Shelf Life (1992)

Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Paul Bartel directed this film version of a performance art piece by O-Lan Jones, Andrea Stein, and Jim Turner, who play Tina, Pam, and Scotty -- three grown-up kids who have spent the last thirty years sealed off in a backyard family bomb shelter. A prologue explains what happened: in 1963, when John Kennedy is assassinated, a typical middle-class family from Anaheim retreat to their backyard bomb shelter, afraid that the commies are coming. In 1993, they are still there -- even Mom and Dad, who have since died, but the bones are laid out nicely on their bed. The brother and two sisters, in worn-out clothing, amuse themselves by playing silly little games (something called "Egyptian Fantasy" with Ken as the Pharaoh), engaging in absurd rounds of role playing (Tina as a high-school tease), and hurling senseless rebukes at one another ("I can't hear you. I've got a set of encyclopedias up my butt").