The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.
By Jake Thomas, Guest Contributor to Fanboy Comics
This week, in honor of the opening of The Cabin in the Woods, FFOW! highlights an original film based on the work of Joss Whedon.
In 2008, after the Writer’s Guild of America strike that shut down Hollywood for fourteen weeks, Buffy creator Joss Whedon produced the original internet musical sensation Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It starred Neil Patrick Harris as the title character, a maniacal madman wannabe whose only wish is to defeat his pig-headed superhero nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) and win the heart of Penny (Felicia Day), the girl of his dreams. Whedon’s short premiered to acclaim and went on to win many awards, leading to whispers of the soon-to-be-made sequel.
But, certain fans asked hard-hitting questions. What events made Dr. Horrible so…well, horrible? Why does the world absolutely LOVE Captain Hammer? And, where can I get a pair of those goggles?
Horrible Turn is the answer. Produced by Blue Light Magic and originally premiering in Houston, TX, in 2009, Horrible Turn is the fan-made prequel that takes us back to the bad doctor’s formative years in high school. When a young science prodigy named Billy (Tyce Green) has the chance to foil the emerging Evil League of Evil and win the Verona High School Mathtapalon — thereby winning the heart of his crush Katie (Kristin Massa) — he teams up with the local bonehead-in-residence Kenny Hammerstein (Jacob Buras) to save the day. But, things don’t turn out as he hoped…
WHY YOU SHOULD SEE IT
Featuring original music and songs by Chance McClain, Kevin Ryan, Frank Bullington, and Jeremy Bother, Horrible Turn is a comic hoot that matches the original Dr. Horrible in professional makeshift quality and over-the-top performances. Buras is perfect as the young Captain Hammer, a student so smug he has his own musical number about his weekly hair appointment, entitled “I’m Perfect.” Other standout numbers include the charming “She Talked to Me,” a library-set love duet between Billy and Katie that moves like a ballet through the bookshelves, and “Hammerhead,” where Billy plans to save the school using Hammerstein as his ally.
Horrible Turn also playfully references the smaller details from Dr. Horrible. Just as in the original, important exposition is left to The Sirens who lay down the Mathtapalon rules. We get to see how Hammerstein got his costume and how Billy got his goggles. Most important of all is the role of Love Potion #10, Billy’s plan for saving his school from the Evil League of Evil that turns out the worse for its creator.
Several Whedon in-jokes also get thrown into the mix. A moving company called the Dahlhaus Moving Company. The rival school known as the Blessed Mother of Serenity. A character named Felicia Night. The list goes on.
What’s most impressive is that a group of students have made a film that looks both professional and like a lot of fun for everyone involved.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE IT
Horrible Turn is now playing at www.horribleturn.com, but be sure to keep watching after the credits. There’s a bonus song sung by the young character of Johnny Snow, plus a bunch of bloopers and outtakes.