It's Just Music
Fatal Killings was our second venture into the still uncharted territory of feature-length production. Still unfamiliar with the concept of actually writing plot in order to make the movie longer, we relied heavily on jokes that often did not advance the story, and, even more often, failed. One of those, while not missing the funny bone in its entirety, still flew over most people's heads and shot them through the heart, much like a swift kick in the butt (to mix a metaphor).
The setup: In order to convince the jury that Murrey Ermer (also known as the PA Chainsaw Massacring Guy) is an evil heartless killer, the Prosecutor shows them a surveillance tape documenting some murders. The tape starts out in security camera mode. It's an overhead shot of Ermer, along with some patrons at a restraunt. He gets aggitated and eventually slaughters two of the others present. The third escapes, and Ermer chases him out of the scene. The Prosecutor says since Ermer left the effective range of the camera, they hired a top production team to film a dramatic reenactment of him killing the third guy.
Arguably, the second half of the scene is well done, and intentionally funny. The first part of the scene is also funny, but not for reasons we, in our infinite wisdom, intended. The dialogue is roughly as follows:
[Celene Dion's crappy craptastic crapatholon, also known as My Heart Will Go On, plays softly in the background.]
Murrey Ermer (clearly aggitated): MUURRRRRR!!!
Patron #1: Hey, come on, it's just music.
Murrey Ermer: MUURRRRRRR!!!! Mur! Mur!
Murrey Ermer seems to kill Patron #1. He then finishes off #2 and #3, at which point #1 revives and runs off camera. Ermer follows him. Cut to second part of scene.
It's pretty straightforward, wouldn't you agree? So what's the problem? Well, you have the benefit of seeing the behind the scenes commentary. In the actual movie, the background music sounds exactly like, well, background music. It's wholly not noticable. Not only that, but we were thinking that the music itself drives Murrey Ermer to commit horrible acts of violence. However, the character is defined by killing people. If he didn't kill people, he wouldn't be Murrey Ermer. This means that whether we would have on Celene Dion, or Metallica, or John Phillip Sousa, or actual recordings of Neanderthals from 20,000 BC banging rocks together, he would still get mad and kill his fellow diners. The entire joke being funny hinges on the music, which isn't noticable—the character, which isn't motivated—and the audience really paying attention, which doesn't happen, anyway. In short, it's a classic example of a failed TTT joke.