Astron 6? I been staring at this dvd case for a few weeks now, and wondering what it is truly about. I see the Troma label and know that as of late, they are really hitting home runs…Klown Kamp Massacre and Psycho Sleepover come to mind..or they are striking out badly..Jessika Rabid, Not Another B Movie, and a few more titles come to mind immediately. All this aside, I am still stuck with the question..who or what is a Astron 6? So I grabbed a dictionary…Astron 6- are a five man short film crew from Winnipeg. They have this hyped up feature called Father’s Day which will see the light of day in the next few months at Troma, that has had everyone on planet earth telling me they are the best thing since this or that. This two disc collection from Troma shows the teams origins and where they came from and gives you a good overview of their style and what are their influences….on this set, Troma have included over a dozen short films, along with numerous bonus features to make this the must own dvd of the year. And for the record, Lord of the Rings fan, I truly know what a Astron 6 is… Astron-6 is the day of the Elvish New Year….
Instead of reviewing each short, I wanted to give you a few to let you see if this is for you or not. Trust me, if you have a heartbeat and pulse, you will laugh and have a good time. Cool Guys is the first 28 minute short, which the first three of four shorts have that kind of running time. This is about 3 losers, Two are nerdy high schoolers who decide to leave town and go to the beach where they can reinvent themselves as cool guys, the third is odd older guy who hangs out with high schoolers because they are the only people who think he matters. Once they get to this beach town,things change when they go looking for women. Every second it seems like some reference or tongue and cheek take on some film. And it uses its time so wisely, that it packs so much in this 28 minutes, that you will not be letdown. Then comes, Lazer Ghosts 2 which is a brilliant lampoon of late ’80s direct to video sci-fi features. It is a ten minute trailer reel of insane awesomeness that links lasers, ghosts, the evil ghost of Albert Einstein, scientists in lab coats, and tired cops spitting worn out film lines. The short was dead on fun, and packs more laughs into its ten minute run time than it has any right to.
What about production…Since these shorts were shot by different means, the A/V quality is different in each one as is the production value, but I will say that it was not distracting and still got the point across. Some shorts are non-anamorphic widescreen, some are anamorphic, some look like they were never intended to go past a computer, but again, this is not so big a deal when you see the talent on these shorts. The acting and heart put forward by Astron 6 make up for the shortcomings in budget and format.
These discs feature a ton of bonus features which make the runtime about what 6 plus hours. There are at least a half a dozen commentaries for the films, all of which are worth listening to, if for no other reason than to hear the guys bitch at each other the whole time. Which like the films, was fun as well.
As a whole, now I know the hype is real..Astron 6 is for real. And that opening by Kaufman, was such a letdown and insult to this dvd. This is the face of today’s Troma and along with Klown Kamp Massacre, the future is looking very bright.
9 out of 10