"I am Cecil B. Demented, and this is a fucking kidnapping
A 2000 comedy film by John Waters
starring Stephen Dorff in the title role as deranged "independent director" Cecil B. Demented, the leader of an equally-deranged group of "filmmakers" who call themselves the Sprocket Holes and base themselves in Baltimore, Maryland. Their mission is to bring down mainstream cinema and destroy the studio system of filmmaking to make way for a new generation of film by any means necessary—which includes robbing theaters and stealing things like construction materials and film equipment in order to make their own film.
The crazed group just has one minor problem: their film doesn't have a star yet, so they "acquire" one in Hollywood actress Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith), kidnapping her at the premiere of her latest film. Honey continually tries to stop Demented and his comrades-in-celluloid from making their film and secure her release, but when she sees how people react to her after she's joined up with the Sprocket Holes, she starts to turn to their side and get in on the (lights, camera and) action of Demented's insane filmmaking.
This film contains examples of:
- Affably Evil: Lyle and Petie.
- Ax-Crazy: Cecil and the Sprocket Holes.
- The Big Chick: Raven, oddly enough, being the Perky Goth/Cloud Cuckoolander that she is.
- Badass: All the Sprocket Holes.
- Black and Gray Morality / Evil vs. Evil : A rare case in which the Sprocket Holes are the Gray, apposed to the law-abiding and mainstream Hollywood system.
- Bound and Gagged: Honey when she's kidnapped by the Sprocket Holes.
- Butt Monkey: Fidget
- Camp Straight: Rodney, though he wishes he was Camp Gay.
- Character as Himself: Kevin Nealon.
- Also, the head of the Baltimore Film Commission.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Raven
- Creepy Monotone: Raven
- Dark Messiah: Played for Laughs with Cecil.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Honey is a complete bitch until she's kidnapped, which makes her much nicer throughout the rest of the film.
- Depraved Homosexual: Parodied and subverted with Rodney. One of the other Sprocket Holes is gay for him, but Rodney's actually straight, so he can't return the feeling; he takes out his hatred of his heterosexuality on others.
- Establishing Character Moment: Cecil's declaration of "Power to the people who punish bad cinema!" after he kidnaps Honey and shoots at a poster outside the cinema establishes that he's not only criminally insane, but that he hates Hollywood.
- Raven gets one as well: "Sorry, but Satan says you need more color!"
- Expy: Cherish is best known in the industry for being an Expy for Honey in porno knockoffs of her big Hollywood movies.
- Five-Man Band:
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Cherish, though she's easily placated by Cecil.
- Hollywood Satanism: Raven
- Horned Hairdo: Raven, at the end.
- Hot Witch: Raven's actually a Satanist, but the idea's the same.
- Jerkass —> Hidden Heartof Gold: Honey
- Large Ham: Cecil, Cherish, Chardonee, Fidgit, Rodney, Raven and even Honey herself.
- Laughably Evil: Cecil and the Sprocket Holes are twisted and definitely deranged, but that doesn't stop them from being unbelievably fun.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Parodied with the young cancer patient at the premiere of Honey's film at the beginning of the movie.
- Lunatic Loophole: Raven is one of three Sprocket Holes who gets away from the police alive in the end. Making this especially egregious is when she calls to Honey to tell her the movie's finished, then throws her a devil kiss, and not one cop notices her as she then hides in the back of a hearse.
- Mad Artist: Lewis is a non-angsty version.
- Man on Fire: Twice, both near the end of the film. Partially with Honey, who sets her hair on fire for the final shot of "principal photography" on Cecil's film; fully with Cecil a few minutes later, as he sets himself on fire and rides a wheelchair off the roof of the drive-in cinema building while screaming "I have a vision!".
- Noodle Incident: "I haven't had this much fun since my last livestock mutilation!"
- Perky Goth: Raven
- The Pollyanna: An odd subversion; Raven's a Satanist, and yet she loves everyone. Whatever she's on, we want some.
- Psychotic Smirk: Cecil's twisted smile.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The title for the film came from the nickname given to John Waters by the headline of an interview; the plot idea came from an incident where Film Threat Magazine told its readers to attack the readers of Premier Magazine...and some of those readers actually did.
- To a lesser extent, the kidnapping of Honey and her eventual siding with her captors, is similar to that of Patty Hearst's own kidnapping ordeal; Hearst herself appeared in this film (as Fidget's mother) and has appeared in every one of John Waters' other films after Cry Baby.
- Also, Honey setting her hair on fire was inspired by something Waters asked Mink Stole to do while filming Pink Flamingos (which she refused to do).
- Straight Gay: Petie
- She's Drinking What?: "It's goat urine!"
- Shonen Hair: Cecil
- Shout-Out: Each of the Sprocket Holes are tattooed with the name of a different director (ironically enough, none of them have a "Cecil B. DeMille" tattoo).
- Sycophantic Servant: Fidget
- Title Drop: The quote at the top of the page is the first time the character's name is heard in the movie.
- Villain Protagonist: Cecil and the Sprocket Holes.