Screens & Tech
Hecklevision gives movie audiences room to ridicule
Published: April 11, 2012
Usually designated for things like Dane Cook doing standup comedy, Rick Santorum speechifying at liberal universities, and LeBron James hitting the court in Cleveland, heckling is a lost art that can still make a strong statement if said squawker are quick-witted and unafraid to humiliate themselves in the spirit of mean-spirited entertainment.
At the monthly Hecklevision screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse, running an affective smear campaign is only a few clever phone texts away. Hecklevision is a special interactive screening of a movie deemed universally inferior by the masses and critics alike, where theatergoers can text snide remarks about the movie and watch as the commentary appears alongside the action on the big screen. So, instead of quietly mocking Mark Wahlberg talking to plants in The Happening to the friend sitting beside you, technology now allows you to share your biting sarcasm with an entire audience.
Reminiscent of the Drafthouse's signature series Master Pancake Theater and the cult TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (minus the trio of snarky silhouettes), Hecklevision is an innovative and fun way to watch movies, especially when the bad acting, cheesy dialogue, and shoddy special effects give unlimited ammunition to unload without remorse. In the past, Alamo Drafthouses in San Antonio have held Hecklevision screenings for movies including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Jingle All the Way, and Burlesque.
My first taste of Hecklevision occurred last month, the day after St. Patrick's Day, when I dragged a reluctant friend along to a screening of the 2000 horror comedy Leprechaun in the Hood starring Warwick Davis and Ice-T.
When the lights dimmed, my friend broke the ice by texting, "Let's see how long it takes for a vaguely racist joke," which was followed by another moviegoer's suggestion to turn it into a drinking game. As the movie continued, other jokes (surprisingly edited for language) filtered in like Lucky Charms jabs, the characters' oral fixation on a magic flute, and digs on dreads when Coolio makes a cameo. Someone also kept referring to Davis as "Willow," which earned a few laughs. The low point of the evening came when the texting software went offline for five whole minutes and we were forced to actually watch the movie without an outlet to publicly vent through.
I have to admit, watching a Hecklevision-worthy movie without the means to do any heckling was extremely tough. Good thing I still know how to piss and moan without the aid of a 4G phone. •
Hecklevision: Mortal Kombat
7pm Wed, Apr 11
618 NW Loop 410
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