APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 7: The Peanut Butter Solution (1985)

There are 24 movies in the Canadian series Tales for All and man, are they all this weird? Originally known as Michael’s Fright, this is a movie that Skippy paid to be in, which is wild, because dude, Canadian kids movies are more frightening than American horror.

Michael Baskin is an 11-year-old boy in a crisis. His mother is in Australia taking care of her father’s estate and I’d like to think that she’s in Next of Kin. His father is barely able to take care of Michael and his sister Susan, who has taken to wearing her mother’s robe and role, which seems pretty much like the kind of behavior that CPS would question.

When Michael learns that an abandoned house has burned down — I’d like to think it’s the house from Cathy’s Curse — he explores it and encounters the ghosts of homeless people who died in the fire, which is the plot of, again, a horror movie anywhere else but Canada, where it’s a plot point in a movie — and I can’t stress this enough — made expressly for kids. The ghosts give him “The Fright” and he loses all his hair. Those same ghosts feel bad and give him the cure of the title, which he takes too far against their advice and starts growing way too much hair.

To hammer home that this is not for kids, his friend Connie uses the peanut butter solution all over his pre-pubes to show his friends that he’s gone through juvenescence, except that he grows Sunset Strip hair metal pubic hair.

Then, a teacher named The Signor knocks out and drugs Michael and kidnaps 500 children to make paintbrushes out of his ever-growing hair. Is that enough? What about Celine Dion singing two songs?

Producer Rock Demers has said when he and director Michael Rubbo began the film, their goal was to create a “gentle, frightening film.” He felt the theme was “If something frightens you, find out why. In most cases you’ll discover it wasn’t so frightening after all.”

Did he see the movie that he made? This was a bedtime story that Rubbo used to tell his children! And as this was Rubbo’s first non-documentary film, Czech surreal director Vojtech Jasný mentored him, so maybe that explains something.

You can get this from Severin Kids.

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