Sunday, April 27, 2014

Escape From Tomorrow (DVD) - When You Wish Upon a Horror

Take your childhood fantasy theme park. Add strange psychotic individuals who have seemingly no morals, no sense of keeping their cool and average Joe appeal. Add psychedelia. Add faux Disney music. Sex. Drugs. Strange Conspiracies. Yep, that's Escape From Tomorrow. As a newly initiated regular to the Disney World experience myself, I am a fan of what Uncle Walt put together. Damn if he didn't capture every piece of my childhood save for a few stark slasher and gore pictures into one great big amusement zone. I love Disney World. My kids love Disney World. We've never been to Disneyland, but maybe we'll get there some day. I also love Escape From Tomorrow and at all its surreal gonzo guerilla filmmaking splendor.


The most provocative film from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Escape From Tomorrow should not exist, and yet it does. Like nothing you've ever seen, Randy Moore's directorial debut is a bold and ingenious trip into the happiest place on earth. An epic battle begins when a middle-aged American husband and father of two learns that he has lost his job. Keeping the news from his nagging wife and wound-up children, he packs up the family and embarks on a full day of park hopping amid enchanted castles and fairytale princesses. Soon, the manufactured mirth of the fantasyland around him begins to haunt his subconscious. An idyllic family vacation quickly unravels into a surrealist nightmare of paranoid visions, bizarre encounters, and an obsessive pursuit of a pair of sexy teenage Parisians. Chillingly shot in black and white, Escape From Tomorrow dissects the mythology of artificial perfection while subversively attacking our culture's obsession with mass entertainment.


All I had known about Escape From Tomorrow before seeing it was that a film crew magically got into the happiest place on Earth and fucked shit up proper, turned Disney on its ear and basically stuck it to the man. I can support that. The little guy needs a champion to stand up to the the mammoth juggernaut film studio every so often. It's good for morale. The making of story behind Escape From Tomorrow is as interesting as the film itself (perhaps more so), and you'll get that on the DVD. It's a relatively short film, so the extra will real help answer your questions and add to the experience.  The basic gist is that Randy Moore and company went into the Disney theme parks with iPhone based scripts and some handheld cameras. They made a movie in a way that would allow them to use the park grounds without requiring permissions from corporate. Balls. That's what these folks have. Great big ones. They probably should be a ride in one of the parks. Spaceship Cojones!

What exactly is Escape From Tomorrow? Take the happiest place on Earth and introduce Jodorowsky. Send him on it's a mall world. Let him spend a day in the Magical Kingdom. Epcot. Then ask him if he wants to bring his lady of the night friends along. Add strange convoluted conspiracy plots, marital trouble, kids that won't stay the fuck put when you tell them to, sexual fantasies about the Disney princesses (you're lying if you said you haven't had one)... take the things in your head that are anti-Disney and put them into Disney world. That's Escape From Tomorrow.

Sure it suffers slightly from its own filmmaking style but on the whole this a well put together movie that is sure to please fans of David Lynch. It's really out there. It will make sense at times. Other times you'll be left to your own conclusions to figure out what's real, what is perfect subterfuge and whether or not good ol' Randy Moore is getting his point across. There's plenty left to interpretation and even the finale which seems to close the door on any suspicion could be subject to interpretation. As one who doesn't always subscribe to Lynchian chaos and abstraction, I found Moore's vision of perfect Hell more direct and watchable. Bolstered by some very honest performances by an indie cast, the whole thing feels like a home movie yet doesn't conform to some of the flawed SOV techniques that can render more serious releases as camp classics rather than serious cinematic works.

Pat attention to the artwork surrounding this release everything from the DVD/Blu-ray cover art to the posters on the net. There are some great spoofs on traditional Walt Disney advertising that are socially critical if not wholly humorous parody. Also pay attention to the music. They worked hard to get it just Disney enough without infringing on copyrights.

This is not a Disney flick. Not appropriate for the kids. Probably not great to watch if you're going to any of the Disney parks within a few months of viewing. My family is going this November, and I'm hoping I didn't taint the experience for myself by enjoying this feature. It's not a straight forward picture of horror, but rather a surreal look into the dichotomy of being at the happiest place on Earth while internally living in your own private 9 Circles theme park.'re going to eat this shit up. Having had my own personal melt down after a long hot day in the theme park circuit I can attest that there is some honest to goodness truth in the foundation of this film. We all go a little mad sometimes. That's especially easy with a bunch of crazy mouse starving children ready for the next Dumbo ride.

You can order your copy of Escape From Tomorrow today! Releases April 29th.

You can read up on their Wiki page to fill in some of the blanks concerning the legal shit and shooting techniques.

-Doc Terror

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