Tommy Wiseau is a legend to a very small group of people. In 2002, he emerged from mysterious origins with an independent film called The Room, which is widely considered to be one of the worst films ever made.
For many, though, The Room, however, is so bad it’s good, which has lead to widespread popularity on par with The Rocky Horror Picture Show (complete with in-jokes and props). It’s also lead to Wiseau attracting fans like Brock LaBorde, who co-directed (with Jared Richard) a tribute to low-budget anthology horror shows featuring Wiseau and his “unique” acting style.
The House That Drips Blood on Alex, produced for Atom.com, bowed online today following its premiere last night on the Comedy Central tie-in series Atom TV. The short, which also features iJustine and Cheaters host Joey Greco, is a deliberately ridiculous horror satire pitting Wiseau against a potentially evil house; instead of trying to be funny, which often comes off feeling forced, House That Drips Blood is just dumb — which makes it funny.
And key to that is Wiseau’s performance, which strikes just the right notes of strange and awkward. According to LaBorde at a screening of the short this Tuesday, the script for House That Drips Blood was written in 2004, well before LaBorde knew about Wiseau, but after seeing The Room he knew that he wanted to work with him — and that this project would be a perfect fit.
Here’s the important thing to know about Wiseau: His appeal is not universal, but he’s built his fanbase from scratch. The Sunset 5 in Los Angeles hosts regular monthly midnight screenings of The Room, and currently it’s so popular that all five theaters of the complex sell out. And screenings don’t start promptly at midnight — they start following a live Q&A with Wiseau, who visits every theater and also stays afterwards to pose for photographs and sign autographs.
But despite the fact that the attention he pays to engaging with his audience would help him fit in nicely with the kids on YouTube, he doesn’t have much faith in the Internet — a condition of his participation in House that Drips Blood was that it premiere on television, which is why the short first aired last night on Atom TV. (By last night, I mean at 3 AM this morning — the great tragedy of Atom TV is that its time slot is a perpetual punchline.)
LaBorde, after the screening, said that he’d be interested in transforming the short into a potential anthology series along the lines of Tales from the Crypt. Wiseau would star as the unifying character — essentially, the Cryptkeeper.
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