I offer for your enjoyment ten more very odd movies from that wonderful public domain resource, The Internet Archive. Where else on the ‘Net can you go to watch animated talking teeth, people acting like cavemen in a busy city, and a chimpanzee being fired into space? Only at the Internet Archive , apparently. Well, besides YouTube. But you can easily download videos from The Internet Archive. More importantly, they are in the public domain and a fantastic resource for historians, film buffs, and anyone who loves and needs their strange video fix.
1. Help, My Snowman’s Burning Down (1964)
This multi-award winning surrealistic film is supposedly a satire on Madison Avenue advertising. It’s full of bizarre images: a fully-clothed man using a typewriter in the bathtub, a woman’s hand coming out of the drain, and a roll of toilet paper attacking a man’s leg are just some of the scenes within this strange film. Has some pretty good jazz in it, too. Oh, and around the 6:45 mark the guy sets fire to his own hat to keep warm. Why didn’t I think of that?
2. The Cliché Family in Television-land (1965?)
A corny parody of the typical television family. The Internet Archive describes this movie as an “in-house” joke made by a large television commercial producer. Some of the scenes are actually funny, and it’s amazing to see how many of the clichés in this film still hold true today. A little after the five minute mark, a man smokes two cigarettes at the same time. Ah, men were men back then…
3. The Munchers: A Fable (1973)
I’ve used the word surrealistic many times, and I’m gonna use it again for this film. What you got here is your basic surrealistic stop-motion clay animation story of proper dental hygiene. Talking teeth, a bad guy named Jack Sweet, and dental abuse with what looks to be a handheld bulldozer abound. Man, the 70’s were weird.
INSERT ‘SHROOM JOKE HERE.
4. VD is for Everybody (1974)
It is? None for me, thank you very much! A montage of different people make up this short video, with a very catchy song as well. One lyric goes: “Anyone can share VD with someone as nice as you…” Awww. Brings a tear to my eye, this public servant announcement does (thankfully, only to my eye and not any other organs). And now that I’ve watched the video three times, I feel I need to go to the doctor.
5. Enos, Chimp Into Space
If you’ve ever had a hankering to learn the whole process of firing a defenseless chimpanzee into the cold depths of space, this is the flick for you! This video documents a 1961 space mission where Enos, an innocent primate, is the passenger on a rocket pointed way, way up. Everything goes fine in the primate’s space flight, thankfully. His reward? A “banana-flavored tidbit”. All that work for almost nothing?!? Now I know how Wal-Mart employees feel.
Enos was a true trailblazer in space, and this is his proud record. In space no one can hear you scream like a terrified Pan troglodytes.
6. About Fallout (1955)
No, this mini-documentary isn’t about the classic computer game, unfortunately. Attempting to explain nuclear fallout and be reassuring at the same time isn’t easy, but this movie does its best. Filmed in glorious 50’s color, the narrator has a very calm, easy-going voice which almost makes you believe being bombarded by lethal radiation is no big thing. But it is a big thing, just ask Doctor David Banner. But don’t make him angry… you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
7. The True Experience of Howard Sewell (1938)
This one is a prime example of what happens when you give a lousy script to a bunch of bad actors. A commercial for Eveready batteries, this one minute and twenty second, uh, “tour de force” is supposedly a true account of police officer Howard Sewell stopping a car being wrecked by a train by using his flashlight. A flashlight using Eveready batteries, of course. The great parts in this video are when Officer Sewell says, “I’ll stop it!” and dashes off like Superman, and at the end where everybody is thanking the flashlight for warning the train to stop, instead of Officer Sewell.
8. Tribune-American Dream Picture (1924)
A silent movie from the Roaring Twenties, this short flick documents a woman’s dream. It’s a strange one too, with her running around trying to find her baby, who eventually turns up driving a car! Also the man stomping fish in the middle of the street doesn’t help matters, much. Somehow the lack of sound in the movie makes it even more surreal.
After watching this film, I’m reminded that you still haven’t given me those ‘shrooms I asked you for earlier.
9. Knife-Thrower and Children (1950’s)
A touching short film about a mother lovingly throwing knives at her two young daughters. Back in the 1950’s this sort of thing was an entertaining act; these days it would get Louella Gallagher, the mother in this video, at least ten years behind bars. She’s very talented at throwing the knives, though one has to wonder if her kids are still alive today.
THWACK! THWACK! THWACK! THUNK!
“WAAAAH!!!! MOM, MY FOREHEAD HURTS!”
10. The Hut Sut Song
A charming proto-music video of four men singing a catchy tune that makes people around them lose their shyte. But not to worry – eventually they’re dragged off to the state asylum! I’m sure government-sponsored mental health care will help them! Nope – the guys just keep on singing. I like the expression of the really furious guy in the living room – I swear he’s about to flip out and start handing out free smackins’ for everyone.
SlackerDan is a comedy writer who loves pre-90’s nostalgia, strange video, and animals that have been fired into space. He never throws knives at children when witnesses are present.