|What the hell happened to LIFE ON THE EDGE (1992)|
Now, this isn't your standard lost experimental underground short from the 60's—nor is it some cool, high-profile misfire, hidden or destroyed by its eccentric auteur. It gets weirder than that; it's just a plain ol' ordinary 90's booby comedy with fairly recognizable stars that just doesn't exist anymore. Bizarrely, all that survives is an IMDB page, and some humorously disparaging reviews in Variety, The New York Times, and the Austin Chronicle. Otherwise, it's like it never happened. There's no domestic home video in any format. No VOD. There are no downloads, no six-generation dubs off a Greek VHS, no YouTube clips. Nobody taped it off TV, nor is there a Super 8 400 foot digest. There are no production stills. There is NO trailer. There isn't even a poster! Adding insult to injury, at some point, the online credits for Life on the Edge became erroneously, irrevocably entangled with an obscure BBC wildlife docu-series called Secret Nature of the Channel Shore (!?!). So the "poster artwork" that IMDB features is a VHS box with some random parrot! The only authentic advertising I can dig up are these prototype title sketches, credited to a company called Burman Studios. The only Burman Studios I know of does FX makeup. But, maybe they dabbled in film marketing and promotional materials at some point? ** UPDATE 07/02/2017 ** I was told by one Lisa Morton that, "The materials from the Burman Studio have nothing to do with this film. They were created for another movie that was shot under the title LIFE ON THE EDGE (1988) but eventually released as MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS." Damn. That means there really is absolutely not advertising material out there relating to Life on the Edge. What a sad, lonely little movie.
|LIFE ON THE EDGE (1992) — Prototype Artwork Sketches|
So why all the mystery?Well, it was officially completed, and distributed by an equally mysterious outfit calling itself Festival Entertainment. Evidently the reviews were not great. "Inept and unfunny to the point of being terrible," cheered The New York Times. "Vanity production has very few laughs, and its theatrical release isn't going to draw flies," hailed Variety. The best-worst review came from Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle who clucked, "Simply put, this is one of the worst movies I have ever in my life seen," and "the Richter scale has not been made that's capable of measuring the totality of this film disaster." It didn't even get love from the US Copyright Office who pointedly inserted "unable to view tape" into its registration notes. Is this movie cursed, or what?!
|LIFE ON THE EDGE (1992) aka "The Big One" — "Unable to view tape."|
Where the hell is it, and where did it come from?Behind-the-scenes info is almost non-existent. What little I can glean is, it was shot in 1989 at New World Pictures' TV studio. The director was this dude named Andrew Yates who apparently hailed from a family of construction tycoons. According to the W.G. Yates & Sons' company history, brother Andrew "ultimately decided not to devote himself to the construction business." He probably just wanted to make movies, because in June 1988, he founded Movers & Shakers, Inc—the company responsible for producing Life on the Edge. He could very well have been a cool guy, considering he somehow convinced that disparate group of busy thespians to take part in what, basically, amounted to a filmmaking experiment. Then, sometime after the film's release, he quit the directing racket, and retired in Ojai, California, or Philadelphia, Mississippi, or some other incidental place, where he resides to this very day. I wonder, does he drag a 35mm projector out once a year, and force his loyal, long-suffering friends to re-watch Life on the Edge for the hundredth time? I would.
|LIFE ON THE EDGE (1992)|
Screen World, 1993; John A. Willis, editor
But I digress. What I mean is, sometimes I stumble across a lost and forgotten flick that reads on paper as though it could—in conception, casting, execution, or distribution—be a distant cousin to my own disowned, mongoloid baby of a feature. Life on the Edge feels like one of those films.
If you've got something you wanna say about this compelling little number, or perhaps you need help tracking down a lost film of your own—leave us a comment! We'd love to hear from you! :)