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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Awesome Stuff from the 1990s: Weird VHS Mixtape from S.F.'s Defunct (Colossal) Pictures

Posted By on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 10:30 AM


Founded in 1976, the parenthetically named (Colossal) Pictures was a San Francisco production company which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1997 before finally going kaput in 1999. Around that time, a former employee gave me a videotape labeled "(Colossal) Pictures Dubden," a hybrid of a demo reel and a VHS mixtape.

Press the play button -- it's the one with the triangle -- and we'll explore the highlights together.

It's easy to forget that Jackie Chan was still cool in the '90s, especially when set to the Beastie Boys.

The proto-South Park short "The Spirit of Christmas" was why I was given the tape to begin with.

I'm perhaps most grateful to Dubden for introducing me to Jack Rebney several years before his YouTube infamy, thus giving me valuable indie cred.

(Be sure to check out the hilarious and touching documentary Winnebago Man.)

The first VHS mixtape I owned in the early '90s included astrology songster Harvey Sid Fisher, and so does Dubden.

It does function well as a demo reel, with bumpers and animation tests and a fun CGI short called "Chocolate."

Today's offices may lip-sync to popular music in a bid for viral glory, but the spunky kids at (Colossal) Pictures wrote and performed their own damn song -- about their Chapter 11 restructuring, no less.

The last great bit on Dubden is a Lion King riff, which I call "The Circle of Merchandise" for want of a better name.

The rest of the tape is stuff like martial arts trailers, TV Funhouse and MadTV shorts, and A Day With Timmy Page -- all fun, but it feels like random filler. I could be wrong about that, and if any former (Colossal) Pictures folks have the inside line, we'd love to hear from you.

And thank you for it all.

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer. She also curates and hosts Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room, every Sunday at 8 p.m.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF (follow Sherilyn Connelly on Twitter at @sherilyn) and like us on Facebook.

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