“Princess and the Pony” and RiffTrax
Earlier this past week, I found out about the steaming pile of B-Movie madness known as The Asylum, a studio that pushes out movie upon movie every year with extremely low budgets, with a good chunk of those movies being knock-offs of more popular movies and concepts. For example, Transmorphers, a version of Sherlock Holmes where he battles robot dragons and dinosaurs in London, The Day The Earth Stopped, The Da Vinci Treasure, Snakes on a Train, Sunday School Musical, and Titanic 2. Not every one of their films is a knock-off, though, since they’ve got a surprising number of generic sex comedies and even a few family-friendly films. One of the films that I saw they made was so cheesy and bad that I had to look it up, and it turns out that we could watch it on Netflix… so I did! Readers of my blag, let me tell you that this movie is so cheesy and badly done that it has to be seen to be believed.
Princess and the Pony is a film about some Princess from some country nobody has ever heard of, who has been held inside of the palace walls for her entire life and is nearly kidnapped for ransom. She’s sent to live away with her relatively poor southern-accented aunt in America (who apparently doesn’t have royal status), with only a Tom Bergeron look-alike to guard her. The secret files that say who she is are kept by a single, incompetent sheriff of all people, and the girl ends up working for some carnival owner with a freakishly awesome mustache that not only has a bad British accent in America, but ends up being the person that ordered that she be captured in the first place! Needless to say, this movie is bad. Bad bad bad bad bad bad bad. Not quite as bad as, say, the infamous Pod People, Cave Dwellers, Star Wars Holiday Special, or even The Last Airbender, but bad enough to make everyone besides a little girl feel like they wasted their time… Unless, of course, you heckle at the movie Mystery Science Theater 3000-style (henceforth referred to as MST3K), which is exactly what me and my friend Andy did.
MST3K, if you’re not familiar with it, is a cult comedy show where a man and his two robot pals heckle at a movie as it’s playing, most usually B Movies as that was all they could afford. They would make jokes about the movies as they went on and were funny enough to become a cult hit. Today, MST3K lives on as Cinematic Titanic and RiffTrax, two projects that revive the MST3K spirit in a newer, modern format with some of the original writers and comedians in each. RiffTrax is most notable because, instead of selling movies with the commentaries included (as that would be illegal), they sell DRM-Free MP3 files that you can synchronize up to a film you already own (or rent). This lets them do lots of films like Inception, the Harry Potter films, and Twilight without needing to pay royalties or licensing fees. One of my favorites of theirs is their riff on High School Musical; here’s the trailer for it:
After heckling on Princess and the Pony, me, Andy, and my other friend Sam were thinking of actually trying to make one of those. RiffTrax has a store for “iRiffs”, or user-created riffs on anything we want. We can sell them on their store and rake in the cash (which is arguably much less than, say, a song on iTunes, but you get the idea)! We’re either going to do Princess and the Pony, My Neighbor Totoro, another one of The Asylum’s movies, or something else. I’ll be sure to post more details on the project as soon as it takes off the ground!