Mondo Video

Why is it you always catch the weirdest shit at three o'clock in the morning on public access television?

One program that has been making the graveyard-shift rounds is a fast-paced oddity called packrat. Blisteringly bizarre and intensely unpredictable, packrat is a seamless rapid-fire half hour of movie clips, music videos and other videotaped finds, like scenes from a toilet-training session or a bootleg clip of Courtney Love performing with her two best assets hanging out. The accidental brainchild of 26-year-old Houston native Joel Reed Parker, the show began as a video-editing exercise for the folks at Access Houston (now the Houston Media Source, thank you), and eventually got used as late-night programming filler. The show is assembled from Parker's 2,000-plus-tape library, which he has accumulated from video stores and, for the more risqué clips, the Internet. "It was just a way to show all the neat junk that I have," Parker says.

Parker is a new breed of media junkie -- a videophile, if you will. After all, he is the proud owner of the legendary Rob Lowe sex tape, the lesser-known romp between Pamela Anderson and Poison's lead singer, and the notorious Chuck Berry bathroom video. Unfortunately you won't see any of those on packrat, since graphic sex and violence are the two things he prohibits on the show.

In three years Parker has churned out four programs, with a fifth installment set to air sometime this summer. On the off chance he runs into legal trouble for the obviously copyrighted clips he's using, Parker has his defense all laid out. "If I ever got called into court," he says, "I'd say it was an art form or something like that, 'cause I'm only showing part of it. So I'm trying to show it in a different light."

Anytime you have a show that plays clips from cult films like Dark City, Highlander and the Star Wars Christmas Special alongside footage of naked women walking on all fours, people have no choice but to see it in a whole different light.

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey