Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Comedic Antics of the Crites

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Critters? Not necessarily the movie but the critters themselves? Probably their appearances as ‘cute’ balls of fur with razor sharp teeth, however when I think of them I think Loony Tunes. It’s sort of strange and you’d think that I would choose a more popular critter like movie, like Gremlins, to compare that to but no… I think Critters is dark Loony Tunes; that’s not to say that Gremlins isn’t dark. Personally, when I think of Critters I think of that scene where one of them gets blown away from a shotgun and the other one watching says, “Fuck!” and rolls off. In fact, it sort of reminds me of when one of the Loony Tunes says something like “Dang nabbit” or when they say, “Son of a…” and it cuts away from them.

There are several little things that the Crites do that sort of mirror any given cartoon. They don’t mirror that many actions but it’s enough to consider them a cartoon brought to life. One of these instances comes when one of them gets caught on fire and they roll to the bathroom and bounce into the toilet. It always seems that when somebody or something gets caught on fire, the best way to put it out is by taking a nice little dunk into the toilet. But what’s funnier is that once the Crite puts himself out, its followed by a slow sounding sigh of relief. What I like even better about this scene is that the other Crites look on with amazement as they watch their friend roll into a toilet. It’s a perfect formula.

If you want to look further into this, you can look at the relationship the Crites have with each other. They are always bickering, arguing, swearing and picking fights with one another. Their task is to try to eat the humans or at least take one with them for the road, but they do it half ass. The Crites have such a unique bond with one another I can’t help but think they bare a resemblance to Marvin the Martian or even the non Loony Tunes characters Mutt and Jeff.

One of the trademark quarks of Loony Tunes, or any cartoon for that matter, is that you can’t really kill them. Aside from blowing them up, the Crites are almost unbeatable. There is a scene right out of the Loony Tune handbook of one of them grabbing a stick of dynamite and eating it. Does it blow them up? No! In fact, the bomb goes off in their stomach… followed by columns of smoke rising from its mouth. I half expected him to say something like “That’s a spicy meatball!” in Crite. I loved it, it just reassured us that this movie is campy and it knows it.

Perhaps all this support isn’t enough to say that it’s a tribute to Loony Tunes or cartoons, that’s something for Gremlins, but it just enough to say that the Crites are pretty much cartoon characters brought to life. Their humor is unintentional but at the same time… they are very dark. Critters is part comedy, and it would be a lie if the creators didn’t admit they got some of the quarks from the Loony Tunes. What I can be sure of is this: I would love to see a spin off TV show where the Crites go from planet to planet trying, in vain, to conquer it. I could foresee myself laughing my ass off from it.


The Vicar of VHS said...

Weird, I was just talking about CRITTERS the other day with a buddy of mine at work. These movies were just so much fun, and yet as you say, so dark--I'm surprised they don't get a lot more love these days!

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

I guess it's because people see it as low-brow sci-fi cheese. I think the CRITTERS movies, all the sequels, were great.

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