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.]

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  1. I used to think I liked the movie Clue. I’m beginning to realize that I was wrong. Remember how Comedy central used to show all the endings stacked back-to-back? At the time, that was how I thought it was supposed to be shown, and I thought it was quite novel. I didn’t know anything.

  2. Would you say you didn’t have a Clue? Booooo-ya! I’ve never actually seen the “Clue” movie, so I’m just assuming it’s stank because Tim Curry’s headlining it. I think the three endings back-to-back would play more like an inspired joke, instead of a cheap gimmick. This, i’m assuming would only help what i’m assuming is a painfully un-funny film. What is it they say about assumptions? Oh yea, it’s that mine are always right! [drops mic]

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