October is the best time of year: baseball playoffs, the hockey season starting, fall weather, and, of course, Columbu… er, Halloween! Throughout the month, I’ll be offering “quick takes” of thirty-one horror movies, maybe mostly franchises. Even though a lot of blogs do this. Even though I thought of this after the month had already started…
Day 25 – Rumpelstiltskin (1995 or 1996, depending on whether you believe IMDb or the poster below)
Gather round kiddies! It’s story time!
Once upon time, back when people live in homes with roofs made of “thatch,” there lived a man named Rumpelstiltskin.
Wait. Back that up. I’m not sure if “man” is the right term — Elf, maybe? Goblin?
Anyway, Rumpelstiltskin had the ability to grant wishes, further validating my point that he was less of a man and more of a supernatural being of some type. In return for granting a person a wish, Rumpelstiltskin only asked one thing in return — a child. What he did with with all these children is anyone’s guess, but I’m sure it wasn’t anything sick and perverted.
Rumpelstiltskin had a weakness, of course. If a person said his name three times in a row, he would turn into a small statue resembling a dried piece of shit if said turd was lightly glazed and baked in a kiln. Luckily, no one knew Rumpelstiltskin’s name. He was just the creepy guy with all the little kids who could grant wishes.
Eventually, though, someone figured the whole deal out — the name, the “saying it three times in a row” bit. It wasn’t long after that an ungrateful mob of childless townsfolk turned on Mr. Stiltskin, imprisoning him in a glazed turd prison.
At least that’s how I interpreted the opening credit sequence of 1995’s Rumpelstiltskin, a horror movie from the writer and director of 1993’s Leprechaun — which it pretty much the same movie. The difference between the two movies is that Leprechaun spawned a whole series of crappy but entertaining direct-to-video sequels, while Rumpelstiltskin just kind of disappeared into obscurity.
The most hilarious bit of Rumpelstiltskin occurs after the opening scene, which appears to take place in the middle ages or dark ages. Somewhere “old.” To my delight, after a credit sequence, the scene switches to a modern city street with some generic hip-hop music playing in the background. Surprise! Rumpelstiltskin takes place in present day Los Angeles, well … LA circa 1995. It turns out old Rumpy has been trapped for centuries inside of his glazed turd — described as a “wishing stone” by the owner of an antique store who sells it to Shelly Stewart, a recently-widowed wife of a police officer played by soap opera actress Kim Johnston Ulrich. Stewart wishes for her hot cop husband back and gets her wish in the form of a partially obscured bad Hollywood sex scene.
Post-coitus, however, “Mr. Stewart” morphs into Rumpelstiltskin, demanding Stewart’s infant child.
And that’s about it. There’s not a whole lot to Rumpelstiltskin and that would be fine if the script was witty or if there were some decent gore effects, but unfortunately the movie has neither. Max Grodenchik’s kind of funny as Rumpelstiltskin. Star Trek geeks might recognize him as the alien Rom from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — oddly enough, the characters Rom and Rumpelstiltskin aren’t too far off from each other in terms of looks. Still, even the most talented actors can’t save a crappy script. Not that I’m insinuating Grodenchik is an amazing actor, but … you understand the point I’m trying to make, right?
There’s also a pretty cool car chase at one point in the film involving a tractor-trailer — but at this point, I’m being too generous. I need to stop looking for nice things to say about Rumpelstiltskin.
What’s that saying? You can’t polish a turd — unless of course, that turd is encased in a thick glaze shell. In the case of Rumpelstiltskin, there’s nothing to shine. It’s just a big smelly piece of poop. If you don’t believe me, you can check it out for yourself through Netflix Instant Watch.
Or just check out this preview, which actually makes the movie look kind of cool: