“Fear of a Black Hat” (1994) dir. Rusty Cundieff

The cultural success of 1984’s “This is Spinal Tap” unleashed not only several films, but an entire genre we now know, sometimes love, and sometimes loathe, called “mockumentary.”  Some of the mockumentaries that have followed in “This is Spinal Tap”‘s wake have been good, some bad.  “Fear of a Black Hat” is on the good end of things.  Granted, it’s not a perfect movie and it’s very uneven, but it’s also quite funny, intelligent, and charming.  And if you watch it more than once, it will definitely grow on you like many good comedies inevitably do.  I remember reading about this in “Film Threat” magazine back in 1993 and when it hit one of my local theaters in the spring of 1994, I was intrigued enough to check it out.  I think it was a test release, since it didn’t get national distribution until later that summer.  I remember being one of two paying customers in the theater (and the showtime was a discounted matinee) and I remember liking it a lot.   I saw it many months later when it came out on video and liked it even more.  The attached trailer seems a little corny by today’s standards, but don’t let that dissuade you from checking it out.  It’s a solid mockumentary.  And trivia note: the beautiful female interviewer is Kasi Lemmons, director of the brilliant “Eve’s Bayou,” “The Caveman’s Valentine,” and “Talk to Me”.  (Sorry, I have a bit of a crush on Ms. Lemmons)

Cundieff popped up later on Michael Moore’s 1990s show “TV Nation” and has been involved with many great comedy TV shows, from”Chappelle’s Show” to “The Wanda Sykes Show.”  Cundieff’s a very funny man.  Let’s hope he gives us another feature soon.

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