This is why I’m still single.
One Friday night about four years ago, I had showered, shellacked my hair, laced up my favorite pair of Vans and was about to switch off the TV and head out to the Party of the Year when a commercial came on the T.V. that stopped me in my tracks. When the commercial finished, I sat back down on the couch, cracked a beer, kicked off my shoes and called my buddy Aaron.
“Hey man. I’m not gonna make it out tonight.”
“Are you fucking serious!? Why not?”
“You want the truth?” There was no way to say this without it sounding dumb. “There’s a movie on the Sci-Fi Channel tonight about the Chupacabra. You know, the Mexican goat-sucker?”
A long pause.
“It’s about a Chupacabra that stows away on a Carnival cruise ship and eats everyone. It’s called Chupacabra: Dark Seas”
Another pause. “Wow,” he said. “I totally understand.”
And so all my buddies went off to dance in a loft with hot girls until 6 AM where it was raining free beer, psychadelics and handjobs, while I sat on my ass at home and watched a legendary Mexican monster eviscerate senior citizens on a shuffleboard court. It was totally worth it.
I am a huge lover of crappy movies. When I was eighteen, my family shelled out a ton of money to send me to The Dramatic Writing Program at NYU. I was a C-student in high school with extremely average SATs, but I was somehow accepted to my top choice college which my folks hoped would mold me into the next Martin Scorcese. I just wanted to be the next Roger Corman. I sat in dark classrooms for hours on end, where we watched and analyzed the works of Kubrick, Antonioni, Coppola, and all the while I was fantasizing about making the Raging Bull of giant animal movies. I had friends who wrote screenplays which were eventually produced by Gus Van Sant while I sat in bars and coffeeshops trying to scribble out a good plotline for my movie Quahog, about a giant killer Rhode Island clam.
My college roommate Bongo dropped out of film school to work with Troma Films, makers of such fabulous crap as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke’m High, Surf Nazis Must Die and Bloodsucking Freaks. He was making six dollars an hour, but I was insanely jealous. A good part of his job was revolved around the promotion of Killer Condom, where he had to stand on a street corner with a dude dressed as said condom and hand out flyers to screenings. As far as I was concerned, Bongo had the hookup. We were even able to have my 22nd birthday at the premiere party for Sergeant Kabukiman, NYPD.
God, how I wanted to make movies like this. It just isn’t easy to get people onboard for the ride. I had a genius idea for a movie called Prawn! about killer radioactive shrimp, but you try convincing your girl friends to stand in the surf in Coney Island in bikinis, screaming, while you chuck buckets of frozen shrimp at them.
And so, like my professors advised me, I focussed on selling-out – writing the kind of scripts a studio might actually be interested in. Like every other schmo in film school, I wrote my coming-of-age scripts, my Tarantino knockoffs. I was proud of them, but they all suffered from a horrible lack of having a giant anaconda, crocodile, or genetically engineered wolverine gobble up my protagonists in the end.
When I was in Los Angeles a year and a half ago, an old college friend called me up. We hadn’t really spoken in ages. He was a working actor of some renown, and had produced a number of small independent films. I had a decent reputation as a writer in college, so he wanted to meet with me to see if we could work together.
He brought his idea to the table first. He was a dramatic actor who had made a film about being homeless which was extraordinarily moving and impressive, so I knew anything this guy was going to be in was gonna be good. The film he wanted to make next was a biopic of a famous choreographer who died of AIDS. It sounded interesting.
“And what about you, Drew? You have anything you want to work on?”
I scootched forward in my seat. Rolled back my sleeves.
“Okay. Buckle the fuck in.” I took a sip of my beer. “In Australia in the early 1930s, the sugar cane crop was being decimated by a little bug called the cane weevil, so the government brought in the North American bullfrog to take care of them. The thing is, the bullfrogs wound up multiplying and eating up everything but the weevils. So, to this day, the Australian countryside is overrun with these frogs, right?
“So our hero is this American scientist who makes it his mission to rid Australia of this scourge of frogs, so he decides to make this new kind of poison to kill them off. What it really winds up doing, however, is making them giant! The size of Volkswagons! Imagine that: being eaten by a giant frog. People will be shitting in their seats!
“And there’s layers to this, you see. It’s all a big allegory for American intervention in … ah, who gives a shit? Giant fucking frogs, man! And the best part is the title. You ready for this? … CROAK! … Boom. That’s it. I’m telling you, man. This cocksucker’s gonna make us thousands!”
I never heard from him again.
Ah well. One of these days, Drew. One of these days…