They Will Devour Us All

April 9th, 2009

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.

“I’m listening…”

“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…

17 Responses to “They Will Devour Us All”

  1. Nichole Says:

    In high school, I yearned to be a novelist. In college, I settled for the more “realistic” journalist. Post-grad, I design kitchens. Here’s hoping your aspirations are more resilient than mine.

    I’m glad you’re posting again- I read so many blah-gs, your blog is one I always look forward to. Keep ‘em coming!

  2. Alyssa Says:

    OK, so I actually have the fabulously crappy Troma film, Redneck Zombies. Don’t ask.

    But the best part is, one of my friends was over and saw it and was like, “My boyfriend has that movie!” She goes and tell her boyfriend, who is on a big radio show, I have it. Her boyfriend happens to think it’s cool that one of her friends actually SAW that. He also happens to know the guy who wrote it.

    Now I’m supposedly getting a signed copy…

  3. Claudia Says:

    Haha I love terrible movies. And sitting through movies that no one understands. I would totally watch your movie. I think that it would be pretty epic. Your not the only one I wrote a play where Hitler was in a romantic relationship with Henry Ford, and tried to take over the world through Bush and Abraham Lincoln had to come in and stop it, through Dick Cheney. LoL

    Let’s just say my creative writing teacher was afraid to let it go outside the classroom I’m pretty sure.

  4. drewbacca Says:

    Alyssa – I totally met the cast of Redneck Zombies! They were doing some promotional thing at a video store called the Video Vault in D.C. when I was in high school. I’m embarrassed to say I never actually saw the movie tho. Now I’ve gotta hunt down a copy..

    Claudia – Wow. Tell me you at least had a reading.

    I don’t know why I’m reminded of this, but if you haven’t already seen it, run out and rent “Bubba Ho-Tep”. It’s about an elderly Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) who faked his own death in the 70s, withering away in a retirement home with an old black guy (Ossie Davis) who thinks he’s John F. Kennedy. Together they fight a 2,000 year-old mummy who has been sucking the souls out of senior citizens through their anuses. It’s genius stuff. If I could go back in time, I’d want to sit in on the meeting where the writer/director pitched that premise to the movie’s investors and sold it.

    A man who could do that can accomplish anything.

  5. Claudia Says:

    Haha yeah we read it out loud. Everyone had parts. It was pretty grand.

  6. Shannon L Says:

    The Toxic Avenger is one of my favorite movies, swear!

    Thanks for blogging again, I quite enjoyed them, keep it up!

  7. Dani Says:

    LMAO!!! I wonder why I am still single too! It’s been a while since we exchanged emails, I thought I would drop by and see how things were going on your end. :)

  8. Alyssa Says:

    Drew, you could always borrow my copy. But the UNsigned one. Because, you know, that signed copy is just entirely too important to me.

  9. drewbacca Says:

    Thanks, Shannon. Saw your Flickr 365-thing. Really cool! I think I want to do one now.

    Hi Dani.

    Alyssa – you know I have to take you up on that, right?

  10. Alyssa Says:

    Drew, of course! All you have to do is find me. (Which shouldn’t be too hard at all.)

  11. Lora Says:

    God, I have no idea why you never heard from that asshole…some people don’t know talent even when it’s right in front of them!!

  12. The Girl from the Ghetto Says:

    I think that in real life you’d be a fun guy to talk to. Screw that old hollywood friend. You are one lucky ass guy who got to film school, something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. And plenty of bad movies make it big. I loved The Toxic Adventure and Bloodsucking Freaks. I want to be a serious wirter, yet I’m constantly talking about bad reality shows like Jon and Kate Plus 8 and Rock of Love Bus on my blog. We all have our passions. Good for you for dreaming about them and being brave enough to write about them. Your blog always makes me laugh.

  13. Abbey Says:

    I’m not a big fan of crappy movies about radioactive shrimp or human gut eating zombies, but I am a huge fan of your blog. Write more!

    Impatiently awaiting your next post,

  14. drewbacca Says:

    Yes, ma’am. And thanks. I like your blog, too.

  15. Brit-knee W Says:

    I wish to watch “Prawn!” and also “Croak!” please make them soon.
    Crappy movies are the best; far more amusing. I find there’s a strange beauty in the facts that someone a) approved them, b) funded them and c) they got people to act in them.
    Keep it up yo,


  16. J Todd DeShong Says:

    Thank you to Augusten Burroughs for linking your site on his!
    Finally a twisted f with sense o’ humor!
    Love it, keep it up.

  17. Non Juan Says:

    Well, I’m single because I’m a Non Juan – I’m Just like Don Juan… Minus the ladies, money, charm, and pretty much everything else

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