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By Eric Campos | August 10, 2004

Milkhouse Productions, creators of the short Gas ‘n’ Fuel and the folks behind the Found Footage Festival enjoy some of the same things I do – bizarre video clips that appear produced from the very bowels of hell because no mortal man could possibly come up with something this entertaining.

The Found Footage Festival is comprised of clips from employee training videos, public access shows, educational films and other on-camera blunders found at yard sales, thrift stores and garbage cans. This is the true underground cinema – films and videos that, for the most part, are not produced for the general viewing public. If you want to see something truly different and disturbing, the Found Footage Festival has what you’re looking for en masse.

The following is a look at last year’s program line-up.

Mr. T’s Be Somebody (1984)

“Hey, you! You with the teeth! You know me? Of course you do. That’s because I’m famous.”

And with those immortal words, so begins the greatest piece of psychotronic video ever – “Mr. T’s Be Somebody” – a kind of inspirational, brain washing video made for kids in the early 80s to teach them how to be upstanding citizens…or something like that. Instead, what it’s inspired more of is groups of people to seek this video out, gather, then take copious amounts of hard drugs while watching. It’s an experience the few and the brave have undertaken – kinda like Fight Club – and it’s highly recommended. The full piece of work is about an hour long, but the clip selected here for the festival is the opening theme song segment that may just inspire you to stop being a turd and BE SOMEBODY. And it will definitely teach you how wonderful the 80s were that a big beefy guy with a Mohawk, dressed like a cross between Richie Rich and Punky Brewster, could step down the street with a bunch of kids and not get arrested or killed.

Michael Bolton’s Winning Softball (1993)

One of those embarrassing clips of a pop star, that everyone loves to hate, being goofy. Actually, it’s more embarrassing for the viewer (especially if you’re caught watching it naked) than the pop star. This clip blends footage of Michael Bolton playing softball with live footage of him rocking the song “Love is a Wonderful Thing.” Yeah, it’s rough to watch, but that’s what makes it so great.

TV 10 Rap #1 (1996)

A few clips of some geeky white guy beat boxing, rapping and breaking on his own cable access show. As easy as it is to rip this guy apart, I know my own cable access show wouldn’t be much better – it’d just be me blowing farts and jerking off.

Grill Skill (1989)

Now here’s a genuinely embarrassing clip for everyone involved. Apparently, someone at Wendy’s HQ thought it a good idea to include in their training video, a music video clip starring Wendy’s employees singing and dancing behind the counter like they wouldn’t rather be doing anything else but slinging burgers to fat a*s Americans. My favorite part features an older guy (probably the fry cook) performing air guitar so poorly that it appears he’s masturbating. It’s great comedy material. The tragedy here is that most everyone that saw (maybe even still sees *shudder*) this clip found no humor whatsoever in the production as they were humiliated enough already going into the job. This video just rubs their misfortune in their faces with a smile and a tune.

It Only Takes a Second (1996)

From the Federated Mutual Insurance Company, an unofficial 90s update of the classic safety film Shake Hands With Danger. I seriously thought that they didn’t make safety films like they used to. Well I was wrong, Jimmy, I was dead wrong. “It Only Takes a Second” is four minutes of non-stop carnage – staged carnage mind you – as people aren’t minding what they’re doing on the job, or even crossing the street. People get their hands sliced, diced and smashed, a kid gets run over by a car, there’s slips, there’s falls, a car explodes when it rear ends another. There are no set ups for these “oh s***s”. It’s just non-stop mayhem. This is quality stuff right here.

Mc C (1986)

This 80s McDonald’s employee training video is the direct influence of Gas ‘n’ Fuel. “Mc C” has us follow the embarrassing (embarrassment is a running theme here) exploits of Chris, a wet behind the ears schlep, on his first day on the job as a custodian at McDonald’s, being led around by the manager of the “restaurant” and being taught that washing windows and cleaning shitters is akin to delivering royalty into the world. The punchline here is that Chris happily yes ma’ams everything she says and devotes himself to his job as clean up boy at McDonald’s – and not even a major McDonald’s. This filth outlet appears to be located next to a swamp where it’s more likely you’ll find truckers procuring speed rather than families enjoying Happy Meals. If you wanted yet another reason to hate McDonald’s, look no further.

Memorial Day 2000

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – White trash make stellar documentary subjects. But here, give the white trash a camera and let them document themselves without the inhibiting factor of an outsider and you have classic video like none other. These jaw-dropping five minutes are the hands down heir to the Heavy Metal Perking Lot throne. I don’t know how they found this footage, but it’s a peek into a secret world that the majority are not supposed to witness…kinda like seeing your parents have sex, it’s not for your eyes.

This clip is home video footage of a Memorial Day weekend, edited down to six minutes, featuring pure huckleberry camping mayhem. Witness beer bonging, drunken brawling, mud wrestling, tents burning, toilets overflowing, butt cheeks spreading like you have never seen before.

John & Johnny #1 (1982)

You know, even back when I was eight-years-old I knew that there were dipshits abound and this piece of video proves it. What we have here is a clip from perhaps THE worst home shopping show in the history of couch potato shopping. See John and Johnny sell sunglasses and Nivea aftershave like they were selling tickets to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. It’s a disgrace to all living and breathing.

Life is for Living (2000)

Another gem from the Federated Mutual Insurance Company. It’s a sequel to aforementioned “It Only Takes a Second” and it’s every bit as gruesome…and hilarious. More people getting mauled for daydreaming on the job. I love the Federated Mutual Insurance Company. They make getting injured look cool!

Berenguer Boogie (1987)

This nausea inducing music video clip features Minnesota Twins pitcher Juan Berenguer making an a*s out of himself and we here at Film Threat love it when people make a***s of themselves. The music video features Berenguer, dressed like Inspector Gadget, dancing a dance choreographed after his signature on-field gesture. The song he’s dancing to, as well as are a group of backup dancers, is the Berenguer Boogie – imagine the worst song you can conjure and factor the lyrics “Berenguer Boogie” into it and you have the full picture here.

As brain numbing as this clip is, it only gets worse/better. Following the music video is a behind-the-scenes report of the production heads and songwriters seriously hashing out the creation of the Berenguer Boogie.

Not a clip yet has not made me feel embarrassed for mankind.

Potpourri ^ Mrs. Minnesota (2000) ^ Catfishin’ with Willie P. Richardson (2002) ^ AMS Ambicor Prosthesis (2001)

These three clips blended together to create this video potpourri produces anything but a pleasant fragrance. In fact, stomach distress and an overall hatred for your fellow man is what it’s most likely to conjure in viewers.

The “Mrs. Minnesota” portion of this program features beauty queen hopefuls making mockeries of themselves in front of a live audience; “Catfishin’” features live catfish skinning by a guy dressed like a pimp; and the AMS Ambicor Prosthesis provides a graphic tutorial on how one with a broken p****r uses his penile prosthesis pump.

How sweet it is!

Kirk’s 40th Birthday (1992)

More white trash shenanigans as Kirk turns 40 with a couple of his close friends who all swear, drink and smoke dope in front of the kids. Nothing volatile like “Memorial Day 2000” but it’s the kind of family home video footage I think we all may have buried somewhere on this planet, hoping that it never sees the light of day.

Metallica Drummer (1992)

Many of you may have seen this footage. It’s the teenage kid air drumming to a Metallica song…well. I don’t think that it’s the fact this guy set up a video camera to record himself doing this that makes it so funny, it’s that he’s so good at it. Maybe he can replace Lars Ulrich when he finally gets “too old for this s**t.” Even though that time has come and pass years ago.

Christian Music Diet (1996)

Lose the pounds like never before while barfing to this Christian rock music video. Features perhaps the best Jesus on the cross shot ever. You can just hear the immortal words of Whistler – “I feel like hammered s**t!”

Country Hip-Hop Dancing (1993)

Yep, hip-hop line dancing. Think you’ve seen it all after this? Just wait for the Bible thumping breakdancing.

Knightcrawler (1998)

Rocking out in an alleyway, this Night Ranger wanna-be band needs to be told that the dream is over. This was shot in ’98, so perhaps someone has already done us this service. We can only hope.

TV 10 Rap #3 (1996)

I didn’t mind this guy that much the first time around, but now that I see he’s taking this rapping and breaking thing seriously I’m angered and disappointed.

Metal Method (1989)

This clip from an instructional video on how to play metal guitar shows that it’s just as easy as 1, 2, 3…Apparently everyone bought this tape and studied it back in ’89. That’s the only way to explain the shittiness of metal today.

Menard’s Rap (1992)

Old people are funny. Watch this guy as he attempts to rap his way through a commercial.

Country Bernie & the Park Ridge Senior Stampede (1997)

Okay, these old people aren’t that funny and that’s because they look so sad. Telling from the pained look on most of these old girls’ faces, it appears that Country Bernie is forcing them to line dance to a set of ridiculous tunes. Luckily the clip cuts before we get to the threatened “Packer”-ena. A Green Bay Packer variance on the ever so stylish Macarena.

Wild in the Streets (1987)

Here’s one you have to watch a couple of times to catch exactly what happens. I don’t know what this is for, but it features some phony glam band lip syncing and air jamming to Bon Jovi’s “Wild in the Streets” on a cheesy 80’s TV studio stage. The song ends and the band strikes their final pose with the singer spinning and falling to the ground in rock star exhaustion. Thing is, he’s not getting back up. It takes the rest of the “band” about ten seconds before they realize there’s something’s wrong and rush to the aid of their fallen frontman.

Watching this clip more closely, you can see how when the singer falls, he crashes the back of his head on the edge of a step. If that’s not funny enough, when he’s on the ground, he raises his hand for help and one of his bandmates, not realizing what has happened yet, gives him a high five.

If only all rock shows were this cool…

John & Johnny #2 (1982)

These guys are really starting to grow on me. If their show was on now, I would watch it every day. Of course, I would have to be living in the Heartland of America to catch it, but it’s a small price to pay for my daily does of home shopping’s most bumbling hosts. If Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite had a twin and they decided to do a home shopping show – this would be that show.

Wendy’s Training Video (1989)

Apparently the downhome rock flavor of the restaurant’s previous “Grill Skill” production didn’t whip its employees into line as it was intended. So here’s this rap piece detailing proper “Grill Skill”. A point of interest is the part of the rap where it’s revealed that hamburger patty fatalities become chili meat.

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t eat the chili at Wendy’s.

Jack Rebney (1990)

So, while watching this phenomenal collection of video mishaps, I thought to myself, what it really needs is a little Angriest Man in the World. You see, that’s what we at FT HQ call this Jack Rebney titled piece as we’ve never known the guy’s name, just that he’s really angry as the video is comprised of his blooper clips as he tries to make an industrial commercial for a mini Winnebago – the “Mini-Winni.”

So imagine my delight that this clip is not only the FT favorite “Angry Man”, but that it’s a different cut that runs longer with bonus footage we’ve never seen before. “Get out of here you fuckin’ flies…”

“Dirty Country” Trailer

Last but not least is a trailer of Milkhouse Productions’ new documentary-in-progress, “Dirty Country.” The doc focuses on Larry Pierce, a blue collar working man who is also the America’s dirtiest country singer. Larry makes Dirty Country music and his songs such as “I Like to F**k”, “Stupid F****r” and “My P****r Just Won’t Stand Up Anymore” will likely become favorites for you to cruise to when this film is finished and released…hopefully very soon.

Check its progress at the Dirty Country” website.

As of this writing, the Found Footage Festival will be screening a new program of films on August 20th in New York at Cinema Classics. If you’re in the area, you are urged to drop whatever plans you have and attend. It’ll be an experience you’ll be talking about for a long time to come.

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