dr. horrible’s sing-along blog

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When you really think about it, musicals are actually quite a nerdy genre:

Not only do they have their die-hard adherents, as anything qualifying as “nerdy” must, but even the most mundane musicals have an element of the fantastical to them.  Think about it: Musicals are populated by people who think it’s perfectly normal to break into song for literally any reason, people for whom an intricately choreographed dance number is an everyday occurrence….

Does anyone ever stop to think about just how WEIRD that is? (well, Joss Whedon did, but I’m getting ahead of myself)

Some musicals, of course, take this a step further, and draw from the various franchises and genres that we, as nerds, know and love for their inspiration. Others are just totally batshit insane, thus making them quite appropriate for a card-carrying nerd’s movie library. It is such musicals that we honor here today.

I have deliberately left out musicals that have so far only been stage productions. Not that I have anything against live theatre, but such musicals are so numerous as to warrant their own list. Instead, I’ve decided to stick to film or television (and in one case: neither) productions. These media are much better known to nerddom, anyway–no offense, Theatre Geeks!

So clear your throats, and prepare to sing along with:

 

10. Phantom Of The Paradise

One of Brian de Palma’s very first films, Phantom of the Paradise is unique to say the least. “Weirder Than Tits On A Bishop” would be more to the point. It’s a celebration/brutal satire of 1970s pop music tropes, and the music business in general in the form of a musical based on a combination of Phantom of the Opera, Goethe’s Faust, and Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Grey. The songs were written and performed by ’70s musical wunderkind Paul Williams, best known for scoring The Muppet Movie. Williams also plays the film’s villain–and he gives one of the most disturbing performances in cinema history: Directing a sex tape for your grandparents is less unsettling than Paul Williams as evil record producer “Swan”. Above is the film’s trailer, with a voice-over by one of the most influential directors and nerds in Hollywood: Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim, Ant-Man)

 

9. Sweeney Todd

As awesome as Tim Burton’s cinematic adaptation of the famed musical tale of the semi-legendary murderous barber and the gruesome uses his accomplice, a baker of meat pies, found for his victims is, it’s a bit too mainstream to warrant a higher ranking on a list like this. I’m not judging which musicals are the BEST, merely the NERDIEST.

Still, Burton‘s Sweeney Todd has it’s share of nerd cred: “Burtonverse” fixtures Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter make the roles of Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett their own (and have surprisingly good singing voices).  The film is a casting director’s wet dream, with every role filled superlatively: Alan Rickman and Timothy Spall stand out as the draconian Judge Turpin and his repugnant toadie Beadle Bamford (yes, 3 members of this cast played Harry Potter characters!) Plus it’s visually magnificent, wickedly funny, and boasts some truly infectious musical numbers.

Oh, and blood. LOTS of blood.

8. Cry Baby

Sweeney Todd wasn’t Depp’s first musical–it was just the first he actually SANG in. Back in 1990, Johnny starred as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker in John Waters’ 50s retro musical Cry Baby. The nerdiness of this film may be a tad less apparent than some of the other entries, but John Waters’ fandom is zealous, if relatively small: Cult comedy nerds may not be the most vocal or visible branch of the nerd family tree—but trust me, we’re there! This hilarious film boasts a number of truly eclectic cameos and supporting roles: Including Traci Lords, Iggy Pop, Susan Tyrrell (remember that name, you’ll hear it again soon), Willem Dafoe, and Ricki Lake (Glenn Milstead, AKA “Divine”, was originally part of the cast, but sadly passed away before filming began).

 

7. Cannibal! The Musical

Cannibal! The Musical, thanks to legendary independent film studio Troma (the fine folks who gave the world the Toxic Avenger franchise), who distributed this odd little film, put the names Trey Parker and Matt Stone on the radar….last I heard, they had this cartoon thing on basic cable, and some stage show about Jehovah’s Witnesses, I think.

Would have thought they’d have amounted to more given how awesome this film is: Cannibal! tells the story of Alferd Packer–supposedly the first American ever to be tried for cannibalism (Packer DID exist, but Parker and Stone‘s historical accuracy is dubious at best). A VERY young Trey Parker plays the titular cannibal, with Stone and their perennial sidekick Dian Bachar in supporting roles. Parker wrote and performed the music, and the whole thing is far more fun, likeable, and sweet than a movie about eating human flesh should be. Fans of South Park will recognize little tidbits that would later pop up in the show: Matt Stone’s character is where the series got Kyle’s big red Jew ‘fro, and a line in the song featured above is referenced in South Park: Bigger. Longer, and Uncut when Kenny’s heart is accidentally replaced by a baked potato.

6. Little Shop Of Horrors

The original Little Shop of Horrors made bad movie history when infamous schlock filmmaker, Roger Corman, produced and directed it in just under 3 days–merely to prove that he could make a movie from start to finish in under a week.

Two decades later, that story of the little skid row flower shop and the man-eating plant behind its doors became a blockbuster Broadway musical, and was soon adapted into a film by “Muppeteer” Frank Oz. It’s quite simply one of the most purely enjoyable movie musicals ever made, due largely to the brilliant performances of Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, and Steve Martin, seen above in the iconic role of dentist/domestic abuser Dr. Orin Scrivello, DDS.

5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Yes, friends: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, adapted from the stage musical The Rocky Horror Show (see what they did there?) in 1975 by director Jim Sharman, writer Richard O’Brien, and producers Lou Adler and Michael White. It’s a devious satire of Middle-American values crossed with an homage to classic horror and science-fiction cinema. Everyone knows the plot: Girl and Boy go for drive, Girl and Boy meet Alien Transvestite, Alien Transvestite creates Muscle Man in vat of chemicals, Everybody has sex, Alien Transvestite and his creation killed with lasers by the help, Castle flies off into space, THE END.

Oh, and there’s a lot of really kickass musical numbers in between the sex and the death somewhere.

RHPS is probably best known not on its own merits, but due to the following it has developed: For 38 years fans have been going to midnight showings across the globe where they watch not only the film, but a “shadowcast” in front of the screen in full costume (well, the GOOD casts do it that way 😉 ) miming the actions of the characters. The audience itself also gets into the action: Throwing things (carefully!) like toast and toilet paper at the prescribed times, and yelling call-backs and insults at the screen (an RHPS tradition from decades before MST3K or Rifftrax). In all seriousness, at least ONE trip to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror should be on everyone’s bucket list.

4. Shock Treatment

It’s likely many of you have never heard of this musical by the writers and producers of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s equally likely that if you have heard of it, you’ve heard it’s a sequel to Rocky Horror. That isn’t entirely accurate. The filmmakers refer to it as an “Equal, Not A Sequel”. Many of the same characters, actors and settings from Rocky Horror are present, but it isn’t really a continuation of Rocky’s story line: You could see Shock Treatment without ever knowing Rocky Horror exists, and you wouldn’t miss a thing.

Anyhoo, I personally prefer Shock Treatment to its far more famous predecessor: RHPS had a few better actors, and arguably superior production values–but Shock Treatment has much better songs, and a generally “nerdier” vibe. Long before things like Reality TV or The Truman Show, Richard O’Brien envisioned a town that WAS a TV studio itself….where citizens actually lived in shows and the audience just slept in their seats. Again, Middle America is satirized–but it’s not its puritanical morals that are attacked, but its mindless consumerism and obsession with television. I grant you the plot does wander, and lacks Rocky Horror’s cohesiveness: But the superior music makes up for these flaws. (FUN FACT: That’s Rik Mayall of The Young Ones taking the Polaroids)

3. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling

I almost didn’t include this. I wanted to stick to movie musicals, and besides: I’m a lukewarm BTVS fan at best (Angel and Firefly are another story). But our dear and fluffy editor insisted….

And he knew what he was doing! I love this in ways I cannot properly communicate with language. Once More, With Feeling is a work of sheer genius, and the best part is you don’t need to know barely anything about Buffy to enjoy it. The flashback at the beginning is comprehensive enough to bring non-fans up to speed. Here’s the skinny: The town’s under the influence of a song and dance-loving demon accidentally summoned by Dawn Summers. The citizens are breaking into musical numbers at random….just as they would in a musical, except they realize it’s abnormal. Buffy and the Scoobies are affected as well, leading to some great numbers from the show’s best loved characters. Joss Whedon outdid himself with this episode: He could have had a very successful career as a songwriter. Once More, With Feeling has become one of the most famous and beloved BTVS episodes, and has even been performed by live casts on stage!

(PS: Sorry for the subtitles, but getting a clip of anything owned by Fox in its original form on YouTube is like pulling teeth–this was the best I could do…the alternative was a mere slideshow)

2.Forbidden Zone

Before he was the “Man Behind The Music” of Tim Burton’s film library, Danny Elfman fronted a New Wave/Ska fusion pop band called Oingo Boingo.

Before that, he composed and performed the music for an experimental musical theatre troupe in L.A. run by his brother Richard Elfman called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo (hence the name)

Around 1980, when Danny decided he wanted to move from live theatre to music, he and Richard put together a movie version of everything the Mystic Knights was…sort of a “swan song” for the troupe, and Forbidden Zone was born. This utterly mad film follows the adventures of the unbelievably dysfunctional Hercules family, who discover a portal to a parallel universe called the Sixth Dimension in the basement of their new house. The music is a cacophony of conflicting styles, from jazz to rock to minstrel shows to Jewish Vaudeville–yet somehow it all works together, a testament to Elfman‘s genius. The cast includes the aforementioned Susan Tyrell and the late Herve Villechaize (yes, Tattoo from Fantasy Island) as the Sixth Dimension’s queen and king, and Danny himself as Satan (yes, SATAN). Unfortunately, early ’80s audiences didn’t quite get what the Elfman brothers were attempting here, the movie faced accusations of racism for its use of blackface, and it performed poorly at the box office…..Fortunately, the “Midnight Movie” crowd adopted it a few years later, and it’s developed a sizeable and rabid following.

1. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog

Our #1 is neither a movie nor a television show, but holy balls is it NERDY!!!

Joss Whedon’s internet sensation Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog is nothing short of magic. It’s less than an hour long, but it easily out-nerds (if that’s a term) any feature length musical on this list. Neil Patrick Harris is Dr. Horrible: A budding supervillain torn between his devotion to evil and world conquest, and his crush on the pretty redhead at the Laundromat who runs a homeless shelter (if you never understood why nerds love Felicia Day so much, it’s because you never saw her in this). Horrible works out his frustrations on his video blog, and in song, as he works to gain the notice of legendary supervillain Bad Horse, and deals with the humiliation of constant defeat at the hands of Captain Hammer: World’s Douchiest Superhero (Nathan Fillion–obviously having the time of his life) who’s also dating his girl!

I won’t spoil the ending, but try to remember: This IS a Whedon production….

 

The humor is hip deep in the latest episode of Neil Patrick Harris‘ new web series Neil’s Puppet Dreams. Nathan Fillion guest stars and two of Nerdom’s favorite sons re-unite to bring us some innuendo and giggles. The chemistry between the two is fantastic, you can just imagine how much fun they would be as guests at your backyard BBQ. The only thing missing was an appearance from the queen of web series Felicia Day.

Neil talked with THR about the episode saying:

“It was intentionally blue, but was intentionally light blue,” Harris said with a laugh. “The whole joke at the end is none of it is relating to genitals at all. We pushed the boundary for sure. That’s kind of The Muppets, [Jim] Henson-style of comedy that I always loved. The double entendre, if you will.”

This web series is defiantly worth putting on your weekly viewing list along side Geek and Sundry‘s The Guild, Space Janitors, Table Top, and College Humor‘s Troopers.

What other weekly web series should your fellow NerdBastards be watching? Let us know in the comments section below.

Via: THR

Dr. Horrible Sequel Moving Forward

Attention fans of Joss Whedon! Prepare for something… horrible.

Oh yesh, that use of italics means exactly what you think it means. I’m talking Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog! Well, sequel talk is more like it…

Rumors of a sequel have been circling around the Whedonverse for years, but the time has come. It’s in the works!

One of the web-series creators, Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon, gives an update on the status of the long awaited sequel revealing that they want to start shooting next year!

The goal is that we are going to be shooting next year, and getting the script and everything done at the end of this year. So that is something that we’re actually physically working on now.

Wait…isn’t Whedon making Avengers 2 and overseeing all of Marvels Phase II projects? Yeah, he is! He’s either incredibly over worked, or just has super human abilities. I think we all know the latter to be true.

I’m so delighted a sequel is happening, I just hate that I have to wait another year for it. Boo!

Oh, by the way, tomorrow, October 9th Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog will make its TV debut on The CW.

SDCC12: ‘Dr. Horrible’ Coming Soon to The CW

It may not be the sequel announcement that everyone’s clamoring for, but to prove that Joss Whedon now has some extreme cache post Avengers, The CW is picking up Whedon’s Dr Horrible Sing-a-long Blog, a web-based project he made during the 2007-08 Writers Strike.

Starring Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Fillion as his nemesis Captain Hammer and Felicia Day as the object of both their affections Penny, Dr. Horrible has become a real cult success. And considering that all three stars have become even more popular in the intervening years since the first Sing-a-long Blog, showing it on The CW may cultivate even more fans, especially considering that it’s creator is now the director of the third most money-making movie of all time.

What do you Bastards think? Smart move by The CW, or been there-done that?

Source: Blastr

Joss Whedon is a busy boy, what with finishing up and promoting his two movies this year – Avengers and The Cabin in the Woods.  Add to that the birthing stages of the Dr. Horrible sequel and God-knows-what-else he’s got his hands on, and you’d think he’d prefer to spend his time sleeping or drinking mass quantities of stress-relieving alcohol.

But this is not the case.  Ever consumed by a devotion to his fans, Whedon took some time out the other day to answer an onslaught of questions to answer questions and address concerns via Reddit.

He was bombarded with all sorts of questions, about both new properties and old, all of which can be seen on this page.  Here, however, we’ll just look at a few of the more interesting ones, like:

What’s up with Firefly?  Is there a chance it will return?

“Step 2:Cancel Castle. Step 3: Cancel Homeland. Step 4: Generally destroy everybody’s careers. Step 5: Avoid Step 2.”

How’s work going on the new Dr. Horrible?

“We’re not shooting right now, we’re still in the early stages of writing. But we hope to make a great deal of progress this summer. And you can expect the death of someone you love…

Yes, the original cast will be back for Dr H 2, but Penny will be… um… I don’t want to say ‘decomposing…”

Is there a feature-length musical on the horizon?

“Full scale musical? The biggest non-spaceship-involving dream of my life. But it’s a huge life commitment…”

What’s up with always killing off characters, especially ones that the fans love?

“I actually find it refreshing… delightful…. vaguely arousing….

Actually, I’m, no offense, very tired of being labelled as “the guy who kills people”. Shakespeare (he’s this hot new writer) does it way more than me, and everyone’s all excited about how he, as it were, holds a mirror up to nature, while I’m like the Jason Voorhees of the writing community. Unfair.

Also, probably Buffy’s Mom.”

And, Joss’s favorite characters he’s written thus far?

“Favorite characters? Jeez. Spike, Andrew,Illyria, River, Captain Hammer, Loki, the Cheese Man… hell, I love them all, or I wouldn’t write them. But I tend to the left of center.

The hardest was always Angel. How to make a decent, handsome, stalwart hero interesting — tough. Angelus, on the other hand…”

It’s nice to see a writer/director/geek-deity so eager to share some face-time with his fans.  Personally, I’m looking forward to both Avengers (May 4th) and The Cabin in the Woods (tomorrow!) and will be watching pretty much whatever this man puts out.

All hail, Joss Whedon, Lord of Sci-Fi!

 

Thanks to geektyrant and The Hollywood Reporter for the heads up on this one.

Joss Whedon, the creator of such beloved shows like Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is currently filming the much anticipated Marvel movie, The Avengers. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a bit of extra time to spare!

The California Browncoats (so named after the freedom fighter’s on the tv show Firefly) announced their annual Can’t Stop The Serenity fundraiser, which will take place on June 25 in support of the charity Equality Now, which focuses on ending violence and discrimination against women and girls.  And the one and only Whedon will be on hand to watch Serenity and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog with you.

If I was even remotely close to California, I know I would be there in a heartbeat! What about you?

Here’s the full press release:

2011 Can’t Stop the Serenity Los Angeles

The California Browncoats present a SoCalBrowncoats Can’t Stop the Serenity Event

Mark your calendars for June 25th! That is the date you and your friends will want to be at the Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood. This will be an event to remember. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it!

As you may know, the money we raise at Can’t Stop the Serenity events each year goes to Equality Now. We are honored to have special guests Amanda Sullivan, the Director of EN’s Women’s Action Network, and Jessica Neuwirth, EN’s President and Founder, with us for the evening. They are coming from New York to thank us personally and Browncoats around the globe for their continued support of Equality Now. Pretty shiny, yes?

Well, that’s not all.

We said you wouldn’t want to miss this, right? That’s because we are very honored to announce that JossWhedon will be with us that evening. He wants to say a few words in person to the Browncoats for supporting Equality Now and Can’t Stop the Serenity over the years. This is your chance to represent fans around the world.

Schedule*: June 25th, 2011

5PM-8PM – Theater Lobby Open for tickets, merchandise sales, donations
5:30PM – 7PM – Theater open for seating and pre-show events (auction, meet & greet, etc.)
7PM – Introduction by Jessica(EN) and Joss Whedon
8PM – Serenity
10PM – Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

It was the musical that swept the internet savvy, nerd world up in a wave of horribleness. In 2008 the entertainment world was suffering through the bleak time of the writer’s strike. Writers and actors were left with a lot of free time on their hands. So much free time these creative folks needed an outlet. Joss Whedon and friends brought to life, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog and geek cult phenomena was born. The web series starred Neil Patrick Harris as ne’er do well anti-hero, Dr. Horrible and Felicia Day as the sweet laundry buddy, Penny. She was the love interest to a triange formed with Nathan Fillion‘s, “heroic” antagonist, Captain ‘The hammer is my penis’ Hammer.

Since the web series hit and gained a massive legion of fans we’ve been waiting for a sequel. What else could Whedon and crew possibly be involved with?!? Whedon’s got that little super hero movie, The Avengers; Harris is starring in an unknown comedy series, How I Met Your Mother; Fillion’s on the other totally unpopular series, Castle; and Day is working on some web series no one’s ever heard of, The Guild & Dragon Age: Redemption. Obviously this is meant with heavy sarcasm, these people are incredibly busy!

In a recent interview with the New York Times Whedon let some titillatingly information about a sequel slip,

We’ve got several songs near completion and we’ve got a very specific structure. We’ve just all got jobs. And it’s not like Neil [Patrick Harris], Nathan [Fillion] and Felicia [Day] ain’t busy either. We get together at Christmas and family occasions, and then play each other our partial songs and go, “Yup, that’s still exactly as it was the last time we played it. We’re great.

So yes, it could be happening! At least we know the creative forces that be would like to see it happen. Plus, Miss Day could still be involved? Not to spoil but, she meets a very certain end in the web series so it what incarnation could she be returning? Let the speculations begin!

Whedon also let loose the sequel’s possible title, Dr. Horrible and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!

source: Blastr

Felicia Day Does Dragon Age

felicia day age origins.jpg

(article by nerdbastards contributor Sarah Moran @SarahThisIs)

As if we didn’t need more reason to be completely obsessed with Felicia Day. Announced on USA Today and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog star and ‘The Guild ‘creator’s own Twitter account, Day has written and is starring in a six part web series based on the very popular Bioware RPG, Dragon Age. Just music to your fanboy ears, I know.

This once-secret project is entitled Dragon Age: Redemption and will be set in the realm of Ferelden. The story takes place during the events of the eagerly anticipated Dragon Age II, releasing March 8th, which Day has had the chance to play in preparation for the series. Stop me if I start seething with too much jealousy.

What character will Day be bringing to life? One of her own creation, an Elven assassin named, Tallis on a quest to capture a renegade magician. Cue hundreds of convention goers starting their Tallis cosplay…now. Is she similar to her alter ego, the magic user Codex? Not really, Day explains,

“Tallis is headstrong, she fights dirty, and she has a really sarcastic sense of humor. I
wanted to bring a modern sensibility to a fantasy character in a fantasy world.”

Bioware sought out Day because of her gaming roots, knowing she’d have the dedication and gaming knowledge making her perfect for the series. Anyone familiar with The Guild knows Day has first hand experience at making quirky, funny shows about games and the people who play them. With Dragon Age: Redemption we’ll see how she tackles the lives of characters, in game, no real world nonsense. Filmed over 12 days on a measly web series budget Day called in a lot favors to make Dragon Age’s fantasy world a reality. Some big names involved? Oh only Peter Winther, associate producer of Independence Day for director and John Bartley, who was the DP on Lost, as cinematographer. Others involved are mentioned on Day’s blog,

“My friend Dan Kaplow who produces United States of Tara came on board to produce
with @kimevey and me. Greg Aronowitz, Guild favorite, did the production design and
SFX makeup (and designed my outfit), Shawna @trpcic agreed to come do costume
design, (we worked together on Dr. Horrible), I contacted Doug Jones on TWITTER and
asked him if he would be interested, on and one and on.”

Make sure to catch Felicia Day on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, airing this Wednesday February 16th, where she’ll be premiering the trailer. Dragon Age: Redemption is set to release later this year and will cause our heads to explode from the awesomeness, as Felicia Day is known to do.

source: USA Today

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Henchmen, they come in all shorts of shapes and sizes.  They use guns, knifes, spears, blow torches, blow guns, and every other type of weapon you can imagine.  Every villain needs one, more than one really.  Henchmen don’t seem to survive many battles, even if they do survive, they end up turning on the villain.  Most henchmen end up being more memorable than the villain they are henching.  Click the jump to see some of the top henchmen in the business.

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