LOONEY TUNES REFERENCES HORROR
In his latest feature film, LOONEY TUNES: BACK IN ACTION, longtime genre fave director Joe Dante makes numerous references to a series of horror and science fiction films from having Kevin McCarthy reprise his INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS role to appearances by Triffids, Daleks, a Brain from Planet Arous and many other sci-fi creatures as recreated by the maestros at ADI and KNB (utilizing some of the originals collected by Bob Burns in many cases and Bill Malone's own Robby the Robot piloted by Rob Parigi). One of the best gags in the film, however, is a recreation of the shower scene from PSYCHO featuring Jenna Elfman stumbling across a showering Bugs Bunny who goes so far as to even pour chocolate syrup down the drain to get the effect. PSYCHO wasn't the only horror film Dante planned to parody in that sequence, however, as he tells FANGORIA.
'It's not really shot-for-shot, but it seems to be,' Dante reports. 'What's funny about that joke is we never thought it would be in the movie. Originally, she goes to the house and she goes in the bathroom and sees Bugs, then she opens up more doors and he keeps saying, 'No, not in here!' In one room, he's in the bed from THE EXORCIST and he's bouncing up and down with 'Not in here' on his chest and then there's another thing where he's in a POLTERGEIST scene and he says, 'Not in here!' Then he's the twins in THE SHINING and he says, 'Not in here!' Then she goes into the kitchen and he's in a pot like at the end of FATAL ATTRACTION. It was kind of the same joke over and over again. We thought the PSYCHO joke was the weakest of the jokes, but then we went to a preview and people thought it was really funny. So it was like, 'Oh, now we're going to have to finish the PSYCHO joke' and we didn't have room for the other jokes!'
When they finished the scene, they considered using Bernard Herrmann's actual score, but then realized it would be too cost-prohibitive. 'The PSYCHO bit, because we changed the music - we originally did it with the real PSYCHO music - and then we realized it would cause us to say that it was a parody of PSYCHO whereas if we just do the joke and have similar music that isn't exactly the same, then it's not a copyright issue,' Dante explains. 'The film lawyers all looked into it, believe you me.'
A bit of music that did stay in the film was a piece from Dante's own GREMLINS score, also composed by BACK IN ACTION'S composer, Jerry Goldsmith, which appears when the heroes of the film are forced to drive a Gremlin from Hollywood to Las Vegas. 'Jerry couldn't resist,' Dante laughs. 'It was a surprise for me on the scoring stage. The Gremlin joke was in the movie when I got the script - believe it or not. I thought, 'Oh, this is a little embarrassing. It looks like I'm doing a joke about my own movie!' Then I read on and when they went to the jungle, there were piranhas and I said, 'Wait a minute! This is going to look like I'm loading it up with references to my old movies!' So, I got rid of the piranhas.'
Courtesy of Fangoria