The Dennis Woodruff Collection – Volume 1
Open email to Lloyd Kaufman, Troma Entertainment. Lloyd, I just watched all of The Dennis Woodruff Collection – Volume 1--that’s right, all three films, all 233 minutes—and I have serious questions about your judgment. How is it you would release a film like Spaceman while ignoring writer/director/producer Lucien Eisenach’s brilliant Sea Creatures from Outer Space, the hilarious send-up of poorly edited, out-of-sync, black and white science fiction films? (Note to readers: Subject to “Bob’s truth in writing act, 1957” I must disclose that I am acquainted with writer/director/producer Lucien Eisenach, and have a minor connection with Sea Creatures from Outer Space.)
…Ahem…now for the review…
Dennis Woodruff is one of those insane characters who actually exist—he’s a Hollywood legend, the world’s best-known unknown actor (actor/director/writer/producer) who sells copies of his movies from the trunk of his tricked-up car as he cruises the streets of L.A., harassing a variety of people, some of whom are actually in show business. Troma Entertainment recently released The Dennis Woodruff Collection – Volume 1, three films with that certain something that only Dennis Woodruff can impart.
The first, and best, film in the collection is Spaceman, a film that starts with an overwrought narration and quickly spirals down to…hmm…I don’t know if there are any adjectives suitable to describe Spaceman. In the film, Woodruff portrays an “alien from outer space,” wearing a blue jumpsuit and a hokey helmet. The first few moments of the film are nearly painful with its amateurish technology and bad acting, but—strangely—the viewer gets pulled into this tale of a visitor from “far, far away” (apparently his planet is none of our business), who gives away diamonds, loves earth food, and helps down-and-outers.
Surprisingly, Woodruff elicits effective, natural performances from some members of his cast. “Based on a true story,” Spaceman documents a few days in the life of the appropriately-named alien, “Spaceman.” In his film, Woodruff shares his philosophies of life and provides the audience with many laughs.
In the right mood (that might be “the Michelob mood”), viewers could find Spaceman hilarious. Spaceman’s descriptions of his home planet and its social scene should convince everyone that the space program is a waste of money, and his interactions with earth persons are tinged with naiveté, superiority, and old-fashioned stupidity. Yet, beneath that cold blue jumpsuit, beats an alien heart of gold. Happily for us, if we don’t live in L.A., we don’t need to go to L.A. to buy Woodruff’s films from his trunk; they are also available—for only $9.99 each—through his website.