The Film: Return To Oz
The Guests: Elbee and Monica
It’s the 2nd October episode of What Did We Just Watch?!?, and we did indeed watch an October movie! Set on “almost Halloween,” Return to Oz is an adaptation of the two books that follow The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz.
Now, why did we decide to do this seemingly innocuous, soft-requel from ’80s Disney as our Halloween episode? Well, as mentioned before, it fits the month, and it features a buncha freaky stuff, the likes of which we rarely ever see: a talking chicken, a mustachioed robot soldier, a roller-blade army, talking rocks, a headless lady (who owns 31 individual heads), a flying sofa with a green moose head strapped to it, and lastly but most importantly, the most October thing in this film, Jack Pumpkinhead!
Dorothy is played by young Fairuza Balk, whose performance is very impressive. In fact, nearly everything about this film is impressive (except for some of the blue screen work…but that is only faulty because of the technological advances of the day). The sets are ornate and detailed. And the protagonists are memorable and likable, while the villains are sometimes disturbing but always threatening.
With puppeteering supplied by Brian Henson (note the last name) and the rock animation directed by Will Vinton (you know, California Raisins), Return To Oz has some of the best special effects of its kind, even to this day. And what’s more, the surrounding story of Dorothy in a sanitarium set to receive electroshock therapy is possibly (definitely) more harrowing than the fantastic adventure that soon unfolds.
Enjoy this Halloween with our discussion of the October tale Return To Oz.