Saturday, June 20, 2009

Maybe Rumplestiltskin Ate'th Your Baby

It was only a matter of time before a horror filmmaker decided to jump on one of Western civilization’s most gruesome fairy tales. For those who find the cannibalism and parental negligence of Hansel & Gretel too PG, the original Rumplestiltskin highlights fatherly irresponsibility and what may possibly be the very first black market (and black magic) baby ring. If that’s not enough, the story ends with a character literally being split in two and sucked underground for eternity.

The plot itself is enough to give kids of any time period nightmares, but sadly, Mark Jones’ 1995 interpretation doesn’t quite capture any of the horror inherent in fighting a greasy troll for your child’s life. One part Leprechaun, twenty percent reaction shots of babies, and oozing in bargain priced medieval puns, Rumplestiltskin is the type of cheese you eat once in its entirety and again only when starving or inebriated.

Quick Plot: Somewhere in Europe in the 1400s (I’m not being lazy; that’s what the title card said), an angry mob chases down the baby-swiping, inexplicably Bronx-accented title character to save the very clean tot he's been toting after granting a young mother's wish. Luckily, there's a fairly talented gypsy in the bunch. A few tosses of glitter and Rumplestiltskin is sent to carry out his next thousand years inside a jade sculpture.

Five hundred and ninety five years later, we learn that gypsies can’t do math or just have really bad curse warranties.

It’s “The Present Day” in LA, where the police are such sunny stereotypes that one jokes about donuts and his partner calls his pretty and pregnant wife Shelly (later Ivy from NBC’s Passions!). The terribly slow- motioned carjacking of a young mother widows our heroine, but a quick trip to an antique shop lifts her spirits with the purchase of a familiar statue that--through tears and a rhetorical wish--unleashes the nose-ring wearing Rumplestiltskin on Shelly, baby Johnny, and eventually, an Andrew Dice Clay-ish comedian with dreadful Zack Morris style and remarkable skill at driving a go-cart.

High Points
While nothing quite tops the terribly brilliant punning of Leprechaun(“This old Lep/He played one/ He played pogo on his lung” is a personal favorite), Rumplestiltskin’s brilliant addition of “‘th” to any verb does make me want to develop a potty mouth, if only for the opportunity to use “Fuck’th me" from here on in

Low Points
When you heavily feature a character as obnoxious as the goofy female best friend, you owe the audience a bigger death scene than a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it neck break

On paper, the 87 minute running time sounds like a good idea, but when 20 of those final minutes are devoted to an extended chase with absolutely no tension or creativity, breaking the hour mark is just wrong

Lessons Learned
If the only thing that will curse you is another person saying your name out loud, it’s probably not a good idea to constantly refer to yourself in the third person

It doesn’t take long to master truck driving, even if your feet barely reach the pedals

Confirmed Lesson Learned From Sunnydale
When unable to identify a supernatural culprit in a public crime, authority figures will undoubtedly put the blame on PCP

Winning Line
Gypsy Antiques Dealer: It’s supposed to grant wishes.
Shelly: Oh, so you make wishes and they come true?

Stray Observation
Medieval Europe looked an awful lot like the historical reenactment about witch trials shown on the New York jury duty video

This may shock you, but Rumplestiltskin is a pretty ridiculous film. If you have any doubts, consider the following: upon commandeering a motorcycle, Rumplestiltskin proudly notes, “Made in America. My kind of chariot.” How, for example, does the 15th century Rumpy have any idea what America is if, according to the song I memorized in the 4th grade, Columbus sailed the Ocean Blue in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two? And when did he learn the offensiveness of giving the finger? If you think you will be bothered by such a question, avoid this movie. If you were far from amused by the Leprechaun’s third outing to Las Vegas, avoid this movie. If the temptation of a Duel-like road chase between a misogynist driving a go cart and a 600 year old troll driving a mack truck and spouting one-liners like “Let’s play’th tag,” then get the point. This is a poor man’s Leprechaun made from imitation cheddar. It’s not good for you, but for the first few bites, it’s kind of hard to stop eating. Then you stop and hate yourself. Then you get hungry again Bad movies are a dangerous cycle.

Oh. And just in case it wasn't clear, did I mention this film is like:

Right down to the near identical poster art.


  1. Great post! I remember when this film came'th out, never bothered to watch it because I was too cool and snobbish about my horror films at that age.

    However, thanks to films like Troll 2 and Pieces, I am a lover of trash along the lines of Rumplestilskin and I would love to see it now...I'm sure I would fully appreciate it for what it is.

  2. I still need to check'th out Pieces. Rumpy really doesn't come close to any of the sharp cheddary bite of the Leprechaun series, but the go-cart chase needs to be seen to be believed. With a beer and pizza, this is a damn good long as you have incredibly low standards and no real shame.

  3. ha, actually the columbus bit you recited, we learned in 2nd grade, mrs. swamback's class. :D and now i'm really glad i never rented this one.