With some movies, its more fun to watch them if you can poke fun while you do it.
Thats the idea behind Hecklevision, a technology that allows audience members to text their quips and jokes and see them instantly appear on the big screen. Its like Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the robots.
Hecklevision began in Austin, Texas, and has been seen in Portland, Seattle and other cities. On Friday night, it arrives in Olympia, thanks to the Olympia Film Society. It will screen 1936 cult classic "Reefer Madness" at 9 p.m. Friday.
Unlike at every other screening, where people text anyway and ruin everything, we encourage texting, Erik Henriksen of the Portland Mercury told NPR in a 2012 interview about Hecklevision. The Mercury sponsors Portlands Hecklevision at the Hollywood Theatre.
While one might wonder whether jokes developed on the fly are really going to be that funny, a San Antonio Current review of a Hecklevision screening suggests that it works. Hecklevision is an innovative and fun way to watch movies, especially when the bad acting, cheesy dialogue and shoddy special effects give unlimited ammunition to unload without remorse, Kiko Martinez wrote in a 2012 review of a screening of the 2000 horror comedy Leprechaun in the Hood.
It seems like people are really excited about it, said Helen Thornton, the OFSs film programmer. People are happy that were doing it. If we get a good response, well pick a funny, interesting title every so often and do this.
The film the society thought Reefer Madness was ripe for ridicule since it was originally released as an anti-marijuana propaganda film and became popular as an unintentional comedy. The film purports to illustrate the negative consequences of smoking pot, including manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape and a descent into madness.
Its a totally unscientific look at marijuana, Thornton said. Its got quite the following.
Itll be pretty easy for people to text funny comments as theyre watching.
Just in case, though, the society has enlisted some professional help. A local group of comedians known as the Olympia Comedy Cabal will host the film.
Two or three of them are going to do a 10- or 15-minute intro, Thornton said, and theyll start texting to get people in the mood for texting. Theyll get people kind of revved up.