Not content with their stranglehold on Christmas programming, doll-mation kingpins RANKIN & BASS followed their usual holiday recipe when they concocted HERE COMES PETER COTTON TAIL:
- One past-his-prime entertainer as the narrator (DANNY KAYE as Seymour Sassafras)
- One flawed protagonist who must overcome insurmountable obstacles in order to save the holiday (CASEY KASSEM as Peter Cottontail) and a coterie of anthropomorphic animals and/or inanimate objects to assist said protagonist in his quest
- One disfigured and/or misunderstood villain who wants to prevent children from enjoying the holiday (VINCENT PRICE as Irontail)
- A quantity-over-quality quota of songs to move the action along
When all the elements come together, R & B can really knock it out of the park with an instant classic like RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER or SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN. As discussed in these very pages before, following the formula doesn't always ensure fireworks, and R&B delivered a real dud with HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL.
Thankfully, VINCENT PRICE makes the most of a mediocre script as January Q. Irontail, resident bad ass and hindquarter amputee of April Valley. Perpetually embittered after losing his original tail to a child's roller skate, Irontail mounts a vicious campaign against Peter Cottontail in his bid to be the chief Easter Bunny. Aside from having a metal tail that clanks every time he wiggles it, the sharply dressed Irontail gets around on his trusty bat Montresor, and is best friends with the ghouls that populate Halloween town. Sadly, R&B chose to devote more screen time to the boring Peter Cottontail, his French caterpillar sidekick, and a shrill Easter bonnet named Bonnie.
Â Â Â Director CHUCK RUSSELLÂ (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: THE DREAM WARRIORS) juggles a multitude of various characters and story lines with ease. Our introductions to the residents of Arborville, a town that has seen better days, are short, sweet and effective. By the time THE BLOB gets rolling, the viewer is highly invested. High on the list of folks to cheer for is cheerleader Meg Penny (the worship-able SHAWNEE SMITH), her clean-cut date Paul Taylor (DONAVAN LEITCH) and sourpuss Snake Plisken-in-training Brian Flagg (KEVIN DILLON). Don't get too attached to football hero Paul, RUSSELL derives much electricity from the inevitable attraction of rogue outsider Brian and apple pie Meg.
Â Â By this point our rebel without a comb Brian is learning just how updated the title creature has become. No longer an alien creature from outer space as in the original, this abomination is man made. The meteor the creature sprung from is actually more of a crashed satellite, complete with American flag insignia. He not only overhears that it is a germ warfare experiment that's gone out of control, but that his entire town is expendable in the eyes of the government. Suddenly he's not so different from all those people he's been so dead set on distancing himself from. He returns to the town to fetch the girl he once left behind and the community he abandoned.
- The whole buying a condom at Mr. Penny (ART LAFLUER)'s pharmacy bit is great and has a hilarious pay-off
- The BLOB's attack on the homeless guy and the resulting doctor's office invasion
- Scott (RICKY PAULL GOLDIN)'s parked car make out session ends in a squirming, head deflating, blobby mess
- I don't pretend to understand the logistics of the drainpipe scene, but I love it anyway
- CANDY CLARK(CAT'S EYE) meets her date the Sheriff in an unfortunate (for both of them) telephone booth crushing scene
- All scenes with lil' Kevin Penny and his Pal Eddie sneaking off to the slasher flick and the dialogue that ensues are hilarious. (Tough luck only one makes it out alive!) Favorite line: "I'm sorry, I'll never see a movie again!" or maybe it's this line from the in-movie flick GARDEN TOOL MASSACRE (upon seeing a hockey-masked man wielding a hedge trimmer) "Wait, Hockey season ended months ago!"
- Reverend Meeker (DEL CLOSE who was actually in BEWARE THE BLOB! aka SON OF BLOB) will be back! (God willing!)
Obviously death would never be the outcome for our Amy in THE FUNHOUSE. Instead she is awoken into the world that HOOPER has been rubbing our noses in ever since we arrived on the scene. Rather than spooking us with images of murder and mayhem, we have been treated to body mutation, both human and animal, and mounds of aging twisted flesh, the real horror of mortality and age. Happy clown faces, images of childhood crack, peal and mockingly laugh. This ride has been going on forever. Something wicked does indeed, this way come…Â
- The brief cameo by DIANE LADD as Diane's mother and Satan's concubine
- Diane shakes her tail feather and jiggles it, just a little bit, for the daffy devil worshippers
- The tragic death of Diane's roommate at the hooves of an overexcited horse
- Steve's super dreamy eyes shining like a
crazydemonic diamond for Diane at the altar