To start off “Aliens and Monsters Week”, let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit one of my childhood favourites: Ernest Scared Stupid.
When I began this endeavour, back when I was young and full of hope and stupidity, I intended to watch Hocus Pocus as well as Ernest Scared Stupid. Then life happened. I had decided to just do Hocus Pocus, but a friend convinced me that since Hocus Pocus just came out on Blu-Ray, it’s getting a lot of play right now. No one gives Ernest his dues! Well, fine. Ernest it is then.
I used to watch all the Ernest movies growing up. My brother and I LOVED them. Ernest Saves Christmas is a holiday classic in our house and I think it’s safe to say that my brother and I can quote more of Ernest Goes To Jail than any normal human being should be able to. When Ernest Scared Stupid was released, it became a Halloween constant for us. I don’t think I was ever really scared by it, but I do recall finding it hilarious. Fun fact though: Ernest Worrell does NOT hold up. I mean, I’m sure there are some kids who’d get a kick out of this today, but I don’t know them. That being said, I can’t help but love this little turd of a movie. It’s ridiculous, it’s dumb, and I look forward to it every year.
Ernest lives in the small town of Briarville, a town which, a hundred years ago, had a bit of troll problem. Ernest’s ancestor was the one to catch the troll and bury it beneath a tree and as a result, this troll named Trantor curses the Worrell descendants to get dumber, and dumber and dumber…
Well, it worked. Now almost a hundred years to the day, Ernest unwittingly releases the troll, who needs to collect the souls of five children and turn them into wooden dolls so he can raise his army of troll children and take over the world. No, really, that’s the trolls whole shtick – turning kids into wooden dolls.
Now Ernest has to stop this troll with the help of his friends, the local kids, and the crazy old lady who lives at the edge of town, played perfectly by Eartha Kitt.
Since it’s a kid’s movie, it should come as no surprise that Ernest defeats the troll and saves the day and all is well. But not without some hijinks first, y’knowwhattimean?
Key Moments Worth Mentioning (aka My thoughts as I watched):
I have always loved these opening credits. They’re actually really well done. One day I will watch all the old school monster movies referenced here. One day…
* “It’s not bull, I read it in a book!” – Elizabeth defending her school paper on trolls. The equivalent today would be “it’s not bull, I read it on wikipedia!”
* I effing LOVE Ernest’s dog.
Rimshot is adorable and perfect and I want to steal him for my own.
* Just in case you were wondering…
This is how batteries work.
* Did anyone ever have bullies like the bullies in 90s kid flicks? Because I don’t think I’ve ever met kids that are bigger assholes than 90s kid flicks bullies.
* “Do you smell fish?”
Did… did Ernest just make a dirty joke?
* Just to be clear: three kids and a moron built this in like, 2 hours.
It even has battle stations and ammo.
My forts as a kid were just the cupboard under the sink and my balcony. Neither had elaborate weaponry.
* For someone scared that Old Lady Hackmore is going to turn him into a zombie, Ernest sure has no qualms awakening trolls…
* Whenever I would get scared of that troll as a kid, I’d remember that his kryptonite is milk and all I drink is milk and then figured he’d just steer clear of me. Because in my mind as a kid, I drank so much milk I was practically MADE of the stuff! Logic!
* Remember when we lived in a world where kids could play in a forest until well past sunset and walk home alone in the dark and that was totally fine?
I used to play in the woods by my house as a kid ALL THE TIME and walk home with my friends well after dark. Nowadays? That would never happen. Miss you, the innocence of the 90s!
* I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood why the troll turns kids into wooden dolls. Or why those dolls make troll-pods grow on the tree.
I’m just glad he doesn’t eat the kids.
* It breaks my heart that it’s not the same brothers from the other Ernest movies.
I mean, the skinny quiet one is the same guy, but the talkative one isn’t even close :(
* If Evil Dead 2 taught us anything, it’s that foggy forests should be avoided at all costs.
* Eartha Kitt deserves every award ever made for her hilarious overacting in this film.
* Rimshot dressed as a boy scout = PERFECTION
* A half dozen parents are at the police station to report their missing kids. “They’re probably all at the school!” says the best cop ever. At least you could PRETEND to look for these kids…
Never would have guessed.
* I like that trolls are born not only fully clothed, but with weaponry.
* Kids with water guns and milk > trolls with axes and clubs, in case you ever need to battle trolls.
* You know he’s invincible now because he has more horns and longer nails. DUH.
* When that troll jumps down out of the treehouse and lands on Kenny’s wooden doll, I always think, “well, now that kid is paralyzed.”
HOW COULD THAT NOT BREAK HIS BACK. I MEAN, REALLY.
* I love that Eartha Kitt brings all these kids back. I guess she’s going to raise them? They’re gonna be SUPER CONFUSED. Also, how old is she supposed to be?!
That’s her SISTER. From a hundred years ago. Who recognized her. I’m guessing Eartha’s character is approximately 125 years young.
I know it’s lame, and it’s such a small moment, but when that troll runs into the Ernest’s car door, I can’t help but laugh
I’m a simple sort of gal. Doesn’t take much to tickle my funny bone.
Also, every moment with Eartha Kitt. She makes this thing 10x more watchable, folks.
The scene where Elizabeth looks under her bed for the troll would terrify me as a kid.
Because that was my biggest fear – not that something would be under there, but that if I checked, whatever might have been under the bed would be in my bed when I came back up.
I blame this on Poltergeist.
Why I love it:
Nostalgia, mostly. It reminds me of Halloween as a kid, watching spooky movies with my brother and obsessing with ghosts and monsters and whatnot. Like I said, it doesn’t really hold up the way Hocus Pocus does (I’m sorry, but that movie is never not delightful) but the sentimentality I associate with it makes it a favourite for me this time of year.
Next up: prepare to go spelunking with the ladies of The Descent.