In TeenApe, Judge John Floyd has discovered a new cultural icon. What does that say about our culture?
How can you be so smooth, yet so creepy?
Every once in a great while, a film comes along that makes you appreciate the artistic beauty of the motion picture medium, and reaffirms your faith in humanity. "TeenApe" creator Chris Seaver has never made one of those films.
Facts of the Case
That old school, chauvinistic, foul-mouthed, fun-loving pubescent primate known as TeenApe is back for his 9th(!) cinematic outing, TeenApe Goes to Camp. As the observant reader has likely already surmised, this time our hairy hero goes to camp.
With all due respect to the original "Prince of Puke," Chris Seaver is the John Waters of the digital video era.
It's not because all of his films are shot on a thread-of-a-shoestring budget and star his oddball friends, nor is it because all his characters are bizarre beyond description, obnoxious beyond belief, and completely obsessed with sex and violence. It isn't because his plots make little narrative sense and his dialogue is an almost endless stream of nonsensical vulgarity bordering on gutter poetry. It isn't even because one of the characters in TeenApe Goes to Camp actually tastes animal feces. Well, actually it is all of those things. Mostly, however, it's because Seaver and the motley assemblage of weirdoes known collectively as Low Budget Pictures, like Waters and his Dreamlanders, just go out and make the kind of gleefully freaky, funny films that they want to make, and they don't give a damn who they offend.
The basic thrust of the paper-thin plot is that TeenApe is lured to a counselor-training camp on the promise that there will be plenty of innocent, barely legal ladies ripe for conquest in attendance. To his dismay, the would-be counselors turn out to be a bunch of geeky losers, and his arch-nemesis. "The Coach," is also on-hand. He tries to make the best of a bad situation by focusing his attention on a busty but brainless nymphomaniac named Honey, but he soon learns that the entire training camp is really an elaborate ruse, fabricated by someone who wants him dead.
There may not be many genuine laugh-out-loud moments in TeenApe Goes to Camp, but there is a manic energy and trashy absurdity that makes the film virtually impossible to dislike. Coming in at 61 minutes, the movie certainly doesn't waste a lot of time getting from one raunchy gag to the next. Best of all, because Seaver and company have worked so diligently on this series for so long, the proceedings never have that self-conscious, "We're making a movie!" feel of other no-budget, direct-to-video productions. The cinematography is slick, the editing smooth, the pacing fluid, and the amateur actors comfortable enough to really throw themselves into their outlandish roles with abandon. Like an early Waters flick, this is neither logical nor believable in any way, but you're likely to be completely engrossed in its crude charm nonetheless.
In addition to the feature, there are trailers for some of TeenApe's earlier outings, a rowdy commentary track featuring cast and crew, an entertaining (and, for those who've never tried to make a low-budget movie, fairly informative) video production diary, a photo gallery, and a featurette on the creation of the film's catchy theme song by The Highgears.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
For those not already familiar with the character, TeenApe is a misogynistic, self-absorbed jerk, played by a scrawny guy in a cheap gorilla half-mask, a scraggly wig, and gloves with fur glued on them. Basically, he's a slightly more handsome version of Howard Stern.
Chris Seaver and the folks at Low Budget Pictures (creators of immortal classics like Anal Paprika, Scrotal Vengeance, and Heather and Puggly Drop a Deuce) are clearly lunatics with delusions of grandeur, and precious little self-control or restraint. Or, to put it more succinctly, they are exactly what the movie industry needs in this era of watered-down retreads and focus-group film production. TeenApe Goes to Camp is a cheapjack triumph of independent digital cinema.
Not guilty, suckas! Viva TeenApe!
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