12 Films That Had Surprising Commercial Consequences

11.This Is Spinal Tap: The Amp That Goes Up To Eleven Actually Exists


Not only is it a stroke of marketing genius but it's the one piece of movie merchandise that no film buff or musician should be without. In one of the rockumentary's most quoted scenes, guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) is giving filmmaker Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) a guided tour of his stage equipment. When their attention is turned to the amplifiers, Tufnel is quick to point out a rather special example- and, in particular, its volume controls. ''The numbers all go to eleven'', he explains. And sure enough, they do. DiBergi acknowledges that the volume knob on an amp traditionally runs to ten - so why does this one go to eleven? ''Well it's one louder, isn't it?'' Tufnel replies. Naturally, it wasn't long before life imitated art; and with real bands and musicians seeking out such customised amps (and Eddie Van Halen alleged to have been the first), the above conversation was doubtless imitated in many a backstage room. But Marshall, the company that provided amplifiers for the film, didn't stop there. Having introduced the JCM900 in 1990 - whose knobs are marked from 0 to 11- they consequently killed the joke cold by releasing an amp with dials running from 0 to 20. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009, a limited edition of the DVD was released; which included a customised, fully-working Marshall Amp iPod speaker (with the dials tuned, of course, all the way to eleven). Next time you're browsing the IMDb, be sure to take a closer look at the This is Spinal Tap star rating...

Yorkshireman (hence the surname). Often spotted sacrificing sleep and sanity for the annual Leeds International Film Festival. For a sample of (fairly) recent film reviews, please visit whatsnottoblog.wordpress.com.