With some movies, it’s more fun to watch them if you can poke fun while you do it.
That’s 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.
It’s 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.
“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. The Mercury sponsors Portland’s 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 society’s film programmer. “People are happy that we’re doing it. If we get a good response, we’ll pick a funny, interesting title every so often and do this.”
The film the society thought ripe for ridicule: the cult classic “Reefer Madness,” which 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.
“It’s a totally unscientific look at marijuana,” Thornton said. “It’s got quite the following.
“It’ll be pretty easy for people to text funny comments as they’re 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 they’ll start texting to get people in the mood for texting. They’ll get people kind of revved up.”
‘Reefer Madness’ in Hecklevision
What: Olympia Film Society shows the 1936 cult classic and adds a twist: Audience members can text comments and jokes, and their input will appear at the bottom of the screen.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
Tickets: $9.50, $6.50 for Olympia Film Society members
Also: Beer and wine will be for sale in the mezzanine section, open only to those 21 and older.
Information: 360-754-6670, olympiafilm society.org