This is the first of a series! Yay!
I was talking with some people about shit that terrified us as small children–shit that was meant for children’s consumption, but was straight nightmare fuel. Of course, some of the things that we happened upon were not meant to scare us, but some of them were. This series will include both!
For your consideration, I would like to first present two clips from the children’s classic, Pinocchio. Didn’t terrify you when you were little? Are we talking about the same film?
I think I saw this at the old theater in Berkeley on Gilman (near 924 Gilman–it’s where the North Face Outlet is now, I think) where I also saw the sorta banned Disney film Song of the South. That’s the one “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is from! Oh yeah–my very middle class, aware parents who were in a racially-mixed marriage took me to see shit like Song of the South and never thought anything of it. Then again, my folks are a little weird. Moms is the only person I know who doesn’t always remember what race someone she just sorta, kinda knows is (granted, this is awesome about her). And I was at Pop’s house the other day, looking at some terrible pictures he took (he’s a bad and avid amateur photographer). One was of a little old figurine. “It’s a jockey!” he said, proudly. “It’s really racist,” I said, looking at the red lips stretched into a freaky grimace, the wide eyes, and the gigantic nostrils. He looked at it again, and my 76-year-old Black father from New Orleans wilted a little. I, Seer, Ruin Things.
So, the terror begins here. I wouldn’t recommend watching this high.
We begin with the evil Coachman’s plan.
Yes, there are some sick Disney morals here. Even the Fox (Honest John) and the Cat (I can’t be bothered to get his name) aren’t really down. “The Law!” “Pleasure Island?! I thought they shut that place down!” No, Fox, that was the Sex Cauldron. But see, the boys are bad, so it’s okay that they suffer. Get it? No? Well tough titty for you and the bad boys.
Now, here’s the worst part, where it gets really fucked up. I mean, if the Coachman sneering like Satan wasn’t bad enough for you. Remember how he said they weren’t coming back…as boys? Yeah, well it’s not because he’s making them men, like the Army or the charming man does. (Yes, those would also be extremely disturbing films and possibly illegal to boot.)
He’s making them into donkeys. And there’s no redemption for them. They stay donkeys in this film. Oh yeah, Pinocchio gets out, but Lampwick? Fuck him, that loser. You want your mama? N00b! To the Salt Mines with ye!
Yeah, so I don’t know why this is okay, but it’s supposed to be okay. And there’s another Pinocchio film for kids younger than me that I found on YouTube labeled “Scariest Scene Ever Made In Animated History!!!” (yes, three fucking exclamation points were necessary) so the horror of puppet-on-child-on-cartoon crime continues. Why? Why are we doing this?
It’s from a film called Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. Yeah, that has “winner” written all over it. If the prize is syphilis.
I feel better after watching these. Don’t you?
Let me know if there’s something I should explore in one of these segments! I am happy to tear open any old psychic wounds you have.