RiffTrax: Maniac DVD Review and RiffTrax: Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny VOD Review
The RiffTrax gang provides plenty of laughs with their commentaries on the bizarre films “Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny” and “Maniac.”
RiffTrax: Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny
Rather than doing an online Christmas special, the RiffTrax gang has decided to release the godawful film “Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny” as a video on demand release just in time for Christmas. For those that are unaware of this holiday turkey, the film primarily revolves Santa’s sleigh stuck on a beach in Florida. Santa tries to enlist the help of local children, but no one seems to be able to move the sleigh. To kill time and to presumably make the children feel better, Santa decides to tell children the non-holiday story of “Thumbelina”. The “Thumbelina” story, however, turns out to be another movie entirely as the audience is introduced to a young girl at a theme park called Pirates World who is looking at a cheap “Thumbelina” exhibit while a blown out PA speaker provides the narration for the story. While the narration continues, the movie then cuts to what the girl imagines the story to be like (AKA a cheap play). This continues for around 45 minutes or so. While watching this unbearable production, you will certainly find yourself saying “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss Santa” as Kevin so eloquently states. After “Thumbelina” finally ends, Santa winds up being rescued by the Ice Cream Bunny and the movie ends there. Don’t ask me who the heck the Ice Cream Bunny is because it is never talked about.
As someone who tends to enjoy bad movies, I found myself completely baffled by “Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny.” Between the ear piercing singing and kazoo playing to the seemingly endless “Thumbelina” production and shots of Santa’s soiled pants, viewers (like myself) are likely to be at a loss for words after watching this unbelievably awful flick. Thankfully, the RiffTrax gang is here to help ease the pain that ‘Bunny’ causes. Their film and television references and jokes about bad acting, moles, pointless shots, a pinata bird, and, of course, Arby’s definitely help pass the slow moving time. In fact, I can’t even imagine being able to watch this film WITHOUT their commentary. If there was ever a film to test one’s patience, this is it (which is evident by the sometimes angry/frustrated riffs and Kevin’s semi-breakdown).
The video and audio quality are pretty poor but that’s to be expected. The video is filled with lines and scratches and the audio is very hit-and-miss. Sometimes it’s hard to hear what the characters are mumbling. Luckily, the riffs sound crystal clear which is all you need to hear really.
Summary: While the “Rifftrax Live: Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza” is a much more enjoyable X-Mas themed experience, “Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny” is still worth checking out if only to see how bad this movie is and to hear Bill’s demented bunny voice at the end.
“Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny” is available to purchase here for $9.99:
If video on demand isn’t your thing, RiffTrax has a new DVD available for another weird film from 1934 titled “Maniac.” In this B&W oddball, a lab assistant (Don) winds up impersonating the mad scientist he killed in order to cover up the murder. From there on out, Don really begins to lose his mind and apparently so does the screenwriter as the film becomes filled with truly bizarre moments such a man with a cat farm, a helium voiced woman, cat fights (with cats and ladies), cat eyeball eating, hellish visions, and title cards explaining various mental conditions.
I don’t think there’s any question that “Maniac” is the strangest 1930’s film and I wouldn’t have it any other way as it proves to not only be a hilarious movie on its own, but a hilarious movie for the RiffTrax gang to make even more amusing. Naturally, Bill, Kevin, and Mike have no problems whatsoever in cracking jokes here as the movie is essentially homerun material for them. It seems like every scene has a perfect set-up for them to work their magic. Heck, anything involving cats provided plenty of gut-busting jokes.
The fullscreen picture quality isn’t in the best of shape. The movie is littered with lines and scratches, but one has to consider that the movie is from 1934. You can’t expect great quality here unless the print’s been remastered in hi-def (probably not going to happen)
As with “Santa And The Ice Cream Bunny,” the audio quality is average at best. The RiffTrax gang sounds good, but the film’s dialogue is garbled.
No extras are listed on box, but there is a Comic Con 2010 panel hosted by Veronica Belmont. During this 47 minute panel, we see a live riff of the short “Buying Food” (which is on “The Best Of RiffTrax Shorts” Volume 1 DVD) and we also see fans suggesting ideas for future riffs. This is a highly entertaining panel and I hope to see more extras like this on future DVD releases.
Summary: If you have some leftover cash after the holidays, I’d recommend plunking down your money for “RiffTrax: Maniac.” It would be money well spent.
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