A few people recently have asked me if I still had the old Super 8 movies I made with friends back in the early 80s. As it turns out, I do have many of them. They have been transferred from Super 8 film to VHS, then to DVD, then to a big QuickTime file and now to YouTube—quite a journey.
These old movies don't have any sound. When we used to watch them at home, the whirring of the projector would fill the room and I would typically narrate sections so viewers would understand what in the world was going on. Watching them on a computer in their glorious silence is a bit strange -- I'm almost tempted to dub in a projector sound effect just so there's something there!
The following five movies (somehow it seems a stretch to call them films) are probably the most popular of the dozens that were made. The sixth one included here is a little known short one that was shot much later than the rest, but faithfully sticks to the tried-and-true Ian McGaughey formula of destroyed electronics, large firecrackers and fake blood.
Typically shot at a birthday party, or just for the sake of shooting a movie, a group of my friends would come over to act (or at least try), and I would do my thing behind the camera, barking out direction for the one and only take they would get.
Even though at some point my parents thoughtfully bought me a tripod, you may want to pop a couple Dramamine before you click play on any of these. OK -- on to the movies!
Before we get to the action of a US Marine on an anti-terrorism mission, sit back and enjoy more than three minutes of model planes blowing up and catching on fire, capped by a battleship exploding in a bathtub (my parents were very patient with me). This entire first section had to be re-shot when a company called Clark Color Laboratories sent the original roll of film to the wrong people (I received some kid's fourth birthday, and they received three and half minutes of burning and exploding plastic models).
This was the last movie to feature my brother in a starring role, possibly because he became increasingly more demanding with each new production. Case in point -- during the scene in this movie where he plays a man tossing a small glass jar into the air (huh?) only to have it hit by an errant bullet, he insisted on wearing something on his hands to prevent them from being cut by the falling glass (which you can't even see). All we had handy were two of the largest, ugliest, brightest orange mittens known to man, creating a disaster for the film's all-important continuity -- though ultimately making the scene the most memorable part of the movie.
This very short movie was shot much later than the rest, as the old camera was discovered lying around somewhere with a partial roll of film still it in. The first 40 seconds is a fairly frantic episode that sticks to the tried-and-true formula of destroyed electronics, firecrackers and fake blood. That's followed by an engaging 20 seconds of plastic horse racing.