By Rachel Morgan | September 2, 2004

Thanks to the wonderful world of public domain, we now have, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, the very first installment of a re-dubbed classic from Refried Flicks. The film takes the campy 1954 sci-fi B-movie, “Killers From Space”, slaps a new soundtrack on it and sporadically drops a freshly shot scene in (the new sections don’t come anywhere close to meeting the aesthetics of the original film). Think Mystery Science Theater meets Woody Allen’s “What’s Up Tiger Lily”. Re-dubbed spoofs aren’t exactly a new concept and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” isn’t one of the better stylistic experiments. The DVD cover boosts a quote from the New York Daily News, “Shamelessly Silly!”, I won’t argue. The one thing that they failed to mention, however, is that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is about as funny as “Schindler’s List”.

In the original “Killers From Space” a scientist (Peter Graves) is resurrected by aliens following his untimely death in a plane crash. The extraterrestrials reconstruct him and send him off to carry out their evil plans for world domination. The newly dubbed and re-worked version of the story is structurally loose, but the basic idea is that a government scientist, Dr. Fartin (funny, if you’re 8), while working on a covert plan to rid the military of all homosexuals, crashes his airplane (the Enola Gay Basher) into Sodom Flats. Shortly after the accident, Dr. Fartin begins exhibiting stereotypically gay behavior, including his recurrent use of the word “fabulous”. He also has persistent fantasies about Ted Kennedy (a sign of sickness regardless of your gender, sexual preference or alcohol level). It is soon revealed that on the day of his unfortunate plane crash Dr. Fartin was abducted by aliens who switched his sexual orientation. It is now up to him to figure out how to reverse the work of the extraterrestrials and prevent them from turning the rest of the world into homosexuals. However, as time goes on, Dr. Fartin either becomes comfortable with his newfound sexuality or simply falls completely under the grip of the evil aliens and instead of resisting the imposed lifestyle, he sets out to convert the rest of the planet with the help of a gay bomb. Dr. Fartin’s wife and a crew of miscellaneous officials attempt to halt his mischievous plans.

To quote from the cover again, the humor in “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is “shamelessly silly”. There are Freud jokes (as if there weren’t enough of those on the planet already), a choreographed alien dance sequence and, of course, an appearance by J. Edgar Hoover. There is also a scene featuring Hitler who supposedly didn’t die in 1945, but instead was “turned” gay by aliens and secretly lives on another planet where he makes a living as a lounge singer. In addition to Dr. Fartin, character names include Nurse Bendover and Colonel Butts and the film takes place in Inbred, Texas. In one scene, dubbed audio is placed over a shot of a man at a desk who is calling for take-out, he picks up the phone and says, “Hello, Road Kill Diner, let me get a murder burger with everything on it.” Not to be repetitive, but it just isn’t funny.

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” seems to take a stab at aligning itself as a political and social satire of sorts, but the attempt is weak. The film isn’t unique or funny and is only mildly entertaining. The DVD itself, however, contains a good number of extras that make it worthwhile and for that I will give it credit. Included are a commentary track (with “director, writer, alien & beer runner”), production notes and stills, two audio music tracks and a music video. Most importantly, in many areas of the film an icon pops up in the corner of the screen and clicking on it allows access to scenes from the original “Killers From Space”. Through the menu all of the original scenes can be played at one time. A half-hour TV series from Refried Flicks featuring re-dubbed public domain spoofs is supposedly coming soon.

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