They say that the best comedy always has a point to make. John Waters' Cecil B Demented
is certainly no exception. Using the director's unique brand of melodramatic kitsch comedy the film offers an exposé of popular Hollywood cinema. The Sprocket Holes are a gang of underground cinema anarchists with a life or death goal to destroy Hollywood--"Power to the people who punish bad cinema" cries their leader and director Cecil B Demented (superbly played by Stephen Dorff who appears to have been taking lessons at the Gary Oldman school of acting). After kidnapping Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) to appear in their underground guerrilla film they return to their hideout--an old movie theatre--to begin the dramatic make-over of Honey from Hollywood prima donna to underground cinema queen. Exposing the realms of media manipulation--it's amazing what a little anarchy can do to help your cause--the Sprocket Holes gain notoriety and a fan base from their violent actions.
Although Waters seems ill at ease with choreographing violence, the farcical nature of these aggressive scenes adds another level of humour to his exploration of the divide between mainstream and underground cinema. The director could have done more to explore the fickle nature of the movie starlet, however, and the opening scenes with Honey Whitlock as a superficial two-faced star are bland: Griffith is perhaps not made for the part of a Hollywood bitch. Easier to stomach than Pink Flamingos, like Serial Mom before it Cecil B Demented will appeal to a wider audience, who perhaps will come away believing that Forrest Gump is not a cinematic masterpiece after all.
On the DVD: The menu is probably the most notable feature of the disc, with a nodding-dog Cecil B Demented and a crazy rodent popping up everywhere it fits perfectly with the Waters style of humour. The special features simply consist of a bland trailer and some mundane interviews with the main cast and crew, which offer little towards appreciating the humour of the movie. With a 5.1 Dolby digital audio track and widescreen ratio the disc at least offers a high standard of viewing pleasure, no budget spared. --Nikki Disney
When Hollywood star Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) comes to Baltimore to attend a gala screening of her film 'Some Kind of Happiness' she walks straight into a trap set by cinematic terrorists The Sprocket Holes. Dedicated to the struggle against Hollywood banality, and led by the guerilla filmmaker Cecil B. Demented (Stephen Dorff), the Sprockets kidnap Holly and force her to star in their agit-prop epic 'Raving Beauty'. But before long the kidnap victim does a Patty Hearst-style about-face and joins her captors in a series of attacks against respectable cinema, attacks which soon incur the wrath of the powers-that-be.