Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stuff of Nightmares

Well, more specifically, stuff of my nightmares. When I was ... oh, I don't know, some age before I had the capacity to remember tiny details like the entire plot of a movie ... I watched this movie. I proceeded to forget everything about it. Except that there was an evil prince (somebody's brother -- I think the little girl in the movie) who lived in a bubble and turned people into walking boards, and a small unicorn into a toy.

Since a high school friend with a similarly disturbing memory had told me (nearly ten years ago now!!) that my memories were from a show called Unico, I've been trying to figure out what on earth this story was. I had good reason to be trying -- I've been having vague nightmares of a figure that looks not unlike this weirdo for as long as I can remember (though I can't remember when the last one was, to be fair). And now, finally, I have the name: Unico and the Island of Magic. I had my wires a bit crossed, which I suppose was to be expected. First of all, the evil prince in a bubble turns out to be Lord Kuruku, a former puppet who was disposed by his former owners, thrown into the sea, washed up at the "End of the World", and was then turned into a living puppet by the sun. He was, apparently, a bit bitter about being thrown away by humans.

So he turns them into "Living Puppets", who look like this:



There was a brother, who turned evil and did magic. His name was Toby, and he did look bizarre (though I'd conflated him with Lord Kuruku to get the "evil prince in a bubble" thing):



In the picture above you can also see that the board people did, in fact, go and make a wall. I thought they did. I just didn't know how.

Anyway, so finally, I've found the movie that built my nightmares. If you want to get a tad bit freaked out, follow this link to youtube, where the movie's posted -- this is the part near the end, where the little girl and Unico get magicked into toys, too.

And Unico? Well -- turns out he's not as scary as his movie, though the sheer adorability might be a little disturbing, not to mention the weird proto-Pokemon vibe (is Pokemon still big with kids?). It is, in fact, the funniest things that grab the imagination of little children. And it's even stranger to think of the things that still -- twenty four years later -- just won't let you go.

8 comments:

Dr. Virago said...

Good god, I can see what that thing gave you nightmares. The puppet/board people are *creepy*. It's weird how these things stick, though. I still remember a fever dream I had as young child, one that involved an evil Superman and big fat suitcases that were light as a feather and paper thin ones that weighed a ton. It was like a nightmare and a frustration dream rolled into one.

Dr. Virago said...

Er, *why* that thing gave you nightmares.

J J Cohen said...

Expect another comment at about 3 AM from me when, in a fit of insomnia induced by these images, I come back to this site to berate you.

anhaga said...

Dr. V > Yeah, dreams you have a kid do stick with you. Like the time I got chased from the giant in one of the Ewok movies...and the time there were talking bears living all around the lake behind my house. I *still* remember those dreams, and how bizarre it was to dream them...

JJC> Oh no! Although if it makes you feel better while enduring your insomnia and berating me via comments -- I scared the heck out of myself watching the movie again. It's insane. I'd strongly suggest *not* showing this to your kids, ever. I'm still giving my parents a guilt trip over my years of nightmares about this film. *shudder*

flowendegieddum said...

Oh my gosh! I watched that movie, too, as a kid!! But it didn't give me nightmares . . .

I strongly relate to those weird, almost pre-verbal memories of movie images that influenced you as a kid, though. I have this memory of a movie I'll probably never find: a tiny fairy princess girl falls in love with some guy of a different, equally small race. She's not supposed to fall in love with him, so her mother the queen locks her up in a bubble-like thing, or a cell, somewhere. It haunts me . . . I wish I knew what it was.

flowendegieddum said...

OK, it's the weirdest thing: I just did a google search on my movie -- "fairy locked in cell forbidden love 80s animation" -- and I found it! It's called Sea Prince and the Fire Child, and it's by the SAME DIRECTOR that did Unico. Someone named Sanrio. Is that weird or what?

Chelsea Jeanie said...

I have been trying to find this movie for ages! People were trying to convince me that I was probably imagining it, but I insisted... "I was just a little girl! It was on the Disney Channel! There was some sort of red demon! I'll never forget it!!!" It gave me nightmares for years. But I could never remember the name of it... thank you so much!

erica said...

This movie is actually titled, "Maho no Shima e," and the portrayal of Kuruku-sama in the original version makes him come off as light-spirited, impish, and selfishly playful; he was designed to be the show's comic relief, the fool who let power get to his head. As for the horrible demon you witnessed as a child, you can blame Disney for that portrayal, for it was Disney who imported the cartoon from Japan and mutilated the character into the terrifying "Lord Kuruku" that you saw. (At least, it was aired on their channel...) The original animation studio that animted the Unico movies is called Madhouse, and that studio also created a fun, rollicking, gun-blazing animation, one of my absolute favorites of all time--Trigun.