VIDEO: The Dark Backward (1991)

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Phil looks at The Dark Backward, a pitch black comedy from 1991 where Judd Nelson plays a hopeless stand-up comic who becomes a sensation after he grows a third arm out of his back. Basically, it’s a cult film with no cult. But Phil is here to fix that!

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  • danbreunig

    If what you say is true, I may not get to see this because of its inaccessibility–but man, you already got me to seek it out. Seems less of a 90s movie than a 90s-still-living-in-the-80s-while-finding-its-90s-footing movie.

    Andy Kaufman + Emo Philips = Marty Malt. And Gus is his Weird Al.

    Sorry to say I can’t make it to ConBravo (or any other Cons for the matter) for at least the rest of the year.

  • Joelkazoo

    The paraphrase, Henry Rollins described Rifkin as a low-budget Lenny Bruce mixed with Groucho Marx. Rifkin also directed The Chase (which I love) and Mouse Hunt (which is a lot better than you’d expect).

    • Joelkazoo

      I mean “to paraphrase”, accourse.

    • tedzey71

      Actually, Gore Verbinski directed Mouse Hunt and Rifkin wrote it. It’s stiff a fun movie to watch IMO :)

  • Cristiona

    I dunno… that glasses joke was pretty amusing. Classic garden path joke.

  • $36060516

    I first saw this movie on VHS in the early ’90s after reading an extensive feature about the making of the film in the magazine “Film Threat,” which I was subscribed to at the time. Mike, if you want to read a lot about the making of the film that magazine is now available for free online. See page 30 of this PDF:

    I would recommend checking out Rifkin’s more recent movie “Look,” which makes good use of the “found footage” genre, as it’s about a group of individuals who are seen exclusively through security cameras as they move throughout Los Angeles and their lives gradually intersect in interesting ways. Rifkin later turned that concept into a one-season series for Showtime which I haven’t seen. Apparently the TV series version is viewable for free on Hulu, just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  • Dennis Fischer

    Riffkin inserted a bunch of DARK BACKWARD references in his segment for CHILLERAMA, so you’ll have to get around to CHILLERAMA someday.
    I see from the back shelf you are a LUPIN III fan–so will you be covering Monkey Punch’s creation?

    • I’m going to talk about Lupin by way of the recent 13 episode series, which was awesome.

  • Thomas Stockel

    I get the feeling that, after watching this review, that my taste in movies is really, really vanilla.