Mr. Bill's Disasterpiece Theater: The Definitive Collection
Most people of my age grew up watching Claymation, the technique of using clay figures with stop frame photography as an alternative to animation. With such gentle, family friendly faire as Gumby and David & Goliath these clay figures entertained us as children. Premiering on Saturday Night Live a new form of Claymation was begun, Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill and his faithful dog found themselves in seemingly innocent circumstances until the appearance of the reprehensible Mr. Sluggo, an evil, sadistic clay figure that enjoys torture and dismemberment. This is the strange, sick world created by John Borkowski and Walter Williams.
Mr. Bill and his dog, Spot, are sliced, diced, crushed and blended by the relentless Mr. Sluggo as Mr. Hand stands by assuring Mr. Bill all will be okay. Part of the appeal of this series is the very human desire to see the ‘goody two shoes’ brought down. All the Claymation characters we grew up watching were too good, too nice even for children.
All things Mr. Bill are in this boxed set. All of the SNL sketches, Mr. Bill Does Vegas, Mr. Bill in Hollywood (complete with guest stars) and the unforgettable Mr. Bill’s Christmas. There is even a commentary moderated by Mr. Hand. While this may be too much for even a die hard fan to take all at once the set provides a great break from the constant re-runs on TV. Bored with what is on television, pop the disc in, select a series of sketches and sit back for the best of Bill.
For a title like this Lion’s Gate did an excellent job of presenting the DVD, above and beyond what any fan of the series could have imagined. Even the menu showed thought, it shows Mr. Bill in his living room, the items in the room serving as the selection icons. Extras are in the attic, clicking the projector access the scene selection etc. Lion’s Gate takes any project they commit to with the eye to the best possible presentation and even if the main characters are hunks of clay they set out to do things right and provide the best possible DVD for the consumer. To be fair, some of the menus are a little quirky; it may take a couple of tries to get the timing down for the selection to become active. What you do get here is a three disc set that lives up to the claim that it is the definitive Mr. Bill collection. With everything ever made concerning Mr. Bill it is a must have for any fan of the series. The action is presented in a crisp Dolby stereo and an almost flawless full screen video. Over four hours of clay being abused in ways you could never have imagined. So, make some popcorn, order a pizza, open a six pack and send the kids to grandma. His is not for children but it is perfect for a slow evening when you could use a good laugh.