Hair High ***
"Hair High" is one of those movies where you sit down in the theater, not really knowing anything that is about to happen. It begins, you watch it, you laugh, you open your eyes in shock, you realize that you've never quite seen anything like it before. And then, it's over, you get up, and as your walking away you think to yourself-"What the hell did I just watch?" It is a mind trip, and a journey into the world of animation that is long lost-the world of independent animation. Animation that isn't made for a mass market of people, where it's possible to make crude and adult humor without the Hollywood board getting angry, and the type that is not created by a computer. It's actually handrawn, with obvious stress and tick marks. It is not made to look pretty and perfect, and is what it is, but this is what gives "Hair High" it's charm. If this was a 3-D animation film it would not be as special as it is, but this makes it more personal, and in the end much more effective.
In a nutshell, "Hair High" is a gothic high school comedy, with tons of sex jokes, chicken jokes, violence, guts, blood, gore, and intestines, and then there is still forty five minutes left. In the beginning we are introduced to the school, where everything runs on a certain order. And part of that order is the relationship between Rod and Cherri, the high school jock and that girl in high school whose pants everyone wants to get into. It's the first day of school, and there is a new kid in town, Spud. Spud makes the tragic mistake on the first day of not letting Cherri copy on an exam, and becomes the prime target of Rod. Rod forces Spud to become Cherri's slave for a certain amount of time(I can't remember the exact length). Spud is verbally abused by Cherri, but agrees to the arrangement so that Rod does not beat him up as promised. Over time, Spud and Cherri get to know each other, and of course in time they fall in love. Sadly, they are both killed by Rod on the way to the prom together, and their bones fall into the lake. However, one year later, their bones return once again to gain revenge, and to attend the prom that both of them missed.
"Hair High" is a story of morals, and it's told in a flashback. The film is book ended with scenes of a teenage couple on the way to a prom, stopping at a diner to get some food. They get into a fight, and then learn of how important it is to attend the prom. I still don't understand the actual moral to the story, but then again neither do the characters. There is no way to dislike this film, unless you have been spoiled by the world of computer animation. Fans of the traditional form will find many things to love about this, including how much more personal it is. There is so much more care that goes into a single frame of something like "Hair High" than the entire length of something like "Hoodwinked." And after all, there is not a single scene in "Hoodwinked" that allows us to see someone throw up their intestines, and then have an operation where they are placed back into him again. And it was also amusing to see some big names in this, including Sarah Silverman, Dermot Mulroney, and David Carradine. It's great to see names like that willing to participate in something so underground like this. It's almost promising to know that they are willing.
"Hair High" played at the Two Boots Theatre in Manhattan for a week in mid October. Lucky for me, animator/director/writer Bill Plympton was actually there, and willing to answer any questions. Sadly for me, nobody in the audience had any questions to ask. Hopefully they will show it again at some point, but nonetheless it will be out on DVD in the next few months. Before this feature were two short films by Plympton. They were "Guard Dog," and the sequel "Guide Dog." It is possible to see "Guard Dog," an Oscar nominee, as part of "The Animation Show 2005" and "Guide Dog" is "hopefully going to follow the same path," as quoted by Plympton. I hope so too, as both of these are well worth the effort to try and check out. They are both equally hilarious, and follow similar paths of animation. I wish I could see more films like this.