I was thinking of holding off until we got closer to the Holiday season. But then it struck me that some of you would like advance warning to acquire these films in time the holidays to better share the Painjoyment™. Thats right, the Holidays are meant for giving and The Cinémasochist’s Holiday picks are films you should pop in the DVD player once the whole family is assembled in Holiday cheer so you can watch as they politely endure our parade of insane Holiday offerings.
In the wheelin’ and dealin’ world of Exploitation, few can hold a candle to Barry Mahon. A former WWII pilot for the Royal Air Force, Mahon was decorated for distinguished service and even spent time in a Stalag. After the war, he wound up as the personal pilot – and eventually manager for Errol Flynn.
As producer, Mahon’ output was considerable. He produced a large number of nudie-cutie features and shorts for “main street’ cinemas and adult movie houses. Now those theatres had a definite lull in their attendance on weekend afternoons, so Mahon began to crank out a couple of kiddie matinées to fill that void.
Often shot with the same crews as his skin flicks, those kiddie movies were bottom-of-the-barrel dreadful. They were nothing more than somewhere to send the kids to while daddy tried something on mommy he learned during a long lunch at the same theatre earlier that week
In 1970, in what reeks of dealings and product placement, Mahon produced a film called Thumbelina. I say “reeks” because too much time is spent in a wraparound segment at Pirate World before we get to the meat – which consists of a hippie girl staring at a diorama telling her the story of Thumbelina which in turn is the wraparound to the actual story. Somehow, it feels like the filmmakers was more intent on pleasing his sponsor than his audience.
Then, a few years later, Thumbelina was repackaged with yet another a wraparound segment (that wraps around its opening credits and everything) and retitled Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.
Jolly old St-Nick’s sleigh is stuck in the sand own in Florida. Sweating like a pig, he summons the help of a bunch of kids who try to hook up various animals from Pirate’s World’s petting zoo in attempts to pull Santa’s sled out of its sandy entrapment. When animals fail, it’s up to guy in a gorilla costume to try – and fail.
That’s when Santa decides to regale his entourage of ritalin-deficient kids with the tale of Thumbelina, credits and all. So we have a wraparound around a wraparound of the story of a girl being told a story. Can someone get me the Matrix’s “Architect” on the phone so he can explain this structure to me?
Then, from Pirate’s World, comes the Ice Cream Bunny (so-called because …er, let me get back to you on this one…)- racing to Santa’s rescue in his fire truck, at O.J. Simpson Car Chase speed, his siren blaring in what has to be one of the most maddeningly interminable sequences in film history.
Look, even Rifftrax gave up at this point on their version of it.
Do I recommend the Rifftrax version? Hell yeah! You’re gonna need it if you want to make it through this thing. You might also consider stocking up on the really hard stuff -like Tequila or Jagermeister or Nyquil- to spike the eggnog with.
This gag alone is worth it:
In fact, this year the boys will be doing a live on-line Riff of the film, adding 13 minutes of previously unseen footage to the film. You can get your tickets here:
The video can be purchased online as well. It’s also available on amazon.com
For the rest of you cheap bastards, here’s the whole stinkin’ movie- in parts- via YouTube:
Special Holiday feature: Click on the snowflake for an extra bit of kitsch.
Pain Level: 10/10
Quality of Pain: This one makes you numb. Just plain numb all over. I suspect it’s a defense mechanism kicking in.
Painjoyment™ Index: It’s a gift that keeps on giving!