12/14/09

RVOD089 A Christmas Dream

(1946, Short/Holiday, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett

She’s fully embraced the madness now.

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:


A demonic little rag doll invades a girl’s dreams.

Summary:

Hide your souls, they're not safe here.A little girl enters her room to see a Christmas tree, decorated with burning candles and sparklers. Three new stuffed toys await her beneath it. Delighted, she casts aside her “Tickle-Me Yahoo Serious” doll (Bill’s description) to play with her new toys.

That night, Santa enters her dreams, breathing life into the discarded plaything. The bizarre little toy capers and whines around the room on a stop-motion rampage, destroying everything in his path with his antics. Eventually he starts up an electric fan with the power of a hurricane, blowing most of the room away. The girl leaps out of bed to rescue the doll before it can get lost in an errant gust. The fan stops, and everything goes back to normal. Santa guides her back to the waking world, and she recovers the mop-headed little doll from the corner where she left it.

Thoughts:

At last, a short with the courage to make a stand on toy loyalty, surely the only cinematic treatise on the subject since, uh, any of the Toy Story movies, I guess. And The Mouse and His Child. And didn’t they make a Velveteen Rabbit cartoon at some point? Okay, so cartoons go on about this a lot, but this one is surely the most unintentionally creepy of the bunch, with a horrible nude little burlap creature on a wanton, destructive frolic set to a horror film carnival score. Maybe this passed for children’s fare in war-addled Czechoslovakia, but in America we demand, um, Japanese entertainment products, mainly. I forgot what point I was making. I suspect I may not have had one.

Some favorite comments: When we first see the candles and sparklers, Bill says, “Never let an arsonist decorate your Christmas tree.” When the dream begins and the toy starts to prance, Mike tells the girl, “That’s right, smile away your fear.” As the insanity builds and chaos reigns, Kevin urges, “Hide your souls, they’re not safe here.” Not much story here; just raw, incongruent creepiness, and the riffers capitalize on that to great effect.