Sometimes it’s not enough to simply present your movie without remark, so over the years filmmakers and censors have devised various ways to make sure we know exactly what we are seeing before, or sometimes after we see it.
Other times they get bored and, like anyone bored at work, decide to have a little fun with the process.
8. The Great Dictator Disavows Any Resemblance Between Charlie Chaplin And Charlie Chaplin
The Great Dictator achieved something that no other comedy can ever dream to. After all, we can mock Hitler until the cows come home, but we’ll never get the opportunity to do it while he was alive to hear it. And supposedly, Hitler probably did see this film. That makes the opening disclaimer that much more funnier when the film claims, “any resemblance between Hynkel the dictator and the Jewish barber is purely coincidental”.
A gag aimed toward the fact that they are not only played by the same person, but that Hynkel is clearly meant to resemble Hitler – the monster who stole Chaplin’s amazing mustache amongst other, way worse atrocities.
7. Cannibal! The Musical Pretends To Care About Violence
This film reminds me of the pre-Monty Python How to Irritate People in that it’s a chill-inducing larval stage for something that’s going to downright define its generation of humor. Right away you get their first of many sarcastic disclaimers as the film claims the violence has been edited out for viewing pleasure before immediately cutting to a horrifically violent scene.
And then right after the end credits we get a “Due to the graphic nature of this film, it should not have been watched by small children.”
I love that this was technically a student film.
6. Ed Wood Spoofs Countless Horror Disclaimers
While the film is clearly spoofing the specific opening to Plan 9 From Outer Space, it really speaks to any of the old black and white “this movie will shock you” warnings they used to pull off. One of the more famous versions that comes to mind is the opening to the 1931 Frankenstein where Edward Van Sloan comes out and warns us of the terror to come.
While there’s a lot to love about 30s horror, I think there’s something hilariously counterintuitive to a scary movie boasting how scary it’s going to be moments before you’re actually going to see it. It’s as if they’re scared we’re not going to know unless they tell us first, and if the movie isn’t scary than the dude at the beginning just comes across as a total wuss after the fact.
5. Andy Kaufman Kicks Us Out of Man On The Moon
It’s never a good sign if your jokey disclaimer kind of has a point about the film being wildly inaccurate. That said, Andy Kaufman always had a Houdini quality to him in that the greatest strength to his legacy was forged in total bullshit. But not in a bad way.
For example, look no further than Bob Zmuda’s appearance on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast in which he tells so many insane stories that you can’t figure out where the truth ends and the hyperbole starts. Even Maron is clearly flustered by it. Still, his story about Norman Wexler is the most amazing thing I’ve ever wished to be true.