Mortal Combat was produced, written, and directed by Ted Phillips and Rich Falantano in 2001. It is notable for its use of profanity and homoerotic themes. It was recorded on VHS-C format media on the old camera on June 30, 2001, but was not edited or released to the public until September 16, 2009.



Synopsis

An explosive device destroys Striker's home while he is taking out the garbage. Sub-Zero appears on the scene, and Striker assumes he was the culprit. When the authorities are killed by a sniper, Striker accepts that someone else may be behind it.

Striker joins forces with Sub-Zero, and they chase a shadowy figure to a warehouse. The door is locked, and a voice on the intercom convinces them to visit the local nuclear power plant to find the key.

Once the pair navigate a room filled with high-intensity lasers to find the key hidden inside the core, Kano appears to halt any further progress. Sub-Zero manages the defeat Kano once, but Kano is mutated by the radiation and survives. Sub-Zero and Striker work together to finish him off, and gloat in their victory.

After a musical dance number, Striker and Sub-Zero return to the warehouse to use the key. Kano is waiting for them inside!

Pre-Production and Production

Mortal Combat was inspired by the popular video game franchise Mortal Kombat. Several years earlier, Rich Falantano and Ted Phillips held a dance party using Rich's audio cassette that contained the Mortal Kombat Theme, but the tape was lost before they could begin production on their parody, Mortal Combat.

In 2001, Jack Cordaro made a parody mix CD called I Stole This From Hell, in homage to Ted Phillips' mix CD I Stole This CD From My Best Friend made earlier that year. The Mortal Kombat Theme was one of the tracks on I Stole This CD From Hell. Ted borrowed the CD from Jack for the production of Mortal Combat. The CD remains in Cracked Egg Studios archives to this day.

While filming Mortal Combat, the narrative thread broke down after the musical number. Even though the musical number was the intended end for the film, Rich Falantano realized on set that a key plot element was never resolved: the key was never used, and Striker never got a new house.

An additional scene was filmed, in which Striker and Sub-Zero use of the key to access the warehouse. A mutated Kano returns, and Striker fights him alone, using Sub-Zero's ice powers. After dispensing with Kano, Striker learns that his suspicions after Sub-Zero were right, and Sub-Zero kills Striker. The scene ends with a transition "Three years later..." Because this scene was improvised, Ted and Rich could not agree on direction for the scene, and none of the actors were willing to have their characters lose the fight. As a result, the film went on for an additional 20 minutes beyond the scripted ending.

When the film was edited for release on the Cracked Egg Studios web site on September 16, 2009, the final scene was removed in favor of the musical number.

The footage was stored on a VHS-C cassette, which the archivist labeled "Mortal Combat," hence the title.

Reception and Release

Mortal Combat became an instant hit among Cracked Egg Studios fans in the early 2000s, mainly due to the musical number at the end. Over the years, Falantano grew somewhat ashamed of his performance of Sub-Zero in the film, admittedly in large part due to this scene.

Perhaps because access to the archival footage was limited during that period, popularity seemed to die down while Ted Phillips attended college from 2005-2008. In early 2009, Joe Justus suggested that Cracked Egg Studios release Mortal Combat online soon.

On June 26, 2009, Ted Phillips held a private screening of Mortal Combat at his birthday party. The audience's reaction suggested that Kano's first appearance was a crowd pleaser and that the choreography was good, but that the fight scenes were too long. During the party, the opening song "Back That Ass Up" played several times.

At EggCon 2009, Ted Phillips confirmed that Mortal Combat would be released online by the end of the year. Because the venue was outdoors, glare from the sunlight made it difficult to see the trailer on the television screen; Rich Falantano thanked the glare for making it impossible for many people to watch him make a fool of himself.

Mortal Combat was released online on September 16, 2009.

Cultural References

  • This movie is based on the Mortal Kombat franchise and makes use of the theme song and characters.
  • The opening theme and "victory dance" song is Big Gay Al's "Back that Ass Up".
  • The explosion of Striker's home was influenced by a scene in the movie Last Action Hero.
  • Striker hits Sub-Zero with a bag containing a metal object, just like, in the 1995 miniseries The Langoliers, Albert hits Toomey with a cloth containing a toaster.
  • The Magic Key is a reference to the Card Key and Secret Key in the first generation Pokémon games for Nintendo GameBoy and GameBoy Color.
  • The nuclear power plant setting is influenced by The Simpsons.
  • Sub-Zero bashes in a door with a Nintendo Super Scope, while Striker wields The Stick.
  • The plant manager says, "Hey, what the hell are these people doing in my plant?" in a similar manner to the mall owner in Skelly 2, who says, "Hey, what's this fruit punch doing in my mall?"

Goofs and Nitpicks

  • Striker is taking out the garbage when his house is destroyed. When he returns, he still has the garbage.
  • When Striker shouts, "Hey, come back here!" Sub-Zero obeys him.
  • Sub-Zero's costume in this movie is blue, while traditionally it is purple.
  • In this movie, Sub-Zero has healing powers, which he does not possess in Mortal Kombat canon.
  • Sub-Zero freezes laser beams and then breaks them, but this is not possible.
  • Striker improperly holds a bazooka and fires multiple shots in rapid succession, but does not experience any recoil.

Trivia

  • The entire movie was filmed in a single room to represent multiple settings.
  • Sub-Zero's blue costume is Ted Phillips's eighth grade graduation gown.
  • Striker's bazooka is the shaft of a vacuum cleaner.
  • Kano's black T-shirt is inside-out.
  • When applying to film school, Ted Phillips described Mortal Combat in his portfolio:
    Ted Phillips said:
    Striker's house explodes. His quest with companion Subzero to find the perpetrator takes him to a high-security nuclear power plant, where the evil mastermind Joe resides.
Categories: Old Camera 2000

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