Wicked Wednesday: Digging up the Marrow (2014)

I am a sucker for a good mockumentary. Blame it on years at journalism school, whatever. I love them. Any I couldn’t have asked for a better one than with Digging up the Marrow.

Digging Up the Marrow opens with a selection of inteviews with icons like Lloyd Kaufman, Tony Todd and Don Coscarelli talking about monsters. Where do monsters come from? Are they real? Do we with they were real? Maybe monsters aren’t just in the fictional Tromaville, but are lurking somewhere in our own world – somewhere hidden.

Director/writer Adam Green is also a man obsessed with monsters, so he’s filled with glee when he shares the notebook he was sent to his camera crew. The notebook, sent from a man named William Dekker, contains notes and illustrations about a world where monsters really exist.

The former police detective allows Adam and his crew to go to his house and make a documentary about him. In the first interview, he explains that there is a world beneath ours containing monsters. The world, which Dekker calls the Marrow, is filled with the “reject” children that had disappeared.

Dekker explains that when he was a child, he saw a man with a forked tongue and other reptilian features. And since then, he has kept an eye out for other monsters in various entrances to the Marrow.

After the interview, Adam sees a door with a large lock attached. Dekker explains that it’s his storage room, and that no one can enter. Which is entirely not shady OR creepy!

Dekker allows Adam and his cameraman to join him in a wooded cemetery where one of the gates to the Marrow exists. They’re told to leave before sunset, but the men ignore the policeman and set up camp for the night. While waiting, they shoot the shit about their married lives and children. Dekker seems particularly interested in the stories about the cameraman’s sons.

But before they can get really cozy, William says he sees something. But without night vision or a camera light, the camera doesn’t pick up on anything.

In the following interview, Dekker tells Adam about some of the monsters. He explains that there are different species of monster, and he has named them. He has many illustrations of the monster, saying that an illustrator did them for him. But when he pulls out one of a different style, he briefly mentions that his son drew it. But when Adam presses for more details, Dekker avoids answering them.

Their next excursion into the woods is significantly more successful. William tells Adam and the cameraman that the monster is right in front of them, and becomes incredibly angry when the camera light is turned on to get a good glimpse of it.

Adam and his team finally have the footage that they want. The monster defies all creature make-up effects. But when Adam shows it around, no one seems as convinced as he is.

After angering Dekker with the camera light incident, they tell him that they plan to set up cameras around the woods with a fake street light. The camera will be unobtrusive, so not to disturb the monsters (Dekker’s greatest fear). The new rigs allow them to get more footage of the monsters.

But it’s still not enough to convince anyone else, especially Adam’s own production team. He eventually has to leave for a month to go on a convention tour where he learns that he’s the absolute last director that Dekker has attempted to work with. The man had apparently gone to everyone with his story about the Marrow, and was turned down by every single one of them.

Angered that he had been lied to, Adam tests Dekker’s honesty by asking him why Dekker chose to work with him. The answers are both evasive and in conflict with what other directors and writers told Adam at the cons.

Even more, Dekker’s answers and stories begin to become more unbelievable. He tells Adam that monsters love pancakes (because everyone loves pancakes), that he’d seen a monster “pick up” a college boy who was later found mutilated beyond recognition. Adam even flies to Boston to check up on Dekker’s police background, only to discover that no one at the Boston PD has even heard of Dekker.

Later, one of the cameramen show Adam footage from the camera in the woods of Dekker turning the camera off. He forgets (or does he do it on purpose?) to turn off the final camera. In the footage, he’s seen to be taking a spoon and doing something in the entrance of the Marrow. Whether it’s digging something or feeding something, the grainy footage doesn’t show much. But it does show Dekker crying alone afterwards.

Enraged that Dekker has been hiding things from him, Adam decides to go out to the Marrow without Dekker. He begins to form an idea that Dekker’s son plays a role in the going-ons.

Adam and his cameraman go to the hole alone and seemingly find nothing. Adam shouts at the entrance, and his boot is grabbed off his foot. While trying to get the boot back, they’re surprised by the arrival of a furious Dekker. He tells them off for being so invasive and loud, but suddenly they are attacked by a horde of monsters.

Adam attempts to get footage by himself, but he reluctantly leaves when more monsters are heard. They all climb into the car, but their exit is blocked by one of Dekker’s monsters, a sort of Jack-o-lantern, hooded creature who unveils his many appendages when his hood is removed.

They eventually are allowed to leave the cemetery. Back at Dekker’s house, the man in nearly hysterical. He tells them that he needs to go into the Marrow. Adam and the cameraman agree to leave only after he agrees to meet them again at sunrise.

But when they show up at his house that morning, he doesn’t answer the door. When Adam talks to his neighbour, he learns that no one has lived there in over a year. They then go inside the house and find it empty of all of Dekker’s evidence and drawings.

They enter his “storage closet” and find newspapers laid out on the floor, and a pile of shit…and chains hanging from the walls. When they reach the Marrow entrance, they find that it’s been closed.

The next footage doesn’t come until over a month later, a exhausted-looking Adam says that he never heard from Dekker again. He says that the camera 2, which was stolen soon after it was installed in the woods, had been returned to him. He then plays the footage, which is of the inside of the marrow.

Dekker is seen naked inside a cage, repeating that monsters are not real and that the Marrow doesn’t exist. The camera then cuts to someone walking into a house and into a bedroom, which is revealed to be Adam’s. The camera is set down on his bedside, then Adam and his wife wake to a loud, monstrous screech.

It’s an ambitious mockumentary, Digging up the Marrow. And most of the time, it works. Adam Green was a director I never gravitated towards, but this man has won my full attention after watching this. And all the stars for Ray Wise, who is a goddamn national treasure.

Our obsession and fascination with horror has to raise ethical questions. What are monsters, really? Are they the creatures with multiple-appendages and deformed bodies? Or is it the parents who reject their own children? Or it might even be us. Those of us who revel in other people’s displeasure.

I appreciate Digging up the Marrow for both having a lot of fun with the audience while actually trying to pose questions to its audience. It’s one film I’ll easily recommend.

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Are You Afraid of the Dark? S2E3 “The Tale of Locker 22”

Oh season 2, you hit-and-miss little mess. “The Tale of Locker 22” is one of the most weirdly subdued episodes yet. We’ll not say it’s bad, but just incredibly “meh,” which isn’t a great thing, to be fair.

Kristen’s turn again, and the Midnight Society all awaits what outfit she’s going to wear. She arrives in a costume-shop “hippie” outfit that she claims she found in the attic. Her parents clothes, apparently. She tells the gang that the saying goes that we are doomed to repeat history’s mistakes if we don’t learn from them, but in her story – it’s the lessons of the present that are more important.

“The Tale of Locker 22” follows French transfer student Julia as she settles into her first day at her incredibly-large Canadian school. She has a pretty tough time of it. Her dusty old locker is miles away from anything else, the bullies target her immediately, and she’s pretty crap at chemistry.

All of her troubles attract the attention of assistant principal Mr Shaffner, who makes it a point to single her out. But she does manage to become friendly with a fellow classmate, Chris, who tries to take her under his wing.

But the worst thing about Julia’s first day at school is the hippie ghost girl following her around. She confides what she’s seen to Chris, thinking that she can trust him, but when she gets a prank call from the bullies that night, she knows he’s told someone.

The next day at school a beaded necklace falls from her locker. When she puts them on, she finds herself still in the familiar hallways of her school, but just filled with a bunch of stoners and hippies. The ’60s, right?

But the one clue she does spot is that her locker, grimy and old in the present, is brightly coloured and painted with a flower and the name Candy. A girl approaches Julia and begins to call her Candy, implying that Julia is living in Candy’s place.

Julia removes the necklace and finds herself back in the present. She finds Chris and asks for his help. Together they go back in time and find themselves face-to-face with a ’60’s version of Mr Shaffner, who is now the chemistry teacher. He tells Candy/Julia to hurry up as he’s offered to help her with an exam.

The same girl from Julia’s last visit to the past invites the two kids over to her house to listen to The White Album. Julia and Chris return to the present, and with their Beatles clue, they begin to dig through the school’s records.

They eventually learn that Candy died in 1968, the year The White Album came out. With enough adventures that day, Chris and Julia decide to part ways for the day.

Before leaving school, Chris speaks to an older teacher, who tells him that Candy was a sweet student who died in an fire caused by an explosion in the chemistry lab. Unbeknownst to Chris, silly Julia has decided to go back in time yet again.

Julia follows ’60’s Shaffner to the chemistry lab where he tells her to get on with her exam. She admits that she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. But the teach tells her that’s the point of the exam. Both are ignorant to the fact that the hose for the gas has rotted away, leaking gas into the room.

Candy appears to Chris in the present, alerting the boy to the fact that Julia is in trouble. He manages to get back in time, and stop the accident before it happens. He points out the rotten equipment to Mr Shaffner before making a get away with Julia.

The two students return to the present and find themselves face-to-face with a woman. She introduces herself as the assistant principal, Miss Warner. Chris and Julia realise that it’s Candy, and she’s been saved from her doom.

It’s a straight-forward one, this tale. If a bit basic. The hilariously bad ’60’s lingo is pretty fun. And I love that Are You Afraid of the Dark? interprets all students in the ’60’s as hippie stoners that say “peace” and “far out” all the time. But alas, it’s an episode that’s easy to move on from. Even the episode seems to know this, as the scenes from the Midnight Society are brief as well.

They all go around sharing their favourite slang terms leaving poor Frank with the dumbest one:

Highlight quotes of the episode:

“Neato!” – poor Frank

Wicked Wednesday: Mad Monster Party? (1967)

In our family, the Rankin/Bass holiday specials were a big deal.  My parents had tapped them onto VHSes for me and my sisters to watch during the holidays. The Easter Bunny is Comin’ to TownRudolph, and Santa Claus is  Comin’ to Town were the holy trinity, but they were all on at some point.

And boy do their songs get stuck in my head like an endless train of earworms. So when this song was stuck in my head yet again, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. And lo and behold, turns out the old boys did a Halloween movie! It’s certainly darker and more stylish than the traditional holiday TV specials, but this one is pretty worth exploring.

Mad Monster Party? is wacky and nonsensical like many of the Rankin/Bass movies. But where films like Rudolph and The Little Drummer Boy exist to warm the cockles, Mad Monster Party? exists the revel in its kitsch.

Baron Boris von Frankenstein (voiced by Boris Karloff) is a mad scientist living on an island in the Caribbean. His latest discovery is his life’s ambition: the formula to destroy matter.  To both gloat and celebrate, Boris invites his gang of monster pals to his island.

His delivery bats reach familiar Universal monsters like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the werewolf and of course, Dracula. But also invited it the human “pharmacist” Felix Flankin, Boris’s nephew.

Young Felix, who is a dead-ringer for that asshole Brad Majors, is a bit of a dope. He’s clumsy and always about in his bowtie. He also works in a shop with a boss who is more than happy to get rid of him. So an invitation to a resort on a Caribbean island seems too good to be true.

Felix eagerly leaves behind his humdrum life for an adventure elsewhere. He and the other monsters board a ship and begin their journey to Boris’s castle.

Meanwhile, Boris is preparing for his guests’ arrival. Yetch the zombie butler and his gang of zombie henchmen (who fly on old-fashioned Wright brothers-style airplanes) begin their patrol to make sure “It” doesn’t arrive onto the island.

Boris’s assistant, Francesca, tells him that every one has replied, though she admits she’s never heard of Felix. Boris then tells her that he plans on retiring from the monster organization that he leads and that he wants Felix to be his successor. And unsurprisingly, the intelligent assistant is more than a bit miffed at being passed over because of some idiotic nepotism.

On the boat, slapstick-style jokes ensue and Felix continues on his journey blissfully unaware that his ship is full of monsters.

The monsters manage to beat Felix to the island and sit down to dinner with their host, who informs them of both his planned retirement and his discovery. The monsters around the island delight in the news, as they all think they are the successor.

But scheming Francesca (who, is shaped like a cartoon-version of the love child of Jessica Rabbit and Christi

na Hendricks) pulls Dracula aside and informs him that it is Felix who is next in line. The two agree to work together to ensure that no human takes over the World Wide Organization of Monsters.

When Felix does arrive, Francesca and Drac’s are set in motion. Francesca invites the unsuspecting Felix with her on a picnic, but all of her plans go awry. Each time one of the monsters tries to scare him, he simply explains them away.

Back at the castle, Felix and his uncle explore Boris’s lab. Boris then announces to Felix that he plans on making him his successor. He then tells Felix that monsters exist. The boy, obviously overwhelmed, tells his uncle that he needs time to consider before he agrees to become head of the monsters.

And with Felix’s future uncertain, the monsters begin to move in. Francesca realises that Dracula has double-crossed her with the Monster of Frankenstein and his mate. She escapes and decides to send a message-bat out as a means of revenge. She begins to look for the formula for herself, but is caught by the rest of the monsters.

Francesca jumps into the surrounding lagoon to escape and finds Felix alone in a fishing boat. The woman becomes hysterical and begins to kiss Felix. I guess all that mumbling and dropping of the glasses really does it for some ladies.

But their win is short lived, as Francesca tells Felix that they need to escape the island – fast. Out of anger, the foolish woman sent a bat to It, Boris’s nemesis. The couple run into the jungle with the rest of the monsters in hot pursuit.

The couple nearly escape when Francesca is grabbed. Though in perfect timing, It arrives (It being King Kong). The beast begins to destroy the castle, grabs Franny, and the King Kong ending plays out.

Boris attempts to save Francesca, and succeeds, but is caught in the process. The baron then uncorks a vial of his formula and blows himself, It, and all other other monsters up while Felix and Francesca make their escape.

On their boat away from the island, Francesca admits that she was created by Boris. She runs on batteries, cogs and springs – a robot. And Felix takes it pretty well, implying that he too was created by his uncle.

Mad Monster Party? is, admittedly, a bit nutty. But then again, this was the production company that brought you this. It’s really a weird one. I don’t think I can recommend this for children, despite the fact that I think it was made for them. The in-jokes are pretty cute and the music really is good (despite the fact there were a lot of random fucking sons), certainly more enjoyable than the holiday specials. Plus the puppets (figurines, whatever) are just incredible.

But there is just one irritating problem…

I really feel for Francesca. You work hard, do good work and you’re still passed over for the job for some nut that doesn’t know what he’s doing. That appears to be the state of the world, ladies. Whether you be a politician, writer or evil scientist’s apprentice puppet, we’re all fighting an up-hill battle. Though I will take it with a pinch of salt, this was written by Mad Magazine creator Harvey Kurtzman, so I guess the joke’s on me.

That being said, I really do recommend this one if you’re looking for something off-beat and kitsch. You’ll just have to take the cringe-y, dated sexism in stride.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? S2E2 “The Tale of the Midnight Madness”

This is actually one episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? that I kind of wish could come true. Classic horror movie characters coming to life in a landmark cinema? Yes please.

This is Frank’s first story on screen since the first episode with “The Tale of the Phantom Cab”. And since this is a Frank story, Dr Vink makes an appearance. But first, Kiki and David make a bit of a scene over their tickets for Fright Night, the horror triple-feature at their cinema. Frank tells them that there’s no way he’d ever go back to Fright Night. If you sit too long in the theatre, you forget what’s real. Sometimes movies are so real, you can’t tell the difference.

“The Tale of the Midnight Madness” takes place in a cinema, just like Fright Night. It’s a run-down place with a lot of history and very few customers. But usher Pete is in love with The Rialto, and his co-worker Katie. The boy would do anything to save the cinema, which is jeopardy of being closed down.

Each day, Pete stands outside handing out fliers to save The Rialto and made it a landmark, but the attendance just goes down. All looks bleak when one night, Dr Vink arrives at the cinema.

The weird doctor tells Katie and Pete and their boss Mr Kristoph that he has a way to save The Rialto. He also claims to be a filmmaker and possesses a film of his that could bring the customers flocking back.

He tries to make a deal with Mr Kristoph: show the film one night a week and if it brings in customers, the Rialto will screen Mr Vink’s other films one night a week. Mr Vink says he won’t take any payment, so Mr Kristoph agrees.

Only the cinema workers all forget about the film, and it sits forgotten in the projection room. Weeks later, Mr Kristoph tells Katie and Pete that the Rialto will close in two weeks. Dejected, Pete continues with his shift when the film in the projector becomes ruined. The kids know they’ll have to refund the audience, but Pete suddenly remembers the film Mr Vink brought.

Katie offers the customers a full refund if they don’t like the other film they have, so the audience decides to stay and watch Mr Vink’s film. The film in the canister is an old black-and-white version of Nosferatu where the vampire wins in the end. The audience all love it and vow to return, none of them leave asking for a refund.

And after that, The Rialto’s sales begin to boom. Nosferatu becomes a hit and the midnight screenings (dubbed Midnight Madness) begin to sell out. The Rialto is seemingly saved, that is until Mr Vink returns to see that Mr Kristoph’s end of the bargain is upheld. Mr Kristoph denies Mr Vink his weekly showings, saying he has blockbuster movies to show now.

Mr Vink leaves, and things take a sinister turn in the cinema. While watching Nosferatu by himself one day, Pete dozes off but sees the vampire escape through the screen. He tells himself he dreamed it, and goes to tell Katie. But they soon discover that the vampire is very real and has bit Mr Kristoph.

Pete has an idea to lure the vampire back into the film by having Katie play it again. The boy leaps into the screen, coaxing the vampire to follow him into the movie. Pete defeats the vampire by pulling the curtain from the window, dosing the vampire in sunlight like the death of Petyr.

Pete and Katie celebrate their victory, and are joined by Mr Kristoph, who doesn’t remember anything about the incident. But their happiness is quickly ended when Mr Vink arrives again. He delivers the news that he’s bought the Rialto. He then informs them that he can show is movies every single night. Movies that are far better.

As Frank’s tale ends, the Midnight Society look a bit more than spooked. Kiki and David both agree to skip Fright Night, claiming to be tired. They gladly hand over their tickets to Frank, who then invites Gary to join him. Sneaky bitch at his best!

I loved, loved, loved “The Tale of the Midnight Madness”. It taps into the inner-child and the horror-lover. It’s fun like Monster Squad and many 80’s films. That’s because the episode walks that fine line between characters to root for and a delightfully frustrating ending. I loved Katie and Pete, especially them together. Even the adults managed to not be irritating.

Plus the make-up and effects is pretty great in this episode. The vampire looks fantastic. It’s a tale that’s really a show in it’s top form.

Highlight quotes of the episode: 

“Let’s hug again!” – Pete, the world’s most adorable creep

Wicked Wednesday: The Scooby-Doo Show “A Menace in Venice” (1978)

As this post goes live, I’ll be lounging about somewhere in Italy. Lord help us all (especially you poor Italians) as my family traverses the country with the Italian-speakings skills equal to that of a Basterd. But I really do love Italy.

So why the hell not do something Italian themed this week? Write about a giallo film? Pass. Finally get around to watching that copy of The Beyond that has been sitting on the shelf since the summer sales? We’ll pass on that too.

Why indulge in something great when you can have The Scooby-Doo Show? Actually a pretty fun episode in a sort of overly-stereotypical sort of way, as most Scooby-Doo is. This episode from 1978 offers all the good stuff: wacky chases, inexplicable trap doors and (of course) pizza.

The gang are in Venice after an invitation from a friend, Antonio, who studies art AND owns a pizzeria! The gang arrive just as a figure steals a medallion from a statue in the opera house.

The medallion, one of four, belongs to Antonio’s family, and have they’ve been passed down for generations. When the gang arrive in the city, Scooby and Shaggy spot the medallion thief, a hooded figure on a gondola by the name of the Ghostly Gondolier.

Scooby and Shaggy and all the luggage end up in front of Antonio’s pizzeria where everyone else is waiting. Greeting them is Antonio, who has one of the triangular-shaped medallions around his neck. He explains to the gang that he had a famous ancestor, Doge Malvolio IV, who had a vast treasure. Only the fortune was lost and all that remained was the medallions.

After receiving the news about the stolen medallion, Antonio takes the group to look at the portraits of his ancestors. He tells them that the only painting missing is that of Malvolio. Velma notes that the people in the portrait all have something in common with Antonio – their green eyes. But Scoob and Shaggy see a painting on the wall and instantly recognise the subject as the figure on the gondola.

Professor Salari, Antonio and his friend Mario’s professor, tells the gang that the figure in the painting is that of the ghostly gondolier. The gondolier was sentenced to life imprisonment during Malvolio’s rule. He vowed to haunt the city forever. With the gondolier’s help, Malvolio’s enemies attacked the city and overthrew him, but the fortune vanished.

Daphne tries on the medallion after hearing the story, and is almost immediately attacked by the Ghostly Gondolier. She’s grabbed and locked in a dungeon.

The rest of the gang plus Antonio and his friend Mario decide to split up and look for Daphne. Velma then finds her first clue in the form of a small canister.

Back at the academy, they decide to look for the missing portrait of Malvolio, which they think will hold a clue to the medallions. During their search, Mario is grabbed, supposedly mistaken for Antonio. After Mario disappears, Antonio does as well, and Velma finds some red plastic on the ground – yet another clue for the only sleuth in the team.

They follow the phantom’s footprints into the basement and find a gondola. They chase after the Ghostly Gondolier in another gondola, but the ‘ghost’ takes his staff and creates a hole in the bottom of their boat. Scooby accidentally goes flying, and ends up through a trap in the wall. He hits the fireplace, turning it around. Scoob finds both Antoinio and Daphne, and portrait of Malvolio is revealed on the other side.

The portrait reveals that the four medallions actually connect to form one piece. The gang also notice that a symbol of the medallion is on a pillar in the painting, pointing the group to the Piazza San Marco.

When they arrive, they see the Ghostly Gondolier running down the steps revealed by the trap door. They gang slip in behind the ghost and see that he’s found the lost treasure, but they’re caught spying when Scooby sneezes.

The Ghostly Gondolier is eventually caught when he is trapped in a deflated inflatable gondola. The hood is removed to unveil Mario, who Velma says is also a descendant of Malvolio, but wanted the treasure all to himself. He hid the family’s signature green eyes with red contacts (for brown eyes), and used CO2 to inflate his inflatable gondola for a quick escape.

After another mystery solved, the gang sit down to eat. Scoob and Shaggy both end up in the canal chasing their food. Just like I probably will – because no one can let a good sandwich go.

I’ve only been to Italy once before and I’ll be in the Northern part, where I’ve never been before. I’ve long dreamed of a trip like this, but I can’t help but worry. Will there be large amounts of thieves and ghosts around? Does everyone in Italy own a pizzeria? As an American, am I only capable of eating cheese burgers and using bad language skills?

Thank goodness we have casual stereotypes to sort us out.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? S2E1 “The Tale of the Final Wish”

Well, this was a weird one.

Season 2 of Are You Afraid of the Dark doesn’t really start off with a bang. Instead, it opens with another stylised tale from Kristen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m probably a Kristen if I was any member of the Midnight Society (unaware, easily irritated by others, unnecessarily dramatic). Though her stories don’t always work.

“The Tale of the Final Wish” is one that actually makes me a bit sad. Kristen dons a princess dress and brings a book of fairy tales to the meeting. Frank is not a fan. But the others quickly correct him, tell him about all the gruesome things that go on in the real fairy tales.

And Kristen tells them that her tale is what happens when a fairy tale becomes a scary story. At the centre of things is Jill, a 13-year-old girl who is still obsessed with fairy tales, sleeps with a stuffed animal, and doesn’t seem to be growing up as fast as her friends.

Her love for stories does everything to help her imagination run wild. She purposely tries to scare herself by convincing herself that there is something hidden under her bed. Her brother does his best to rile her up by wearing masks and playing other jokes on her.

Her “friends” at school aren’t really that great of friends. They laugh at her behind her back for being “immature” (because apparently being mature = wearing ugly jackets and being bitchy). The girls get worse when they think their crush is checking Jill out. When the boy comes to sit by them in the library to ask Jill about their homework, Jill’s friends take the opportunity to pull her fairy tale books out of her backpack so they can laugh at her.

Jill isn’t perfect, and not necessarily a complete victim either. She’s not exactly considerate of others, though I do think she’s trying. Like she does make her mother late for work, again, but only because she’s attempting to get ready to be more like her friends.

One night, after her brother plays another joke on her, Jill climbs up to her windowsill and holds on to her copy of The Sandman and Other Tales. The girl wishes upon a star, saying she just wishes people would leave her alone. Jill then climbs into bed to go back to sleep, but when she awakes again – things aren’t quite right.

Jill searches around her house and cannot find her family anywhere. That’s when a man crawls from under her bed, and with a gust of wind, sucks the girl down under with him.

Jill then finds herself in a vast space of a surrealist world. When he goes through a doorway covered in clocks, she finds a room filled with the floating bodies of sleeping people.

The man who brought her under the bed, tells her that he is the Sandman and they are in the Land of Nod. The people that are there will be trapped in his land, where they will leave Jill alone. He was the one that granted Jill her wish, that everyone would leave her alone. She then sees the bodies of her parents, brother and friends also floating in the same dreaming state.

Frightened by the weight of her wish, Jill tries to escape. She runs out of the room and tries opening several doors. She’s met with villains of other fairy tales like the Queen of Hearts and the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

But she returns to the Sandman, complaining that what she got wasn’t what she wished for. He tells her that fairy tales cannot change, and that she is stuck with what she wished for.

Jill then finds a large hourglass, which she begins to threaten to break. The Sandman tells her that he can put her to sleep as well, tipping Jill off to the fact that the fairy tale could change. She smashes the hourglass and awakes back in her bed, screaming.

Jill’s family race into her bedroom, and everything seems to be back to normal. Jill tells her mother that she is ready to give up fairy tales finally. The family go back to bed, and all seems to be well, until the Sandman’s voice-over.

“If only she knew…she would never have gone back in the bed again! The End.”

I’m not going to lie, I don’t actually think Jill needs to grow up. Being into fantasy is not a problem. The message of this episode is basically, “Like what we like, Jill. Conform. Grow the fuck up.” Which is pretty unfair. Plus she had the best outfits. If the episode had focused more on Jill being irresponsible, that might have been better. But equating the enjoyment of reading to being immature doesn’t really work.

Weirdly, the people mocking Jill don’t actually learn a lesson. They get put to sleep for a night (horrible, I know). What is the message to be learned here? Not that there needs to be a lesson, but the episode was clearly trying to convey something. “Be careful what you wish for” is a bit fucking old.

Anyway, Jill would totally be my BFF. Unicorns forever, bitch.

Wicked Wednesday: Child Eater (2012)

Child Eater is a misleading title, I think. I guess Man Eats the Eyes of Kids is a bit long, but it is memorable, right?

Well, at least something would be. Child Eater is a nicely-made 15-minute short film playing on very traditional horror themes.

Lucas is a young boy under the not-so-watchful eye of his babysitter, Helen. Each time Helen has to leave Lucas alone in his bedroom, she has to lock the door. The boy has begun to have nightmares and sleepwalk at night. Somehow locking the door is the kind thing to do?

After locking Lucas in for the night, Helen goes downstairs where her boyfriend Tom surprises her. She tells him about Lucas and the sleepwalking, then mentions that he’s afraid of Robert Bowery, a sort of local boogeyman that eats the eyes of children to help him see.

While Tom is taunting Helen, the couple hear a noise from up in Lucas’ room. Lucas is crying in his bed, insisting that Bowery is in his closet. Tom mocks the boy, but Helen checks the closet and gives Lucas the all clear.

When Tom and Helen return downstairs, Helen asks Tom if she would make a good mother. She then tells the story of the black stork, a bird that takes the eyes of children then devours them. Not sure if the two are relevant to each other, but babies? I guess?

Then him she’s been having cravings, and learned that she was three-months pregnant earlier that day. Tom immediately asks if it’s his (it is), but before the couple can celebrate, they hear another noise from Lucas’ room.

This time, though, Lucas is gone. They spot him in the distance walking away from the house.  They chase after the child and end up at the Bowery camp as feathers start to fall from the sky.

Inside the camp the couple find Lucas. He’s shaken up, but he’s a lot worse off when Tom is grabbed and his eyes are removed by a hidden figure. Helen and Lucas make a run for it back to the house and become separated.

In the house, Helen hears someone else and sees a flashlight. She locks herself in Lucas’ bedroom and hides in the closet. But Bowery is waiting for her and licks her cheek.

Lucas finds Helen and they go to hide in the basement. Lucas tells Helen that they just need to be quite because Bowery can’t see them. But of course they trick over some stupid toys in the room and Bowery is alerted to their presence.

Bowery throws Helen aside and kills the boy. Helen stabs Bowery, supposedly killing him. But when she leaves the house, she finds a feather from the black stork. Bowery pops up from behind the babysitter telling her, “They’re best when they’re fresh.”

I have to say, I know nothing about babies. I have two nephews, but I was not at all present for when my sister’s pregnancies or around when the boys were very little. It wasn’t until my good childhood friend became pregnant that I learned anything about babies.

But thanks to Child Killer, I now know that babies will have developed eyes by the time they are 9-weeks old. So that’s exciting. Helen’s baby would have had eyes. Bowery sure knows how to pick ’em. Eh? Eh?

Child Killer was an fairly enjoyable way to spend the time, but again, it’s not exactly mind bending. The acting, though, was quite good for a short film and I really was rooting for Helen. And to create that in less than 15 minutes is a pretty good job.