Monday, August 16, 2004

Mr. Payback: An Interactive Movie

In 1995 a truly unique movie experience graced 90 screens in 22 markets. Mr. Payback: An Interactive movie was written and directed by Back to the Future scribe Bob Gale.

The film was truly interactive. Each theater that showed the film was equipped with over $80,000 of interactive brickity brack to allow viewers to interact with the movie.

The film itself was only 20 minutes long, but the price of admission granted you all day access to the movie. Once a minute the audience would be asked to choose one of three choices on the controller mounted on their arm rest. At the end of the film, it would simply start over, except the interactive possibilities made each viewing different.

The story consisted of Mr. Payback being summoned to torture wrongdoers. Villains in the film ranged from racists to a man who sexually harasses his employees.

The film boated one of the COOLEST b-list cast EVER.

Paul Anka
The legendary musician makes one of his few big screen appearances in this film. His other film credits include his fine performance in Captain Ron and his stunning turn as Pit Boss #1 in 3000 Miles To Graceland.

Eddie Deezen
Funny man Eddie Deezen plays Phil The Guard. I bet this led to many bad jokes on the set:
Anka: Who do you play in this film?
Eddie: I play Phil The Guard.
Anka: That's good, but don't let the Guard's wife catch you feeling him.

Robert Englund
Freddy Krueger himself appeared in this film! I bet this also led to some funny moments on the set.
Anka: Who do you play in this film?
Englund: I'm sorry, I can't talk now. I have to go feel the guard.

Frank Gorshin
Gorshin is best known for his role in Batman TV series. The Riddler AND Freddy Krueger! Who can stop them!

Ice T is best known for picking the WIMPIEST beverage for a nickname. Seriously, iced tea? That is even wimpier than being called Strawberry Milk.

Christopher Lloyd
The man who played Doc Brown. Perhaps he could stop Freddy and The Riddler. Or at least he could shout 'jiggowatts' at them.

Cheech Marin
Somewhere Chong was sitting at a table for two, weeping.

Thomas Rosales Jr.
Listed as one of the GREATEST MINOR MOVIE CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME! Click here for more.

Mr. Payback received mixed reviews, and the format was never again tried. Some audiences loved the format. Shouting at the screen was encouraged, as was jumping around and talking to other audience members. One of the big complaints about the film was it's (slightly) adult themes. Sadly the format of the film appealed to children, but the content of the film was a little too mature.

The film has never been released on home video, but I have my fingers crossed for a DVD release. DVD would be able to mimic the controls used in the theater.

Plus, It has long been a dream of mine to control Paul Anka.

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