Cinema Toast: Showtime anthology will reinvent public domain movies

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Showtime has ordered ten episodes of an anthology series called Cinema Toast, which is described as a "post-modernist reinvention of older movies that turns pre-existing imagery from the public domain on its head to tell brand new unique stories". Each episode of the show will be built around footage from public domain movies like Night of the Living Dead and Beast from Haunted Cave, but the directors are using that footage to tell their own stories.

Directors on Cinema Toast include Jeff Baena, Jay Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Alex Ross Perry, Marta Cunningham, Aubrey Plaza, Numa Perrier, Jordan Firstman, Kris Rey, and David Lowery. Showtime didn't share the details on every episode, but did reveal that 

Plaza's psychological thriller “Quiet Illness” pieces together footage of Loretta Young to create a portrait of an emotionally tortured modern woman.

Cunningham’s “Attack of the Karens” shows just how timely the classic “Night of the Living Dead” is when re-contextualized within this last year in America. 

In “After the End,” Eslyn injects the beloved monster movie “Beast From Haunted Cave” with a mumblecore comedy sensibility. 

And with “Report on the Canine Auto-Mechanical Soviet Threat,” Perry creates a surreal journey from Soviet rarities about a young boy who is immersed in a new reality inhabited by talking cars and telepathic dogs.

Episodes will feature vocal performances from the likes of Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, Fred Armisen, John Early, Christina Ricci, Megan Mullally, Chloe Fineman, and Chris Meloni.

Cinema Toast will cover a range of genres over the course of its ten episodes, including horror, comedy, and drama.

Produced by Duplass Brothers Productions and Shuli Harel, the show is executive produced by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Mel Eslyn, Tyler Romary, and creator Jeff Baena. Baena had this to say about his creation:

When the pandemic first hit and all paths to traditional production seemed unlikely at best, I racked my brain to find a way to still create. That’s when the idea hit me to re-dub and re-shape old material into something transcendent that extends beyond just a comedic curio."

All ten episodes of Cinema Toast will premiere on Showtime on demand streaming and partner platforms on April 20th.

Source: Variety

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.