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Invasion of the Fuzzywhumples

Spring 1994; 27 minutes; cast and crew of 11; approximate cost of $87; rated PG.

Synopsis

The Fuzzywhumple Storybook depicts fuzzywhumples as cute and cuddily blue critters who love to play with children in their land (innocuously titled "Fuzzywhumple Land"). However adorable they may be, there's one thing you must never do, and that's disbelieving in their existence. This movie shows what happens to those who decide to grow up. Of course, this is the same basic premise that is found in the other fuzzywhumple movies...

Essentially, it is not so much a movie as a bunch of death scenes strung together; when the fuzzywhumples are betrayed by their human friends, they enter our dimesion through the magical "storybook" (actually written by a mad scientist, who makes his appearance in Diuretic Park 2: The Revenge of the Fuzzywhumples) and begin slaughtering everyone.

The fuzzywhumples' plans are eventually thwarted by the actions of two individuals: Bob and Fred. These two simplefolk (who, of course, know each other, as everyone in this movie knows everyone else) end up finding the fuzzywhumple nest (Bob finds it by plotting the deaths on a map; Fred by being dragged to the nest by the fuzzywhumples for food). Fred, in combating the ferociously terrifying little beasts, gets knocked unconscious when he is knocked into a bathtub. At the same time, Bob enjoys his aristeia (Greek word describing someone "on a roll" in battle) by hacking away at countless whumples and, eventually, shooting the queen fuzzywhumple with a shotgun. Then, having forgotten about his friend (unconscious, in the middle of the nest), he walks off into the night. For now, the humans are triumphant.

List of the slaughtered

  • John Parker (Kyle Brown, shown being dragged up the stairs to the right): the guy that threw the magical storybook in the trash, and Fred's brother
  • Jack Benning: a wandering salesman, played by Jeff Parker (on the right, bleeding on the ground)
  • George Smith: a heavy metal freak and friend of Jack, played by Chris Murray
  • Sam Ford: a sleazy pervert, played by Chris Murray (down and to the right, in a bed)
  • Karen (right, in the hat and fake blonde hair): the sleazy pervert's girlfriend, also played by Chris Murray--notice a pattern here?

Characters

In addition to those slaughtered, Invasion of the Fuzzywhumples feautures David Benjamin as Fred Parker (checking on the dead salesman above), Dave Silver as Bob (you'll find him near the bottom of this page, getting attacked by a whumple in one picture and loading his shotgun in another), and Jeff Parker as a rather large newscaster (down and to the right, shoving a sandwich in his face).

Influences

Somewhat inspired by Critters, the original concept for the fuzzywhumples was invented by Brian Beck, David Benjamin, Kirk Neumeyer, and Jimmy Wallace when they were in seventh grade.

Method

Invasion of the Fuzzywhumples was filmed in order and was not edited in any way afterwards (except for the addition of some CD music when the master tape was being made). Amazingly enough, it was filmed in five days, the shortest amount of time within which a major Tokugawa Picture has been completed. The movie was funded by Chris Murray, who walked around the high school that he and David Benjamin went to at the time, carrying a "Support Tokugawa Pictures" donation jar. The exact amount raised has since been forgotten by the author of this web site, but it is thought to be around seventy to eighty dollars. Thus, it cost just a few dollars (for each actor) to produce this move. Why is this movie so expensive? Because professional lights (for lighting effects) were rented. This is a very expensive process.

Firsts

This was the first official Tokugawa Picture; all minor movies created before this one were, in fact, created by myself, so I simply paid myself for the rights to release them under that title. Being the first major Tokugawa Picture, many new techniques were used in its production. One already mentioned is the use of rented lights. Another is, instead of just using stuffed blue construction paper to create fuzzywhumples, there were "stunt" whumples: a felt puppet whumple, more detailed than the rest, which could actually open its mouth; and an exploding whumple, made of a balloon filled with ketchup and spaghetti noodles (see the downloads section below), that could add to the gore quotient of any whumple movie. Indeed, from this movie forth new whumples were engineered, but the puppet whumple has been used in all subsequent whumple sequels (and has also made an obligatory appearance in other T. P. movies).

More sophisticated props were used in other areas as well. For instance, when Fred Parker (played by David Benjamin) was tossed (by a whumple) into a bathtub, he flew through a 2-by-4. "How on earth?!" the viewer wonders, and the method used is this: it was broken first, then put together, and then he flew through it. Seconds before this emotional scene, Fred is attacked by a whumple and stabs it with a knife. Blood squirts out of its paper body. This was achieved by filling a plastic gripper bag with ketchup and stuffing this inside the whumple. The fun part about the scene is that the whumple was on Fred's chest, so the actor (myself) had to shove a knife into something in front of his own heart for this scene.

Lessons learned

  • Don't rent lights. It's overly expensive and you can achieve very similar effects with your own lights and a little imagination. Wherever you can save money, the better. If you're an amateur and not a professional, people aren't going to want to see your movie for its special effects.
  • When using a dummy in a movie, make sure it is well built. In Invasion of the Fuzzywhumples, Karen was thrown out of a window by a fuzzywhumple. The dummy used to represent her lost its hair on the way down. Sure, it's funny, but that sort of "whoops, that was stupid" humor gets old fast.
  • Use enough lighting. The lighting in this movie wasn't too bad, but it could have been a lot better. The script called for several dramatic night scenes. These are great, but remember that the human eye is much more sensitive than a camera lens, and even if the iris on the camera is opened all the way, it might not be light enough. Do you think that movies can't be effective if they are too light? See Starship Troopers--that has a large amount of daytime battle scenes, and the light actually adds to the effect. For an example of a movie where the lighting is so dim that it detracts from the overall experience (something that must be avoided at all costs), see The Relic.
  • That little outlined rectangle in the camera's viewfinder is the focus square, not what your camera is currently recording. Your camera is recording everything that can be seen in the viewfinder (except for "REC" and "F1.4" and the like). This must sound stupid, but because of a misunderstanding between the cameraman's father and himself, this little detail was overlooked. Therefore, when people watch this whumple movie, they will consistently see the hands of people supposedly off-camera tossing the whumples onto the actors (see example below). When the public was first exposed to this movie (makes it sound like a plague, huh?) they thought it was quite funny how we made all those mistakes. As if they were on purpose.

Poem

Believe in fuzzywhumples and you will never be alone;
they're your friends for life and they'll make you at home.
All they want you to do is believe in them,
even if a time comes when you can't play with them,
and they will always love you until the day you die.


--from The Fuzzywhumple Storybook, written by an unnamed, yet apparently mad, scientist

What people think

"The fuzzywhumples! Now, see, that frightened me... and [it] was my desire to create a better world, where fuzzywhumples would not cause that kind of havoc, that gave me my mission for being a teacher."


--Barbara Murray, Oregon Teacher of the Year 1995, in an interview that year

Downloads