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Comedy Movies - Don't Ask Don't Tell


Don't Ask Don't Tell
Originally: Killers From Space
Peter Graves and other poor sods
RKO Pictures 1954
This version: Refried Films 2002
Directed by Doug Miles
Written by Tex Hauser
Life Size Entertainment
Distributed in Canada by Paradox Entertainment Group

Don't Ask Don't Tell is a good really bad movie. Refried Flicks took the schlock B-movie Killers From Space (which includes aliens with ping-pong balls for eyes, perhaps the forefathers of Kermit The Frog), added a few scenes here and there, overdubbed all the dialogue, and created a whole new creature bound to be a cult favorite. If the formula sounds familiar, think of Woody Allen and What's Up, Tiger Lily? If you like Mystery Science Theatre, really bad B-movies, or really silly stuff you're going to love this bad comedy

A lot of work went into Don't Ask Don't Tell. Aside from some extra scenes and characters which are sometimes almost blended in and sometimes not, the soundtrack is quite interesting, the dubbing with new dialogue is almost flawless, there's a lame dance number, a clip from a B-movie about Hitler, and the Refried Films team even pushed the jokes to changing the headline on the newspaper characters read in the movie so you get stuff like "Fallwell New Manhole Chief" or "Robertson Diagnosed Hoof In Mouth Disease"

Don't Ask Don't Tell is a clear reference to the supposed U.S. military policy regarding homosexuals. Here, the main character (unwillingly played by Peter Graves of Mission Impossible and Airplane! movie fame who probably wishes, once again, he had not been in Killers From Space) mistakenly drops a bomb in the small town of Inbred, Texas, crashes his plane, gets kidnapped by Kermit-eyed gay aliens from, of course, Uranus, and comes out of the experience a gay man. It seems the dudes from Uranus (who might have been called Analiens) are out to make all of planet Eearth gay as a cure for homophobia. Fartin is not out but the military is out for him.

Pay close attention to the dialogue in this redubbed movie. The jokes come fast and furious as writer Tex Hauser believes in the old technique of throwing as many things at the wall as possible hoping it will stick. Most of the jokes do stick here but you definitely have to know your American history and conspiracy theory lore to get some of them. Hauser manages to stick in references to Alger Hiss, insider trading, blue dresses, Kennedy's brain, selling nuclear secrets to the Israelis, and Ralph Nader's soul in less than 2 minutes.

An interesting feature on Don't Ask Don't Tell is the possibility to switch from the new version to the original scene in Killers From Space. Unfortunately, this can get complicated and does not always work on some DVD players.

Don't Ask Don't Tell won for Best Feature at the Boston Underground Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Neuchatel Switzerland Fantasy Film Festival.

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