Underground Film Journal

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Oh My Goodness, It’s Rocket John!

By Mike Everleth ⋅ April 15, 2010

It’s the new retro-sci-fi hero for the ages: Rocket John! He wears a big, rocket-y lookin’ helmet; straps an actual rocket to his back and rockets — sort of — his way into way crazy adventures. Plus, he has one of the coolest theme songs of all time. This song puts Queen’s Flash Gordon to total, irrevocable shame. Watch Rocket John’s grand adventure embedded above.

There’s much to love about this snappy little film directed by Curtis L. Wiebe, Marlon Wiebe and Rick Unger of Phantom Planet Films. The song is by the Secondhandpants, which I’m pretty sure came first before the film. The first thing I especially love about this film is the balls it takes to put on a weird getup and ride public transportation in the name of art.

Also, whether intentional or not, several parts of this film are reminiscent of some classic underground films. Specifically, there’s the dialogue and sound effects being written out in word balloons like in Mike Kuchar‘s Sins of the Fleshapoids; plus when Rocket John puts on his leather jacket it looks like the biker dudes suiting up in Kenneth Anger‘s Scorpio Rising. Oh, and then there’s the quasi-reenactment of the “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” scene in the 1966 Batman film.

Phantom Planet Films has produced several collaborations with the Secondhandpants, which you can watch on their YouTube channel. There’s some really great quirky, toe-tappin’ stuff over there, so go check it out!

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