Everyone knows that holidays and movies go together like monkeys and tuxedos, and yet, year after year, we see the same three or four of them on screen, as though those were the only ones worth mentioning. Is Halloween the only scary holiday? Did they forget Valentine’s Day? Tax day? What about a horror movie set on President’s Day, when all of the mattress and car salesmen come out of their caves to make loud, annoying commercials and feed on unsuspecting consumers?
Admittedly, when Hollywood does try to mix things up, it’s rarely pretty. SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT is, for all intents and purposes, basically MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET with a few more axe murders (although barely half as many as in the original MIRACLE book), but NIGHT has so far failed to make it onto the schedule even half as much as the feel-good “classic” does. Even worse, IT’S SECRETARY’S DAY, CHARLIE BROWN hardly ever gets played anymore, and the less said about BENJI’S TAX DAY ADVENTURE the better.
Still, hard as it may be to believe, there have been worse:
A FINE MOVING PHOTOPLAY OF LADIES ENJOUYING AN OUT-OF-DOORS PICK-NICK LUNCHEOUN ON THE DAY OF LABOURS (1892): Perhaps the earliest known “holiday” film in existence, this was merely one of Edison’s early cheapies, a depiction of several women eating lunch on Labor Day, which, at the time, actually honored America’s butlers. The film had a short run before being withdrawn over a scandalous glimpse of one of the ladies’ exposed philtrum. Also, in one frame, it was claimed that you could see the silhouette of a child who had died on the site years ago. Later, this was proven to be a cardboard cut-out of President McKinley.
LAUREL & HARDY’S FATHER’S DAY FRACAS (1936): Following a bitter feud, the duo’s legendary producer, Hal Roach, attempted to assert ownership of the characters with this misguided story in which neither Laurel nor Hardy actually appear. Instead, their elderly “fathers” accidentally kidnap Pope Pius XI. The film was never released. Interestingly, this marks the one time that the word “Fracas” was used in a movie title that wasn’t gay porn.
THE ROAD TO PUNXSUTAWNEY (1947): The only Hope and Crosby “road” movie to take place domestically, the film tells the story of two escaped convicts who systematically murder and then dismember dozens of people in a PCP-fueled rampage as they attempt to make it to Pennsylvania for the annual Groundhog Day festival. Features Crosby’s chart-topping toe-tapper “Where’s My Damn Money, Bitch?”
MEMORIAL DAY VACATION (1995): This ABC “Movie of the Week” starred C. Thomas Howell as Clark, and depicted the Griswold’s trip to Iwo Jima. The film culminates with Audrey being sold into white slavery while Clark is thrown in a Singapore prison for fondling the prime minister. Widely considered the second least funny of the VACATION films.
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD (1998): Although it is never mentioned on screen or the script, and has never been acknowledged by Carrot Top or anyone else associated with the production, the film takes place on Arbor Day. Anyone who says differently is lying, and a communist. And sells crack to infants.
BILLY BOB THORNTON EXPLAINS DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME (2002): Thornton, a well-known time enthusiast, produced, wrote, directed, edited, and catered this feature-length documentary on the benefits of Daylight Savings Time, which, according to the actor, include “improved Japanese-American relations, higher sperm counts in many species of toad, better tasting coffee, and an overall decrease in the number of reported zombies.”
NICK AND JESSICA’S VALENTINE’S ADVENTURE (unproduced): Originally planned to be a modern-day remake of MY FAIR LADY, the script was rewritten several times at the insistence of the soon-to-be-divorced Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson. Jessica insisted that Nick’s character, Rick, change from a promising architect to a syphilis-ridden mental patient. The next draft saw Jessica’s character, Cathy, violently die in a flaming bus crash in the first two pages, never to appear again. After another rewrite, Nick’s character, now called “Rancid Bag of Vomit,” confesses on national television that he is into unspeakable sex acts, many of which involve lighting small animals on fire. He spends the rest of the film being savagely beaten. Subsequent drafts see representations of acts that could never be depicted on screen. The project is currently being developed as a vehicle for Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.
Happy holidays, everyone!
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