Why I’m scared of Willie Wonka

…this hardly ever comes up. Damn Tim Burton for making a new version of the most traumatic movie I watched as a child.
True Confessions: I am frightened of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

In the past year as more and more hype has been building and more and more people have been talking about the movie. I haven’t been able to avoid it.

When I was a kid I watched Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and it terrified me. I have been able to deduce the reason why (apart from the fact that Gene Wilder is a sinister man and the music is all freaky-deaky): I watched it at a tender age when I didn’t really understand live action movies. I watched it believing that all the kids were good and were being punished by evil adults after eating candy.

I liked eating candy. I didn’t want freaky shit to happen to me after eating candy. I didn’t like the idea that the kids were going to be dumped in the rubbish. It freaked me out!

Now obviously, everyone chants to me “But those kids were BAD!”
When I originally watched it I didn’t get that. I simply didn’t have the faculties to understand that some of the kids were good and some bad. I was looking at it with cartoon based understanding of: all kids good, all adults bad.

So, to this day when I watch any part of that original movie I get queasy sick feelings in my stomach. I get a disturbed/uncomfortable feeling like I’m watching innocent, defenseless kids being bullied and I don’t like it.
Amphigori actually made the new version sound good to me and maybe someday I’ll watch it. I don’t think I can bear to see it at the movies though. I need a safer environment.
Point of Fashion: back in my new boots
Current Obsession: everyone wants me to see Wille Wonka for some reason.

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4 thoughts on “Why I’m scared of Willie Wonka

  1. Interesting thing Tim O’Brien mentioned in his review of it – in the earlier version there’s nothing that really reassures that the kids will ever come back or be ok. Apparently the newer one has lines that indicate they survive :). He was pretty clear that it was a scary movie (and that perhaps kids movies are tamer now, people worried about scaring children) – I certainly remember parts of it being quite alarming as a kid. It just didn’t stick is all.
    I can’t say I care about seeing it in the movie theatre at all, although would probably like to see it at some point in some way.

  2. You’re not alone in this fear, Jenni… the 70’s Charlie scared me to bits when I was a nipper, too.
    I actually only watched the thing all the way through a few weeks ago and, oddly enough, quite enjoyed it.

  3. Hmm. The earliest movie I can remember watching was Thunderball, when my parents had just moved off my Grandparents farm, I’d have been, what, 3, 4? Next one after that was My Fair Lady on Christmas day, I hadn’t started school so 4/5..
    I remember a constant stream after that, most of which I haven’t subsequently seen and so cannot name; but around then I watched Big Trouble in Little China…
    The first movie which frightenned me was Aliens, seen at the theatre.

  4. I never liked the first Willy Wonka movie, partly because it was so unfaithful to the book. Roald Dahl’s tale was dark, but in a fun and exilherating way, not in a scary way. It also made it clear that the kids were not killed, not least because they all re-appeared at the end.
    I particularly hated Gene Wilder’s Wonka. The character in the book was as much like Wilder’s interpretation as Santa Claus is like Freddy Krueger. I imagined Willy Wonka as an child-like man who loves candy, not as a psychedelic serial killer.
    Also, it has a shot of a real chicken getting its head cut off. That doesn’t belong in a kid’s movie.
    I didn’t actually find the movie scary as a kid (and I was a kid who was scared during Dumbo!), I just found it unpleasant and ugly and no fun. I think it was my first experience as a movie critic. 😉
    I tried re-watching it with an open mind recently and found it was even worse than I remembered, largely because the music is putrid.
    I think Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is the #1 reason why I get uptight when an adaptation of a favourite book or comic (or a remake of a favourite movie) is announced. I’ve been VERY reluctant to see the new movie because I’ve heard all sorts of things about the changes they’ve made this time around.

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