In naughty animated films, Bambi bites the dust

May 21, 1993|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Film Critic

Uck. Urp. Gack. Blech.

As a celebration of naughty impulses, you can't do much better than this collection of nastiness that's a refreshing anecdote from all those sugary, arty, refined animation collections making the rounds.

This one, which plays at the Charles this weekend and next, is about as refined as a toilet seat. It assembles 20 of the most grotesque examples of animation ever done for a 90-minute gagfest. If you don't like nasty, I'd advise steering well clear.

Some are old favorites and some are just old but not favorite. Marv Newland's 1969 "Bambi Meets Godzilla" has been around since the Stone Age and because it contains only one joke (Bambi getting squished) and because that joke has ceased being funny, its inclusion somewhat deflates the proceedings. There's an endless, witless piece called "No Neck Joe," which is about a kid with no neck. The humor all turns on the fact that he can't rotate his head but must reorientate his body. Let me tell you, five minutes of this stuff and you want to rotate the projectionist!

And Lenny Bruce! Is he over or what? His famous "Thank You Mask Man," all 10 minutes of it, is 10 long, long minutes. This guy was once hip? "Thank You Mask Man" is an endless Lone Ranger parody that's all attitude and no jokes.

But the great Bill Plympton comes up with his usual masterpiece, "One of Those Days," a first-person account of the worst day anybody ever lived, done with amazing cleverness and skill. Then there's the one masterpiece of the collection, David Anderson's haunting "Deadsey," drawn from a Russell Hoban story, and brought to life in a weirdly mesmerizing mixed medium technique that is visually stunning.

Much of the work is gory or gross, like the two short, funny and blasphemous (and indescribable) films from Barrell House studios in Canada and Eric Fogel's ugly but funny "The Mutilator."

"Spike & Mike's

( All Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation"

Animated Collection

Various directors

Released by Festival Films

Unrated

... **

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