|Copyright 1981 Amulet Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'
- Jaime - Disturbed little kid who talks to his teddy bear. For a boy of twelve he is quite the pervert. He gets munched in the end.
- Teddy - Take a little boy's Id (one who takes Lithium), give it cute button eyes and a soft furry covering. You now have Teddy.
- Sandy - Jaime's nanny, eaten.
- Mrs. Livingston - School librarian. She knows Jaime is one freaked out boy.
- Freddy and Christina - Older boy who is the leader of a club, while she seems to be his girlfriend. Both are fed to the Tra-la-logs.
- Abergail - Brat girl who torments Jaime. Fed to the Tra-la-logs.
- Mrs. Oliphant - Mean old woman in a wheelchair who once told on Jaime for running around naked. Guess what happens to her: fed to the Tra-la-logs.
- Tra-la-logs - These are the creatures that are eating everyone. Shot by locals.
|This movie was a let-down, but I knew it was coming. Despite all the possibilities apparent in a script about a psycho kid feeding people to monsters, prepare to be disappointed. Jaime is a rather unloved boy, BECAUSE HE'S A FRIGGING PSYCHO! Hard to feel sorry for him; thank you very much.
Sandy is hired to be Jaime's nanny. The little nutzoid falls head over heels in love with her. He tries to express himself, but there are very few ways for a boy his age to articulate the torrent of emotions that define an adolescent crush. What invariably will come out is either mooning adulation or lurid sexual fantasy. Since he is unbalanced, Jamie's crush comes across as a confusing mishmash, though it weighs heavily on the creepy sexual side.
While wandering alone in the woods, Junior Psycho discovers a pit full of hairy monster things. I cannot easily describe them. Jeez, they have snouts and are furry. He bonds with the creatures, because what else would a neurotic pre-teen do when confronted by a pit full of midgets in fuzzy suits? Oh, like you did not have imaginary friends when you were a kid. Granted, yours were probably cuddly white bunnies or a gargantuan red dog that could talk. Then again, most kids do have a few dark fantasies. I remember traumatizing my older sister by wrapping all of her Barbie's up in white yarn and suspending them in a crazy cobweb strung between the legs of the table and several chairs. The least fortunate of the dolls had a big rubber spider perched atop her, quite busy with the job of turning Barbie's guts into liquid and then sucking them out.
I had taken the yarn from grandma's knitting basket. She was none too pleased about the arachnid holocaust either.
Pretty soon, Jaime begins to use his limited savings to purchase meat for the Tra-la-logs. That quickly runs out and he resorts to stealing any cash he can find around the house. The butcher is happy for the business, but not many meat markets run "buy two pounds of raw steak and get the third pound free" specials. Our protagonist (Why must I call him that?) is quickly out of money again. Maybe Jamie should have been looking at the price per pound to get the most out of his dollars. It is not as if he was feeding them ramen.
Ha! If the monsters ate ramen, Jamie probably could have fed them forever without running out of money. Any food that cheap worries me. I mean, a little packet is what, fifteen cents? The packaging and transportation has to cost almost that much. How can they afford to make it? You know what happened, don't you? Some guy found a hole in the ground full of live ramen that wiggle mindlessly to the surface (yes, ramen is actually some sort of organism). They built a factory over the hole and use slave labor to scoop ramen out of the hole all day and night. No matter how much they remove, the hole is always brimming full of squirming ramen.
Fine, then you explain why ramen is so cheap.
Another of Jamie's little idiosyncrasies is that he talks to his teddy bear. Frankly, if I were his mother I would forbid him to ever see the thing again, because Teddy is not a nice bear. It always advises its owner to do things that would get any child condemned to Santa's naughty list. That is, if Saint Nicholas did not show up in the brat's bedroom one night with a broadsword to end things once and for all. Teddy's solution to the Tra-la-log food shortage is to feed them "bad people." As you might have guessed, the definition of "bad people" is anyone who has made Jamie angry. He quickly runs out of bad people.
I did laugh when Jamie grabbed the handles of the crotchety old lady's wheelchair and pushed her all the way down the street, into the woods, and then dumped her into the pit.
Unfortunately, the disturbed little boy shows Sandy his pet monsters. She falls in and they eat her and the loss drives Jamie over the edge. He provides the ravenous creatures with a means of egress (a rope). After munching several residents, the Tra-la-logs are pursued back to the pit by a posse that shoots them to death. Jamie then meets a friendly girl who wants to show him her secret...another pit in the woods.
I am not fond of this film. It is slow and we never get a very clear look at the monsters. What they do look like is a bunch of midgets in hairy pig outfits. However, Jamie is creepy, no matter how you slice the movie. The redeeming factor is his frightening demeanor and psychosis. Keep out of the reach of children.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Kids are not allowed to check out books like "Creative Nude Photography" from the library.
- Boys want to ride girl's bikes.
- Liberated women piss crazy kids off.
- A young nanny should not wash a twelve-year-old boy's back.
- Psycho boys can perfectly predict the reactions of grown women to telephone calls.
- Never attempt to reason with a cow.
- Twenty foot wide pits in the ground are virtually invisible.
- Telling a girl that she is "not pretty inside" and then feeding her to monsters is a little hypocritical.
- Getting psychotherapy from your talking teddy bear is not good for you.
- 1 min - Ouch! Random punch to the face.
- 9 mins - Punch to the face scene again.
- 11 mins - Problem child huh? More like a nut case.
- 25 mins - What the heck are you talking to in that pit? Oh, just Tra-la-logs...
- 37 mins - Great, Trog-cam. Why is every damn monster nearsighted?
- 41 mins - No, some other psycho kid crept into the bathroom and wrote "I love you" on the mirror.
- 67 mins - Nobody notices that all these people are missing?
- 73 mins - Good idea, Jaime, they eat people so you give them a rope to climb out.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Jaime: "What do I do now." |
Teddy: "Well, she'll get undressed and go into the bathroom. Just give her a minute."
||Jaime: "I'm not lonely, I got teddy and the things in my terrarium. I talk to them and bring them things to eat. I can always go see the Tra-la-logs, only they don't talk much."
||Sandy: "Did you go in there and write that on the mirror while I was taking a shower?" |
Sandy: "Well enough is enough, young man! Do I make myself clear?"
||Police Chief: "Like a plague or something! People disappearing right and left. Old ladies, little girls, young women, school boys..."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Feeding the old lady to the Tra-la-logs.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Darlene
This is for Michael--want to know where Sam is? If you're ever in Toronto, check the newspapers for small dance/theatrical productions. Sam dropped the acting routine and has concentrated on teaching and studying dance. I haven't been home myself in years but next time I see him I'll be sure and tell him about this website. He'll get a big kick out of it.
Reply #18. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Jim Terrell
QUESTION FOR MARK:
Since you live in Beaver Dam, I was wondering if you knew what has happened to the cast members who were from the area. I'd appreciate any info. Thanks.
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Ian Stuart
I'm the writer, folks, and I would like to quote a psychiatrist who read the original script. "This is an excellent fictional depiction of a psychotic 9-year-old." Now the producer after it was produced. "I'm sorry, Ian. We took your script and turned it into a Grade-B piece of garbage. We should have looked at some of the films the director made before we turned him loose on your script." The boy was supposed to be nine and the creatures products of his imagination. In fact all the events from the time his babysitter slaps his face do not actually happen except in his psyche. Jamie is based on a real psychotic child who created monsters he believed would elimninate anyone who offended him and the boy would then refuse to recognize that they existed. Instead of a nine year old (five child actors had already been selected for him to choose from) the director decided to cast a 12 year old with the phsyical body of a fourteen year old - hopelessly inappropriate - and it went from bad to worse. Sorry it's so bad folks. I wrote a COMPLETELY different screenplay.
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Trina
My mother rented this movie for me when I was really young, back in the day when you could find anything in a movie store. I think that to this day that this movie is still disturbing for someone my age to have seen so young, because I have had nightmares about the tra-la-logs. Im 20 now I don't think I have seen it since I was 5 years old. Im just waiting to find this movie once again so I can show it to my children when they are not expecting it.
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Joe
I am from Beaver Dam as well and would just like to say that it's not THAT bad. Ok it is.
Jim... as for your question: I can answer it. I know a number of actors in the Beaver Dam area and they are doing fine. They are mostly retired now. The gentleman who told Jamie to "Get down" from the fire escape is John Auten, southern Wisconsin acting legend and local star! He has been in numerous plays and a few films, as well as directing a few plays. They are great men, I say. Great!
This movie is a fun romp in the world of Tra-la-logs!
(Sidenote...Fred MacMurray (The original "Absent Minded Professor" and father on "My Three Sons" was also born, raised and went to school in Beaver Dam.) Neat, huh?
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Todd Shields
The worst part of this movie is how the makers tried to portray the little retard as a 'sympathic' character (Like Lenny of OF MICE AND MEN fame) when all he is is a little pervert like I was when I was his age (nobody felt sorry for me, god dammit!).
One the other hand, seeing him feed all the film's jerkoffs was kinda fun, especially the old bitty.
Reply #23. Posted on December 17, 2003, 12:09:20 AM by Anger-Fist
I saw this movie years ago and it scared the s**t out of me.... I wish i had a pit to throw people in......
Reply #24. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Jacobi
I remember the first time I saw this movie. I tricked my dad into letting me rent it, after my mom had forbid it (I was about 7 or 8 the first time I saw it). Needless to say, I got in trouble when my mom found me watching this movie. This movie has a special place in my heart. I now own the movie on VHS and watch maybe once a year or so. I even have an original movie poster hanging in my bedroom. As I got older, I realized more and more how brilliant this movie is in its badness. For one, the plot. What's this movie about anyway? A story about an autistic boy? A story about a young man's obsession with his baby sitter? A talking teddy bear that urges its owner to kill? A pervert who is constantly pulling some sort of perverted prank? Or a movie about a kid who feeds people to his Trogs? All of these themes are in this movie, and few movies can even come close to mixing this many odd plot lines into one movie. This movie pulls it off and while the result may be unwatchable, you have to admire the effort. Sammy Snyders (Jamie) pulls off a great performance. It's not oscar worthy by any means, but he certainly stands out in a movie that will never itself stand out among others. Jeannie Elias (Sandy) is probably the only person in the movie you might somewhat recognize. She went on to do some voices for cartoons, and even had a small part in a couple Seinfeld episodes (The Bris is the only one I can remember her being in). I'm a fan of B-Horror movies, and this movie is in my top five favorite bad movies of all time. Right up there with "The Gate" and "Re-Animator." I wish I had the money to personaly get this movie onto DVD, because a DVD release is long overdo. Especially considering the kind of bad horror movies that already have a DVD release ("The Gate" again comes to mind). Watch this movie, if you can find it. You've never seen anything quite like it.
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