Sure, there are numerous memorable moments from the 80s comedy Better Off Dead: skiing the K-12, Lane botching his own suicide, challenging the Howard Cosell-loving asians to a road race at the red light, even Ricky’s mom blowing up, to name a few. But I wager that one of the finest moments in this film is when Lane Meyer does a little daydreaming while on the job at Pig Burgers, declaring that HE’LL show us what “everybody wants” (in answer to Pig Burgers’ poster whose slogan was that “everybody wants some”).
What follows is some of the strangest, most delightful 3 minutes you’ll see in an ’80s comedy. A scene that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the plot/story/character development/movie, featuring the music of Van Halen, which will forever link their song to this film. It’s almost as though director Savage Steve Holland just really loved Van Halen and wanted to find a way to get almost the entire song into this movie. It acts in essence as a music video for the song, although it’s a singing claymation hamburger and dancing fries that we see. A very bad-ass singing claymation hamburger, I might add, who seriously shreds on a claymation replica of Eddie Van Halen’s custom designed “Frankenstrat” guitar. This is definitely a feat that I doubt could ever happen today in a studio-made movie (Better Off Dead was originally released in theaters by Warner Bros.)
I tried to do a little interweb investigating into who the company might be that worked on the claymation sequence in the film. My best guest, based on production credits supplied on IMDB, was that it was handled by a company called Dream Quest Images, who also handled model making for such movies as E.T., Total Recall, and The Abyss, until the Walt Disney Company bought the DQI in 1996.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go and practice my moves for the big K-12 competition tomorrow..