Punk Rock Comedy
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Jerkbeast The Movie (2005)
5th Dec 06
After performing as a punk band on their public access show, normally an outlet for prepubescent callers to phone in and be as vulgar on air as they like, eight-foot tall Jerkbeast (co-director / writer Brady Hall) and the two humans who he starts the show and band with - Sweet Benny (co-director/writer Calvin Reeder) and Marty (producer Brian Wendorf) - are signed up and out on the road as their single ‘Looks Like Chocolate, Tastes Like Shit’ becomes a smash.
However the road to fame is a tricky one as Jerkbeast and his friends find out along the way.
Review Jerkbeast the Movie is an extension of the makers’ Seattle-based public-access show that aired for two seasons in 2001. The program consisted of people calling in after a dial-an-insult fix from its hosts Marty, Benny and Jerkbeast, and was considered a success if only by its creators who went on to start filming this movie version in 2002. Funding the movie with their own cash they roped in friends and local actors (although on the acting stakes they’re all so bad it is hard to differentiate them) to fill out the rest of the roles.
Budgeted at between just $5-6,000 it was inevitable that the sound and picture quality would end up variable. Some of the night scenes are grainy and much of the time your viewing is jarred by each scene playing at an inconsistent quality to the last. The sound also altered dramatically - sometimes barely audible before launching into guitar ripping loud. For a short while you will be frustratedly fiddling with the volume until you slump into a heap and think ‘Bugger it’ and just let the variable standard roll over you. And in fact even though the movie takes a good few minutes to get into its stride, but when it does you can overlook its budget shortcomings and enjoy the ride.
Lead character Jerkbeast is a wonderful creation; a mix of Jimmy Saville hair outlining a huge papier mache red / burnt orange head permanently waving his red finger at people and shouting obscenities. Coming on like Mr. Blobby’s evil sibling he stomps from one argument to another stealing the movie from everyone else completely. In fact I would love to see more of him period. He’s an absolute hoot throughout.
Aside from the constant barrage of insults thrown out by Jerkbeast and his failings in dealing with a fan’s constant attraction to him (he shouts at her, ”I think your butt smells like a dumpster”), the drug-dealing buddy Preston (Nathan Conrad) and the radio-friendly version of ‘Looks Like Chocolate, Tastes Like Shit’, much of the other humour just doesn’t work as well.
However you can’t help but like the finished product. Sure it’s dumb, the sets are crap, and the narrator at the start sounds like they find reading a strain and the humour is all very adolescent, but hell when it’s this much fun overall who gives a crap.
In terms of extras on the disc there are commentaries along with a bog standard trailer. I’m guessing the copy I saw was part one of a two disc set as I have read that the DVD release also include live Steaming Wolf Penis concert footage and the entire full debut Steaming Wolf Penis album – Assholes & Hand Grenades.
If that wasn’t enough apparently it also contains highlights from the Jerkbeast TV show, a behind the scenes short, a Jerkbeast Cartoon drawn by Johnny Ryan, photo slideshow and an additional commentary from a number of comic book artists such as Tony Millionaire (creator of ‘Maakies’), Johnny Ryan (creator of ‘Angry Youth Comix’), Tim Maloney (‘Diaper Dyke’ animator) and Coop (creator of ‘Devil Girl’).