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For a group as perennially ambitious as The Residents, it is not surprising that their many abandoned or unfinished projects would develop as interest as their vast catalog of completed works.

This page lists projects by The Residents which have been abandoned or left unfinished... for now.

Vileness Fats (1972-1976)

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Shooting Vileness Fats

Vileness Fats is an incomplete film project which was conceived and shot by The Residents between 1972 and 1976. Perhaps the most notorious of their unfinished works, Vileness Fats was two-thirds complete when the group abandoned it for multiple reasons in 1976.

The footage has since been re-edited into shorter video releases, including Whatever Happened To Vileness Fats? in 1984, and a seventeen minute "concentrate" on the Icky Flix DVD in 2001, and outtakes feature in the documentary Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents and its promotional materials, but much of the material shot for the film remains unseen. Further footage will feature in the group's upcoming feature film Triple Trouble, framed by new footage shot by the group in 2016 and 2020.

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Six Things To A Cycle ballet (1976)

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Fingerprince photo session outtake, 1976

In the mid 1970s The Residents became acquainted with French dancer Maurice Bejart, who had used their music as part of a dance piece he had performed on a barge moving down the canals of Venice.

The Residents began to plan a collaboration with Bejart, composing a ballet titled "Six Things To A Cycle" which told the story of "a primitive humanoid" who is "consumed by his self-created environment only to be replaced by a new creature, still primitive, still faulty, but destined to rule the world just as poorly".

The ballet was never produced, however a truncated version was featured on The Residents' 1977 album Fingerprince, as a seventeen minute suite which occupies the entirety of the album's second side. Excerpts had also been performed live by the group at their Oh Mummy! show in June 1976.

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Duck Stab! film (1978)

Bridgit Terris in the unfinished Duck Stab! film (from the "Melon Collie Lassie" music video)

Around 1978, when The Residents were preparing to release their Duck Stab! EP, The Cryptic Corporation asked photographer and filmmaker Graeme Whifler to produce a number of short films based on the songs from the EP. Whifler began shooting footage with Bridgit Terris, a disabled man known to Whifler,[1][2] who is said to have lived his life under the impression he was the French actress Brigitte Bardot.

Whifler expanded his concept for the Duck Stab! short films into a proposal for a full-length feature film, working with The Residents for at least a short time with this in mind;[1] however The Cryptic Corporation were not particularly interested in the idea, feeling that it would cost a lot of money, and that they had no way of marketing a feature film.[2] In addition, Terris left San Francisco part-way through filming to live with his mother, leaving only a small amount of footage (as well as a number of photographs taken by Whifler of Terris at the bus station preparing to leave the city) to work with.[1]

The Duck Stab! short films were ultimately abandoned entirely; however a small amount of the footage, alongside a number of still photomontage images featuring Whifler's photographs of Terris, were edited by Whifler and the group into a music video for the song "Hello Skinny",[1] which premiered in April 1980.

Decades later, filmmaker Don Hardy came across the unused Duck Stab! footage when assembling the 2015 documentary film Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents,[2] editing some of it into a music video for the group's song "Melon Collie Lassie" from the 1979 EP Babyfingers. This video was released as a bonus feature on the DVD release of the documentary.

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Eskimo Live (1979-1980, 1990)

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Design by Ron Davis for the abandoned Eskimo opera, 1992

The Residents had intended to turn their acclaimed 1979 "musical documentary" album Eskimo into their first live tour, but abandoned this idea, first in favor of a mooted "10th Anniversary Show" (only briefly rehearsed by the group, it would have featured a suite of tracks from Eskimo), and then The Mole Show, which ultimately became their debut live tour, running from April 1982 to October 1983.

In 1992 The Residents began developing a live opera adaptation of the album, even commissioning artist Ron Davis to design and create stage sets, however the idea was abandoned before production of the show began in full.

To this day Eskimo has never been performed live by The Residents; the group did however realize their long-held desire to adapt the album to a visual format with the 2002 release of the 5.1 surround sound remix on DVD, accompanied by a slideshow of still images depicting the album's stories (supposedly derived from photographs taken by the group's late mentor N. Senada on his Arctic expedition in the mid-1970s), alongside explanatory text from the original album liner notes.

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The 10th Anniversary Show (1982)

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For their 10th Anniversary in 1982, The Residents began conceiving what would have been their first live tour; a retrospective performance featuring selected tracks from their catalog of albums.

This touring concept got as far as rehearsals, before the group abandoned the concept in favor of what would become The Mole Show, a far more elaborate and narrative-driven performance which the group toured across America and Europe between 1982 and 1983. They would ultimately enact a retrospective concept for their second tour, The 13th Anniversary Show, between 1985 and 1987.

Live-in-the-studio rehearsals of material intended for this abandoned tour were released on the cassette Assorted Secrets in 1984, with further recordings from these sessions being released on its CD reissue in 2000. Additional outtakes from these rehearsals have been issued on a number of the group's pREServed expanded and remastered album releases.

Related projects

Mark of the Mole video game (1983)

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Mark of the Mole Atari 2600 game prototype, 1983

In 1983, Residents fan and video game developer Greg Easter approached the group with an idea to adapt their concept album Mark of the Mole into a music-based video game for the Atari 2600.

The game, designed to teach the player "perfect pitch", was abandoned before it could be completed or released. Some footage and screenshots from the unfinished game have circulated, and at least one prototype is known to exist, but the full prototype has not yet surfaced online.

The Mole Trilogy - Parts 3, 5 and 6 (1983-1992?)

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In 1981, The Residents began a trilogy of concept albums with the release of Mark of the Mole. The trilogy then became a tetralogy with odd-numbered albums telling the story and even-numbered albums presenting the music of the fictional cultures depicted within, and in 1982 the second volume, The Tunes of Two Cities was released, followed by the fourth, The Big Bubble, in 1985.

Though a handful of pieces of music thought to be from the sessions of the unreleased Part Three have surfaced (on the 2019 pREServed box set Mole Box and the RSD EP Mole Suite), it has never been confirmed how much work was completed on the remaining three installments before The Residents abandoned the trilogy.

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Man (1983-1986)

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The Residents began working on a project tentatively titled Man in 1983, with a concept focused around men, and the male perspective. The sessions were brought to a halt in 1985, when the group began production on The Big Bubble, the fourth installment of their ongoing (and soon to be abandoned) Mole Trilogy, but resulted in the release of "This Is A Man's Man's Man's World" in 1984.

The group returned to this project in 1986, but their enthusiasm for the concept had lost most (if not all) of its momentum by this point. Two tracks recorded during these later sessions, "Siren Song (of the Shrunken Head)" and "Ugly Beauty", were later featured on Our Tired, Our Poor, Our Huddled Masses. Its remains can be found today scattered through "For Elsie", "Safety Is A Cootie Wootie" and other non-album recordings.

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Santa Dog '84 (1984)

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"Santa Dog '84" cover art by Rex Ray

In 1984, The Residents began to work on a new version of their 1972 song "Fire" (or "Santa Dog"), to release as a new single, similar to 1978's re-recording "Santa Dog '78".

At this time, the group intended to revisit "Santa Dog" every six years to demonstrate their development, however they abandoned "Santa Dog '84" when they felt they had not changed enough since the last rendition to warrant a new version. The next attempt to record "Santa Dog" would be in 1988 with "Santa Dog 88" single, which included the unfinished, instrumental demo version from 1984.

The 1984 version is also featured on the 2019 Klanggalerie reissue of the compilation album Refused., and was privately released in an extremely limited edition on a number of lathe-cut 7" singles by noted Residents collector Jannis Tsakalis.

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The American Composer Series Volumes 3-10 (1984-1986)

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Around the time they first decided to abandon The Mole Trilogy, The Residents began work on another ambitious, long-term conceptual series of releases - The American Composer Series, in which they would reinterpret the work of twenty American composers over ten albums.

The first two volumes, George & James (pairing George Gershwin and James Brown) and Stars & Hank Forever (featuring John Philip Sousa and Hank Williams Sr.) were released in 1984 and 1986 respectively, but no further volumes were released.

Other albums in the series were known to have been developed and even at least partially recorded, including the projected third album in the series, The Trouble With Harrys (featuring Harry Partch and Harry Nilsson), and an album pairing the compositions of Bob Dylan and Barry White tentatively titled Bob & The Blob. Part of a track from the latter can be heard mixed with another outtake from the series ("Space Is The Place" by Sun Ra) in the track "Daydream In Space", released on the UWEB compilation Daydream B-Liver.

Related projects

Mark of the Mole novel (1985)

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A sample from an unpublished novel based on The Residents' album Mark of the Mole was featured in the 1993 book Uncle Willie's Highly Opinionated Guide To The Residents, credited to T.D. Wade.

The novel is said to have been completed by Wade in 1985 but to date has never been released, aside from the short excerpt featured in the Highly Opinionated Guide.

Related projects

Science Fiction's Greatest Hits (1985)

Still from Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers

In 1985, The Residents developed a concept for a series of music video releases, entitled Science Fiction's Greatest Hits. Each video was to be a two to four minute piece edited from classic 1950s and 1960s science fiction films.

These clips would be computer enhanced and coloured, with a new song recorded specifically for each one. As a demonstration of the concept, the band created Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers using scenes from Fred F. Sears's 1956 film of the same name.

Unfortunately negotiations for any further installments in the series fell through due in large part to the expense in securing the rights to the films.

Related projects

Monkey On My Back (1989)

In 1989, Uncle Willie reported to UWEB fan club subscribers on an album The Residents were secretly recording entitled Monkey On My Back. The Residents felt that the release of this information spoiled the conditions under which they wanted to record the album, and they abandoned it entirely as a result.

The album as described in the Uncle Willie article was similar to what was ultimately released in 1990 as Our Finest Flowers.

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The Teds (1993)

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The Teds is a project developed by The Residents in the early 1990s, originally as a film and performance piece. The project was said by Hardy Fox to revolve around "two guys that together made one person". The film was to have been co-directed by the group with David Lynch.[3] In 1993, The Residents released a limited edition EP entitled Prelude To "The Teds", featuring four songs intended as an introduction to this project, however The Teds itself would remain shelved for almost another thirty years.

In 2020 Italian independent comics magazine Capek approached The Cryptic Corporation,asking for a contribution from The Residents. The group submitted a revised script for The Teds, and hired Sergio Poncione to illustrate it.[3]

Related projects

That Slab Called Night (1994)

That Slab Called Night was the provisional title of an album The Residents were (ostensibly) recording following the release of Gingerbread Man in 1994. The project was said to be a concept album about the effects that darkness and shadow can have on human perception.

In 1995, the group received an offer to record the soundtrack for the Discovery Channel nature documentary series Hunters: The World of Predators and Prey, a project which ultimately "usurped" the material they had recorded for That Slab Called Night.

The album was first mentioned to fans in 2007, with the release of the album Night of the Hunters - a new project supposedly created from the original recordings made for That Slab Called Night.

Related projects

Tales From The Crypt CD-ROM soundtrack (1996)

The Cryptkeeper by Jim Ludtke

In August 1996, The Residents agreed to compose and perform the musical score for a CD-ROM video game based on the horror anthology TV series Tales From The Crypt, which was being developed by iNSCAPE.[4] The game (designed by Jim Ludtke)[5] was scheduled for release in Fall 1997.[6]

It is not known how much work The Residents completed for this project; they were "kicked off" the project after only two months as the developers decided to use in-house composers for the soundtrack, in an attempt to avoid exceeding the project's budget.[7][4] The game itself was ultimately never released as iNSCAPE was bought out by Graphix Zone, who filed for bankruptcy soon thereafter.[6]

Bad Day On The Midway TV pilot (1998)

The Residents announced in early 1998 that they had signed a deal with David Lynch's The Picture Factory and Ron Howard's Imagine production companies, to produce a two-hour TV pilot based on their 1996 CD-ROM game Bad Day On The Midway.[8]

If produced, the pilot was expected to air in Fall 1999;[9] however, negotiations with Touchstone Pictures were suspended in September 1998 when Lynch was contracted to do a new film. Both Touchstone and The Cryptic Corporation felt that Lynch was the only man for the job, and thus decided to shelve the project until further notice.[8]

I Murdered Mommy! CD-ROM (1998)

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I Murdered Mommy! cast of characters

I Murdered Mommy! was going to be The Residents' follow up to their acclaimed 1996 CD-ROM game Bad Day On The Midway, but was abandoned part-way through development.

The Residents had completed preliminary design work as well as some soundtrack music, which was released in a limited edition as I Murdered Mommy! in 2004.

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Freak Show DVD (2003 - 2004)

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A still from the unfinished Freak Show film

From early 2003 to March of 2004, The Residents and Jim Ludtke worked on a DVD adaptation of the group's 1990 album Freak Show, in a similar vein to their Eskimo DVD released in 2002.

The Freak Show DVD was to be fully animated in CGI, taking advantage of Ludtke's talent for computer animation. It was announced through The Residents' official website in October of 2003 with a Spring 2004 release date.[10]

The project was abandoned following the tragic and sudden death of Jim Ludtke in March 2004. The Residents instead began work on Commercial DVD, which features a tribute to Ludtke in the form of the "Loss of Innocence" music video. Later on, unused audio and visuals from the project was used for the Timmy web series.

A few finished excerpts from the film were released on the 2006 Freak Show DVD, The Theory of Obscurity DVD, and on Free! Weird!

Related projects

Residents with Orchestra (2008)

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In December 2007 The Cryptic Corporation announced that The Residents were considering a live performance project where they would be backed by an orchestra, in association with an unspecified European music festival.

However, these plans were ultimately shelved only six days after being announced, due to schedule conflicts and the prohibitive expense of hiring an orchestra for the show.

Bunny Boy sequel (2009)

A number of tracks recorded in 2009 for an abandoned sequel to The Bunny Boy were later released on the Ozan, Arkansas, and Ozark albums.

Related projects

Duck Stab! Reimagined (2012)

Around the time of the 35th anniversary of the release of Duck Stab!/Buster & Glenin 2012, The Residents began composing sketches for a "reimagining" of the classic album, but abandoned this idea before developing it any further.

These sketches were released on the D*ck S*ab 35th anniversary compilation through RSD in 2012 and some later featured on the pREServed reissue of the original album.

Related projects

Meet The Residents 40th anniversary re-recording (2013)

Similarly to the unfinished Duck Stab! Reimagined project, it seems that The Residents began work on a new version of their debut album in the lead-up to its 40th anniversary in 2013.

Excerpts from this project were first released on the Bobuck EP, Clank Clank Clank, with more appearing on the 2018 pREServed edition of Meet The Residents.

Related projects

See also

External links and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 ""The idea of even bringing Bridgit in, ultimately that came from a film idea that The Residents were working on... with Graeme at that time, and the project was eventually abandoned. And so ultimately he took some of the footage from that abandoned project and then shot new stuff with Bridgit and made Hello Skinny out of it. But I think there are photos of Skinny - Bridgit sitting at... they used to have these TV desks at bus stations, and you could sit down in a chair and it would have a TV in front of  you, and you could put change in it, and you could watch TV for fifteen minutes... while you were waiting for the bus. And so there are photos like that in there... And the thing was, Bridgit was waiting for the bus to go home to live with his mother. He had been living in San Francisco, I think he ultimately just kind of considered his life was a failure, he couldn't make it, he couldn't fit in, and so he was going home to live with his mother. And so Graeme went to the bus station with him and shot all these pictures before he got on the bus and disappeared." - Homer Flynn on Cacophony Podcast - Obscure Music for Obscure People, Episode 1 - "Homer Flynn on The Residents and Duck Stab!", January 13th 2022
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Cryptic Corporation wanted Graeme Whifler to shoot several videos based on Duck Stab! songs. And so he started working on it, and then ultimately Graeme kind of expanded that idea into becoming a feature film. And then ultimately, that wasn't really what Cryptic was interested in. You know, it was going to cost a lot of money, and we really felt like what would work for us in terms of the market at that time was really music video... that was the coming thing. We just felt like we had no way to market a feature length film, it just seemed like a project that wasn't going to work for us. So ultimately, once again, a certain amount of stuff did get shot for it, and then ultimately that became Hello Skinny... but there was more stuff shot. And the film, the Theory of Obscurity documentary film, Don Hardy was the filmmaker. I worked very closely with Don. I like Don, he's an interesting guy. And Don gathered up all this film and video material that The Residents had shot, and Don found that. He's the one that went in and edited some of that existing footage into the Melon Collie Lassie music video." - Homer Flynn on Cacophony Podcast - Obscure Music for Obscure People, Episode 1 - "Homer Flynn on The Residents and Duck Stab!", January 13th 2022
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Teds - In Comic Form", The Residents' News Machine, July 24th 2020 (archived via archive.org)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Tzoq, "Residential Announcements", RZWeb, August 28th 1996 (via archive.org)
  5. Jim Ludtke at ClickMedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 Spooky Gal, "Footage leaked of shelved Tales From The Crypt video game", Spooky Gal's Corner, November 5th 2018
  7. Tzoq, "Tales From The Crypt CD-Rom Soundtrack (cancelled)" at RZWeb (via archive.org)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tzoq, "Bad Day on the Midway TV Series", RzWeb (via archive.org)
  9. Tzoq, "Residential Announcements", RZWeb, March 26th 1998 (via archive.org)
  10. Big Brother, "Sneak Peek - Spring 2004", The Residents' Official News Blog and Website Wrapper, October 12th 2003 (archived via archive.org)
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