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STUDIO: TPR Music
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 15 Minutes (including bonus features!)
- Hot Shred Bits 2
- Shred Geniuses
- Metal Fugue: Bach’s Art of the Fugue
- Shred Credits
- Shred Kartoon
- Shred Online
A few minutes worth of footage of a ridiculous woman called The Great Kat prancing around playing ear-piercing shred guitar renditions of classical music
The Great Kat, some humiliated extras and crew members, the desecrated legacies of several esteemed classical composers
Let’s not beat around the bush here – this is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. I’m almost at a loss for words to describe it. At a scant 15 minutes of total content it’s practically outside the realm of what could be considered reviewable, and it has to be seen to fully appreciate how ridiculous it is. A meager handful of weirdos will do that and the rest of Earth’s population will remain blissfully unaware. But it’s undeniably entertaining on some level. The whole thing is so odd and silly it feels like a rejected Tim & Eric bit that’s taken on a life of its own. I think ultimately that is its true value, as a piece of weird camp ephemera, the kind of thing that gets passed around among friends to be laughed at.
Actually if you switch the guitar for a keyboard The Great Kat really isn’t that different from Lady Gaga
The entire Great Kat persona, which is really what this DVD is all about, is an amalgamation of several half-assed music industry gimmicks. First, there’s the SHRED; The Great Kat is a guitarist (and violinist!) whose sole defining attribute is playing everything absurdly fast. Her original songs have no aesthetic appeal in their tones, melodies, or rhythms, nor do they reflect a sophisticated grasp of composition or theory that would appeal to the hardcore music geeks out there. It’s sheer physicality. Flurries of notes. Then there’s the neo-classical element. She reinterprets pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Paganini, and others as hyperspeed bursts of abrasive metal. Again, she doesn’t do anything interesting with the arrangements, nor does her playing sound good, it’s just as fast as possible and uses recognizable baroque tunes.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there’s the shock value. Although Kat seems to have an inflated ego about her musical abilities, she wouldn’t be a brand name without an image. And that image is of a sacrilegious, torture/bondage/gothic horror obsessed Dee Snider after undergoing gender reassignment surgery. The Great Kat wants to be a part of the rich history of shock rock, from Alice Cooper, KISS, and Marilyn Manson to their more extreme brethren like GWAR and Anal Cunt. But like her music itself, the offensive act is so rushed and cheap it can barely register as anything other than a joke.
To paraphrase Patton Oswalt, “I’m The Great Kat. I’m all about coulda, not shoulda”
In each of the “music videos” here, none longer than a minute, Kat postures for the camera, with a screaming demon expression frozen on her face, usually covered in blood, occasionally miming torturing dudes, on extremely cheap sets that look like leftovers from old late night horror movie hosts. There are some limp attempts at in your face political incorrectness, like some upside down crosses and one song called “Islamofascists,” in which Kat shrieks “DIE” and is shown miming beheading people in burkas, but it’s all extremely cartoonish, and over in the blink of an eye.
Everything about Kat is an assault on the senses, from the shoddy animated version of the video for her signature “Flight of the Bumblebee” cover right down to the DVD menus full of seizure inducing animation and blaring her nonsensical music. The videos, on top of being cheap looking, are all fast cuts and silly video effects being hurled at the viewer, assumedly all in an attempt to distract you from the fact that she has no real talent or appeal. Sound and fury signifying nothing. But, again, it’s so over the top that it’s hilarious. You almost have to wonder if the whole thing is one big joke on the world.
Oh yeah, I think I remember watching this on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Yeah, they showed it on the local station in my hometown, R’lyeh
If she is sincere, I’d almost like to give her credit for breaking into the boys club that is metal – while not a huge success she does have a following and several albums and DVDs – and, as far as I can tell, not doing it based on sex appeal. But there’s no getting around how terrible her music is, or how shallow her gimmicks, making it impossible to take her seriously. I certainly don’t recommend paying more than the change in your pocket for this or any of Kat’s other works, but if you can somehow borrow a copy or maybe find one in a gutter somewhere it would be a pretty hilarious thing to play for your friends at a party.
The bonus features keep the sensory overload and silliness going, and really underline the fact that the DVD is a lazy cash grab with barely any content, as they’re little more than padding for the already short and pointless main feature. First there’s a rapid-fire montage rehashing the 7 “shred videos” via a flurry of still pictures (set to one of her tunes, of course). Next, a hilariously self-aggrandizing tribute (again in lightning fast photo montage form) to the “shred geniuses,” AKA various classical composers, authors, artists, and random historical figures (George Washington? Marie Curie?) who have influenced Kat, which concludes with her adding herself to their ranks and declaring herself the “new Beethoven” (!). Last but not least there’s an extra short bonus music video and – drumroll please – the DVD’s credits, which include the number for a “shred hotline” and more assertions of Kat’s greatness.
“Spinning? I’m doing a fucking breakdance routine down here”