“The Once and Future Smash”

This movie was screened at Panic Fest.

“The Once and Future Smash” is a mockumentary about a fake movie, so the whole thing is basically the ultimate prank. Co-directors Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein and his subjects sell the whole thing as real, which is totally cool, hysterically funny, and shows a true commitment to the charade. Make sure you watch “End Zone 2” first so you’ll be in on the joke. Otherwise, you’ll feel left out of the shenanigans.

As the movie’s legend sells the tale, in 1970, Mikey (Michael St. Michaels) and William (Bill Weeden) both portrayed cannibal Smash-Mouth in the influential underground hit, “End Zone 2.” The men are longtime rivals who are invited to the Mad Monster Party horror convention under the guise of auditioning for the upcoming “End Zone” reboot. Along the way, the “documentary” interviews a who’s who in the indie horror world as they share their personal stories and love for the cult classic.

Again, none of this actually exists, from the horror convention to the original film itself. The movie features notable actors, writers, and legends from the horror community, all talking about the fake sequel like it’s real. They truly sell the con as talking head experts on a fabricated film series.

Epstein and Cacciola also include fictional characters (and actors with questionable talent) that add to the narrative, including some very funny bits that poke fun of genre fans. If you are a horror buff or have hung around those types of people, you will absolutely get a kick out of the way the film portrays them. The fictional stuff is fun, but it’s the mockumentary part of the film that works so well.

Brevity would be the a true friend here, and the film goes on way too long. It’s enjoyable for about 45 minutes, but becomes increasingly exhausting as the joke slowly wears out its welcome. Still, “The Once and Future Smash” is a very silly and funny companion piece to the sequel that never was.

By: Louisa Moore

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