Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Panel OF DOOM at Anime Festival Orlando

At Anime Festival Orlando 5, I'm scheduled to put on my take of Anime Hell, which I've dubbed the Panel OF DOOM.  I'll be running it off a computer--playing a clip, talking on the mic a bit, playing the next clip--but if I get some mailing addresses from you guys, I'll dub some tapes of the footage I've used and pass them along, even though some of it will probably consist of clips that Dave retired from his AWA Hell cycle.

This will be the first time I'm going to attempt using a slideshow/playlist presentation.  The disadvantage of this is that the spontaneity aspect is not actually there, despite my theatrics implying otherwise.  Why no VCR setup?  Would you believe that most anime cons multimedia panel rooms (or video rooms) these days aren't set up to easily allow use of them?  Not only would I have to bring my own, but I don't have any of the extra equipment listed in the Hell manifesto (extra VCRs, monitor, mixing board, cassette deck, CD player) and can't get cons to provide any of them save a microphone.

Currently my lineup's looking something like this (this isn't comprehensive):

* Sealab 2021 clip of Tornado Shanks' rant about "if you don't like it, watch anime"
* LOTS of clips from TV Carnage: Bibleman, Love Tips from Fabio, David Hasselhoff sings musical theater, Huntress Heidi has her son shoot a squirrel then shows us how to cook Squirrel Melts, a serious father/son moment from Power Rangers, old Nintendo-related commercials (Freedom Stick, the Power Glove), and more.  Since these clips are so short (30 to 60 seconds on average), I'll just intersperse them throughout
* The "Frustration" segments from Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool
* Some clips from Adam and Joe Go Tokyo (BBC miniseries in the vein of Japanorama): one about cosplay, one that's just a commercial for Post Pet, and one featuring a performance by the Tokyo Shock Boys, the Japanese equivalent of the cast of MTV's Jackass
* A couple of those banned WW2 cartoons featuring Donald Duck/Bugs Bunny/Popeye
* Both of Pierre Bernard's anime-related rants from Conan O'Brien
* The last use of the Walker, Texas Ranger lever from Conan O'Brien
* Daily Show piece about the lack of Asian males in porn where George Takei says "young wet bitches" as only he can
* The Evangelion discussion scene from One Hour Photo (and for kicks, the quick "eyes bleeding" shot)
* Christopher Walken pranking a "Stiffly Stifferson" sketch from SNL
* Unbreakable clip where Samuel L. Jackson is in the comicbook shop
* Chappelle's Show Samuel Jackson sketch
* A few clips from this old 70s Bollywood film called "Don," most of them consisting of badly choreographed fights and the titular character--whose actor is sort of like Bollywood's answer to Sean Connery--getting out of perilous situations by throwing exploding briefcases
* Mad TV sketch for Terminator 3 where the Terminator is sent to protect Jesus
* Clip from GTO where a girl mistakenly walks into a room where guys are talking about Gundam

And so on.  Currently I have 90 minutes of raw footage, and my policy for panels is to always have more footage on-hand than you can actually show.  I plan to add in a couple clips from sentai shows that Danno provided me--namely Cyber Cop and Jetman, though to be topical I'll put on a clip from the Japanese Spider-Man--along with one or two selections from the Educational Film Archives DVDs linked on the blog.  I think I'll choose one drug-related one and one sex-ed related one, since I have a Mad TV sketch called "VD: What a Drag" which is a parody version of those old sex-ed films.

I've also got that awful old Manga Video trailer that they'd slap at the beginning of their VHS releases (the one where they dub in the guy screaming "MAAAAY-NGAAAAAAAAH!"), along with the just-as-awful "What is Anime?" trailer that ADV is currently front-loading on all their DVDs.  I wish I had the  Time/Life "Best of Japanimation" TV commercial that would air late at night for what was essentially the Streamline Pictures catalog, but alas I don't have that.  Throw in that old Heino clip that Dave doesn't use anymore, a 1970s movie trailer or two, a CPF short here and there, and the "Let's Fighting Love" scene from South Park, and I've got a panel! 

Once I'm done with that, then it's on to AWA panel preparation, and since Dave's already got Hell scheduled there, I figured I'd resurrect my "Off the Beaten Path" panel from last year's AFO: two hours showcasing anime material that's relatively obscure. In this day and age, that means "stuff that isn't on DVD yet/stuff nobody bought or is downloading." Wouldn't take too long to update my old two hour lineup, which means I could actually mail it out to Neil Nadelman for DVD authoring purposes within a reasonable timeframe before the con.

Daryl Surat

AnimeHELL Rules!

(editor's note: I wrote this twelve years ago, back when people were bugging the crap out of me before, during, and after the five different Anime Hell shows I was doing every year. I no longer do five Anime Hell shows and I no longer use video tape. This post remains as a public service).

I need two VCRs hooked to the main circuit. I need a cassette deck and a CD player hooked into the main circuit, or a RCA jack I can plug into. I need a mixing board that isn't too complicated, a microphone, and a clear space to put my tapes. I need spectators and well-wishers to give me room to move, and I need chairs set aside for my posse. I also need a VCR and a monitor for cuing tapes, and I need a half-hour before start time for setting up.

Submissions: If you have something you want me to show at Hell, I need the videotape or the VCD in my hand a month before the convention. Do not hand me a tape at Hell and claim that it's really funny and that it's cued up and that everybody will like it; God hates liars. Don't give me a URL; my computer don't play those things and I can't get it out of my computer anyway, and if I could, it'd come out all fucked up. I need videotape or a VCD. I've got loads of stuff to trade so it's not like you wouldn't get anything in return.

You may, however, feel free to hand me a potential Hell tape at a convention - but I'm going to take it home and preview it, and THEN it might make it into rotation, at some other convention. Just not THAT convention.

I'm interested in educational films, industrial and military training films, TV ads from 1960-1980, shitty American cartoons from 1960- 1980, footage of actors or famous people screwing up, funny Simpsons clips, funny SNL fake ads, funny fake ads from anywhere else, and funny foreign footage of whatever provenance. The thing to usually keep in mind is "funny in spite of itself." Keep that in mind and you can't go far wrong.

I'm NOT interested in anime music videos, anime parody films, homemade Star Wars films, episodes of 'Poochie' that feature characters with names similar to Tenchi Muyou characters, or whatever stupid Internet Flash movie happens to be making the rounds of 'funny links' this week. All of these things are well and good, and they all have their place, and it ain't Hell.

Please don't tell me that I should just put the whole show on a tape and sit back and relax - what makes Hell Hell is the real-time selection of material and the mystery of what might happen next. I'm not going to burn the whole thing to VCDs, and I'm not going to convert it all to computer files and play it all out of a computer, because the computer would fuck up, and don't tell me it won't. I haven't lost a videotape yet.

Don't come up to me halfway through Hell and ask me "When does Midnight Madness start?" because when you ask a drunk with a microphone stupid questions, you get what you deserve.

-Dave Merrill

AnimeHELL Manifesto!

Japanese anime fandom in the United States was built by tape-swapping video freaks, obsessed with capturing cartoons and inflicting the resultant confusion on captive audiences. Plunging head first into the inexplicable pop culture of a foreign nation, anime fans saw every T-120 as a potential gold mine of strangeness that typical America did not understand, and at times was actively opposed to. Regardless, anime fandom flourished through a network of clubs and tape traders filling the US Mail with an ever-circulating video supply delivering alternative entertainment across the nation.

Combine that whole mess with the culture-jamming antics of basic cable's Night Flight and early MTV, the DIY filmmaking of "Bambi Vs Godzilla" and "Hardware Wars" and the camp value of thousands of hours of bad old commercials and educational films, mix with the expanded home video capabilities of fifty thousand home entertainment centers controlled by legions of daisy-chaining tapeheads obsessed with crazy Japanese cartoons, and you get a room full of nerds laughing their heads off at two AM in a smelly convention video room somewhere in the Southeast. That's Japanese Anime Hell.

Japanese animation is now established as a legitimate American entertainment niche, available to all, no longer gatekept by self-appointed Tape Gods. But through Anime Hell we can still indulge our passion to seek out the strange and the forgotten and the non-commercial, to highlight the weird and the failed and the crazy that no corporate entity in its right mind would try to make a profit from.

Since 1996 Anime Hell has been delivering un-coordinated entertainment to audiences across America and parts of Canada, limited not by popular taste, commercial appeal or modern trends, but only by what its curators find funny or entertaining or liable to stun convention crowds in the wee hours.

Updated August 2016 by Dave Merrill

Welcome to AnimeHELL!

I'm gonna make this the new homepage for animehell.org, and we'll post news, commentary and new AV Geekery here. If you're interested in joining this blog send an e-mail to tohoscope at gmail.com!