Clash of the Titans

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Clash of the Titans
Directed by Alan Smithee
Written by William Shakespeare
Music by The Clash
Cinematography Sum Gui, ASC
Edited by Tim Burton
Distributed by 20th Century Frogs
Running time 8 hours (unrated version) 16 minutes (TV version)


Clash of the Titans is a 1981 British-American biographical road film directed by Alan Smithee. The film stars Harry Hamlin in the role of Perseus, for which he was paid $10.00 and a month's supply of Campbell's Soup (most of which were of the Chicken & Stars variety). It was Smithee's seventh film and was initially released in 1981 with a limited showing at various pornographic theaters on the New York strip, but became popular and ran for nine months (just in time for the birth of Hamlin's numerous illegitimate children). The film is also noted for its ensemble cast of Stop-motion creatures, who would later speak out about how unfairly they were treated on set by the director.

edit Plot

Princess Danaë discovers she is pregnant with a child fathered by her friend and longtime admirer, Zeus. Enraged, her father stuffs her in a musty old chifforobe and sends her off to Seriphos, New Jersey, where she later gives birth to a son named Perseus, whose name in the ancient Greek means "Zeus' unwanted bastard". Perseus grows up to be an impossibly beautiful man, but unfortunately he lives on an island where women are either scarce or butt ugly, so he builds a robot owl named Booboo to be his friend (stop-motion creature #1). While getting high in Perseus' basement, they discuss their current situation and a possible country vacation, settling on a visit to Perseus' uncle Ammon, who has a cottage near Joppa.

During their visit, the villainous Caliban T. Goatmann (stop-motion creature #2) stages a successful revolution against the regime of Cassiopeia, Queen of Joppa, and holds her daughter Andromeda hostage with the hopes that she will eventually look past his revolting, demon-like visage and instead fall in love with him for his beautiful personality (ala Beauty and The Beast). Seeing how virtually all the men in Joppa are wusses, Perseus takes it upon himself to be the hero and challenges Goatmann to a battle in exchange for the liberation of Joppa and Adromeda's hand in marriage. After talking things over with a statue of his mother, Goatmann agrees to the deal on the condition that Perseus first "train" himself in the art of combat by first fighting a series of horrifying unbeatable monsters, each one tougher than the last. Perseus, quite stupidly, agrees to the wager only to realize that he knows absolute jack shiznit about killing people. Meanwhile in Olympus (ancient Greek for "Heavenly bachelor pad") Zeus feels bad for not being there for his son growing up, so he decides to surprise Perseus with some magical weapons and a flying pony named Pegasus (ancient Greek for "flying pony" and also stop-motion creature #3). Following a quickly edited training montage, Perseus sets out to save the day.

First he must slay the dreaded stop-motion creature #4 Medusa (played by Betty White in an uncredited cameo), who lives in a rundown bungalow said to be guarded by a vicious two headed pit-bull. As it turns out , the "beware of dog" signs Medusa has posted up on her fence are just there to scare off solicitors (along with some cardboard security cameras), so Perseus and his bodyguards are able to get into her house with relative ease. Once inside, Medusa manages to kill two of his men by beating them in a really intense staring contest, but Perseus outsmarts the Gorgon by wearing fake googly eyes over his lids. While she blinks, Perseus whips out his magical machete and cuts her head clean off, stuffing it into his fanny pack for later. On their way back to Joppa, Perseus and his pals are nearly mugged by a giant scorpion street gang (stop-motion creatures #5), but he defeats them by pouring tequila on their backs, causing them to go crazy and sting themselves to death. Eventually they make it home, where Goatmann - having fallen head over hooves for some farmer's pet Nanny Goat - has since decided to annul his marriage to Andromeda and instead feed her to the Kraken (stop-motion creature #6) at his engagement party.

Perseus, however, shows up in the nick of time and destroys the Kraken by showing him Medusa's severed head, causing the monster to turn into a pile of dog crap. The overjoyed citizens decide to make the celebration in honor Perseus and Andromeda's engagement instead, with the defeated Goatmann serving as the main course, due to the shortage of real livestock in Joppa. During the festivities, Zeus beams down from Olympus to deliver an embarrassingly drunken but heartwarming speech commending his son on his bravery, and the film ends with the remaining characters cheerfully dancing to Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams" as the credits roll.

Fake kraken toy prop thingy

Stop-motion puppet used in the production of the film. Notice the painstakingly realistic detail.

edit Reception

This film bombed big time. Director Smithee blamed the film's failure on the success of the Star Wars franchise, stating that the series "..used up all the greatness of cinema that there was none left for me!" He then proceeded to run down Hollywood Blvd. screaming profanities while wearing nothing but a pair of house shoes. Film critic Roger Ebert never actually got around to seeing the film but gave it a thumbs down anyway, simply saying that his reasons for doing so "...wouldn't make sense for the average film goer". Ebert was believed to have been inebriated when he made such statements.

edit See Also

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