessons on friendship, acceptance, and healthy foods we get lessons on making shivs, how to make it look like an accident, and tasting the lies. The short is incredibly funny and finds a way to make me laugh at pretty much every single line of dialogue. From the ridiculous and violent statements from Meat Friend to the deadpan delivery of Billie and her mother (played by Megan Duffy). I hope Izzy Lee makes more of Meat Friend; I need this in my life. Happy meat day everyone!
The Blood of the Dinosaurs directed by Joe Badon brings us to a magical world of Uncle Bobbo and his Christmas, Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Annual Sacrifice Holiday Special! Channeling Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood if Fred Rogers was fueled by nightmares, psychedelics, and the void. Uncle Bobbo (played by Vincent Stalba) has this monotone, dead behind the eyes look, the complete opposite of the aforementioned Fred Rogers. The way Uncle Bobbo carries himself just fits the creepy, “what exactly is going on” feel that permeates the entire short. We are treated to miniatures, puppets, fireworks, a child named Purity, the evils of capitalism, a prolonged and very sexual take on oil derricks, and a trashcan referred to as the pit. There is this hallucinogenic feeling where you aren’t quite sure what you’re looking at but you know you can’t look away. And just as we get settled into the weirdness of Uncle Bobbo we are treated to an even weirder section with a childbirth that devolves into mayhem and violence. My absolute favorite part of the short is that it ends just as it began by asking the question “what does any of this mean?” and I could not begin to tell you, but it is exactly the type of weird, bizarre film that I love and want to experience more often. The Blood of Dinosaurs is referred to as a prologue to “The Wheel of Heaven” which if proven to be an actual future project, will become an immediate watch for me upon release.