The most fucked-up movie ostensibly aimed at children

My vote goes to All Dogs Go To Heaven by Don Bluth. Supposedly a fun children’s animated feature about talking animals. In actuality, a surreal and terrifying maelstrom of fear, confusion and brutality, and existential questions of life and death, set in an utterly seedy dockside-slum environment straight out of Samuel Delany’s Hogg.

The plot in summary: two dogs escape from a high-security prison by tunneling through the ground, destroying a water main in the process and presumably causing disastrous damage to the facility. Once out, they re-unite with their old boss Carface, who is a homicidal gangster and extortionist who runs an illegal gambling parlor. (“Rat races,” a funny take-off on real-life dog or horse racing.) The whole thing is set in some kind of underground dockside slum with an incredibly low-rent, sleazy atmosphere.

The main character, Charlie, betrays his boss, and in return, is shot to death in a drive-by machine-gunning. He finds himself in heaven. A seductive female dog, some kind of angel, greets him and welcomes him to heaven, but Charlie insists on leaving. He has to go back to earth to take revenge on Carface. He somehow ESCAPES from heaven, makes it back to earth and gets back together with his old crime partner Itchy. Charlie murders Carface, and then Carface himself goes to heaven. Charlie, however, dies AGAIN in the process, but this time instead of going to heaven, he goes to hell! He has a nightmarish experience, thrown around by burning lava and giant promontories of flame, tormented by demons and devils. Somehow he manages to get back to earth yet again, where he is severely traumatized and shaken.

Oh yeah, and there’s a whole subplot about this girl who has the magic ability to talk to horses, who is kidnapped and held prisoner by Carface, who plans on keeping her as a slave and using her talent to predict which horses will win at the races, so he can make money off of them.

I may be messing up the narrative here, because I don’t really remember it all that well after this point. But there’s a Mardi Gras celebration, and then Charlie and his friend Itchy are captured and then serenaded by a gigantic and utterly flamboyant drag-queen alligator (voiced by Ken Page, who also did Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas.) I can’t remember what happens after this. It’s all a blur of frightening and bizarre cartoon imagery.

It is also filled to the brim with dialog that is WAAAAAAAY over the heads of any children who might be watching it. Horse-racing jargon, old-time mobster slang, and a musical number which includes the line “jilted by a skirt.” There is not a single child in America, anywhere, who knows what “jilted by a skirt” means.

In short, this is an absolutely badass, awesome movie, but it is in no way, shape or form suited to its target audience. I absolutely loved it as a kid - watching it many times - but I didn’t fucking understand any of it because the atmosphere, the dialog, the moral messages about trying to cheat death or whatever, simply did not compute in my 8-year-old head.

Any other candidates?

A couple spring to mind right off the bat:

Babe Pig in the City is a good movie but it’s not quite as whimsical as the first. The farmer’s wife goes to the city with Babe (hence the name ;)) and all kinds of odd and creepy things happen including a gang of monkeys and Mickey Rourke as a sad clown.

I saw Witches a long time ago and don’t remember if the ending matches the book, but in the book the boy is turned into a mouse and he won’t be able to turn back human. He even has a conversation with his grandma about how he’ll probably grow old and die in 10 years. Roald Dahl was a brilliant madman and reading a bunch of his work recently, I wondered if he’d get published if they were written today.

Mickey Rooney.

The Incredibles. It’s about as offensive a piece of work as I’ve ever seen, on par with The Triumph of the Will or Birth of a Nation. The “villain” wants to give everyone superpowers because… “If everyone is special, then NO ONE is special!” Cue evil laughter and dramatic music. Apparently empowering ordinary people is wrong and bad, and we should all sit and worship John Galt – excuse me, I mean Mr. Incredible – because he is so much greater and more noble than we mere peons. And if anyone wants to make you as strong as Mr. Incredible, then he is evil and you must destroy him.

The most offensive part of all of this is that it’s shovelled down the throats of children and candy-coated for easy consumption.

Yeah, and let’s not forget the infidelity subplot. Is there anything at all about the Edna conversation that a child could understand?

I absolutely love it though.

“Is this even a question? Whack! Whack! Whack!”


Cinderella, obviously, and anything at all by the Grim brothers.

Whoops, yeah you’re right.

Fern Gully: Its over the top demonization of research scientists was hard for this research scientist and her research scientist (now husband) boyfriend to swallow. We took his son to see it, and I believe he never quite looked at us the same since.

Also: Beethoven. A heartwarming story about a family who adopts a dog. Except that the dog was intended as a test subject for ballistic research with high-powered rifles, and has an evil and sadistic doctor posing as a “veterinarian” chasing after the family’s dog and trying to hunt it down so he can bring it back to the lab for its ultimate and very violent death.

I always thought this was way too gruesome a subtext for a kids’ movie.

I don’t know if you watched the whole movie, but I think the main reason Syndrome was presented as being villainous is that he murdered people for profit.

His obsession with superheroes was his backstory, but it was the murder and destruction thing that made him a bad guy. Personally, I’m opposed to murder. But maybe that’s just me, I’m funny that was.

Now, I know this one is considered brilliant, from the mind of a genius, but I had nightmares for years after first seeing Dr. Suess’ “The 5,000 fingers of Dr. T”. The whole presentation for me as a child was so strange as to be incredibly frightening.

LOL … Syndrome is anything but a populist. He’s made himself vastly wealthy by selling weapons, while admitting that he keeps the best technology just for himself. He doesn’t even share his zero-point technology with his own henchmen or his girlfriend. His talk of making everyone super is pure bullshit.

I don’t want to be a pisser but I think if the sociopolitical messages of The Incredibles are worthy of a discussion or debate, it belongs in its own thread. It’s like what happens whenever Joss Whedon’s work is brought up in a thread, the thread instantly becomes a Joss Whedon thread.

I could see that being a real (secondary) aim of his, but not because he has any interest in “empowering” people per se. Rather, making super powers obsolete would be a way to thumb his nose at the superhero community that rejected him. He’s petty, not egalitarian.

Oh, and The Grinch, starring Jim Carrey. This is pretty much only because the residents of Whoville are horrifying monsters, though the titular Grinch also has a weirdly sexualized and disturbing mean streak. The whole thing is nightmare fuel.

Of course, maybe I only feel this way because I once saw about 30 minutes of the film during an acid trip in college. Not good times.

The Polar Express. I can’t see a kid watching that and not freaking out…TRM (who loved “The Incredibles”)

If I knew a kid who’d recently seen Milo & Otis I’d keep a sharp eye on him to be sure he hadn’t been inspired to creatively torture the family pet.

The Polar Express goes too far into the “Uncanny Valley.”

Let’s not forget it was sold as “When I’m old and I’ve had my fun…” he’d sell it all off. Not like he was planning to do that anytime soon.

The Supers line was pure bitter about being rejected by supers when he was a kid.

[quote=“Argent_Towers, post:12, topic:505827”]

I don’t want to be a pisser but I think if the sociopolitical messages of The Incredibles are worthy of a discussion or debate, it belongs in its own thread.QUOTE]

True, but still. You have to admit, The Incredibles is waaay too heavy for kids. And is a good subject for the OP.

And you folks can’t see that’s part of the message? The Incredibles is pure Randian propaganda, start to finish. Syndrome is supposed to represent the evil forces of collectivism, saying on the surface that they wish to empower everyone, but secretly they’re envious of the John Galts of the world and just want to tear them down for their own satisfaction. Syndrome wasn’t born “super,” like the decent, upstanding Incredibles, so he’s envious and hateful. Christ, I don’t see how it could be more obvious. I’m far from the only person who rolls his eyes at the sledgehammer subtlety of the noxious Objectivist subtext.