The time: The Future. The place: Neo-Ultra-Mega-Tokyo. Or perhaps the time and place are somewhere in a back alley between Johnny Mnemonic and Ghost in the Shell (it’s more or less the same thing). In this shimmering, shiny-yet-grimy world we find Holly Malone, a reporter with ten times the spunk of Lois Lane, along with a uterus for news (just go with it, really). Her reporter instincts plus a very peculiar sense of taste has set her on the trail of the legendary Frank Dancoolo. He’s the source of paranormal drugs which are ravaging society—if he exists that is. Molly is sure he does, and her journey will lead her to unknown realities, terrifying secrets, flying katanas, and some really righteous dope.
It’s no surprise that a film titled Frank Dancoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer is not going for a serious drab vibe. This is wild, weird, and wacky fun delivered at a pace that puts NASCAR to shame. The story could have taken 30 minutes to unfurl or even a dreary 60, but here it is 8 minutes, and there’s no pausing for air. Holly’s machinegun delivery would make Howard Hawks proud, but as she is the lovechild of his Hildy Johnson and Bugs Bunny, that makes sense. She mixes jokes and mayhem while retaining her 1940’s feel, and it’s hard not to love her.
Writer/director/producer Andrew Jones’s previous short films have been animated—the Lovecraftian The Book Dealers and the violent Revenge Academy which could fit into Adult Swim. Frank Dancoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer’s heritage is obvious in every frame. I’m not going out on a limb to declare Dancoolo half-animated with its extensive green screen work, effects flying weapons, and popping eyes. Its alien critters could fit into the Cthulhu mythos, and its humor is not far removed from that of Revenge Academy, nor is its tendency for destruction.
Jones has brought his animation aesthetic to live-action, and the result is original, hilarious, and a leap beyond his previous work. Check it out, and be sure to read the label.