Live From the Space Stage
If the idea of a Wookie shredding on bass guitar intrigues you then this might be for you. Meet Halyx, the 80s Sci-Fi rock band that performed right outside Disneyland’s Space Mountain. The doc is available on the YouTube channel Defunctland who got this film crowdfunded. Despite it being free and available to all don’t let that diminish its quality. The documentary is very polished, has plenty of footage and pictures of the obscure topic, and has access to a lot of the prominent talking heads on the subject.
The appeal of the documentary comes with how earnest it is. Not necessarily shying away from the dog and pony show it is, but the tone of documentary has an utmost respect for the performers and creative minds of the band. It is almost literally a behind the music of a Disneyland sideshow. The artists behind the project all are committed to their craft and eager to make the most of the opportunity laid in front of them. It’s not everyday a band gets to play at Disneyland.
There’s a lot of interesting bits ranging from: the conception of characters, performance rehearsals, and the aftermath of the band. Despite their rein only being one summer, we all can get behind the romanticizing of rock and roll and the cherished faded memories of children’s entertainment. Halyx may have faded into obscurity, but this documentary gives all creative efforts a ray of hope. Even when the show is over, there’s always an audience out there somewhere.
If you need any more encouragement to check out this deep dive into theme park obscurity…. the bands hit song was titled “Jailbait”. Disney approved a song called Jailbait to be played live within Disneyland. Times certainly have changed.
Class Action Park
Class Action Park is watching a maniac play Roller-coaster Tycoon but with real people. This HBO Max exclusive documentary covers the tale of Eugene Mulvihill who invites disaster into his death trap of a water park. How bad are we talking?
I’m sure to some that joke seems like an exaggeration but honestly, it’s kind of an understatement. Highlights of the insanity of Action Park include: Having to remove teeth from the foam padding so guests didn’t get munched on while going down the slide, the park being insured by a fake company that they made up, and blaming the death of one of the guest on the rock he flew into and getting away with it. Yes, death the icky part that makes the light-hearted nostalgia for this ghoulish hellhole in the first half kind of gross. The documentary takes sort of a shift in presentation when it goes on an extensive emotional grasp in examining 1 of the 6 confirmed death that happened at the park.
Class Action Park can be kind of frustrating when you consider the gross negligence on display. I mean considering that none of the attractions were built by anyone with any legit engineering background, the people running the park were stupid enough to have electrical appliances at the bottom of a pool, and most of the staff was horny 14-16 year old from New Jersey it’s a little surprising 6 people didn’t die on a daily basis.
From a documentary standpoint the film is acceptable if not a little underwhelming. The structure can leave a lot to be desired, almost just being an assortment of topics that they crudely smash together. They have these animation segments to fill in some gaps in the footage that is more relegated to b-roll. Go in expecting more Tiger King, less Blackfish. The film seems to balance both the fun insanity of the park with the serious legal snafus but never feels to overall want to leave a sour impression. Comedian Chris Gethard was a fun talking head to bring some levity to the wild culture of the park, but something does feel off about this comedic approach interrupted by the condemning of the park almost out of obligation. It’s almost like you could tell they really wanted to make the first half of the movie, and then thought they could legitimize it or shield themselves from scrutiny by showing the negative evils of the park’s negligence.
Overall it’s a nostalgia trip and a romp that does have the facts on the unfortunate implications of the lawless fun had.