Before we get to the video, how about some history for those of you who might not know?
THE DEMENTED TOWER
A handful of years ago, I created a movie trivia game for my old podcast, The Demented Podcast. That game was dubbed The Demented Tower. The idea was basically Dungeons & Dragons meets Bruce Lee’s Game of Death… but with movie trivia games. The basic concept was the player would enter The Tower and drink from the “Fountain of Yin and Yang.” A spirit would appear to give the player a choice of helps. From there, there were 3 rounds–though later a 4th round was added. Each round was announced with Mortal Kombat sound effects and “hosted” by a special figure, the most notable of which were an old man and a magical floating lemur. The others changed throughout the years, but have included a blue carrot, an elevator, and a giant bubble. The player started with 100 “stamina” (aka health) and would lose stamina as they played, while simultaneously getting points, giving the game its infamous math complications. At the end, in the early versions of the game, the players were given an extra bonus trivia question that could double their points. Due to its unpopularity, this was taken out of the main game and delegated to the BATTLE ROYALE episodes only–special episodes featuring the 5 best players of the “season.” The bonus round basically pitted the final two against each other in another Mortal Kombat reference. It was a highly popular game that had many different incarnations over the years… but there was one it had yet to have.
PLANNING THE MOVIE
About 2-3 years ago, I had the idea to make a fake trailer for the Demented Tower using a bunch of in-jokes and whatnot, but sadly the project never happened despite a script being written for it. Fast forward to a couple months ago, and Jason and I are trying to figure out a video project to do while we’re together in Chicago. We had a few different ideas, but I had one that took all the complications out of it. We’d make a short film version of the Demented Tower. I already have a lot of it scripted out thanks to the game itself, and I found my plot (and some funny ideas) in my unused trailer version. So I threw that together, and that’s what we did.
While most of the story bits are scripted, half of the following movie is not–Jason’s game was done (mostly) live and on the spot. He was not given the questions or answers ahead of time, so how well or poorly he ended up doing, as well as his final outcome and the ending of the film (there were two endings written, depending) were all up to him. The “mostly” comes from the fact that not all of his reactions were filmed live. For time and public filming purposes, levels 2-4 were actually played prior to filming. We wrote down his responses and whatnot and re-enacted it for the camera. So there are only a couple places where he actually played live for the camera. Regardless, he was not fed answers, so the outcome of the film was unknown at the time of filming.
So without further ado, here it is! Enjoy!
*Special Note #2: I know the music is kinda loud in places over some dialogue. But I had a lot of trouble just exporting this video and getting it online, so hassling with it further to fix that would be a bit much. Sorry for the potential inconvenience.
*One of the most memorable bloopers was sadly not caught on film, so I want to share that story now. It was the very first thing we filmed on our first night in Chicago. Jason, Vern, and I are standing out in the hallway filming the YinYang scene. Vern is standing there in a dragon kimono. Jason is on his knees in front of Vern with a glass of water. I’m off to the side holding a camera at both of them. Out walks these two dudes from their room. They look at us like “WTF” and back away slowly. Then we wave them on through, and they kind of slowly walk past. It was so awkward, but it was a great way to start this process, which proved to be a pain in the ass when it came to public filming… as you’ll see some of now: