The body out of control

I really like this video. It was created by the Swedish firm Traktor. It’s slapstick, while being really cool.

Obviously it’s been done with simple wire removal. But the effect is wild. There is a certain fascination with uncontrolled motion. It’s not unlike some moments in Ratatouille when Remy is manipulating Linquini. Even something as small as an eye twitch can add a little effect to a reaction shot. (personally, I think eye twitches have become overused.)

Being “spastic” has always had a certain use in comedy. Jerry Lewis did it. And then there is this great moment from Seinfeld.

If you can think of any other examples of characters, live or animated, who have body control problems, I’d love to hear them. Please put them in the comments.

4 thoughts on “The body out of control

  1. There is a classic scene in Evil Dead 2 where the character’s hand becomes possessed and attacks him, smashing dishes on his head until he gets knocked out. Lots of great slapstick in that movie.

    Cartoon examples- the dog in the Alvin Show episode “The Whistler” who freaks out every time a silent dog whistle is blown and the Hanna Barbera dog that goes into hyperactive spasms when he’s given a treat.

    Chaplin’s repetitive movements with the wrenches on the production line in Modern Times.

    It seems to me there was a comedy short that had a boxing match where a character went into overdrive every time a particular phonograph record was played. Was that a Three Stooges?

    The flip side would be the body in precise control- the Leroy Anderson Jerry Lewis typewriter scene.

  2. Here’s the Evil Dead 2 scene. It’s interesting that out of the context of the film, the scene isn’t nearly as funny. Both comedy and horror depend on pacing to set the stage for the gag. What leads up to the laugh or thrill is as important as the payoff.

    • It’s still pretty funny even out of context.

      About the Three Stooges, I remember at least 1 short where something causes Curly to lose control and run amok, and the only thing that will make it stop is smelling cheese. “Cheese! Larry! Cheese! Moe! Cheese!” It’s not quite as neurological as the other examples, but still funny.

      I might also include physical reactions like disgust. In “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” Rowan Atkinson eats an oyster or a crayfish or something, and his face distorts in the most ridiculous manner.

  3. Been following your blog for a while and really enjoy your posts. The Fatboy Slim video is a hilarious use of slapstick. Thanks for sharing!

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