Kids Corner #4 - Labyrinth

What is the Kid's Corner? An occasional series wherein I select fondly remembered films from my childhood and make my kids watch them so they too can fondly remember them in the future. This will increase family bonding, build character and will hopefully not end in a screaming row, like the den-building incident. So when the notion takes me, they will be dragged away from their friends and games and homework and will sit obediently by my side and/or look pityingly upon me as I wallow in nostalgia. Today, as we learn about the sad passing of David Bowie, it seems appropriate to add this cult classic to the archive......


Labyrinth (Jim Henson, 1986) is essentially a muppet movie, the titular maze populated by all manner of wonderful creations from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Now, it takes a lot to upstage Jim Henson's puppets, but Bowie managed to do just that in his portrayal of Jareth the Goblin King, a frankly terrifying combination of punk hair, garish make-up, tight grey leggings, spinning balls and a quite remarkable mega-codpiece. Indeed, I am told that the latter item was responsible for the sexual awakening of many an impressionable pre-teen girl back in the day, and now that I think about it, all that ball fondling probably helped too. Speaking personally, however, this particular pre-teen's hormones were more stirred by the heroine Sarah, played by the lovely Jennifer Connelly in an early role, which had me wishing for a codpiece of my own. Although sadly not a mega one. But I digress. With a typically anarchic script by Monty Python's Terry Jones, a plot in which Bowie KIDNAPS A BABY(!) and some genuinely freaky visuals toward the end, this really strays into fairly dark territory for a kid's film, something which probably contributed to its poor box-office and mixed critical reception on original release. However, it found a home on VHS and found its way into the hearts of many who now regard it as a cult favourite. Today, as others play tribute to Bowie with some of his more famous songs, why not remind yourself of the lesser-known 'Magic Dance', during which Bowie dances with, and periodically assaults, a bunch of hideous puppets. Even for a man who Fell To Earth, cavorted with Spiders From Mars and inhabited the enigmatic figure of disappearing FBI agent Phillip Jeffries, we're talking strange, strange territory here. Enjoy.


The Kids Are All Right?

No.1 (9yo): "This is a bit scary. I'm frightened."
No.2 (6yo): "This is a bit crazy. I'm leaving."
No.3 (2yo): Left after 1 minute, dragging Peppa Pig toy. Unavailable for comment.



A full list of films in Kids Corner can be found here.


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