If I may, I’d like to speak to the ladies a moment. The women, the females, the girls; there’s something I think you’ll find very interesting. I’m so sure of this, that I’m just gonna hit you with it cold; straight, no chaser. Afterwards, I’ll reveal why.
The following YouTube link should be cued up to the correct spot, but on the off chance it isn’t, you’re looking for the 9:04 mark: “The Slave”, from Art Bears’ 1979 album Winter Songs. The lyrics are under the link in case you’d like to read them. The words are so clearly sung, you probably won’t even need to.
So. As an adult, you have a problem with a movie that you loved as a child. I see on social media that this is a common grievance. I don’t need to name a film. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of motion pictures that don’t stand up to the intense scrutiny and overthinking of 2017.
It’s not them. It’s you. You are the problem.
I’ll begin with a contemporary example: any current superhero movie. Marvel, DC, independent degeneracy like Deadpool and Kick-Ass; it’s all the same. Permit me to make another assumption- you got all worked-up over seeing the latest hero flick, and you left the theater three hours later feeling empty and disappointed, without knowing why.
“Little Girls” is the first track off of Only A Lad, the first LP from Los Angeles new-wave band Oingo Boingo. When I was only a lad, it was sort of a personal anthem. You probably know it, it starts with:
I – I – I love little girls, they make me feel so good I love Little girls, they make me feel so Bad
When they’re around they make me feel like I’m the only guy in town
Little girls, they make me feel so
Fairly innocuous, right? It’s cute, if you don’t read too much into it. Or, avoid watching the video.
Ralph Reese is a brilliant illustrator whose art I first discovered in Choose Your Own Adventure books; he was my personal favorite. His work leapt off the page more than the others, owing to his apprenticeship under the great Wally Wood. In my teens, I found reprints of Ralph’s collaboration with Byron Preiss for National Lampoon, “One Year Affair”. I dreamed of being able to draw like Ralph Reese.
When Ralph did a feature in CRAZY magazine, it was a cause for celebration. Because Ralph wasn’t just a master illustrator.
Ralph was also a master of making you crap your pants.
Mad medicine was everywhere in the 80s and 90s. There were toys and playsets endorsed by mad doctors, for use by kids. Every time you watched cartoons, you saw a skinny dude with crazy hair in a white lab coat, maniacally mixing chemicals and potions for some nefarious purpose. Under the influence of this, I created my own mad medicine man; Dr. Kill-Everybody.
Dr. K (no hair), with Fronkin Steen and Psuto Moto.
Either the trope became shopworn around 2001, or something happened that discouraged children from playing with chemicals. You don’t see mad doctors and scientists like you used to. Maybe this is a good thing; maybe the concept was subconsciously driving impressionable kids away from lucrative STEM-field careers. I don’t know.
What I do know is this. Mad doctors once flourished in our society, even though they were annoying, and generally sucked.
In the early 1980s, video games were simple in concept, much like the “game apps” on phones nowadays. At heart, they were demonstrations of your skills with a joystick, paddle, or “track-ball” controller, performing one or more challenges. Eating all the dots, or climbing a scaffold to defeat a giant ape, to cite a couple of well-known examples. Navigating a maze while being pursued by killer robots. Killing a centipede, segment by segment. Swinging on vines over bottomless pits.