It was like something out of The Usual Suspects (a movie that, ironically, does not scare me) as I gasped, and a flood of horrible memories whomped me upside the head. (I didn't drop my coffee mug in slow motion, though, which is good, because then I would have smelled like the inside of a 747 for the rest of the day.) Return to Oz, for those of you who don’t know, is a little-known sequel to The Wizard of Oz. It is also what one might call a PSYCHE-SCARRING EXPERIENCE, despite bearing the innocuous PG rating. I very distinctly recall seeing it in the theater with my best friend at the time when we were maybe six years old, which is, you know, a great time to see Dorothy get threatened with imprisonment and then beheading.
Now, it’s difficult for me to provide a complete plot summary, because then you’d be skeptical. And why wouldn’t you, considering that you’d be reading my (VERY ACCURATE) descriptive phrases, such as “magical, sought-after talking chicken,” “flying sofa with moose-ish head attached,” and “looming danger of being turned into some sort of gemstone ornament, yes, really.”? Instead, allow me to share with you some highlights of this beloved treasure of a childhood film:
- Dorothy -- who is now a little kid, for some reason? Even though this movie is set AFTER the events of the first one? Wha? -- is having trouble sleeping, and is taken to an insane asylum for overnight electroshock therapy. As you generally do with insomniac children.
- There is a desert that TURNS YOU INTO SAND IF YOU STEP ON IT.
- Everyone in Oz has been turned to stone, and the place is trashed. It’s some creepy Pompeii shit, is what it is.
- There are evil Wheelers; half men, half...squeaky shopping cart...things?
They're scarier than my description is making them out to BE! And that picture! No really, I--okay, you know what? I'm going to have to find a video to prove my point. Now, ignore, if you will, the comic relief of the aforementioned talking chicken -- specifically said chicken’s voice-- and imagine the horror of seeing this as a small child. Or hell, even NOW. (You’ll note the frozen-in-time stone people throughout):
- I’ve saved the best thing for last, and by “best” I mean “pants-crappingly awful, POSSIBLY WORSE THAN ANYTHING EVER GIRD YOUR LOINS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.” I refer, of course, to Princess Mombi, who’s technically headless, but don’t fret, because she has a room full of SCREAMING REPLACEMENT HEADS THAT SHE CAN POP ON AND OFF LIKE DAMN BUMPITS, because that is a thing that is enjoyable for kids to watch:
Obviously, you'll be needing the video here, too:
I'd attempt to end this post properly, but I may have wet myself. So indulge me, please, and, tell me: what was the scariest/most scarring movie you saw as a kid? I need the distraction, you guys! I may never sleep again.