ACTION FIGURE FILMS
I believe I started making films with my action figures after I went to a screening of Spike and Mike’s Twisted Animation at Mission Valley Cinema in Raleigh, NC. One in particular that I adored was “When Chickens Attack.” It was quite a simple short. Just stop-motion chickens attacking a helpless man. But after they had attacked him, they leave and return with an alarming array of advanced weaponry. I thought, I could do that. Of course, I had no editing equipment except my camera and vcr, so I shot all of the films in camera, pressing record and stop over and over while slightly moving the figures. I decided to call the production company ACHTUNG FIGURINOVITCH PRODUCTIONS.
The first film I made was Space Sharks. The basic story was that something in space is attacking ships and a crew is sent out to investigate. The creatures that are tearing ships apart are called Space Sharks. They were represented by those sharp staple removers that look like horrible snapping mouths. I paused a movie set in space, pointed my camera toward it, and dangled the sharks and my Superman cruiser on strings. I believe my rationale was that if I make the film as funny as possible, I could get away with the awful special effects. All of the characters say outlandish, ridiculous things.
I went for broke with my next film, Invasion of the Action Figures. It was a 40-minute epic that I actually had the nerve to screen at a real and unsuspecting film festival. After about 5 minutes, they realized they’d made a mistake letting me show this, but they didn’t turn it off. There was dead silence after the screening and I grabbed my vhs tape and high-tailed it out of there. It taught me a lesson. Be honest about your films. If it truly doesn’t work, then try to make it work, and if not, don’t subject those poor people to sit through it. That being said, it’s actually my favorite among the action figure films. It’s based off of Philip Kaufman’s Invasion film with a few references to the Don Siegel original. Although it’s ridiculous, I was definitely getting ambitious since it featured multiple storylines and locations as well as live-action footage. Some of the scenes still are genuinely funny, and one line actually made one person in the audience at the festival laugh.
I made one more full-length piece. I had Patrick Stewart on tape reading A Christmas Carol, so I used his voice and the sound effects to create a film version with action figures. I used General Traag Rock-Man as Scrooge and my sister’s doll house for his home.
The rest of the films were genuine shorts. No more than a few minutes long. For Buffoon, Tollbooth Willy, and Mr. Spindel’s Phone Call, these were from Adam Sandler’s “They’re All Gonna Laugh At You!” Album. Uh Oh! was the Big Boss Man action figure twirling his baton to the music of Patsy Cline’s “Back In Baby’s Arms” until Godzilla pops up and eats him. Racer Box was a simple racing film where all of the cars eventually get destroyed in increasingly crazy ways. Raid was a really fun one to make. Simple monsters vs. the army film. I used John Carpenter’s Escape from New York music for that one. Megalon Attacks! was another one where the army figures had to take down a monster. Megalon was my favorite of the Godzilla monsters so I loved using him.
When Midgets Attack. This was my attempt at doing a "When Chickens Attack" film. I definitely shouldn’t have called it When MIDGETS Attack, I know that now, but at the time, it just seemed like the right word for the little figures. Overall, it’s just ridiculous. They beat the poor guy up, then run him over with a car, and then a tank comes in and blows him up.