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Gauntlet 216

Gauntlet 216

Alan (Alan Winston) wakes up one afternoon, late as usual. In his hurry to get out of the house, Alan trips and falls down the stairs. He awakens in the strange dream world that is Gauntlet 216. This movie was actually created in segments, with nine different producers teaming to create the movie. Each shot two scenes apiece with Alan, with the only connection between them being specific items that are carried from scene to scene. Executive producer Warren E.B.B. then assembled all the segments into one cohesive movie, with Alan struggling to learn what 216 means, and all the while guided by a psychotic supernatural cowboy.

As one of the contributing producers, I wrote, shot and edited some superweird scenes set at a superweird party with some superweird guests. Rob Merickel lent me his house to shoot in and his leopard fur jacket to wear. Also playing whacked-out guests were Dee Alsman, Amira, Rob, Tom Shaffer, Erin Arbogast, David C. Duncan and John Bowker.

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Commentary by Joe Sherlock

My skits were inspired by all of those great and wacky party scenes from movies - stuff like Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, etc. Plus it was a chance to do something that was just goofballish and strange and try to involve a bunch of friends.

It really was just a framework to allow Alan to come in and get/drop off his props. I wasn't going for any deep meaning: far from it in fact, I ended up just throwing all kinds of visual and narrative curveballs into it. The initial script probably took an hour or so, stretched over the course of a few days. There were a lot of ad libs and such added during the actual shoot.

Looking back, I thought it was a blast... but then again, I did have a few beers. The character that John plays (the guy with the camoflague hat) is "Pope Bruno," star of the "Mars vs The Pope" segment on my Vampirisa's Velvet Vault of Horror Anthology. Also, the black alligator-ish monster that he punches out is the "monster" from my "Monster in the Garage" movie. Since the segment was just plain wierd, it wasn't really a problem to put those guys in and it's a fun treat for those who have seen some of my other stuff. All the lines that people say and things they do before geting zapped out were improv. The blonde gal, Amira, was a friend (who worked with me in some of my early video projects) who travels most of the year for her job, so it was great that the shoot happened to be when she was in town.

I think my stuff serves as comic relief when alongside some of the more serious segments. I mean, they are all strange in their own ways, but mine is strange purely in a surface level - it's just weird for weirdness' sake. No need to dig any deeper. As it turns out, the cookie-snatching alien, who originally was just another sort of "kitchen sink" thing (the alien was previously seen in my "We Need Earth Women" project), ended up becoming a bigger part of the whole project. At a certain point after I had put my segment together, Warren asked to borrow the alien mask and cape, as well as the green monster mask. He worked it into the ending of the movie and the green guy made it into the trailer. I thought that was way cool.

In retrospect, I'm pretty darned happy. I think it really comes off as a bizarre party filled with strange people who do strange things. Pretty much what I wanted it to me. I spent a LOT of time on the soundwork - putting little sound effects here and there - sometimes appropriate, sometimes not. I was lucky to find the strange spacey music/noise that fit with the hopefully-someday-infamous mask-licking scene. During the party, if you listen closely, there are bits and pieces of audio from some of my other projects.

I also composed (if you can call it that) and recorded the "shake that booty" song for all the dancing scenes. That was fun! I first recorded the drums in my garage with my wife on tamborine and my 4-year-old kid riding his ricking horse and yelling lyrics to a KISS song (you can hear a little bit of his yelling towards the ends of the segments). Then I played that tape through a little Radio Shack mixing board, adding two layers of keyboards - one played with my hands, and one (with the phrase "shake that booty" sampled into it) with my foot! it was nuts, but I love the way it turned out. I liked it so much I used it in the video movie I was putting together at the time.