With the release of the hilarious Blaxpoitation spoof Black Dynamite this week we’ve had a think back to the most hilarious spoof movies of all time. Through the ages the spoof film has always done well, the Carry On films perhaps being one of the most successful parody franchises. Whilst most spoofs parody other film genres or particular one off films, the spoof tag can also be extended to the world of mockumentary films, where directors like Christopher Guest often parody real life situations for comedic effect, as in Best in Show where Guest presented a fictional account of a dog show and its contestants as if it was a real documentary. The genre is getting more and more popular in today’s post-modern culture, and this year sees the release of a Twilight Parody, Vampire’s Suck as well as Not Another Not Another Movie which is a parody of parody films themselves! Here are our most comic spoof picks:
The spy genre is probably the most parodied with films like Johnny English and the Austin Powers series doing very well at the box office. Austin Powers is clearly a parody of James Bond, with his womanizing ways, love of fast cars and reckless behaviour, and the films are hilarious mostly because of their complete and utter silliness. There are even specific characters lifted straight out of the Bond films, such as Dr Evil, clearly a take on the evil SPECTRE leader Blofield from the early Bond films, as he has a white Persian cat just like Blofield. The film spawned two not quite as funny sequels, and Mike Myers has said repeatedly that a fourth is in the pipeline.
The clue to the fact that Airplane is a spoof is in the title itself, ending with an exclamation mark. The film is a parody of the disaster movie in general, but was created mainly to spoof a little known 1957 B-movie Zero Hour! This great comedy makes light of every disaster situation possible, but also has some of movie history’s most classic comedy one-liners, including the infamous “Don’t call me Shirley”. The films’ director David Zucker went on to make many other spoofs including The Naked Gun series, and more recently directing Scary Movie 3 and 4. 1982 saw an Airplane! sequel, but it was not quite as good as the original.
Hot Shots! is basically a parody of Top Gun, coming from Airplanes co-director Jim Abrahams. Charlie Sheen is great at sending himself up as pilot Topper Harley, who returns to the navy years after vowing off after his fathers death. What gets Hot Shots! into the list however is Lloyd Bridges (who was also in Airplane 1 & 2) hilarious portrayal of the completely crazy Admiral Thomas “Tug” Benson. Hot Shots! got a sequel in 1993, which was just as funny as the original, again mostly thanks to Bridges, this time promoted to President.
Cary Elwes stars as the legendary Nottingham hero here and there’s a great supporting cast including Patrick Stewart as King Richard. As well as making fun of the general Robin Hood tale, the film parodies previous films, often adapting lines or mocking previous actors who played the hero, particularly of Kevin Costner’s in Prince of Thieves. It also interestingly parodies famous spoof director Mel Brookes’ earlier films, inlcuding Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs. The film is most hilarious though for the random breakouts into musical pieces, especially the ‘Men in Tights’ song and dance.
Rather than parodying a particular film this mockumentary takes a look at the hedonistic lifestyle of heavy metal bands, but it also satirises the documentary genre itself. The film documents a tour of a fake rock band, Spinal Tap played by Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKean, who went on to make other mockumentaries including Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. The hilarious Stonehenge scene is the films high point, where a mock Stonehenge stage set is accidentally made tiny and the band are ridiculed by the audience.