Thanks to the popular mashup films Hell’s Club and Hell’s Club: Another Night, viewers finally got to see where movie characters like Han Solo and Tony Montana go during their off hours, presumably once filming for the day has been completed. They congregate at a very cool but dangerous nightspot and end up killing each other in droves. Metafilter reports a new mashup, a 13-minute concoction called The Was now shows what fictional characters do during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Less violent and plot-driven than Hell’s Club, The Was imagines a sprawling metropolis entirely populated by fictional people. And this time, TV characters are invited to the block party as well.
In one representative passage, Laura Dern from Citizen Ruth huffs glitter paint in an alley while Beavis and Butt-Head saunter through the frame, passing a nude Steve Martin from The Jerk in the process. It’s that kind of day and that kind of city. When John Travolta’s Tony Manero boards a graffiti-laden subway train, it’s only fitting that the title gang from The Warriors should be riding with him. When Elaine Benes or Jay and Silent Bob show up in this movie, it’s simply par for the course. Even animated characters are welcome in this town. In addition to the aforementioned Beavis and Butt-Head, Daria Morgendorffer stops by, as do Marge and Maggie Simpson and even characters from Fritz The Cat and Heavy Metal. In all, 129 different films and TV shows are quoted here.
Mind-bogglingly dense with video and audio references, The Was is the work of two different camps of remix artists, both from Australia. Sydney’s Soda_Jerk defines itself as “a two-person art collective that works with sampled material.” The soundtrack for The Was is provided by The Avalanches, a Melbourne-based “plunderphonics” ensemble known for its use of found sounds. Viewers may well want to watch The Was several times through to see how many visual references they can spot. But thanks to The Avalanches, there are plenty of recognizable audio samples here as well, many of them quite fleeting. Was that really a passage from “The Streak” by Ray Stevens just now? Yes, it was. Between the video and the audio, decoding The Way could be somebody’s whole week.