Meet The Residents Wiki
Meet The Residents Wiki

Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents is a 2015 documentary film by Don Hardy, Josh Keppel, and Barton Bishoff. The film interviews all members (past and present) of The Cryptic Corporation, as well as various friends, collaborators and well-known fans from over the band's long history.

The production of the film involved the digitization of The Residents' vast archives of film and sound (on multiple, long-outdated mediums), a massive undertaking which was partly crowdfunded by Don Hardy and The Residents on Indiegogo.

Theory of Obscurity premiered at SXSW Film Festival in March 2015, and was later released on streaming services, DVD and Blu-Ray. A digital-only soundtrack album was released to crowdfund contributors in December 2014.


Theory of Obscurity tells the story of the renegade sound and video collective known as The Residents, a story that spans 40 years and is clouded in mystery.

The film takes viewers inside this incredibly private group, with unprecedented access to their archives and their recent 40th anniversary tour.


In order to make the film, the production team began a detailed and expensive process of digitizing and restoring The Residents' vast archives of sound and visual media, an operation which was partially crowdfunded via a campaign on Indiegogo.

This effort resulted in the film containing a large amount of previously unseen outtakes from the group's video work, including music videos directed by the group's former collaborator Graeme Whifler. Whifler (who was not otherwise involved in the making of the documentary) has since publicly stated that he feels he was not appropriately credited for his work featured in the film, and that director Don Hardy is trying to take credit for Whifler's work with The Residents.

The documentary is also notable as being the only public release of any material from the group's 1970 demo tape Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor, with a short extract of the title track being heard near the beginning of the film. Other than this short excerpt, nothing from this demo has ever been released, as The Residents are known to dislike it.


In order of appearance

  • Molly Harvey (Performer, Pre-School Teacher)
  • Joe Hasselvander (Musician - Raven)
  • Les Claypool (Musician - Primus)
  • Matt Groening (Creator Of The Simpsons)
  • Barbara London (Curator - Museum of Modern Art, 1977 - 2013)
  • Chris Cutler (Musician - Henry Cow)
  • Mickey Melchiondo (Musician - Ween)
  • Rob Crow (Musician - Pinback)
  • Jim Knipfel (Author)
  • Penn Jillette (Illusionist, Comedian, Actor, Inventor and Best-Selling Author, Narrator of The Mole Show)
  • Joshua Brody (Musician)
  • Roland Sheehan (Musician)
  • Homer Flynn (Secretary of The Cryptic Corporation)
  • Hardy Fox (President of The Cryptic Corporation)
  • Jay Clem (Treasurer of The Cryptic Corporation, 1976-82)
  • John Kennedy (President of The Cryptic Corporation, 1976-83)
  • Maggie Swaton (Performer)
  • Gary Panter (Artist)
  • Leigh Barbier (Artist)
  • Jerry Harrison (Musician - Talking Heads)
  • Steve Seid (Video Curator Pacific Film Archive)
  • Graeme Whifler (Film Director)
  • Eric Drew Feldman (Musician - Captain Beefheart, Pixies)
  • Ty Roberts (Co-Founder of Gracenote)
  • Josh Freese (DEVO, The Vandals)
  • Adam Weller (Artist)
  • Paulie Kraynak (Bach Is Dead Discography, Perdantic Residents Nerd)
  • Hein Fokker (Tour Manager for The Residents)
  • Carla Fabrizio (Musician)
  • Dr. B. Kim Andrews (Residents Lab Rat)
  • Chris Combs ( Contributor)
  • Michael Nash (Former Bigwig at Warner Music Group)
  • Gerald Casale (Musician - DEVO)
  • Mark Siegel (Creator of the Eyeball)
  • Dave Edwardson (Musician- Neurosis)
  • Glenn Max (Concert Producer)
  • Nolan Cook (Musician)
  • Brian Poole (Musician - Renaldo & The Loaf)
  • Tom Timony (Head of Security for The Mole Show)
  • Laurie Amat (Performer)


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The Theory of Obscurity Soundtrack was one of the rewards offered exclusively to donors on the crowdfunding page and was provided as a single 51-minute digital audio file, a "concentrate" mix of tracks featured in the film. It notably does not include any excerpt of the early demo "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor", despite it featuring early in the film.

See also

External links and references

Rustycoathangers-painting-transparent-sml.png Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor

Side A
"Improvisation" · "One Boy" / "Kids" · "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor" · "Improvisation"

Side B
"Improvisation" · "Bringing in the Sheaves" · "Satisfaction" / "When Johnny Comes Marching" · "Let It Be" · "Rusty Coathangers for the Doctor" (reprise) · "Bo Diddley" · "Yesterday"

The Delta Nudes · Roland Sheehan

Related works
"I Hear Ya Got Religion" · "Moonman" · The Ballad of Stuffed Trigger · Theory of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents · Leftovers Again?!

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