One glance at the poster for Director/Writer Randy Moore’s Escape From Tomorrow, and the taboo nature surrounding his hilariously warped Disney-inspired film needs little explanation. Escape From Tomorrow’s poster features a hand, which resembles Mickey Mouse’s iconic glove, clawing for escape, as blood drips down its length. Word out of its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival was that the film wouldn’t see the light of day. Having not shot with proper permits, while using the parks at his disposal, it was believed that Disney was likely to bear arms at every art house that would host screenings, locking the film in a vault never to be seen again, but surprisingly that didn’t happen, and Moore’s vision is finally up for public consumption.
The film opens with the patriarch of the family, Jim, being notified that he had just lost his job on the last day of his vacation. Instead of telling his neurotic wife, Emily, he decides to enjoy the last day of their vacation. Unfortunately for the family, they become captured under a spell and encounter things that can only be lived in the world of surrealism.
No one can truly be prepared for the wild ride Moore takes the viewer on as he captures a truly nightmarish story about a fictional family’s experience inside Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Escape From Tomorrow, shot in black and white, plays on all the gimmicks that Disney hinges itself on. The art of imagination, and the idea of escapism are twisted into the unimaginable as Moore’s carnival-like guerrila-styled film follows Jim, his wife, and their two small children around the parks. All of the iconic shots are there, from Epcot’s globe, to the It’s A Small World ride, but nothing is as it seems. Disney princesses are vixens, characters in the rides turn into sinister demons, and there’s one sadistic handicapped man following the family around in a motorized scooter.
Director/Writer Randy Moore has rightfully so earned the attention his film has garnered, as he has created a truly unorthodox through the looking glass perspective of America’s most cherished vacation spots.
The Inquisitr’s Niki Cruz sat down for a one on one interview with Randy Moore to discuss his experiences in the parks, and making Escape From Tomorrow under the mouse’s nose.
On going to the Disney parks and visiting years later
MOORE: I loved going to the parks as a kid. I bought the magic, hook line and sinker, and I had a great time. The only thing that really bothered me when I was young was the heat and the lines. When I was older and I went back with my own kids, I lost my passion. My wife didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I did because I was still so nostalgic. So many parents you see yelling at their kids. It gets to that breaking point for so many people. It’s like you have to go on every ride before the fireworks because if you don’t then it feels like you’ve failed as a parent. [LAUGHS] Especially for dads, you have to make that map of fast passes. It becomes a war plan. Then I started thinking about that more and more, and that’s when I started writing the script.
On shooting at Magic Kingdom and Epcot without permits
MOORE: I didn’t try to get permits. Originally I was going there with my family and I was using the same camera to document my own trip. There was no problem with that because some people had better cameras or the same exact camera. I didn’t think it was going to be super ballsy. I thought I was going to go in with my friends and go to the park, and do what happened in the movie. Then I started working on it more and more, and once I started hiring professional actors it started snowballing into, “Now we need transportation, and we need PAs to carry water, and we have to hire a cinematographer.” Then it became this thing. I don’t think I would have done it if I was like, “Okay, I’m going to take this crew of fifteen to twenty people and bring them all into the parks.”
A close call in the Disney parks
MOORE: The only time we almost got caught is when we were shooting at the turnstiles entering the park. It’s a shot that’s not even in the final film. I think that’s where they focus all of their attention on, especially with the security. Had we scheduled that shoot in the beginning, I think everyone would have been too frightened to go forward. Someone told me, “Shoot the hardest scenes first.” So we shot all the Epcot scenes first. We shot the globe first. We had our camera man in the wheelchair, and we had our assistant camera man pushing him, and we had the family walk in front, and that was the first shot we did.
On Disney’s response to Escape From Tomorrow
MOORE: I never heard from Disney. We’ve had no contact with them whatsoever. I am the secret child of Walt Disney, I have to come clean! [LAUGHS] When we got into Sundance we didn’t know if we would have a second screening. Then there were these articles that came out after the first screening, that said, “rest assured there are helicopters of lawyers flying from Burbank to Park City right now.” We didn’t know if we would get through it. It was a very nerve-wracking time but it was amazing.
On the escapism that plays into the Disney parks
MOORE: I’m just as guilty as everyone else so I can’t say that it’s the culture’s fault, because I’m part of that culture. For so many people it’s transcendent than a regular theme park. This movie could not have been made at Six Flags. People don’t have the same attachments to those rides. It’s Pirates of The Caribbean and It’s A Small World. These rides are ingrained in people’s minds.
On shooting Escape From Tomorrow in black and white
MOORE: I started going to the parks with my kids. I started experimenting and using the same camera that we filmed the movie on, which is the Canon 5dMark ii. I started picking up shots here and there, to see if we could shoot in this ride. Then I would go back and experiment with it on the computer. I looked in it in black and white just to see and then I saw a shot of Epcot and all these textures just popped out. The main thing is that I didn’t want it to look like a home video. It’s so hard to watch people’s home movies going to the park. I keep telling myself that I’m going to edit my own home movies and make a DVD but shoot me before I watch them because they’re so boring. I knew I wanted to keep the interest going, and it had to be cinematic.
On surrealism versus realism
MOORE: That just evolved during the writing process. I was going from the external experience to the internal experience, what people feel on those rides, to what is actually happening. That came through writing it. I could have had some narration going, but I decided to make it visual. That would have been really strange if I had a narrated voice.
On his favorite ride
MOORE: I like Spaceship earth ride at Epcot.
ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW is out in theaters now.