Hell was at Anime North last weekend; in a medium-sized video room (seated about 200, filled to capacity, standing room only, people lying down in front, staff at door keeping people out) and I 'd have to say it was a big success. Even though only about 4 people in the audience had ever been to a Hell before, the room was packed before the show even began, so either word has spread or my flyers were particularly good this year.
I started off with JUMPING, which shuts people up and they really enjoy after a minute or so of going "what the hell is this?" The DAICON FILM continues to really impress even the jaded anime fans of the 21st century. CARTOONS AND YOU gets laughs, and people seemed to recognize GENRE. Japanarama's ULTRAMAN segment is popular. There were a lot of people at the con wearing DOMO-KUN T-shirts so the video seemed like a natural. EK's FAILED EXPERIMENTS IN VIDEO EDITING takes people a minute to wrap their heads around, but they like it. Regular GI JOE PSAs resulted in shocked recognition and laughs, and the NENSLER GI JOE PSAs astonished the crowd. CARTOON ALL STARS TO THE RESCUE continues to amaze and amuse in a big way. BRING ME THE HEAD OF CHARLIE BROWN gets big laughs with the violence. The LIVE VS ANIME segment was a first for Toronto and a lot of the material was either brand new or something they'd heard of and never thought they'd see (the Sailor Moon pilot, etc). The 3D GUNDAM that Neil found was a big hit. I think any short film where people zip around via stop-motion animation is always fun. The crowd enjoyed CORN DOG SEVEN and INDIANA JONES AND THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD (the swastika smoke and the snowmen got big laughs) and I ran the COOL BREEZE trailer before DESSLOK'S BIG SCORE and it seemed to make some kind of sense. Since there actually is a "Liberal Party" in Canada, the JAPANESE LIBERAL PARTY TV AD got an amazing reaction. The FAKE EDUCATIONAL FILMS from Weird Al's TV show got good laughs, and the GUY JUMPING OVER A CAR followed by HOW TO JUMP OVER A CAR was educational and fun. MOCK FIVE got big laughs. People were familiar with Dexter's Lab. GO GEORGE CLOONEY didn't get quite the laughs it gets in the States. I guess nobody up here really knows who Gary Burghof is. DEEP BROWN SWAMP got laughs, especially the inflatable crocodile and the destruction of Earth. FORKLIFT DRIVER KLAUS continues to garner standing ovations; I think people have been downloading it because there were quite a few gasps of recognition at the opening logo. HEINO singing "Blau Blumt die Enzian" from THAT'S IRRITAINMENT gets laughs, because (a) Heino looks funny and (b) this one is edited funny. DIG DUG was followed by PONG and for once DIG DUG got more laughs, but that may have had something to do with the sound (there was a short in the channel where the AV was plugged into, so I had to ride it and sometimes stereo turned into mono, etc). Everybody loved GOD'S TOP GUN and FARTING TILTON got both groans and laughs. I think it gets more laughs when you either have a bitter hatred of televangelists (not a big problem in Canada) or already know who Tilton is. The JAPANESE PEN AD ("Power Tank") is always a big hit.
I ran over a bit, and the last thing I can remember showing is the TRIUMPH AT STAR WARS clip, which everybody freaking loved. One guy asked if it was "Triumph from Late Night in Montreal". Wrong city, wrong show.
It was a real education to show this stuff to people who haven't ever seen it before, who don't have years of hearing about Hell, who haven't been preconditioned to shout "Dog Bite, Dave!" and who haven't been told Heino is funny. Sometimes I wish all audiences were this unspoiled.