In this post, you will see the weird and wonderful ways that my mind works.
Every year at about this time, I think about a movie I used to watch as a child: Disney’s 1985 production of “Return to Oz.” I never really knew why I thought about it until yesterday, when it all clicked into place. Every year around this time, Southern Tier releases a seasonal beer called “The Pumking” and every time I see it, I say to myself, “Jack Pumpkinhead.”
For those of you who have not had the experience of watching “Return to Oz,” let me tell you: it’s so bizarre that I would say it has elements of the horror genre. The movie opens with an insomniac Dorothy Gale in Kansas. She can’t sleep because she obsessively thinks about an imaginary place called Oz. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry decide to take her to an asylum to get Electric Shock Therapy, although the doctor you meet tries to put a nice calm spin on it. As he explains his miraculous machine, Dorothy sees the reflection of a blond girl in the mirror, (who is not actually there.)
A few scenes later, Dorothy watches Aunt Em leave from her locked room in the asylum. Dorothy sees a reflection of the girl again, but this time, she turns around to find the girl standing in the room in a white nightgown. The girl has brought her a pumpkin, (as a present?) As they talk, you hear screaming and moaning coming from the hall. The girl says she has to go and promptly disappears. (As she later explains to Dorothy, the screams are coming from patients who have been damaged and locked in the cellar. And this is a kids’ movie?!) A few hours later, men with hollow eyes release Dorothy from her locked room, only to strap her down to a gurney. She is wheeled into a room with the doctor and his machine. The EST is about to begin when the power goes out. The “imaginary” blond girl reappears, unstraps Dorothy and they escape out of the asylum into the night and the thunderstorm. In pursuit, they jump into the flooded river where the blond girl apparently drowns and Dorothy manages to climb aboard a floating chicken coop. When she awakens the next day, she finds herself in Oz, which has been destroyed. The yellow brick road has crumbled, the emerald city looks like a war zone, and all of the people have been turned to stone. Notably, most of the young women statues have had their heads cut off. We follow Dorothy to Princess Mombi and her hall of interchangeable heads, and eventually, to the Nome King, who is a king made of stone. (He is also the same man who plays the doctor of the asylum in real life.) He has stolen all of the emeralds, as well as the (women’s) ruby slippers, which he wears beneath his stone cloak. I won’t say much more, in case you want to watch for yourself how the story ends.
Jack Pumpkinhead comes into the picture when Dorothy is, once again, locked up as a prisoner. She finds him in shambles in a corner, where he tells her that his “Mom” created him with Mombi’s magic “Powder of Life” which she keeps in the cabinet with her original head. Eventually, Dorothy and her newfound friends fly on a magic divan to the Nome King’s Mountain, where they enjoy a supper of hot melted silver and limestone pie with the Nome King.
AND FINALLY to the CROCHET! For some reason, I got the notion that I wanted to crochet my own limestone pie, because that silver thread from the snowflakes (see last blog post) reminded me of flinty stone. So that’s what I did. I also made a little emerald goblet filled with hot melted silver. And in case you thought Disney came up with this stuff on their own, I took pictures of the original illustrations of these scenes from L. Frank Baum’s books “The Marvelous Land of Oz” and “Ozma of Oz.”