In the past, stop-motion animation has been used to make such brilliant seasonal classics as the famous Rankin/Bass productions Frosty the Snowman (sung and told by Jimmy Durante), The Year Without a Santa Claus (in which Mr. Claus part was spoken by Mickey Rooney) and the adorable Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Airing on major U.S. networks since the 1960s, these adaptations have become campy hallmarks of the holiday season.
Director John Roeckers upcoming DVD release Live Freaky! Die Freaky! (Wellspring, $29.98) may have all the kitsch of a plastic manger scene, but very little of the quaintness: The film is a musical comedy, featuring all the requisite rosy-cheeked clay figurines, based on the Manson family murders.
Roeckers stop-motion animation film is a punked-up adaptation of the horrendous crimes, voiced by an army of rockers that includes Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Operation Ivy (who also arranged the score) and Green Days Billie Joe Armstrong. The story begins in the year 3069, when a man finds a copy of Vincent Bugliosis 1974 best-seller Helter Skelter, in which Mansons prosecutor retells the high-profile murder. The young man sets out to reinterpret the book with Charles Manson as the messiah. Thereafter, the story follows the killer and his disciples, and much music, murder and mayhem ensues. Come Jan. 31, when Live Freaky! Die Freaky! is released, it is safe to say that stop-motion, now new and improved with sex and violence, will never be the same.Rebecca Mazzei is the arts editor for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]