Before watching Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez!, you might want to see Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain. The 1973 cult film follows a Christlike figure through a grotesque and very psychedelic landscape of religious and sacrilegious imagery. A mystical guide introduces him to seven powerful people who each represent a planet in the solar system. Together, they go on a quest to the Holy Mountain to become immortal by displacing the gods who live there. Throughout the film, there are several notable details: a footless, handless dwarf; a wax statue that is, eventually, sent into the sky by balloons; an alchemist who turns excrement into gold; and, of course, a scene where people party at a cemetery.
That brings us to Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez!, a "remake" of The Holy Mountain using only dog-related found footage. It's a tripped-out collage featuring footage from, for instance, the 1998 TV movie mystery Murder She Purred, starring Ricki Lake, and the 1993 movie Man's Best Friend, about a demonic dog, starring Williams Sanderson ("Deadwood"). There are also clips from what appear to be infomercials and children's shows from the 1970s that feel like acid trips. Other clips include dogs eating pizza off a lawn, poodles being fashionably shorn, talking dogs, a dog conducting an orchestra of dogs, dog puppets and dog cartoons and dogs drinking beer. In one clip, a woman gives a dog a massage and says, "In this video we'll show you that petting is passé. Dogs want a massage."
The perpetrator of this strange project is a Chicago-based collective of VHS-loving people called Everything Is Terrible!. Actually, on the collective's website (everythingisterrible.com), Everything Is Terrible! describes itself as "seven furry, lovable internet monsters who live in a cave full of VCRs and solve mysteries. We take forgotten VHS tapes of all kinds and edit them down into easily digestible viral videos."
The site has a noteworthy collection of VHS footage that includes scenes from California Casanova starring Jerry Orbach, Paul Reiser's Hollywood Adventure where he "busts in on your favorite NBC stars," and something where Goldie Hawn talks with kids and Barry Manilow provides sex education to a class. But Everything Is Terrible! isn't just about passive viewing. The collective recently started a cause where people can send in all Jerry Maguire VHS tapes for preservation purposes. The goal of the Jerry Maguire sanctuary, states the site, is to have "the largest collection of Jerry Maguire VHS tapes in the history of mankind."
Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! is less a cause and more a celebration of the magic that can be created from dog footage. The film will show in Missoula on Wednesday, February 8, for the collective's All Dogs Go On Tour tour, which I believe includes the presence of some characters named Commodore Gilgamesh and Ghoul Skool, who will be in mascot costumesjust so you know what you're getting into here.
Let me be clear: Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! in no way resembles the cute animal YouTube videos your co-workers like to send you. It's more like a colorful version of the second half of Mulholland Drive, or a sequence of events that might happen in the Red Room of Agent Cooper's mind in Fire Walk With Me. Throughout the dog montage, you can hear God-like voiceovers, religious chanting and bloodcurdling screams, all recognizable as audio from The Holy Mountain. Another dog yells a line from Summer of Sam: "I want you to go out and kill. Kill! KILL!" It shouldn't surprise you that the film doesn't follow a straight narrative nor is it really a remake of The Holy Mountain, per se. Somehow, though, the creatives of Everything Is Terrible! still capture the same weird horror and spiritual lunacy of Jodorowsky's film. If you don't feel like you dropped acid in space with your dog by the end, you're a stronger person than I.
Everything is Terrible! present Doggie Woggiez! Poochie Woochiez! at Zoo City Apparel Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 9 PM. $8.