Everything is Terrible! is a found-footage collective from Los Angeles. Their goal is to collect as many odd, old, and discarded VHS tapes as possible, then re-contextualize them through chaotic and campy supercuts. In doing so, the group hopes to amass a treasure trove of bizarre infomercials, unsophisticated movies, and dated TV shows, or what NPR calls “cultural artifacts from the end of the 20th century.” This experiment requires the group’s members to sift through thrift stores, online auctions, and yard sales in search of old VHS tapes, and then to edit, remix, and broadcast their favorite finds online. The resulting multimedia mish-mash is served up daily through their popular Youtube channel, admittedly meant to “overwhelm and confuse,” according to one of the project’s co-founders.
In addition to curating an annual comedy, music, and film festival in Portland, the group travels the country to present work in a multimedia format. Part video screening, part live performance, and part art installation, they’ve been known to construct giant pyramids from their 15,000 copies of Jerry Maguire on VHS and incorporate costumes and audience participation into inventive performances. Their current tour, The Great Satan, is a psychedelic exploration of white Christian America’s relationship with the devil, built from an immense jumble of more than 2,000 D-list horror films, Satanic imagery, and Christian propaganda videos. It’s an absurdist look at our shared cultural memories and consumerist tendencies that, somehow, manages to turn cultural castoffs into comedic gold.