Rubber Johnny

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Rubber Johnny
Directed byChris Cunningham
Produced bySally Oldfield
John Payne
Grant Branton
Written byChris Cunningham
StarringChris Cunningham
Elvis the dog
Percy Rutterford (voice)
Music byAphex Twin
Distributed byWarp Films
Release date(s)June 20, 2005
Running time6 min
LanguageEnglish
 
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Rubber Johnny
Directed byChris Cunningham
Produced bySally Oldfield
John Payne
Grant Branton
Written byChris Cunningham
StarringChris Cunningham
Elvis the dog
Percy Rutterford (voice)
Music byAphex Twin
Distributed byWarp Films
Release date(s)June 20, 2005
Running time6 min
LanguageEnglish

Rubber Johnny is a six-minute experimental short film and music video directed by Chris Cunningham in 2005, using music composed by Aphex Twin. The name Rubber Johnny is drawn from a British slang for "condom" as well as a description of the main character, which explains the title sequence. The DVD comes with an art book, containing stills from the film, as well as conceptual drawings, photographs and more.

Background

The concept for Rubber Johnny came from Cunningham's imagining a raver morphing as he danced. The idea evolved to the present film, in which Johnny (played by Cunningham) is an isolated deformed (possibly hydrocephalic) teenager kept on a wheelchair and locked in a dark basement with his chihuahua. The film was originally intended to be a 30-second TV commercial for the Aphex Twin album drukqs, using the track "afx237 v7". However, Cunningham grew to like the concept more and more and decided to expand the concept into a greater length (the original commercial remains in the film in an altered form.) The film was shot partially in infrared night vision on digital video. The film's music is "afx237 v7 (w19rhbasement remix)", a remix made by Cunningham; the credits music is "gwarek2", also from drukqs.

Content

The film starts out with man (presumably a doctor) interviewing Johnny, who babbles incomprehensibly in an out-of-focus closeup, at one point saying ma-ma twice, after which the man asks if he wants to see his mother. Johnny eventually begins to breathe erratically and the man says he is going to give Johnny "a little injection" so he will calm down.

We then see a blinking fluorescent light, then a mouse crawling over a press-sticker credit, followed by the title, "Rubber Johnny" which is seen written on a condom, on a backwards-playing scene of it being pulled off a penis.

Johnny is first seen leaning backward in his wheelchair with his oversized head hanging over the back of it. Johnny mutters a distorted "Aphex". This begins the Aphex Twin track, and Johnny begins to rhythmically follow it, while his dog watches. His dancing involves him performing balancing tricks with his wheelchair, and deflecting light beams with his hands as he dances.

After a minute or so, a door opens and he is interrupted by someone who appears to be his father. During this, Johnny is out of his delusion and is shown sitting upright in the wheelchair, turning to look. His father opens the room's door, yells at him unintelligibly, and slams the door.

After he leaves, Johnny is seen inhaling a large line of white powder. The video then becomes even more erratic and delusional. The music becomes a more spasmodic regurgitation of the previous tune, and Johnny now hides behind a door, avoiding the white light beams. Later, he gets his face smashed at high speed into a piece of glass, with the camera watching from the other side so that the elastic-like skin and even some innards can be seen flattening out onto the glass every time. This was done using prosthetic-based special effects rather than digital morphing.

After a while of this, he is interrupted a second time by his yelling father, after which the video ends with Johnny, once again, reclining back in his wheelchair and babbling at his chihuahua.

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