Return to Oz: Princess Mombi

Creepy Kids’ Movies #2 (con’t): Return to Oz:
Princess Mombi

Return to Oz_Mombi2

How do you top the Wicked Witch of the West, who many children say they were scared of? How about a princess who can remove her head and replace it with others in order to stay young? Princess Mombi is the most terrifying thing about Return to Oz. The viewer not only get’s to see Princess Mombi appear with different faces, but we also get to see her without any head at all. In addition, the princess tells Dorothy that she wants to keep her in a tower until she matures so that she can cut off Dorothy’s head and add it to her collection! If that wasn’t scary enough, the viewers (and Dorothy) are shown a room where the princess keeps all these heads! Surprisingly, that wasn’t even the scariest part. Continue reading

Return to Oz: The Wheelers, the Nome King and changes to OZ

Creepy Kids’ Movies #2 (con’t): Return to Oz:
The Wheelers, the Nome King and changes to OZ

Before I first saw Return to Oz as a kid, I only knew three things: it wasn’t a musical (which I was ok with), it was made by Disney and some members of the Jim Henson Company (which I both loved!), and that it looked very different then The Wizard to Oz. Once it started, I disturbed by the insane asylum beginning, but I was still going with it because once Dorothy got to Oz, everything has to be better. I mean remember how colorful and fun Oz was in the last movie, even when it was a little scary? So, things had to get better once Dorothy got to Oz… right? Even if I didn’t get the hint from the asylum scenes, I should have suspected something when Dorothy’s balloon landed in a desert that can kill you… but she was with a talking chicken, so, really, how bad could the rest of the movie be… then gets to Emerald City…

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Oh My God! Dorothy arrives at Emerald City only to find it destroyed, and the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion are turned to stone! PLUS, Oz no longer seems to have the lush colors it had in The Wizard of Oz (an issue Disney would later get right in Oz the Great and Powerful.) It’s as if the makers of Return to Oz said, “Remember everything and everyone you loved in The Wizard of Oz movie? Well, it’s all gone! They’re all dead!” Now, I had previously seen the original Clash of the Titans and vividly remembered the Medusa scene, so what I knew was that once someone turns to stone, there’s no turning them back. (It turns out, I was wrong, but it was pretty traumatizing at first!)

Image     If all that wasn’t enough, the Wheelers arrive! These guys are creepy as hell! They wore these frightening helmets with faces in them, spoke in a creepy, high-pitched voice, and proceed to chase Dorothy around the city. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was so afraid of them… I mean they have wheels for hands and feet. What could they have really done if they had actually caught Dorothy? Well, I believe at the time, I thought maybe the Wheelers were the ones who turned everyone to stone, so I was afraid of them making contact with Dorothy!

Image     The movie continues the theme of turning people into inanimate objects later in the movie when Dorothy and friends meet the Nome King. However, this time, instead of turning people into statues, he turns them into trinkets in an over-sized “treasure” room. The Nome King disturbed me because he would look at Dorothy with these confident, uncaring eyes as he sent Dorothy’s friends one at a time into another room/cave, never to be seen again, before sending Dorothy in next. It turns out each person was turned into knick-knacks after making incorrect guesses inside the other room. The whole scene disturbed me so much that for weeks after seeing this movie, I wandered around my house picking green items and saying, “Oz!” (Similar to how Dorothy tries to turn her friends back to normal.)

Image     The only thing that should have been reassuring is that the Scarecrow returns in this movie for a little bit, but he looks very different. Whereas the in The Wizard of Oz, Scarecrow looks very human, he looks very different in Return to Oz. This time, the moviemakers make him look a little more like a large puppet. As a result, his unblinking eyes would just stare at everyone, making the overall affect quite unsettling, rather than reassuring.

So, with the inclusion of an insane asylum (complete with shock therapy), a creepier Scarecrow, people turning to stone or knick-knacks, and the Wheelers, it is clear to see why I’ve included this movie on my list of Creepy Kids’ Movies. However, the creepiest, part of the movie I have yet to address. So… more to come!

Creepy Kids’ Movies

Was it a cruel joke… or did the film makers just not realize? Everyone has seen at least one of them: So-called kids movies or “family” movies with something that really stuck with you, something that warped your childhood, something that told you that the movie you are watching just might not turn out ok… and even if it did, it left you feeling… disturbed.

So, I am going to be posting some family films with at least one disturbing scene that leaves and lasting impact. (I’m not going to limit this to a “Top 10” list or anything, because I hope to continue to add to it as other movies come to mind.)

Creepy Kids’ Movies is going to be an ongoing compilation of film titles that tend to be thought of as “kids movies,” or “family films,” but that have elements in them that tend to be scary, unsettling, disturbing, dark and… well… creepy. These “creepy” elements may have been intentional by the filmmakers or completely accidental, as if they didn’t realize how unsettling a moment would be to kids. As much as those scenes may have disturbed me as a kid… I also loved them! I hope others do too.