Harold and Kumar: The Quest for the Castle of White
Harold and Kumar: The Quest for the Castle of White is an epic Scandinavian war film, made in 1993. The film marks the first cross-promotion campaign between the film industry and the McDonald's restaurant chain. Widely respected by critics and audiences alike, the film garnered several award nominations, and a standing ovation at the McDonalds Corporate Film Festival and Supply Expo in 1994.
Chapter 1: New Brunswick in flames
The film, set in Medieval times, begins with the village of New Brunswick in ruins. Thousands of peasants are starving to death in the streets begging God for forgiveness while simultaneously cursing God for dealing them such a shit hand. One particularly hungry young boy, Valentor, makes a secret prayer to Satan in a desperate attempt to save his people. As if by magic, Valentor's prayer is the successful plea: fresh country ham, biscuits, eggs, gravy, sweet yams, cake, various types of sodas, wine, cotton candy, and balloons for grandma all fall from the sky like manna from Heaven. The villagers rejoice, not knowing the terrible fate bestowed upon their people via Valentor's sinister prayer.
The story skips ahead 20 years to a middle-aged Valentor, now a woodsmith, working in his father's coal mine. Ever the hard worker, Valentor stays in the mine long after the other sons have left. While alone in a dark cavern, he is visited by a demon, slightly resembling a yamaglanche, who delivers this powerful warning to Val:
“Lo, thou shalnt mix thy colors withst thy whites, lest thy laundered lot be soiled most foul! ...oh and your village is gunna burn down somethin' FIERCE, bro..”
This would become the most quoted passage of the film.
Chapter 2: Welcome to Ye Olde Thunderdome
Valentor, sensing some sort of unknown danger, sets out to save his fair village. He travels to the local tavern to hold open casting calls for knights (or more accurately, a call for "People Who Think Swords are Awesome"). Enter Harold and Kumar, the suave, hapless, charmingly befuddled heroes of the story. Like most great buddy cop films, Harold and Kumar are diametric opposites: Harold is a blood-thirsty barbarian, raping and pillaging everything in sight (yet still maintaining a striking feminine mystique), while Kumar is a poet and pacifist with an affinity for pre-op transsexuals. Valentor sees great promise in the clashing personality types, and takes the coach position, helping the pair train for knighthood in a well-edited montage, accompanied by an epic string and brass composition.
Once the montage finally fades, the duo (plus Val) set out to find the demon that prophesied the destruction of New Brunswick. Unfortunately for the trio, Valentor forgot to get a callback number... so they just kinda wait around a bit, until he decides to come back.
And they waited...
Chapter 3: THE ACTION!
Nope, still waiting...
Chapter 4: ... okay, NOW THE ACTION!
No, my mistake, it was a bush that looked like a hellbeast. Sorry about that...
Chapter 5: Um... Action?
YES! NOW COMES THE ACTION!
The demon appears to the knights and reveals that in order to save their village, Harold and Kumar must venture to the Castle of White, slay the dragon, rescue the princess and possibly battle with Satan himself. The idea frightens Kumar and Valentor; Harold is busy hunting rabbits and misses the demon's speech entirely.
Chapter 6: Was that really the action?
No. Okay, so now that Harold, Kumar, and the increasingly annoying Valentor know what must be done, the team ventures through the forest in search of the Castle of White. Along the way they do battle with a number of foes, including witches, grues, Roseanne, and The Thong Song. Harold does most of the fighting of course, while Kumar and Valentor juggle bowling pins as a form of distraction. And though bowling would not be invented for another 200 years or so, the two-pronged, three-person attack method works to the team's advantage.
Chapter 7: Half the theater is gone because that action sucked
After fighting a number of enemies large and small, Harold and Kumar finally reach the Castle of White. Over the course of the journey Valentor's heavy drinking and occasional methamphetamine usage got the better of him, causing a stroke right at the castle gates. In a touching display of solidarity, Harold and Kumar fight on, battling their way through the large castle, looking to stop the destruction of New Brunswick.
The pair finally reach the main chamber of the castle, wherein resides the great Satan. Harold, ready to attack, petitions the dark lord with questions, demanding answers to these questions, and welcoming the constructive criticism of said questions. Kumar writes a sonnet about Harold's bravery, noting that "...he is strong, brave and kind/and in women's clothes, I'd ram that behind."
After nailing all 95 Theses to the devil's chest, Harold did strike the ruler of the underworld, cleaving him from head to navel. Tragically, Harold struck before Satan could answer a single question, and New Brunswick did in fact burn to the ground.
Critical response and fanbase
“I've seen the top of the mountain, and by God, it looks a lot like Harold and Kumar: The Quest for the Castle of White!”
The release of H&K:QftCoW was met with a number of positive reviews from critics the world over. Genius filmmaker and amazing cocksucker Peter Bogdanovich hailed the film as "... a confusing tale of love, um... hate? Arson... Lots of shiny outfits."
The film's non-linear storytelling model would garner a widespread, relatively diverse fanbase (including charter members Quentin Tarantino and Akira Kurosawa). Every second Tuesday of the month the Fans of Harold (but not of Kumar or Valentor) Club meets to discuss the films lasting impact on society, and the individual lives of people everywhere, in perpetuity throughout the known universe.
Seeing the potential for massive bottom-line increases, the McDonald's Corporation struck a deal with the film's producers, ushering in a new era of advertising known as Cupvertising. Picking up on McDonald's promotional tactics, large plastic cups emblazoned with the images of movie stars began springing up across the nation. McDonald's chairperson Rupert Murdoch was quoted as saying "The Quest for the Castle of White is the best thing to happen to this country since the Automatic Cow-Slaughtering Machine!"
Notes & sources
- Randolf, James. Movie Playing at Film Booth, 5pm. McDonald's Corporate Film Festival and Supply Expo Events Guide, March 1994.
- NOTE: The filmmakers use the "hold out" method of storytelling to compensate for a lacking special effects budget.
- NOTE: This passage is taken almost directly from L. Ron Hubbard's short story compilation Saving the Elder Soul (with Homoerotic Healing)
- NOTE: The filmmakers were under the impression that an abbreviated title was somehow the hip way to promote the film. As a result, much of the film's promotional material features this acronym. Many movie goers were under the impression that the title was "H-and-K: Q-foot-Cow" until seeing the film's unabridged title card.
- Harland, Chester "Lord Marlitare". Club Meeting Moved from Sunday to Tuesday. FoH(bnoKoV) Fan-zine, June 1997.
- Tesh, Allan. "Harold and Kumar gain White Castle, Rupert and McDonald's gain Ivory Tower". Forbes Magazine, August 1995.