Friday, 6 November 2009


In one of the most bizarrely intertextual children’s musicals in history, an alliance of horrid monsters and villains seeks world domination, but is challenged constantly by the heroic efforts of Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb. The film starts by showing the monsters in their castle as they debate what to do with their captives, Ferocious Wolf and the Ogre, both of whom are friends of our heroes. Witnessing the deliberation is Stinky the Skunk, who sneaks off to inform Red of the situation. But when she and Tom Thumb rush to a nearby village to call for help, they discover that the Wicked Queen has cursed the local water supply. Alarmed to discover her entire family has turned into mice, Red heads for the monsters’ castle and, with the help of Tom Thumb, Stinky and the Good Fairy, stops their evil plans.

Like The Singing, Ringing Tree from five years earlier, Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb vs. The Monsters has something of a reputation for unintentionally terrifying children – a reputation well justified. Characters such as 2-in-1, the mixed-race Siamese twin cannibals, and the hydrocephalic Carrothead make the experience more traumatic than buccaneering. On the other hand, no other film can boast an explosive robot, jigging midget chimps and a witch with Catholic guilt. Officially, the film sucks, but there’s an irresistible, almost deliberate awfulness that means you might find yourself watching this one over and over, like it were The Rocky Horror Picture Show for kids.

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