We all know I love Danger 5, the alt-history surrealist TV series by Dario Russo and David Ashby. Though there’s no sign of any more Danger 5 in the near future (I know, I’m sad too, but pastures new, and all that), the men collectively known as Dinosaur Worldwide have unleashed their latest creation online.
Computer Man is as much a short film as it is a recreation of point-and-click computer games of old, like if people in the past live-streamed their gaming at 3am on a dial-up era equivalent of YouTube. Was there a dial-up era equivalent? I’d blame my ignorance on youth, but given that both Russo and Ashby are younger than me, that shit’s not really going to fly, is it? Anyway – watching Computer Man on a computer is probably the most suitable way to watch it, entertainingly the reverse of what I’d say about most films. I’ve seen Computer Man on a big screen too, and while that was essentially something of a transcendent experience, now seeing the cursor wave about the screen watching the ‘shareware version’ is even better: it’s confusing and discomforting, not dissimilar to when you hear someone else’s phone go off when they’ve got the same ringtone as you.
Ashby gets the star role here, magnificently supported by Russo and Michael Crisci (that’s John Product to you, D5 fans). All three actors demonstrate the comedic chops well-established in Danger 5. The tone of humour, as you would expect, is entirely irreverent and surrealist, though it successfully feels like something entirely removed from Danger 5, despite its lineage. If you’ve enjoyed the nostalgia of films like Manborg or Turbo Kid, then you should get a much more direct kick out of Computer Man (which, if you ask me, is better than both, at barely 9 minutes long).
It’s very pleasing to see creators as talented as Russo and Ashby continue to work on new material off their own backs and in their own spirit of creativity. I genuinely hope someone soon has the guts to support their utterly mad ideas with wads of money, so that we can all be further subject to riotous bouts of breathless laughter and sheer disbelief.
Relatedly, you can also download Dario Russo’s latest EP, Confidence, from Bandcamp, which includes what might be the most discomforting song ever recorded, Deluxe Suite, the perfect tune to crack out at house parties when you want people to leave.* You can also visit dariorusso.com for absolutely nothing useful, but a ruddy good laugh (go on, click on the ‘I love your website’ link).
(*that’s meant to be a compliment)