For those of you out there who are not regular watchers of the long-running (and frequently brilliant) animated series The Simpsons, we have a treat (not a trick) for you. This year, for the Simpson’s 24th annual Treehouse of Horror Halloween special, they’ve enlisted noted film director Guillermo Del Toro to put his own bizarre spin on the show’s ever-popular (and ever-changing) introductory sequence, also known to insiders as “the couch gag.” The resulting clip is already being hailed as an instant classic. And to make it even better, at one point Lisa Simpson finds herself becoming Alice! You may need to watch it more than once to catch all the horror and sci-fi references jammed into this slice of silliness (including liberal helpings of images from Del Toro’s own oeuvre, including Pan’s Labrinth and HellBoy). It’s also nice to see some authors of the genre honored briefly, as well.
The full episode (three unrelated stories) will be aired tonight (10/6) at 8pm on the FOX network. But the inspired intro has already been released and you can watch it right here, right now!
LCSNA member Jenny Woolf posted this intriguing video on her blog (which is well worth visiting, if you don’t already know about it). It’s from the US National Archives, and was made in 1971 for the National Institute of Mental Health, to discourage children from experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
The animation and voice work are really quite good. As Jenny points out, they’re almost too good! Looking back now at this clip, the girl’s bouffant hair, and (ahem) eye shadow, is pretty trippy, too.
Here is a blog post from the National Archives, where they discuss the 1972 critical reception of the film. As one might expect, reviewers considering the film’s applicability as a teaching tool found the animation a little too entertaining, obscuring the intended message that taking drugs is a bad thing. Still, with proper guidance, the film might stimulate a helpful discussion. And for adults, it’s an interesting piece of film in its own right.
One of our mimsy minions has alerted us to this NY Times review of the new film Abigail Harm, starring Amanda Plummer and directed by filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung. The tie-ins with Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There are both literal and metaphorical, playing with the Alice and Fawn sequence. The film also explores a myth that appears in more than one culture: a wild creature that can be captured by hiding its “robe” or skin (the film The Secret of Roan Inish offers an Irish version.) To read the review of Abigail Harm, click me.
If you haven’t already seen this clip (or the film from which it comes), one of our UK mimsy minions pointed out that this parody of the Twilight series included a brief (and semi-violent) sight gag cameo from Alice. Perhaps the makers of Vampires Suck will next turn their attention to spoofing Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Unless that’s redundant.
In case you missed our earlier post on this topic (which was, of course, brilliantly written and well worth looking up–oh, well, never mind): the popular TV series Once Upon a Time is launching a spinoff this fall called Once Upon a Time: Wonderland. A handful of cast members for the new show made a press appearance at this years Comic-Con in San Diego. To see a photo and read a recap of the press panel discussion, click me.
For those of you who like to schedule your DVR recordings, the show is scheduled to premiere on Thursday, October 10th, at 8pm on ABC.
Here again is the trailer, for those who missed it in our prior post:
From the Department of Dubious Distinctions: It seems that Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland has been named to the Rolling Stone list of “10 Best Movie Drug Trips.” I don’t think Lewis Carroll would have been pleased. But then, like many of us, he might find other reasons not to be pleased by Rolling Stone. I suppose we should be grateful it didn’t also make their “10 Best Stoner Films” list, as well. To read the full list, click me.
From the “knock me over with a tea tray” department comes news reported by one of our faithful Mimsy Minions: Johnny Depp is set to return as the Mad Hatter in Disney’s inevitable sequel to their shockingly successful 3D Alice in Wonderland. The new film, tentatively titled Into the Looking Glass, will be directed by James Bobin rather than Tim Burton. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton is again on board, so we can probably expect more of the same. But as she already used a number of Looking-Glass characters in the first film, it’s not clear what the cast of characters or plotline will be this time around. For more information, click here.
Here’s a review for a new gore-filled flick with a vague attempt at connections with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The film is called Alyce Kills but according to the review, the Carrollian connection is tenuous. You can read the write-up here.
In case you hadn’t already heard, regardless of what many Carrollians may have thought of Disney’s Tim Burton/Linda Woolverton Alice in Wonderland 3D flick, the film has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, so of course a sequel is in the works–penned yet again by Ms. Woolverton. Apparently the sequel will be “inspired” by Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. Given that Ms. Woolverton has already shown her version of Alice “empowering” herself by slaughtering the Jabberwock (and drinking its purple blood, in true warrior style) in the first movie, one wonders what acts of violence Alice will be called upon to perform in the sequel to prove that she’s an “empowered” woman, with that pesky Jabberwock already out of the way. Perhaps she’ll actually carve the mutton? Perhaps she’ll carve up everyone in the banquet hall while she’s at it, for good measure. Or maybe the Jabberwock’s female partner will make an enraged appearance for the finale? One wonders whether Helena Bonham Carter will be asked back to fulfill the obligatory “evil Red Queen” role; she certainly was a highlight of the first film. And given that the second book includes the character of “Hatta” we can almost certainly count on seeing the wacky countenance of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter again. It would certainly be nice to have Mia Wasikowska back in the lead role; she lent considerable grace to the first effort. Let’s hope that this time around, Ms. Woolverton will at least entertain the possibility that Alice can take charge of things without drawing blood. You know, the way Lewis Carroll’s original Alice did. We can dream, can’t we?
“ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” spinoff — “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland” — kicks off Thursday nights in the fall. In this update of the Lewis Carroll classic, two guys (okay, one’s the White Rabbit) save Alice from “a doomed fate” in which doctors want to “cure” her of her dreams of hookah-smoking caterpillars, fading cats and the handsome genie she’d fallen in love with while down the rabbit hole and thought she’d lost forever — which Carroll forgot to mention in the book.
The addition of this new drama, about Alice and her demon lover, to a lineup that also includes soaps “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” makes for a “powerful night of empowered women,” Lee told reporters on that phone conference call.
“Well, thank heaven for one good laugh today!” we replied, in our head.”
And in case you think this is some sort of late April Fool’s prank, dear Mimsy Minions, here’s the trailer: