Monday, 1 February 2010

No.3 : The Twonky



The many followers of ‘The Definite Article’ have been clamouring to have their favourites rated and we are certainly amenable to suggestions. First up is 2000ad boarder ‘Satchmo’ who, when he is not Louis Armstrong, creates a scrawly web comic that is contemporary yet features dead writers such as Edgar Allen Poe - that don‘t make a lick o sense! It looks like a five year old has got the crayons but it is insanely funny and can be found at http://renegadeartsentertainment.com/spinechillers/comic/ Anyway enough of the unread blogs circle jerk, let’s have a look at Satchmo’s suggestion ‘The Twonky’ which better not be as shit as it sounds.

I’d never heard of this low budget, 1953 comedy drama which was described by none other than Garageman as "The Twonky" (1953), obscure sci fi about an alien brainwashing/fascist telly. Unmissable and prescient.”

Strangely this film is quite easy to find on the web, but that’s possibly due to it’s cult status. Yes that’s cult I said. The film stars someone you’ve never heard of as a man getting a new TV. Remember this was possibly a big event in 1953 but it still seems a lot of hoopla over nothing at all. His new set is installed and his wife heads off to her mother’s leaving him to a night on ‘Men and Motors’.

After finding the manual he takes out a cigarette only for it to be instantly lit by a beam from the TV or ‘Twonky’. Obviously this is a bit of a surprise but not so much when he does it about 20 times throughout the film. Well if you invest in a crappy special effect you might as well use it. As the day progresses the Twonky starts to take over all aspects of the man’s life - shaving him, doing the dishes and creating money to pay the TV shop with - sound pretty good ,and he even disappeared behind the curtain for five minutes with it too!

As you would expect however all is not well. The TV soon starts to dominate and in a scene that was either racist or emancipating it chases off the black house keeper and does the vacuuming - bloody Twonkys taking our jobs and women! It also manages to brainwash people using a beam in a metaphor so obvious it should’ve had a ‘metaphor‘ brand sash on.

The thin plot thickens slightly when guests start to arrive all of whom marvel at the TV set’s great talents. It even gets a debt collecting woman’s bra off. Where do I sign up? As our man realises the Twonky’s unholy influence he tries to get rid of it but this is one smart TV who manages to half strangle the TV repair man with its aerial and even gets reinforcements in the shape of it’s less talented cousin. As things get to a mental climax the TV is soon driving the car and running around the street - can the terrible English actress maybe save the day?

I didn’t much care for ’The Twonky’. In fact it’s the biggest pile of crap I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve seen ‘Knowing’! You could argue it’s an important social document foretelling the influence the then fledgling TV service would eventually have over our lives. Or more accurately you could say it’s a sissy looking TV prancing around with some dismal stop motion special effects.

The production values are very poor with some of the actors looking like they’d wandered on set to fetch a lost hat. The doctor was visibly straining to read his lines off a board - and he was Laurence Olivier compared to some. The origins of the TV are not revealed although I’m sure the cinema owners didn’t mind a bit of bad publicity for their new rival. Sadly the ploy must have backfired as anyone who went to the cinema to see ‘The Twonky’ wouldn’t be back in a hurry.

I’m sure the better read definite article film fans will lambaste me for overlooking the communist paranoia subtext and the disintegration to the family unit by television but I was more inclined to notice a TV doing the dishes being passed off as entertainment. It also has a really annoying and invasive score which is the only score this pile o’ pish deserves!

THE Tag Line : Wonky Twonky is a Donkey 22%

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