Just 3Ds? Ha! Bring me some real gimmicks!
‘member when 3D movies were just a quaint gimmicky relic of yesteryear ? How about that golden age when a unsteady theater seat was a free discomfort, and not an eight dollar upgrade?
Well, I got news for ya’ pal: Those studio boys have been after you since the birth of nitrate! I mean, if they can convince the world that surround-sound’s not a gimmick…wait…how many speakers? Sounds legit…literally! [cue applause]
A couple extra dees isn’t the only bait they’ve tried, or the laziest!
Thanks to some real advancements in technology you can enjoy all this and more from the best/loneliest theater of all: your living room.
Here’s a few to jump-start that fun movie party I’m not invited to:
–Earthquake [1974, on DVD] What the title is + Chuck Heston.
The Gimmick: “Sensurround” . Basically an array of subwoofers attached to the ceiling of the theater that would blast bass every time the title-thing happened. The DVD has a track that emulates the effect, and will make your neighbors regret your decision to live in an apartment that much more.
– 13 Ghosts [1960, on DVD] Unlike the Tony Shalhoub-ed remake this one plays more like a haunted Leave it to Beaver episode.
The Gimmick: “Illusion-O”. Basically it used the same tech as anaglyphic 3D glasses, but instead of looking through both filters you would only look through one at a time. The BLUE one “hides” the ghosts, and the RED one just makes the screen really, really red.
–Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay [2008, on DVD/Blu-Ray] Funny sequel to a funnier movie.
The Gimmick: An Interactive Story. The Blu-Ray release has an option called “Dude, change the movie.”, that’s actually not a crushing disappointment. At one point you can even make a decision that finally gets these friends to Amsterdam.
–Clue [1985, on DVD] All the fun of watching your friends play a board game, minus your friends and fun.
The Gimmick: Multiple endings. The film was shown theatrically with one of three randomly selected endings. The DVD release does the same thing…if you somehow make it that far.
–Polyester [1981, on DVD] John Waters does his normal thing with Divine, but it’s less gross this time.
The Gimmick: “Odorama”. As a tribute to fellow B-movie pioneer William Castle patrons were issued scratch-and-sniff cards to smell stuff onscreen [including a dude’s farts]. The DVD comes with an “Odorama” card, and you can get stacks at a time on eBay…for those classy get-togethers.
–How the West Was Won [1962, on DVD/Blu-Ray] An epic western so long your Dad doesn’t even know how it ends… because he’s too drunk to stay awake.
The Gimmick: “Cinerama”. Probably the most respectable gimmick on this list, “Cinerama” was sort of the Imax of it’s day. It was a three strip film-process projected onto a giant curved screen. The Blu-Ray tries to preserve the experience with a curved letterbox presentation dubbed “Smilebox”. Good luck explaining that one to drunk dad.
–My World Dies Screaming [1958, on DVD] A lady ‘s husband brings her to a house. She’s also been having nightmares about it. Sound boring. It’s even more boring than that. Released under the title Terror in the Haunted House for DVD.
The Gimmick: “Psychorama”. A series of “subliminal” messages flash throughout the film. Mean faces, drawings of cobras, skulls: All meant to incite fear. You know what might have been more effective…making a horror movie.
–Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D [1982, on DVD/ Blu-Ray] You hate 3D movies, right? Pop this bad-boy in and see it done right. Things constantly getting thrown at your face: spears, eyes, machetes, yo-yos, popcorn, wallets…plus just dig that title. That’s really what it’s called!
The Gimmick: Good 3D. It’s so fine you’ll almost finish the movie without wanting to gouge your eyes out. Almost. Plus you don’t have to buy an over-priced 3D-TV to enjoy it [o.g. red/blue brain-hurters].
– Mr. Sardonicus [1961, on DVD] A greedy baron finds out his pops got buried with a winning lottery ticket in his pocket, and said baron digs that fool up! The price for his mis-deed? A face frozen in an awesomely horrific grin, that’s what!
The Gimmick: “The Punishment Poll”. Director William Castle appears on screen to tally “votes” from the audience to decide the fate of our dear Sardonicus. Turns out it’s just a formality. Castle knew his audience well enough to film only one ending: the one that has the most to do with torture.
[The DVD doesn’t come with a “Punishment Poll” card, so here’s this one…nerd.]