The latest release from Mental Giant Dream Academy and Filmworks! This story needed to be told!
Okay, now that you’re gotten past the hype, this parallel-universe piece of music history was lying in mothballs for over a year before I finished it up with some friends right before Thanksgiving. I will be happy to comment on the various levels of cobwebs and strange running through the story (inside the video and out), but would prefer you watch it for the first time with no preconceptions.
Mike Tittel, of Turpin Hills, Ohio, was so bowled over by this that he (very uncharacteristically, in my opinion) expressed his emotions in text via a long, alternately-coherent-and-incoherent Facebook manifesto:
The anachronistic meme introduced by the recent documentary “The Amazing Story of Roger Von Shredder” is certainly nothing new to the cinema. The device actually goes back farther in literature with attempts at the technique succeeding or failing in examples such as “Peter Klaus” the german folk tale, the well known Christian story “Seven Sleepers of Esphesus and of course the many adaptions of the late 19th century American story, Rip Van Winkle as seen through pop culture movies, cartoons and even video games. Needless to say we all know the story.
But what we don’t know, at least most of us in the United States of America is Roger Von Shredder. The hapless, tragic figure of this documentary living in the shadows of what he might have been. A man between worlds: one in which he lives as the genius he was and the other of a stranger in a strange land, singlehandedly faced with his own inability to comprehend a new reality, abruptly forced upon him.
If prometheus is the hand of man upon nature, Von Shredder is the hand of man tied behind man’s back, capable of controlling his fingers but unable to grasp the very thing he holds in his heart. In him we see our own vulnerability of dreams lost, hopes crushed and our failed attempts at living up to our ideal state of being.
As Franz Kafke reminds us, “anyone who keeps the beauty never grows old.” Although Shredder of course has aged, his music is his gift and shines with the beauty and light of the golden door, albeit the door afforded by being a heavy metal musician in Europe during the 80’s. Regardless the dichotomy established by the film does not point the viewer to a clear decision on hope versus desperation. And therein lies the power of the piece. Should we pity Von Shredder or spring forth like blooms on a flower with hope and anticipation of what is ahead? I personally can’t decide. For as the film’s momentum is built through the journey of relearning, the apocryphal image of what he was (although who really knows?) is also built through an empathetic, almost pathetic voyeuristic leering at a man out of time, out of relevance and out of energy.
If Von Shredder were relevant today he could arguably change the face of music. But his misguided mashups of guitar noodling, Protools over editing and elementary attempt at connecting disparate musical genres is embarrassing and grating on any sensitive ears. It doesn’t help that the tuetonic overtones and Northern European attitudinal symptoms of a culture repressed and mistaken for efficiency over culture, logic over art are so heavy throughout this work. In certain portions of this world this film might even be construed as parody, a interesting thought, but far removed from the meaning the filmmaker has objectively left alone.
In the end I can’t recommend the film or discourage anyone from seeing it. As much as I’d like to extend a kinder, gentler hand to all creative misanthropes I’d just as much prefer to clear the decks and await the true moment for inspiration. I am not convinced the world is any better with this film in it and going further with the though, it might even be more confused.
The film quality is average and indicative of our user generated world, shot 16:9 and printed to digital format. Audio quality is above average with no Dobly THX compression applied. Web release only 2012. Available through Mental Giant. USA. I suspect it was mastered on a Mackie Board.
Turpin Hills, Ohio Winter 2012