Brian Belovarac of Janus Films is a consistently reliable source of obscure recommendations. He has impeccable taste and a far-ranging curiosity. So naturally we asked him to choose a Selected Short for us.
Writer/director Jeff Lieberman is well-known to fans of quality horror movies as someone who loves to smuggle subversive cultural commentary into his films. His best films, BLUE SUNSHINE, SQUIRM and JUST BEFORE DAWN are intense and rewarding - among the smartest horrors out there. But it's hard to imagine anything much more subversive than this early Lieberman short, about a consumer product called "the ringer" and the machinations behind its engineered popularity.
Here's Brian Belovorac on THE RINGER:
Your assignment: make an anti-drug film. Your guidelines: none. Taking advantage of the liberties granted him by King Features, future BLUE SUNSHINE director (and then-Janus Films employee) Jeff Lieberman went all-out and created what remains my favorite educational/institutional film, a hilarious and surprising satire of the marketing machine then manipulating the bubblegum generation. Street drugs, faddish toys, and bullshit supergroups - like a good gangster flick might ask, what’s the difference? Keep your eyes wide open at the end for a brilliant and unintentional kicker that proves the film’s point.