The Second Superhero Movie Ever Is Bonkers From Start To Finish
Given the number of superhero movies out there, you might think Hollywood started churning those out the second some nerd came up with the whole concept, but no -- after Superman's debut in 1938, it took nearly 30 years for someone to make a superhero film longer than 59 minutes (1966's Batman starring Adam West). And after that, it took all of two months for someone to release the first movie making fun of superheroes: the perplexing Rat Pfink a Boo Boo. Or, as the trailer calls it, Rat Pfink AND Boo Boo.
In interviews, the director can't seem to decide if the title was an intentional choice or the result of a typo he couldn't afford to fix. After watching this cheap-ass, weird-ass movie, both explanations seem realistic. The first half of the film is about a woman being stalked by three guys who just picked her name from a phone book and decided to mess with her because that's the sort of thing people had to do for entertainment before the internet. They stand outside her window laughing menacingly, call her at inconvenient times, and follow her on the street while rattling chains (it's possible that one of the three actors thought he was playing a ghost). Eventually, they kidnap the woman, and his rock star boyfriend Lonnie Lord reacts to the news by sitting at home playing songs about how sad he is.
But then, about 40 minutes into this very serious crime drama, Lonnie turns to the random gardener who happened to be there when his girlfriend was kidnapped and says, in a wacky voice: "This is a job for you know and who." A moment later, they walk into a room and emerge wearing bizarre homemade costumes and start calling themselves "Rat Pfink and Boo Boo," suggesting that there was some sort of gas leak going on in that house. This jarring tonal shift happens because the director started this movie as a thriller called The Depraved (inspired by some heavy breathing phone calls his girlfriend had been getting), but then got bored of that idea halfway through and decided to rip off the corny Batman show that was all the rage at the time. In fact, when the movie was released in Mexico, they did away with any pretension that this was anything but a cash-in and shamelessly renamed it Baty and Roby Against Crime, which ... is a much better title, actually.
Anyway, Rat Pfink and his sidekick promptly beat up the kidnappers, aided by the fact that these psychopathic criminals have suddenly started indulging in Three Stooges-like slapstick antics. But, just when they think Lonnie's girlfriend is safe, a gorilla appears out of the blue and kidnaps her again, probably because the director realized they still had some film left.
The gorilla proves to be too formidable an opponent for Rat Pfink, who is knocked out with a single punch. Luckily, the zookeeper shows up and takes the animal away with no help whatsoever from the heroes. At last, Lonnie and his girlfriend reunite, and the entire town cheers Rat Pfink and Boo Boo in a parade that the filmmakers were definitely just crashing without permission. The movie ends with a musical number, including the ape, his keeper, and some unknown beach-goers.
And they say superhero movies aren't art. Suck on that, Martin Scorsese.
Top image: Continental Films