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- [Editor's Note: The following article originally appeared in Volume 5, Numbers 4, 5 & 6 of The Starship Express Copyright © 1991 Philip J De Parto. It is reprinted with permission of the author/editor.]
Directed by Charles Garofalo
Philip De Parto
With Special Guest Cameo By:
Cheech & Chong
Filmed in Glorious Murkicolor (r)
Scene One: Establishing shot: a large concrete government building. Close up on a sign: "Central Intelligence Agency -- Unidentified Flying Objects Division." Voiceover: "We've got a positive. Bogie's landing near New York."
Scene Two: Silhouette of a small city at dusk. Lettering appears: "Jersey City, New Jersey." A cheaply-made flying saucer is thrown across camera.
Scene Three: (The laboratory of Dr Bartholomew Legion.) The laboratory is in a large, unfinished basement with high ceilings. It contains the standard paraphernalia of any old black and white Universal Studios horror movie: foaming, bubbling beakers, colored test tubes of unidentified liquids, a Jacobs ladder, etc. In the background is the automatic dogfood feeding machine from Back to the Future. Dr Legion wears a white laboratory coat. His jacket pocket is crammed with pens. He is about forty, overweight, balding, with curly red hair and of average height. Dr Legion: "These prove conclusively, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, that extraterrestrials have landed in Jersey City. I must investigate."
Scene Four: A young, attractive woman approaches a large, dilapidated suburban building. The once well-groomed lawn is overgrown with bushes gone wild and tall weeds. The number of the building is 666. The woman is about twenty, of slightly less than average height, and pretty in a girl-next-door sort of way. Cheech and Chong make their cameo, pointing at the girl and commenting about the weird people who live in this neighborhood.
Scene Five: Close up on the woman. This is Tin Rickety. She holds a yellowing want ad from The Hudson Dispatch. After a moment's hesitation, she reaches into her raincoat, pulls out a machete, hacks a path to the front door, and rings the bell.
Scene Six: The laboratory of Dr Legion. Dr Legion is engrossed in a computer print out and does not hear the bell. Camera walks past him to a dog lying on the floor by the dogfood-dispensing-machine. This is Rex, the Wonder Dog, an Irish Wolfhound. His ears perk up. He dashes up the stairs, opens the door for Tin, and escorts her down the stairs to Dr Legion.
Scene Seven: The laboratory of Dr Legion. Dr Legion interviews Tin Rickety. Tim explains that she is responding to the yellowing want ad, "Mad Scientist Seeks Assistant--No Experience Needed." Three running gags emerge during this conversation. The first is that Dr Legion, despite a pocketful of pens, never remembers where he keeps them and is always fumbling in the wrong pocket, drawer, etc, for one whenever he needs to write something down. The second is that Tim Rickety maintains an astonishing array of cutlery on her person. She can produce a meat cleaver from her wardrobe even if she is wearing only a skimpy bikini at the time. The third is that Rex had only recently made the basement his home and is only now being noticed by Dr Legion. He therefore assumes that Rex belongs to Tim, Tin assumes that Rex belongs to Legion, and so on.
Scene Eight: Port Jersey City. A young, slender, lithe oriental male stands on the docks of Jersey City. A bucket of water is thrown against a bad matte painting of a tramp freighter behind him. This is Gong Sho, an oriental martial arts master of numerous forms of combat, including the Maimed Tiger and Constipated Owl schools. The movement of his lips is always out-of-sync with his words. His speech is patterned after that of a game show host with occasional bits of inscrutable wisdom of the East thrown in. He is examining a familiar want ad.
Scene Nine: The residence of Dr Legion. Gong Sho arrives at the home of Dr Legion. He enters the yard through the well-travelled side entrance. This path takes him past a reasonably well-maintained hearse. The liscence plate reads "1 MAD DOC." It also takes him past a weathered sign which reads "Pym Funeral Home." A young boy yells, "Rats!" and runs away, having lost yet another kite to a tree.
Scene Ten: The Side Door of Dr Legion's Residence. Gong Sho knocks on the door, accidentally punching a hole in it with the Thorny Paw movement of the Maimed Tiger discipline. Rex comes to meet him and guide him to Dr Legion.
Scene Eleven: The laboratory of Dr Legion. Dr Legion interviews and accepts Gong Sho. the scene concludes with an explanation and demonstration of a few of the strange devices which the Doctor has invented.
Scene One: The laboratory of Dr Legion. Tin walks down the basement stairs carrying a plate of hotcakes and bacon. One hotcake slides off the pile, hits the ground, and shatters like a ceramic plate. Observing this, Gong Sho declines breakfast, explaining that it is necessary he maintain an all-natural diet for his training. He produces four canvas laundry bags full of heads of cabbage, scallions, water chestnuts, etc. A special effect of speeding up the camera film allows Tin to have them fully shredded within 20 seconds.
Scene Two: Loading the Hearse. Gong Sho stores the final piece of gear in the trunk of the vehicle. He then enters the back door of the car and sits down. Legion and Tin are already seated there. Each looks at the other, assuming someone else was expected to drive. A bark from the front seat shows Rex leaning on the steering wheel.
Scene Three: Schickhauss Park, Jersey City. Schickhauss Park is the Platonic Ideal of an urban park gone bad. Overgrown with weeds, ringed with piles of illegally dumped trash, festooned with every hue of broken glass, the haunt of drug dealers, neo-Nazis, and homeless men and women, it rambles for several dozen acres of land abutting the oil-slicked waters of Newark Bay and the Hackensack River. After a couple of establishing shots to communicate the above information, the camera zooms in on the approaching hearse of Dr Legion.
Scene Four: Schickhauss Park, Jersey City. The camera pulls back to reveal a Man In Black watching Legion and company. The man is wearing a black suit, black hat, black socks, black shoes, sun glasses, etc. He is a tall, muscular male caucasian, basic FBI type. There will be a number of other Men In Black encountered. They all fit the same mold, although some are black. When speaking, they talk in short, clipped, impatient tones.
Scene Five: A clearing in Schickhauss Park. Dr Legion and company approach a Homeless Man to ask if he has noticed anything unusual in the park. The Homeless Man speaks in a strange tongue, foams at the mouth, convulses, and spits a torrent of broken glass, spiders and scorpions, flames, and snakes a the group. They overpower the Homeless Man and are binding him when a Man In Black emerges from the overgrowth and orders them to surrender. The group overpowers the Man In Black. Both the Homeless Man and the Man In Black are brought back to the hearse and placed in personnel-restraining devices, i.e., modified coffins.
Scene Six: A different clearing in Schickhouss Park. A number of different paths converge upon this clearing. The group agrees to split up in order to cover more ground.
Scene Seven: A path in Schickhauss Park. Tin Rickety walks down a path alone. Sinister mood music begins to play, indicating that danger lies ahead. Tin begins looking around, wondering where that music is coming from. the camera moves in on Tim. A distorting lens is put on the camera. The music rises to a crescendo. A gang of Wilding Youths surround her in a clearing. The leader grins and says they're going to have some fun. The camera spins around, falls to the ground, and looks at the sky as buckets of blood splatter to a mind-curdling scream.
Scene Eight: Another path in Schickhauss Park. Gong Sho emerges from an overgrown trail and sees a partially buried large metallic sphere before him. He notices a large, metallic protruding knob and says, "Let's see what's behind Curtain Number One!" He twists the protruding knob and hears a click, followed by the sound of unseen gears turning. The sphere begins to rise and transforms itself into a giant Japanese robot eight feet tall. Gong Sho flees.
Scene Nine: Another path in Schickhauss Park. Air raid sirens go off. A voice comes over a megaphone. "This is a government emergency! Everyone out of the park!" the sound of small arms fire fills the air. Dozens of Men In Black can be seen running around. Legion, Gong Sho, Rex, and Tin Rickety all reach the hearse at about the same time. Tin's sweater has blood stains on it, but seems none the worse for the wear. Dr Legion declares that he must get back to his laboratory as the government is never able to defeat alien invasions without the assistance of a mad scientist. As they drive off, a Man In Black writes down their liscence plate number.
Scene Ten: A clearing in Schickhauss Park. A Man in Black sets up a Weird-Looking Weapon and fires at the robot. The robot stops, sways in the breeze, and falls over.
Scene One: The laboratory of Dr Legion. Dr Legion, Gong Sho, Rex, the Man In Black, and the Homeless Man are in the basement. Gong Sho is shackling the Homeless Man to the wall where the Man In Black is bound. Dr Legion is making some adjustments on his Hypno-Oscello-Cuisinart Machine. Gong Sho removes the sunglasses of the Man In Black and tries them on. In a spoof of They Live, the letters "Eat at Joes" appear on the TV screen. He turns to the Homeless Man and his visage is replaced with a "Happy Face." Gong Sho shrugs and takes them off.
Dr Legion activates his machine. There is a loud, whirling sound. Dr Legion looks at the machine and changes the setting from "Dice" to "Hypnotize." No one notices that the Homeless Man has also fallen under the spell of the machine. While everyone's attention is focused on the Man In Black, the Homeless Man begins to convulse. His coloring begins to change to gray. Wings begin to emerge from his back and from his head emerge horns. Rex begins to bark. Everyone turns around. The demon has grown to seven feet and is still growing.
The forces of Dr Legion leap into action. Neither the claws of Rex, nor the knives of Tin, nor the martial arts prowess of Gong Sho, nor the scientific devices of Dr Legion are having any effect on the still-expanding demon.
Scene Two: The grounds of Dr Legion's home. The Man In Black gets loose in the confusion. He dials the telephone, then goes outside. A storm is brewing.
Scene Three: The laboratory of Dr Legion. The battle continues.
Scene Four: The grounds of Dr Legion's home. The demon bursts through the house of Dr Legion. It is now sixty feet tall. The storm worsens. Other Men In Black arrive and join the battle with no better results. The kite in Act One, Scene Nine pulls loose from the tree. Rex bounds over, leaps, and catches the string in his mouth and trots with it over to the rest of the group and barks.
Dr Legion mutters some scientific doubletalk to the effect that this area has always been prone to lightning. A lightning bolt might be able to destroy the demon if it could be directed to strike the creature's inner eye in the middle of the forehead. Gong Sho says that he could jump from the roof onto the demon, but that he'd need a means of anchoring the kite to the right place. Tin produces her machete and asks if it will do. Dr Legion nods.
Gong Sho makes a series of incredibly acrobatic leaps from the roof, to the shoulders of the demon, to the head of the demon, and anchors the kite correctly. He jumps off. As if on cue, the mother of all lightning blots cuts loose and blasts the demon to nothingness. Tin leans on Dr Legion and asks if they have learned anything by this tragedy. Dr Legion says yes, they have learned something very important, but the rest of his response is lost to the blaring music which accompanies the unreeling of the final credits.
Played on Location at the De Parto Basement on May 5, 1991
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