If you like indie style rock’n’roll, you may want to listen to a band called The Tweens. They have a video that was directed by Philadelphia’s own t-shirt aficionado and creative powerhouse, Perry Shall. Further, you will also find a video that is modeled after a thing called THE MORON MOVIES. Same tabletop name cards, same short form style mixed with quick and smart laughs, same denigrated film feel. This homage to The Moron Movies is actually an homage to the creator of said MORON MOVIES, Mr. Len Cella.
Len Cella is a local treasure. He hails from Broomhall, PA and has been a constant film maker from the late 60’s until today. He has made over 150 films, his Moron Movies with himself as the sole actor, writer and film crew. His movies have achieved an iconic cult status, with everyone from Johnny Carson to Dick Clark being amongst his fan base.
On Friday, April 24th, The Cinedelphia Film Festival is proud to present a rare screening of The Moron Movies. In preparation for this, we had a chance to chat a little bit with Mr. Cella about his movies and about himself. Event info and ticket sales here.
C: For as long as you’ve been doing these movies and as prolific as you’ve been, to what do you owe your relative obscurity? Why do you continue to make these movies?
Len Cella: Regarding my obscurity, I don’t feel obscure at all. My films were on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson twelve times including the anniversary show and now they’re on Carson Classics videos. My films were on national TV for two years and fifty million people watched them every week.
A New Jersey playwright is writing a play on me and my films. A couple of years ago, a guy from England did a documentary on me called King Dong. My mail tells me that Moron Movies has spanned three generations. Parents hand down the film to their children and grandchildren.
Would anyone make a documentary or write a play about an obscurity? And why would a Philadelphia festival have a program on me if I’m obscure. And why would the Wall Street Journal have an article on me on it’s front page?
Mike Malloy of Cult Magazine wrote: “Moron Movies is one of the most extraordinary success stories in the history of filmmaking.” Movies Unlimited wrote: “Some of the most hilarious short films ever made.” Lawnwranglers wrote: “Some of the best stuff ever made.”
In 1985, Moron Movies made Variety’s list of 50 Top-Grossing Films while playing in just one New York theater. I’ll bet that of all the films made in 1985, Moron Movies has more sees than any of them if I’m to believe my fans who say they wore out the tape.
As I write, the video of Moron Movies is being reissued. I could go on and on with evidence of the staying power of Moron Movies. Instead of asking why they’re obscure, a more logical question would be how do you account for they’re longevity? My short answer would be because they make people laugh.
C: What percentage of the Moron Movies get made vs. what gets shelved?
LC: I can’t tell you what percentage of films make the cut. But I can tell you that I have a large waste basket. As I get older, I’m even more particular what I aim my camera at so my waste basket is even larger.
C: So what’s next for you and for Moron Movies?
LC: Now, I’m working on two series for YouTube. One is called The Bitcher in which I bitch about every fuckin thing. The other is called Song Gone Wrong. I expect to post a Bitcher a week for the next two years which will be around a hundred shorts. And I expect to post about 25 Songs Gone Wrong.
I posted two new Moron Movies for the Festival and Eric [Cinedelphia’s founder] said the Reaction News film is “an instant classic, really fantastic”.
Note: Special thanks to Perry Shall for watching the MORON MOVIES with me, as well as KING DONG. Perry is really a fantastic artist as well as a prolific musician. You can check out his work at perryshall.com.
Author: J.T. Alvarez
Joshua Alvarez is an avid film appreciator and musician from the Philadelphia area. In addition to being a PFS member and the lead singer for various bands in the Philadelphia hardcore scene, Joshua also possesses the strength of a lion that has the strength of two lions.