Everything Is Terrible Keeps a Video Library of Shame

They've come for your old VHS footage. Photo by Ashley Macknica.
They've come for your old VHS footage. Photo by Ashley Macknica.

Once, in the '80s, we starred in a DIY inspirational video where making waffles was a metaphor for career success. We thought the death of the VHS format meant the evidence would eventually disintegrate in some faraway Salvation Army. Yet there's a group of seven friends that searches for cringe-worthy VHS footage and uploads the madness to its blog, Everything Is Terrible!, so it can be watched infinitely (or at least until the Internet explodes). The posse, which takes on extraterrestrial personas, has already exposed a woman who makes videos about cat massage and a recording of Colby the Christian robot, where obnoxious children in high-waisted pants interact with a doomsday machine.

EIT has created a feature-length film from its blog's most viral videos in 2Everything2 Terrible2: Tokyo Drift, and it screens at the Bill Cosford Cinema tomorrow night.

We spoke to Katie AKA Future Schlock from their film tour stop in Syracuse, NY. Read on to watch her favorite videos, and hear why the EIT gang doesn't make fun of Muslims and why they're obsessed with Jerry Maguire.

New Times: What sort of videos do you look for?
Future Schlock: Things that are obscure: B Movies, instructional tapes, and we really like seminars on how to please your man. Whatever makes you cringe or laugh outloud. There's two kinds of bad videos: really boring stuff that's presented in an uninteresting way and then demented topics that are presented in earnest - those are the kind of videos we want.

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So why VHS?
It's a discipline. We're interested in VHS because it's a format that had been largely dismissed and forgotten by academic film communities as being trashy. And there's a whole huge range of things out there that are only available on VHS. I'm stockpiling VHS players in my apartment. I don't know if you can even buy new ones anymore.

Most people must think you're just surfing YouTube for these videos like everyone else.
No, no, no, no. That's not what we do. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than that. If something we've found is already on YouTube or already in the viral video circuit, we don't use it.

So what are you bringing to Miami?
2Everything 2Terrible: Tokyo Drift is where we take a year's worth of footage from the web site - the videos that went viral - we compile them and re-cut them thematically, and re-contextualize them into a film. It's more like a Girl Talk kind of project where you have a big piece made up of little movements that connect like a mixtape, only it's on video.  

What's the live component to the show?
We've created these characters based on our internet personas: aliens from the internet who don't understand the ways of the human world. The videos are the weird demented lens that we view the world through. It's kinda like a sacred text for us. So we start off with a ritualistic chant and drum and blowing horns kind of vibe. And then we get loose and get silly. Because the internet monsters are very confused about everything.

Describe your typical fan.
There are two kinds: people who are really, really, really, really into the internet. Someone who doesn't go out very much. And then people who wear their too-cool-for-school custom, thrift store clothes. So it's two extremes, I guess, extremely cool and extremely anti-social. That's who likes Everything Is Terrible.

How would you describe the humor in the movie? Gross-out or funny ha ha?
It's more funny ha ha, or "I feel guilty about laughing about this, but I can't help it."

Do you come across a lot of religious videos?
People say we pick on Christianity but that's not the case. They just fit that mold of extreme, out there stuff. They're also really earnest and often have sloppy, low production values. They also seem to make a TON of videos. A ton! People are like "Why don't you parody Muslim videos?" Because I've never seen one. And they especially don't make ridiculous videos with talking puppets in them.

Favorite videos?
There was one that I found that was an instructional video on how to kiss. There's really only two ways to kiss, tongue or no tongue, but they went into ridiculous detail about 20 different kinds of kisses. And it was just like, no one would every do that.


Colby the Christian robot, he's a big character for us:

And so is Duane the dancing kid:


What's the deal with

Jerry Maguire

?

It's a movie that everyone was convinced was an awesome movie so they got it on VHS and then got a DVD player two months later and realized that they didn't care about the movie. So the thrift stores of America are literally flooded with them. We want to have the world's largest collection of

Jerry Maguire

videos. We want to do a video installation piece that a video store with nothing but

Jerry Maguire

The wonderful terribleness starts at 8 p.m. at Bill Cosford Cinema (1111 Memorial Dr., Coral Gables) tomorrow night. Tickets cost $6 for UM alumni, faculty, and staff, and is free for all students. For the rest of you non-academic suckers, tickets cost $8. Call 305-284-4861or visit www.everythingisterrible.com.


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