Return to Oz: Overview

Creepy Kids’ Movie #2: Return to Oz:
Overview

I picture someone pitching the story of this movie like this…

‘Kids generally love the The Wizard of Oz, so I think a sequel would be a perfect fit for the Walt Disney Company… PLUS, we’re going to have a script written by Lawrence Kasden, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark… AND we’re going to have the Oz creatures created by the Jim Henson Company… you know, the guy behind the Muppets! Sounds great, right?

‘But wait… let me tell you about the movie… Ok, so it’s a few years after the events of the first movie… Dorothy is now home and telling everyone about her adventures, so everyone thinks she’s crazy. So, of course they lock her up in an old insane asylum, where they want to give her shock therapy. As the doctors are about to flip the switch to shoot electricity into Dorothy’s brain, the lights go out… and then the fantastic adventure begins!

‘I know what you’re thinking, “an insane asylum and shock therapy? Isn’t that a little intense for a kid’s movie?” But don’t worry, another little girl rescues Dorothy and they both escape the hospital. However, in the process, they both fall into a river during a severe storm and the other girl disappears under the water, never to be seen again. Did she drown? Was she only in Dorothy’s mind? We don’t know. Then Dorothy wakes up in Oz… But of course when she gets there, she finds out that the yellow brick road has been torn up, the Emerald City is destroyed and all her friends from the last movie have been turned to stone. Sounds like fun, right? Seeing people and places that kids love destroyed won’t traumatize them, right?

‘So now Dorothy has to go on an adventure with new friends, but instead of having people dressed up (like the last movie), we’ll have creatures designed by the Jim Henson Company to give them that unreal, slightly creepy feel. This new group would then confront this insane gang called “The Wheelers”, an evil ruler called the “Goblin King” and a new “witch” who can remove her head and replace it with other heads. (I can even picture a scene where all the heads come to life as Dorothy is chased by the witch’s headless body!) Sounds great, right? Kids will love it!

‘The best part is the entire time you’re watching the movie, you’re thinking, “Is this really happening or did the electric shock work and everything is just in Dorothy’s mind as she sits drooling in a corner of the insane asylum!” Now if all this doesn’t sound like a fun kid’s movie, I don’t what is!

‘So what do you think, Mr. Disney Chairman? —Great! Where do we sign!’

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Tunnel of Terror

Creepy Kids’ Movie #1  (con’t): Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
Tunnel of Terror

I’m not sure what to say about this. In the middle of the movie, Wonka and his guests board a boat and proceed on a small trip that goes through a tunnel that is absolutely terrifying. At first it seems that a little out of control, but then it becomes completely crazy! Images of bugs, eyeballs, Slugworth and other disturbing images flash on the tunnel walls… and to make matters worse, Wonka appears completely insane! He starts by quietly reciting a poem that grows into a shout, all the while appearing to love the fact that his guests are losing their minds! (Just look at the reaction of Veruca Salt’s father. He even starts to repeat what Wonka is saying!) This scene is completely crazy and tells the viewer that Wonka is insane and probably shouldn’t be trusted.

What I don’t understand is why the guests don’t immediately leave the factory as soon as they get off the boat? I mean, do they remember that crazy boat ride? Is a lifetime supply of chocolate really worth dealing with a guy that may enjoy seeing each kid die?

Next post for Creepy Kids Movies will be a different film. So, this should be it for my review of scenes from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory… for now.

So, “good day, sir.”

“I said, GOOD DAY!”

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Slugworth

Creepy Kids’ Movie #1 (con’t): Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
Slugworth:

Do I really need to say anything about this character?!?! Just look at this guy! Slugworth is just creepy. I’m not sure if it’s the way he looks or the way he talks, but he just comes across as really scary. PLUS, he kind of reminds me of the bad buy from Raiders of the Lost Ark that burns his hand on the medallion and ends up getting his face melted off. Maybe it’s the fact that they are both men with glass, a creepy voice and appear to be Nazis. – Of course, Slugworth isn’t a Nazi, as far as we know, but it’s definitely implied that he is when Charlie first runs into him. Thus, Slugworth is instantly feared. It doesn’t help that his image appears in the tunnel scene.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: First Child Harmed

Creepy Kids’ Movie #1 (con’t): Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
Augustus Gloop (the first kill):

augustusUpon the first entrance of Willy Wonka, he pretends to have a limp and falls over, only to bounce up with a smile. So pretending to be handicapped is his idea of “funny.” From this moment the audience knows that there is something “off” about Wonka and that he can’t be trusted. However, the horrific realization that Wonka might actually be sadistic and crazy comes during the first stop on the tour, a room where “anything and everything” is edible… everything, that is, except the delicious chocolate river!

Sure, we’re told that Augustus Gloop is a selfish slop, but he doesn’t really do anything wrong at the factory. You might argue that Augustus drank from the chocolate river when he was told not to, but Wonka actually never warns anyone about the river until he spots Augustus drinking from it. THEN, he races toward Augustus, yelling at him not to drink from the river. One can actually argued that by doing this, Wonka causes Augustus to fall into it! What makes this scene especially disturbing is that Wonka does nothing but watch as Augustus appears to struggling for air under the chocolate while he’s being pulled toward a pipe.

Now, in the 2005 remake, Augustus swirls around the pipe above water… err… chocolate… before becoming stuck in the pipe. Then the oompa-loompas come out while he’s still stuck in the pipe and sing, “Augustus Gloop will not be harmed.” Augustus even bobs his head to the song, as if he’s enjoying it, making the whole incident seem not so bad. While in the 1971 musical version, Augustus disappears under the chocolate until he appears stuck in the pipe, gasping for air and yelling for help. He is then pushed up into some sort of mixer, which appears to be full of chocolate, NEVER TO BE SEEN AGAIN. The oompa-loopas only then come out and sing a sing basically about how bad Augustus was and how he got what he deserved. Who would have thought a Tim Burton movie would actually be less creepy than a musical made in the 70s!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Overview

Creepy Kids’ Movie #1: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:
Overview

In this movie, famous, reclusive chocolate-maker (and possibly madman), Willy Wonka, sends out a limited number of golden tickets in their chocolate “Wonka” bars in order to invite children to tour his factory with one adult chaperone. The “survivor” of this tour would supposedly win a lifetime supply of chocolate and as the movie goes along the children one-by-one become caught in some sort of horrifying accident until only one remains.

Now the 21st century version (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) showed all the kids again at the end, physically changed by the incidents, but basically ok. While in the original, and far better, movie (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Facotry), each child became involved in an accident and then is never seen again! The only reassurances are some comments by Wonka about how each particular child “might be ok.” It’s as if a child is caught in a factory explosion and then the foreman just shrugs his shoulders and has a song sung to him about the incident. Now that’s creepy!

Of course by the end of both movies, Charlie Bucket wins the keys to the factory by managing to not get diced up in a ceiling’s propeller blades. Sounds like fun for the whole family, right?

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.

Welcome!

The Internet has a growing trend of people bad-mouthing things… especially movies. Everyone wants to be the first to say that something “sucks” and if enough Internet postings saying a movie is bad, readers begin to believe a movie is bad. (For example, the growing trend of hating the Star Wars movies… including the original movie trilogy.) I’m not saying people don’t have a right to dislike a movie, but there are just too many negative reviews out there. So, this blog was created in order to address movies that aren’t as bad as people remember, or that were not given the credit that they deserve, or that people haven’t seen in awhile and should see again.

After working in the editorial field for a number of years, I’ve had an increasing desire to writing something I’m more interested in. So, I’ve created this blog to express many of my thoughts and feelings about the movies I’ve seen in the past or have recently seen.

So, I hope whoever reads this finds some enjoyment out of it… or at least finds something that interests them.

Welcome!… and please enjoy!