pissingblood’s grindhouse classic review: The Garbage Pail Kids

I think I might be a little OCD. I wanted to find a movie that had some obscure cartoon developed from it, similar to the last grindhouse classic review. I’m pretty sure I could have made my life easier if I didn’t stick these little underlying themes in all the time, but I like being informative beyond just a simple movie review. So a movie that met my completely made up and pointless criteria took a while to find, but eventually, thanks to an unrelated conversation with my brother that reminded me of an old childhood favourite that, once again, had slipped to the deepest darkest recesses of my brain. The amount of stuff that has slipped down there… I finally found one of the world’s worst straight to video releases ever produced by a chewing gum company.

How the hell a chewing gum company like Topps managed to convince the only man to ever win a Pulitzer Prize for a graphic novel to come up with and illustrate something as ridiculous as The Garbage Pail Kids, I’ll never know. Art Spiegelman took 13 years to finish his most famous work, Maus, a biographical graphic novel about his father’s life, being a Jew in Poland leading up to, and during, World War II then his new life in America, living in New York. Already an acclaimed illustrator and writer, what does Art follow-up his crowning glory with? Sticker cards that managed to outrage and horrify parents and teachers in the States, who tried desperately to ban them, but ultimately failed and the cards became pop culture collectables across half the planet.

The popularity of the cards must have been obvious at the time because they decided to make a cartoon series too. This is obviously when Saturday morning cartoons where nothing more than elaborate ad campaigns to sell more shit to kids, and the oh-so-sensitive American’s already offended by the cards saw this too, and made sure it never aired in the US citing that it made fun of the handicapped and glorified violence as well. Which it does! If that isn’t a recipe for an awesome B-grade movie what is?

Unfortunately what spurred all this 80’s parents’ fear and paranoia gave birth to the crappiest of films I’ve sat through lately, but I loved as a kid. I think my brother and I hired the VHS about 20 times until my dear grandmother, so sick to death of even hearing it on the TV, told the video store clerk to hide the tape whenever we came in. Bless her for even letting us hire it that many times, because it is bad. I have to warn you; if you decide to watch this, have a pillow nearby. I feel asleep twice. My now “adult brain” couldn’t make it through this whole movie in one sitting.

The opening credits are totally unrelated to the rest of the movie other than telling you who is in the movie. Forget about aliens or the garbage pail doing anything more than just being a magical vessel that imprisons the kids. Aliens do not have anything to do with the origins of the Garbage Pail Kids or the plot of the movie. Magic on the other hands, seems to have slipped in for some reason. The movie stars Anthony Newley as Captain Manzini a wizard, of all things to be, who runs a junk shop, of all things to own, that has a filthy trashcan in the middle that no one seems to ask about, Mackenzie Astin, as Dodger who works in the Captain’s store and is our main protagonist and Katie Barberi, is Tangerine the love interest. Easy enough to see why the young Dodger has a thing for Tangerine, any guy post puberty would be left whacking for weeks to the thought of her in her very 80’s slut-wear. Our boy Dodge can’t go anywhere near her most of the time though, because of her boyfriend, the aptly named, Juice and his two muscle-bound buddies. That’s the “normies” of the film. The rest of the cast is made of the Garbage Pail Kids, Valarie Vomit, who vomits, but only at the end of the movie properly. Windy Winston, he farts. Foul Phil, the baby of the group who just wants his mommy. Nat Nerd, a spotty fat git that pisses himself for fun. Ali Gator, the leader of the group who has a thing for toes and is obviously an alligator. Greaser Greg, who is… you guessed it, a greaser. And finally Messy Tessy, who suffers from severe sinus, a bit like my brother…

The movie is basically the Garbage Pail Kids escape the pail, thanks to Dodger and Juice having a tussle in the Captain Manzini’s shop, and then agreeing to help Dodger win over Tangerine in exchange for his help in finding the other Garbage Pail Kids. The way this all comes about would only be believable to kids. The whole story is so disjointed and nonsensical that no normal adult could watch it and enjoy it. Really the only thing that kept me looking at the screen was Katie Barberi. The effects are not just bad, they’re fucking terrible! You see the light reflect in the glass eyes of the GBK’s heads all the time and you can tell it’s a midget in a suit every step of the way. I’m not asking for real deformed dwarves, but just a bit of effort would’ve gone a long way here, I think. Everything in this movie is labelled quite literally. Even down to the sewer pipes that come up more than they should. I think they were just milking the few sets they did have. First time I’ve seen sewer pipes labelled plainly, like City Zoo or Toxic Waste, and in the direction they flow. That doesn’t stop the writers from expecting you to believe that turning them off has an effect in a completely unrelated location at the exact moment when Juice decides to go for a shit. Yes, it’s that type of movie…

Today, a kid’s movie doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s exclusively for kids. I watch many animated features still and will re-watch them happily. The stories are good, characters are entertaining, I even find moments that I thoroughly enjoy them. This movie is made with the same thinking as the people who dish out horrid shit like Telly Tubbies and Barney the Dinosaur, but threw in as many inappropriate gags and situations they dared to. Just a pity they didn’t dare that much… I think it goes to show that even since the 80’s kids are recognised as having some intelligence. They don’t treat kids like semi-formed retarded babies up until they suddenly graduate high school and are expected to be adults all of sudden. I’ve had worse experiences in terms of watching a movie, but I can’t think of any examples now. Be grateful that you have something to go off, and can choose to watch this movie at your own peril. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. I’m looking out for you bastards once again! The things I do for you people…


2 Responses to “pissingblood’s grindhouse classic review: The Garbage Pail Kids”

  1. 1 Stepanie Sprecher
    January 8, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for posting .

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