Traumafessions :: Reader Anne K. on Bugsy Malone, “Let the Good Times Roll,” & Ghost

I ran across your site after looking for info on the scary preacher Kane from POLTERGEIST 2. I am now in the midst of a full-fledged reading of everyone’s confessions! Fantastic stuff!

I have some rather run-of-the-mill scary memories from childhood. Mostly ones already covered here, like Freddy, PET SEMATARY, and IT. But I also have a huge hang-up on a totally unscary movie actually made for kids.

To this day I cannot stand to listen to, or see scenes from the SCOTT BAIO/JODIE FOSTER 1976 epic musical BUGSY MALONE. The one about kid gangsters where everyone throws cream pies at each other instead of using guns. But herein lies the rub- some maniacal producer thought it would up the camp factor by making all the kids voices dubbed with disembodied adult singing voices- just for the songs. For the regular dialogue you have the pleasure of hearing JODIE and SCOTT use pseudo gangster accents. I don’t like the whole sketchy 1970s feel of the movie, even hearing clips of the songs makes my stomach turn. The way the adult voices are dubbed onto kid bodies creeps me out. Disembodied voices in general are scary I think, but something about that movie just makes my skin crawl and an icky feeling go up my scalp. I am also hunching my shoulders and making a face like I sucked a lemon just recalling details of this “harmless” movie.

I have even heard that there is a children’s musical theater version based on the movie, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to participate in something like that. Here is a youtube clip of the final song.

As an accompaniment to that, I also cannot listen to Shirley & Lee‘s version of “Let the Good Times Roll” on the STAND BY ME soundtrack. I almost wore out the tape as a kid, but I was ALWAYS fast forward through that song. The lady’s voice is disturbing and scares the beejeezus out of me. Almost like a disturbed munchkin.

A final traumafession is the scene in GHOST where VINCENT SCHIAVELLI is playing a ghost who comes tearing through a subway car to scream at PATRICK SWAYZE, “GET OFF MY TRAIN!” I saw GHOST in the theater in 1990 as 12 year old and hated the movie for a long time because of that scene. The actor is, in general, a super creepy guy.


Thank you!


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12 years ago

Funny, I don’t even remember the dubbed voices in Bugsy Malone.  I do remember being freaked out by the cream pies, though.  I think it was because I could never figure out exactly what happened to people when they got nailed by a pie.  It was like they were dead, but not really.  As an adult, I figured out it was supposed to be a symbolic death, but as a child it seemed like some weird kind of limbo.