Movies Within A Movie

I have always been fond of movies that feature movies within the movie.  You know, movies that for some reason contain scenes of other movies?  I’m not talking about clips of real movies (like Scream 2 on TV in the background of Halloween H2O).  I’m talking about made up, fictional, fake movies being featured within the world of the main movie.  For example, in Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993), John Goodman’s character is a movie producer named Lawrence Woolsey (who is a kind of fictional version of William Castle) and we get to see clips from his ultra bad sci-fi epic Mant! 

MANT! Poster from Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993) Please don’t sue me, Universal Pictures, Mr Dante, or whoever drew this…

Popcorn (Mark Herrier, Alan Ormsby, 1991) is set in a movie theatre, where a killer is stalking unsuspecting victims.  The best parts, however, are the clips from the B-movie film festival up on the screen, which is comprised of a trilogy of made up stinkers, including one called The Stench which features a William Castle style gimmick called Aroma-Rama (just like John Waters employed in Polyester).

One exception to my preference for made up, fictional, fake movies is Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994), which makes use of reenactments of actual scenes from actual movies made by Ed Wood.  But no one could make up anything more amazingly entertaining than what Ed Wood actually did, so…

It’s starting to seem like I’m stuck in the ’90s, which is strange because I’m actually much more stuck in the ’70s.  I’m also particularly fond of the ’30s.  And there is a brilliant little gem called Hollywood Party (1934) which features fake scenes from a Schnarzan movie (a Tarzan spoof).


As mentioned in my previous blog post, The Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular is a movie that will feature movies within the movie.  None of them will be homages to William Castle (not that I don’t like WillIam Castle, but…).  I expect to cover more genres than the average movie that features movies within the movie.  Doreen Brownstone has had a long career, and has appeared in all kinds of different films.  I’m not prepared to say what any of them are yet (I feel that might spoil some of the fun – plus I am still working on the final draft of the screenplay, so anything – and everything – is still fair game), but to give some small hints about what might be possible, there is a series of doctored posters called Movies That Doreen Brownstone Could Have Appeared In which has started to appear on Twitter @DBrownstoneFilm and on Facebook and on Instagram – but remember, these are not actual posters that will be used in The Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular. These are just for fun. Please don’t sue us, people who own the rights to the original, untampered with, posters…

One final note, a brand new perk has been added to the Indiegogo page regarding posters and VHS boxes for the fictional movies within the movie.    We will be asking artists to create posters and/or VHS boxes for several fictional movies within the movie. These posters and VHS boxes will be featured prominently within the main film (kind of like the above MANT! poster was in Matinee, for instance).  You, through the magic of Indiegogo,  can arrange to have your name featured on one of these VHS boxes and/or posters alongside Doreen’s as if you starred in the movie with her.  And who hasn’t always dreamed of seeing their name on a  VHS box?  And once the movie is completed and released, you will get to keep the poster and/or VHS box with your name on it forever! Display it proudly in your home or office.  No one will ever suspect that you didn’t star in that grade Z epic once upon a time.  Your coolness factor will be raised for generations.  Read more about it here:

I could probably go on about movies that feature movies within the movie for thousands of words, but who would want to read that? Who’s reading this anyway? Pretend I didn’t ask that. Until next time, keep watching the screens…

What is the Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular?

Some of you may have noticed that I am involved in something called The Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular.  Some of you may have asked “What is The Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular?”

Put simply, it is a feature film project in development.

“A feature film?  What will it be about?”

Good question.  Our log line says: “Legendary B-movie star Doreen Brownstone investigates the mysterious goings on in her apartment building while trying to revitalize her fading career.”

The Indiegogo page says:  “Equal parts Curb Your Enthusiasm-style ‘reality’ zaniness, and an affectionate homage to B genre movies of the past and present.”

What do I say?  Hmmm…

In The Doreen Brownstone Film Spectacular, Doreen Brownstone will play herself (albeit a fictionalized version of herself); a star of stage and screen.  It will feature several movies within the movie; clips from films that the fictional Doreen made over the course of her career.  Particular emphasis will be given to the more recent low budget B-movies in which Doreen has found herself stuck.  Much like the real Doreen, the fictional Doreen is still working at age 90 (or 91 as the case might be).  But instead of starring in a powerful play about the Holocaust (Such Creatures by Judith Thompson, opening January 2, 2014), the fictional Doreen is making a really bad, really low budget horror film – and we will get to see her chewing up the scenery like Bela Lugosi in an Ed Wood masterpiece.

The real Doreen Brownstone has had the pleasure of appearing in such genre fare as Heads, Silent Night, and Todd and The Book Of Pure Evil, but has more often been stuck in big budget, classy theatrical productions like Fiddler On The Roof, My Fair Lady and Driving Miss Daisy.  Through the fictional Doreen, the real Doreen will get to play all kinds of colourful characters in all kinds of different genres – and it’s impossible to say who will have the most fun on this project: Doreen; those of us lucky enough to be working with her; or the audiences, who will be delighted by her uncanny ability to shine in any role that she takes on.

As for me, I have always been a big fan of B-movies, horror films, and other low budget atrocities.  My most successful plays were direct homages to B-movie genres, such as Bad Girls Jailhouse (an affectionate parody of women in prison films) and Sorority Girls Slumber Party Massacre: The Musical (a loving satire of golden age slasher films). Other genres I have dabbled in include zombies (The Inner City Dead, I Was A Teenage Zombie: The Musical), hard-boiled detectives (Samantha Panther P.I. – Tough Girls Don’t Sing), film noir (The Big Kiss Off), time travel/science fiction (Play: The Big Band Theory), Ancient Roman epics (Quo Vadis), and, most recently, westerns (Fort Whoop Up). For this reason, as well as my reputation for ultra low budgets – and the fact that none of my shows ever lost a penny – I was referred to by some as “The Roger Corman of Manitoba.”  I  consider this to be the greatest compliment a person could receive.

Who’s Roger Corman?  Only one of the most successful producers in Hollywood history (and still working today at 87).  The fictional Doreen Brownstone claims to have dated him once.  But being four years younger than her, he may have been a little older than she preferred…