Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scary Moments in OZ: The Wizard of Oz turns 71

What did people DO before Google? I'm not just talking about the fact that it's the best search engine this side of the planet (I'm pretty positive that the only thing people use BING for is to search for the word "Google") I'm also talking about the fact that Google always lets us know when there is an anniversary of a movie, or a day of awareness. Thanks to their spiffy search engine bars which are designed differently according to what special day it is--we will never have to remember our favorite movie's anniversaries. It's almost like Google is the appointment book of the world of entertainment (and sometimes environmental awareness but who cares about trees?). So anyway, thanks once again to Google for letting me know that today is the 71st anniversary of the Wizard of Oz.

Have you ever met one of those weird people that have never seen The Wizard of Oz? What's up with that? I feel sorry for them, I really do. I'm pretty sure that their lives have been meaningless without the addition of munchkins, and the ever foreboding presence of really big hour glasses filled with red sand. How can they go through life without knowing that in Oz you can actually get your eyes DYED blue? Well I don't think I know any people like that thank god, and if you are one and I know you it's probably better not to tell me. It's not that I'll hate you, it's just that.... things will be different.

So for those of us that have seen The Wizard of Oz, which should be all of us, here is a nice list of the scary moments. As you may or may not know, The Wizard of Oz actually comes in at #86 on Bravo's Scariest Movie Moments. Back when I wrote that mini discussion I claimed that the only really scary thing about The Wizard of Oz was the urban legend that a munchkin is hanging himself in the background of one of the scenes. Since then I've done some thinking, and have decided that people are right. There is something very scary about The Wizard of Oz--I'm looking at you flying monkeys.

It's a Twista!

I hate tornadoes. Let's just bring that out in the open. Part of the reason I hate them however has to do with The Wizard of Oz. There's something about how Dorothy makes it back to her house and how she CANNOT open the storm cellar door that really causes me despair. Her family is just a bunch of a-holes first of all, second of all there are 3 abled bodied men ( I'm not being sexist Aunt Em is like 80 years old) in that cellar and none of them are willing to risk their lives to save Dorothy? What a crock. I think this tornado is especially menacing because of the sparseness of the Kansas landscape. It certainly was menacing enough to make me never want to go to Kansas. And further more when someone tells me that they are going to Kansas or that they live there--I always feel bad for them. If I was religious I might even say a prayer. Poor souls trapped in Kansas. Please make sure all family members are in the storm cellar before closing it. Amen.


A lot of people have a fear of midgets--it's a fact. It may not be very nice but it's true. I wouldn't say that I have a huge fear of midgets--but when you see a lot of them, and they're all dressed up with curly mustaches and weird things on their shoes---it makes me a little nervous. Part of the reason the munchkins are especially terrifying is that I get the feeling they are made to just seem like a bunch of little kids. But they aren't. The Lollipop guild may be the biggest offender as those little "boys" are at least 40 years old. And that's a little creepy.

Curly Witch Feet

Bah! I never really thought about how yucky this image of the Wicked Witch of the East's feet made me feel. But I feel yucky. I don't like how when the ruby slippers come off her feet curl up like that. It's the idea that that was supposedly real flesh and to see it just curl up and hide under the house like that. Yuck. Also that's not to mention what you would look like if a house fell on you. Probably gross.

The Wicked Witch

I'm still trying to figure out if I think the witch is more terrifying or if Miss. Gulch is. I'm leaning towards Miss Gulch and here is why: She has a scary face, so to see it with green scary make up is almost normal and okay. If she's just there and being a normal person then well..that's a different story. Also her cruelty in the face of Toto is quite alarming. What a crazy bitch. The scariest though is when you see her on her bicycle in the tornado and then she turns into a flying witch on a broom!

The Hanging Munchkin

If you don't know by now then it's time the truth was spoken. There is no hanging munchkin. The shadow that you see is some kid of crane bird lifting one of its wings. It's true and if you click the Bravo link you can watch the clip on YouTube. That doesn't mean of course that the possibility of the truth of this myth scared the crap out of me when I was little. I HATE the image of someone hanging, and I sort of hate munchkins so do the math.


People are so freaked out by these things. I don't remember ever having a specific aversion to them or not but I can't deny that their faces are terrifying. Something about those monkey faces, and how they aren't quite defined enough to hide the fact that those are real people--really puts me off. I mean I like Monkeys, but human actors in a scary mask that fly? I don't know.


For some reason I always thought these guards were way more terrifying than the flying monkeys. Not even their fabulous fur coats (is it really that cold in Oz?) can save their appeal. Plus they sing menacing songs about Nabisco cookies! OREO-O OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Come on, I know you all thought that's what they were saying too admit it. I don't even care if they turn nice at the end after the witch dies because nothing will ever change how their face looks and that's a shame because we could have been friends.

Melting Witch

People don't like this either because in truth it's a little gross and it was probably really smelly. First off---where do all of her entrails and stuff go? Second of all yuck.

Hmmm well I think those are most of the parts that made feel a little scared. I guess I should probably also include the talking trees, seeing the Scarecrow's straw get pulled out, and maybe when the Wicked Witch writes Surrender Dorothy in the sky. I'm sure there are more, so if you would like to chime in feel free.

One funny thing I just realized is that I seldom watch The Wizard Oz from beginning to end. I usually turn it off right after the gang goes in to meet the wizard. I'm not sure why--it's not that long but maybe I feel that the rest is kind of drab and depressing? It's just like how I only watch the first VHS of Titanic. Mhmmm same thing.

So that's it. Happy 71st Anniversary The Wizard of Oz. Thank you for all the memories and for always making me feel a little creeped out.


deadlydolls said...

I heart The Wizard of Oz more than any non-genre movie (I think; today anyway). It makes me happy on so very many levels. In terms of its scares, I do think those monkeys are freaky, Miss Gulch is a bitch, and that the talking trees could really hurt me (apparently they gave my boyfriend nightmares as a little boy, poor dear). It's a classic no matter how you cut it.

And oh! True story: the first celebrities I ever met were two of the munchkins. I was 7 and they came to Blockbuster Video in costume. It was all sorts of amazing.

brett g @ said...

Cool post. This was one of the first movies I can ever remember seeing, and it never really scared me much for some reason.

Now, Return to Oz, that's a different story. I see that you've reviewed it, so you know what I mean. :)

The Vicar of VHS said...

Excellent list! Yes, those flying monkeys look freaky, and they're also vicious little suckers. Do you remember the way they tore Scarecrow apart and threw his body hither and yon? Boy, I do.

One thing that scared the crap out of me that's missing from this list is Oz, the Great and Powerful, at least his first appearance. I mean, a huge floating alien head with 1970s-era KISS pyrotechnics and the voice of God? It's intimidating.

Also, for some reason people always forget the Living Trees scene. I find myself forgetting it completely, and then I watch the movie again and BANG. Scary living trees with scary voices trying to grab and scratch Dorothy and pelt her with apples. That's messed up.

And then of course there's the 1985 nightmare-fest RETURN TO OZ...*shudder*

Fred [The Wolf] said...

This is a great post for an absolute classic that will never get old. I've read the book so many times. I've seen the film more than one probably should. I even dig the sequel, Return to Oz. Just a fantastic film that deserves a fantastic post. The Wizard of Oz is timeless. And yeah, that witch creeped me out when I was like 6 or 7 years old. LOL

Andre Dumas said...

Emily I remember you telling that story somewhere.....! That's amazing. I've still sadly never met any celebrities. Ever. Sigh.

Thanks Fred, Vicar and Brett. You ALL mentioned Return to Oz which as a matter of fact is probably in my top 5 favorite children's movies. My post was more of a tribute I think. But dear God I love that movie.

lazlo azavaar said...

I always thought the guards were singing "All we own, we owe!", so it made sense to me why they were in servitude to the witch, and why they celebrated when she melted.
Also, Miss Gulch always scared me more than the witch, cause that kind of bitchiness is REAL. I've seen it close up.

Andre Dumas said...

Haha that is a good translation. I think they are really just saying a bunch of Oooh's and Eee's. But who really knows for sure?

Pax Romano said...

Talking trees! Damn Talking trees! Scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid!

Crafty C said...

The only time the witch scared me was when she shows up in the crystal ball. Something about how unexpected it was plus how she, I think, turns her head and her laughing face zooms toward the camera a bit (although I may be embellishing with my childhood memory here). Anyway, I always had a hard time watching that part without covering my eyes.

Rabid Fox said...

Excellent post. I can't imagine living a life without having seen this film. And god, what kind of a childhood can a person have without this movie being a part of it? For Christ's sake, it should be mandated by every civilized nation on the planet to sit kids down and get sucked into this movie.

And GARGH, I hated those flying monkeys as a child. Freaked. Me. Out.

Anonymous said...

I heard they were chanting "oh we love the old one," the old one being the witch. When I watched it again, it did sort of sound like that could be right. I'd love to know for sure what they are actually chanting. One of my top 5 fav movies!

Anonymous said...

I love the wizard of oz and he hanging munchkin is a complete fake. The only thing that is creepy to me are the monkeys. If they didn't have that evil smirk they would be cute but still! My theater group did the wizard of oz and I was a guard. They say " oh wee oh, wee ought oh"