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General Chaos: Uncensored Animation: A Sick and Twisted Festival By Any Other Name...

By Joel M. Rosenberg

Animation allows almost limitless possibilities. Suspension of disbelief is a given, physical laws are optional, and no topic is too taboo. And with the recent rise of successful "adult" cartoons, more people are likely to turn to this medium. How to showcase these new shorts? Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation Festival has been the main distribution center for the last several years, and has spawned several successful TV series. But now, Manga Entertainment is trying to snatch S&M's audience during the S&T off-season by introducing General Chaos: Uncensored Animation, which opens tonight at the Coolidge Corner.

Opening with Quake, a proven short that won an Academy Award in 1996, the show is intriguing from the get go. An interesting view of the rise of modernization, it features a sand puppet who travels from native sand world to the land of paper, rock, and eventually iron, before eventually falling back to sand. This high-brow 11 minutes is not indicative of the next 80.

There are some really brilliant clips in this collection. Body Directions integrates animation with the human body to have multiple different characters sprouting from multiple different locations around an unclothed young lady. In a very tasteful manner, the creatures emerge one by one in a small scat solo that well complements their placement, before the woman wakes up and removes her most immediately obvious uninvited guest, the nose-dweller.

Oh Julie! is a puppet animation that depicts a fairly grotesque woman preparing for a big date. She does her hair, clips her fat, puts on perfect breasts (designed like a bra), and, playing the part of a puppet, brings along her "oral sex lips" which are interchangeable, much like Ms. Potato Head. Her hot mate, it turns out, has some problems of his own, and when they start getting into their glorious sexual experience, lost lips are among the least of their problems. It's a cute story that involves a glowing red penis, and that should be telling enough.

Junky is perhaps the highlight of the evening, mixing media by having a live action dealer dealing with his cracker addict customer, the protagonist Parrot. "Polly want a cracker? Say it. Say Polly want a cracker.'" the dealer taunts. Polly, just looking to get a fix, starts going through fits of withdrawal before receiving a "special" cracker, with slightly larger social connotations than your ordinary Saltine. "What did I do last night?"Polly wonders upon awakening from his starch-induced stupor, the answer to which can be found in compromising photos of himself and his dealer. Truly sick and twisted, this is exactly the type of divergent thinking you want out of animation.

Besides these highlights, there are a bunch of amusing, though less insightful, entries. Killing Heinz has a guy avoiding successive potential tragedies on his way home from the video store, only to have his rental selection turn out to be realistically treacherous. The Perfect Man is a stop motion animation of a fairy tale princess awaiting rescue in her tower, only to turn those who arrive on a white horse into another piece of her Silence-Of-The-Lambs-esque princely body suit. Beat The Meatles is a fairly obvious record commercial rip-off praising the parodied songs of the Fab Foreskin. Attack of the Hungry, Hungry Nipples features exactly what the title implies, two absurd creatures who absurdly challenge the Richard Nixon Bat by repeatedly screaming the absurd phrase, "You suck someting." There's a nice hip-hop theme song by 4 or 5 Dopes, which also plays under the festival closing credits. And calling in a big gun to get their show off the ground, Bill Plympton has several vignettes scattered around that are uniquely Bill Plympton, which should be obvious to any Bill Plympton fan.

Alas, there are some losers in the bunch. American Flatulators is abysmally poor, employing "animation" to create the fire effect from the mock gladiator competition in which gas is the only weapon. And Malice in Wonderland is an over-drawn hallucination featuring Malice falling through her own vagina into an incredibly phallic environment. The creator is crafty, but it gets real old real quick.

The rest fill out the time nicely, but tend to fall into the background when the film is over. Manga has done a good job starting from scratch in the adult animation market, and the prospect of what's to come in this growing field is interesting and exciting. When shorts can be delivered on-demand, in quality real time over the net, perhaps these avenues of distribution will fall by the wayside, and more and more people will try their hand with their camcorder and computer to create creepy characters and perverted plots. Until then, General Chaos has delivered salvation for those who just aren't satisfied with South Park, Simpsons, and an annual Spike and Mike.

General Chaos: Uncensored Animation

February 20-26

Coolidge Corner, 290 Harvard Street, Brookline. Green Line C branch to Coolidge Corner. Call 734-2500 for recorded information, 734-2501 to reach actual people.