Short (S)hit List: Here Comes “That Little Monster” (1994)

Short films shot in black and white were a dime a dozen in the 1990’s, most low budget directors used the monochrome method to impart artiness, seriousness and mask whatever defects a low budget production spawned, most were pretentious shit from hipster assholes who had their heads wedged firmly in their asses. While the current entry “That Little Monster” was shot in black and white, tried to be arty, and tried to mask its defects with monochrome, serious it wasn’t and it is glorious to behold.

Baby from Hell!!!!

So the plot of “That Little Monster” isn’t really that complicated, it takes place in a retro future imagined by 1950’s sci fi writers, it takes place on a different planet, in a house with furniture, a TV set and Hi Fi record player that wouldn’t look too far out of place in a 1950’s swinging bachelor pad with a few tweaks here and there to make it look unearthly, add strange ornaments, sculptures and plants to make it look even more unearthly. Forrest J. Ackerman, founder of the first zine and movie monster magazine, “Monsters of Filmland” does the intro to the movie.  In comes female earthling Jamie (Melissa Baum) looking for a baby sitting job to make a little more money on this different planet, another human Twelvetrees (played by Reggie Bannister of “Phantasm” fame) interviews her for the baby sitting job, first by trying to pitch her a alien soda in what looks like retro commercial. She gets hired, she is to watch the infant spawn of the Willock couple who are going to a costume party dressed like humans, the male Willock breaks into a weird folk song out of nowhere, they allude to their being other human baby sitters that didn’t work out. She is given instructions on when to feed the baby and that she can have as much microwave popcorn as she wants, the aliens on this planet think microwave popcorn is the best invention they were given by us humans. Twelvetrees warns her to be careful around the alien infant, of course she ignores his advice and the alien baby starts running wild and things and people get hurt and Bob Hope (yes that one) makes a surprise cameo.

Baby’s Killer Toys!!!

For a low budget short film, the effects are pretty darn good, the alien baby gave me a chuckle and made me happy every time it popped up on the screen, I imagine this the way the baby in David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” would’ve looked like if it had lived a couple of more months, the gore effects and baby toys were well done, they made the baby toys look slightly familiar but otherworldly. This one really isn’t scary, its ridiculous, but ridiculous in a non pretentious and fun way, and to boot it is short, “That Little Monster” is one I will go back to and it makes it easy that its fifty minutes long and interesting, if it would’ve went on for an hour and half I would’ve been looking at my room wondering what I had to organize. “That Little Monster” came out of a time that was experiencing a “retro revival” every hipster was digging through thrift stores in the 1990’s looking for 1950’s-1960’s lounge lizard threads and digging through heaps of vinyl in used record stores trying to find the lost 45 or 78 of some obscure Swing Band. I can tell the director of this short, Paul Bunnell was one of those types of people.

The Parents

Paul shot “That Little Monster” over three years, it was originally supposed to be a segment in the awesome “Monsters” TV show, the connection to “Monsters”, according to Paul, “died” so he decided to develop it himself into a artsy kind of film to get his work seen. In the interview I saw, Paul looks like your typical 1990’s retro hipster, he wears black frame Buddy Holly glasses, his hair is slicked back with Brylcreem, he wears a plaid suit jack and wide collar shirt whose collar flaps come over the suit jacket collar, he also drives a 1960 Thunderbird with Bob Hope spelled out on his license plate and he does Don Knotts impersonations, this is the kind of guy who would direct a movie like this. Paul said it took thirty thousand dollars to make and some help from some producers. Paul says he is more of a visual stylist and tells his story more through visuals than the actual story.  This short is packed with eye popping visuals, Paul directed the segment “The Visitant” in the “Strange Tales” ( I reviewed here awhile ago.

So are you confused? By my review or where to watch it? Or both? Well I can solve the “where to watch it” part, you can go right here:

If you want to actually get “That Little Monster”, and I mean really get it go here:

Time to feed “That Little Monster”!


Lets Reference: Your “Bleeding Skull”! Volumes One and Two.

The web site “Bleeding Skull” (my web site review here: dives deep, deep, deep in the scummy abyss like recesses of the pop culture of yesteryear and the present, bringing up the celluloid filth that most everybody else would like to see gone from the face of the earth. But I am glad I am not everybody else, there is times “Bleeding Skull” actually comes out of the recesses with a fistful of gold and diamonds. “Bleeding Skull” is the only site to have guts enough to try to watch every SOV (shot on video) and mid fi film in existence, I’ve done a review on their web site, now it is time to review the reference books they put out and, boy oh boy, did I find a lot of good movies I otherwise wouldn’t have found without the books and their web site.

The first book, “Bleeding Skull! A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey”, is the first volume, published by the great Headpress Publishing, all films are listed in alphabetical order, with black and white photos and a handy index, this book dares to go into the steaming pile that is SOV and mid fi movies of the 1980’s. In the 1980’s video rental stores (RIP) were popping up all over the country, people forget that movies even back then on VHS weren’t cheap to buy, especially in the early days. So mostly local and regional film makers shot no budget “epics” on their camcorders or Super 8 cameras, using Halloween store make up and cheap prosthetics, primitive computer graphics, using friends, relatives, significant others as actors etc. slapping some interesting cover art on the box and selling them from video store to video store. I actually remember as a kid watching some of these movies when me, my brother and cousin would rent the movie based on the box art, only to take it home and be disappointed. As kids we bought the cover art hook line and sinker, it wasn’t until I was older that I got into SOV, as a kid I was too used to seeing movies with some of a budget, movies like “Dark Crystal”, “Return of the Jedi”, “ET”, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and the like, not something me and my friends made with my dad’s camcorder. The very first movie that brought back the SOV beast for me was “Black Devil Doll From Hell” directed by Chester Turner, which I stumbled across in “The Psychotronic Video Guide” (you can see my weird book report on aforementioned book right here: reference book, reading the description made me run out and get it off of ioffer. When I put the movie on my jaw hit the floor, it was like watching some pervert’s home made doll fetish video and then the SOV beast came roaring out from the back of my childhood mind and bit me good. That led me to searching out and finding “Bleeding Skull”. This book “Bleeding Skull! A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey” turned me on to so many other movies from that period of time which I am eternally grateful . In addition to “Black Devil Doll From Hell” you’ll get reviews on movies with titles like “Attack of the Killer Refrigerator”, “Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke on My Aunt Gertrude”, “Cannibal Hookers”, “Killer Workout” and the like, you’ll get capsule reviews from Joseph Ziemba who I know personally is a cool dude and has responded to every email and message I have sent him and founder of “Bleeding Skull” and Daniel Budnik whose dry wit and humor had me belly laughing. The two guys don’t take the subject matter too seriously and who would? This book is free wheeling fun like the 1980’s as a decade were, I was literally writing down what movies I had to search out after reading this book, sometimes I couldn’t find the movies they were talking about because they were so rare. Speaking of rare, this book is out of print at Headpress and everywhere else, copies are gonna cost you an arm and leg. Luckily I was a early “Bleeding Skull” fan and bought the book when it was in print. This book covers movies from the 1980’s to the early 1990’s because to be honest the early 1990’s were still the 1980’s style wise.

This is when we dive face first into the 1990’s and face plant…HARD. “Bleeding Skull! A 1990’s Trash-Horror Odyssey” delves deep into the SOV and mid fi cesspit that was the 1990’s. Video rental stores were still around but they were more wise to the “box art masking a home made movie” so different companies sold them direct through catalogs, magazine ads and the newly burgeoning internet. Also, this was when the PC shit beast started to rear its butt ugly head and being “ironic” was the creed of the day. This book was put out this year and I’ve literally been waiting for it for about two years thinking it would never come out. Fantagraphics, whom people who read my site know I love, was taking forever to put it out. Well it finally came out, the dry wit of Daniel Budnik was gone and replaced with Annie Choi, and Zack Carlson with Joe still on board. This time the book has higher production values, it has color photos and art, slick pages, its again in alphabetical order with an index. And again this one put me on to movies I had never heard of movies like “Attack of the Serial Killers from Outer Space”, “Blood Slaves of the Vampire Wolf”, “Frankenstein’s Planet of Monsters!”, “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” etc. And the problem is Annie, Zack and, to a lesser extent, Joe, took the 1990’s moniker too seriously, don’t get me wrong, the writers replacing Dan are damn funny in their own way, when their not trying to preach or virtue signal. Come on guys, this a fucking book on no budget movies not your college term paper, in fact, when I read some of the reviews peppered with PC millennial/zoomer horse shit, I’d roll my eyes. The prior book had little to no meditating on politics of any kind, in fact in Annie’s review for “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” she abandons humor altogether and goes on a huge diatribe about how women are still oppressed, no humor at all, all I had to say is “SHUT THE FUCK UP”. I am here to find out about movies I’d never heard, not have some ex college ass hat lecture me on how evil I am, she is not the only one, Joe also does his share of preaching which he didn’t do in the previous book, like under the movie review for “Limbo” you get this “I am a white dude. Because of this, there’s no way for me to understand the challenges women and people of color face on a daily basis (me: semi true). I recognize that my life has been easier (me: bullshit you don’t know that, this isn’t Jim Crow America and not every woman and black person has the same experience, their individuals not a collective faceless mass, like white people, some women and black people have had either easier or tougher experiences depending on their circumstances.) This is why its important for me-and every other white man on the planet-to celebrate the accomplishments of people who are not white whenever possible (me: if their work interests me or their creative that is my criteria not because of skin color or gender, that is what you virtue signals call “Racist”)”. Then he goes on to tell a story of how a woman, Tina Krause, completed and submitted her movie “Limbo” to different film festivals under her own name and got rejection after rejection, then she did it under the name Stephen and was accepted once she was called to address the crowd she went on stage and berated the festival and film goers for “Sexism” and Joe slowly clapped, so Joe did it even enter your mind that maybe since “Limbo” is an SOV movie that most festivals wouldn’t take it? Is it quite possible that they didn’t like the movie and wouldn’t accept it? Too many people are quick to jump on the “victim” band wagon, maybe Tina’s experience was an actual one but this is the kind of crap that hurt the book for me. Annie, Zack and Joe do a good job, but they would’ve done a great job if they hadn’t thrown in the virtue signaling horse shit that is prevalent all over most indie/cult film sites, it isn’t original and its boring. That being said this volume is still good and you can easily ignore the political preaching junk, they don’t do it too much but when they do its annoying and makes them seem like virtue beggars. Guys stick to humor and reviewing movies, save the mealy mouthed bull shit for the talking heads and loser academics in their ivory towers. Mark Polonia who made a shit load of SOV movies and is a SOV legend does the intro for the book. These days digital cameras, cheap computer graphic and editing programs, even phones etc. have made it easier than ever to make movies, the SOV legacy lives on and all one needs to do is go to Amazon Prime Video or Tubi to see the independent spirit to make low to no budget movies is still alive, even though most video stores have gone the way of the dinosaurs. SOV makers now use streaming services, sell DVD and Blu Rays of their own releases through their own web sites and use video hosting sites to show their work, as long as there is a person with a passion and a camera out there of some sort that spirit will never die and “Bleeding Skull” is still the king of digging up these treasures, may they never waver in their pursuit of beautiful trash.

Well good luck finding “Bleeding Skull! A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey” dig deep here digitally or on ebay to try to find a physical copy:

“Bleeding Skull! A 1990’s Trash-Horor Odyssey” just got released but you better snap up a copy while you can because Fantagraphics, like Headpress seems to do only one print run of something get it here folks (not available on Fantagraphics better get it now!):


Its Show Time!!!: “Cartoon Sushi” 1997-1998

This is a new feature where I watch a TV show that is visual white noise, not static but noise to people who don’t get it. “Cartoon Sushi” is one of those shows. Made in 1997-1998, the period when Mtv was slowly being eaten by its own uncreative stupidity via shitty fucking shows like “The Real World” and other “reality shows”. “Cartoon Sushi” was the awesome “Liquid Television’s” retarded step brother to some, to me it had a lot of promise. When I found out that Mtv was gonna attempt to put out another animated short compilation type show back on TV I was overjoyed. Sadly, it didn’t last too long, it got eaten by the “Reality TV” juggernaut and soon all of Mtv would be completely devoured by it.

Mtv in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s looked around and realized they had to keep their edge. Sure they were on top playing music videos and back in the day they played anything and almost everything to see what would stick to the wall. The 1980’s zines and underground independent comics were bubbling underneath the mainstream surface, the public to a bigger extent and Mtv to a lesser extent ignored that bubbling through most of the 1980’s. But the sheer amount of kids who listened to rock and metal music were buying “Heavy Metal Magazine”, “Weirdo”, “RAW” and other like minded magazines, they were also ordering xeroxed zines. The underground was like a festering infection that was about to explode so Mtv wanting to remain on the cutting edge took the initiative and in 1989 put “Liquid Television” on Mtv, and the festering boil popped and geyser of puss erupted into pop culture consciousness. Now as a junior high kid “Liquid Television” blew my eyes out and skull fucked my brain, at least on TV it was unlike anything I’d seen up until that point.

Eventually I will do a “Its Showtime!!!” on “Liquid Television” but I watched this successor because the external hard drive my buddy gave me had a bunch weird and strange shorts and when I saw that “Cartoon Sushi” was on that hard drive, I jumped out of my seat. This, along with “Beavis and Butthead”, re runs of “Ren and Stimpy” gave me hope that Mtv would stomp down on all the reality shows that were starting to inundate TV. Of course I turned out to be dead wrong. “Cartoon Sushi” only lasted two pilots none of which I ever saw, eleven episodes, and two specials. It lasted one year and the experimental part of Mtv had a stake put through its heart, had its head cut off and the corpse was burned. Soon all music would be gone too. Fuck Mtv.  However, both “Liquid Television” and “Cartoon Sushi” reminded me of the comics compilations I had picked up in my small hometown candy, booze, magazine, comic’s store, George’s Liquor or visits to comic book stores in bigger towns and cities. As I’ve said before, unless the super hero comic was done differently and creatively (like the original, violent and sexual “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Spawn”) I wasn’t interested, “Heavy Metal”, “Weirdo”, “Blab”, “Zero Zero”etc. were more up my alley. Both shows embodied that anarchic, insane, creative streak.

“Cartoon Sushi” was made up of shorts either made for the show or shorts that appeared in various animation festivals, like “Liquid Television”. The show keeps your interest because various animators use different forms of animation, some will use stop motion, some will use computer animation, some will use puppetry, regular animation etc.  The show was created by Danni Antonucci, (Danny did the title animation for “Cartoon Sushi”) who would do go on to do “Ed, Edd and Eddy”, Keith Alcorn who would do the “Lil’ Puss” character featured in “Cartoon Sushi”, and developed by Eric Calderon who still develops and produces animation til this day.

Various animators and people who worked on “Liquid Television” ended up doing work on “Cartoon Sushi”. People from “Cartoon Sushi” would end up using it as a spring board to do bigger things (realize I didn’t type “better”). Dave Hughes who did the “anime satire” segment on “Cartoon Sushi” entitled “Ultracity 6060” would go on to develop, produce and create a bunch of shows for “Adult Swim” chief among them “Off the Air”, a collection of shorts centering on one concept or idea an episode, Hughes has given credit to “Liquid Television” and “Cartoon Sushi” for this inspiration, Matt Harrigan who also worked on “Ultracity 6060” would also go on to work for “Adult Swim” mainly creating and developing “Fish Center” they both worked for Mtv’s animation department back in the day.  Christy Karacas whose awesome ink and paper, crazy ass animation short “Space War” blew my mind when I first watched it went on to do “Superjail” for “Adult Swim” you can see the rumblings of the insane and off the wall antics that would prevail in “Superjail”.

John R. Dilworth who did the “Dirdy Birdy” shorts for “Cartoon Sushi” would go on to do various projects, chief among them “Courage the Cowardly Dog” for “Cartoon Network”. Paul Berry whose short “Sandman” would be showed in various festivals and in the “Cartoon Sushi: Halloween Special” would go on do animation for “Nightmare Before Christmas”, “James and the Giant Peach”, “Monkey Boy” and Primus’ awesome stop motion video for their cover of Charlie Daniel’s “Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Lorne Lanning would contribute a computer animated short “Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey” and would expand the world in his “Oddworld” video games. Michael Dougherty would contribute “Season’s Greetings” a animated short that showed the first appearance of his Halloween character, Samhain, would feature in his live action movie “Trick R’ Treat” (2007) and he’d also do the Christmas themed horror movie “Krampus”. Eric Fogel’s “Celebrity Death Match” would be featured first in “Cartoon Sushi” with a match between Charles Manson and Marilyn Manson, the refree would be voiced by real life boxing referee and judge, Mills Lane who would get his own court type show eventually, the popularity of the segment would lead to “Celebrity Death Match” getting its own show and showing more celebrities demolish, mutilate, burn, kill and slash each other. 

Another animator, Bill Plympton” who still does tons of stuff would do the ridiculous “Sex and Violence” segments in “Cartoon Sushi”. Like “Liquid Television” there was some continuing segments like “Ultracity 6060”, the “Robin” segments done by Magnus Carlsson who did music videos for Radiohead,  “Science Facts”, “The Many Deaths of Norman Spittal”, “Celebrity Death Match”, and the aforementioned “Sex and Violence”. The majority of the material isn’t connected, the breadth and difference in material keeps this show interesting. Some of the material was taken from “Spike and Mike’s Twisted Festival of Animation” and other places.

So in closing, “Adult Swim” and a lot of off the wall and absurd, nonsensical humor came straight for the rotting, stinking womb of “Liquid Television” and “Cartoon Sushi”.

So you ask yourself, “Where the hell is the Sushi bar? I can’t seem to find it anywhere, no proper physical bar, a couple of dishes on youtube, what gives?” I’ll tell you what gives here and sorry, couldn’t get episode five up, the file was completely corrupted and is nowhere to be found anywhere, the pilots and two specials weren’t on there and I can’t track them down. There is one place that sells bootlegs and looking at the list they don’t have complete episodes, take it or leave it here:

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Episode 4:

Episode 5: Sorry file corrupted and can’t find it anywhere.

Episode 6:

Episode 7:

Episode 8:

Episode 9:

Episode 10:

Episode 11: