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Intersplicing fiction with fiction in "Teen Wolf"

by Survey of Interactive Media

Holly Willis discusses what she calls the “burgeoning cultural hopes and anxieties wrought by the intersection of computers, image production and the real,” in her book, “New Digital Cinema Reinventing the Moving Image” (12-13).  Her first example is the film, “Forrest Gump,” which uses historical, factual footage interspliced with the fictional characters of the film.  The film plays on the fact that the audience can differentiate between what is real and fake, creating a light hearted atmosphere which, Willis believes, helped foster its commercial and critical success.  The clip that I wish to explore uses a similar tactic, but instead of permeating through factual footage, this short film plays with the reality and unreality of the fictional film, “Teen Wolf.”

Willis quotes John Whitney as saying, “The entire Hollywood industry, all through that time, and to this very day, is interested in one thing and that is making the face the right colour and absolutely convincing you of a faked reality” (10).  The film Teen Wolf subscribes to this notion, making the visuals as appealing and realistic as possible.  Unfortunately, the other facets of the film are left woefully undeveloped.  The story and characters border on the nonsensical and the comedy troupe, Summer of Tears, extorts this for comedic effect.

The comedy troupe places themselves within the world of the story to give alternative, more “realistic” reactions to the events in the film.  While some of the humor falls into lower brow levels of bestiality, it still achieves the purpose of pointing out how unrealistic people act in the film.  Michael J. Fox turns into a werewolf, and while the characters in the film stare dumbfounded, the comedy troupe freak out and attempt to call the police.  This continues throughout the film as the comedy troupe places their own brand of reality onto the movie.  Much of the humor comes from the realistic reactions of the comedy company, but the irony here is that these reactions are, of course, not realistic at all.  They are simply another form of fiction.  Thus we have fiction on fiction intersplicing. 

This clip achieves a hybridization of media by, “mixing film images with footage shot on digital video” (Hollis, 37).  But once it is transformed into a piece of digital media it will remain a piece of digital media for the foreseeable future.  This clip invites more manipulation, perhaps by another group of actors who posit themselves within it to make fun of the comedy troupe’s reactions to the reactions of the characters in “Teen Wolf,” but it will still remain fundamentally the same.  After a clip has made the plunge into the digital realm, can it be anything else?  I believe this clip will forever remain a piece of digital fiction.

-Spencer Boyle

Teen Wolf: Summer Of Tears

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A comedy troupe posits themselves into the film "Teen Wolf."

from Teen Wolf: Summer of Tears (2008)
Creator: Summer of Tears, Jamieson Fry, Rob Kerkovich, Todd Waldman
Posted by Survey of Interactive Media