A week or so ago, Little Miss Sunshine was having a sick day at home and so we turned to Netflix to look for animated entertainment. We were flipping through the new family movies section when she saw the poster for The Rescuers, which came out when I was six years old, and asked if she could watch it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s the story of two mice who are part of the Rescue Aid Society – Miss Bianca and Bernard – who find a help-needed message in a bottle from a girl called Penny and who set out to find her and save her.
The Rescuers is actually my own personal horror story, the movie that caused me so much trauma as a child that I can still shudder just to think of it. I’ve heard people say that they never slept soundly again after watching The Wizard of Oz or Star Wars as a kid, but for me, The Rescuers is the source of all my deepest, oldest nightmares.
There’s the villian – a red haired, evil woman named Madame Medusa who seriously freaked me out, with her cackle and her wild rolling eyes and her long nails that I was sure would rake across my skin in my sleep.
There’s her two pet alligators which snap viciously at poor Penny, and can even be ridden like water skis to chase after poor little girls.
There’s the “comedic relief” of the wacky albatross Orville, who almost drops Miss Bianca and Bernard from his back like, 10 times, DO NOT DROP THE MICE YOU STUPID BIRD.
But worst of all, SO terrible, is the fact that Penny has a teddy bear. I was very, very attached to my teddy bear as a child, and I STRONGLY identified with Penny. And do you know what happens to said bear in this story? He’s taken from Penny; used as ransom to force her to crawl down a dark hole and dig for jewels; and eventually he has his head ripped off when the bad guys find out Penny has hidden the big jewel inside the bear.
HOLY TRAUMA BATMAN.
I can still see almost every scene of this movie in my mind’s eye, feel the cold pit of terror growing in my stomach, remember squirming in my seat at the movies and covering my eyes, hoping it would all be over soon. Of course, the bear is fixed in the end and orphan Penny finds a loving family, but it is TOO LITTLE TOO LATE, DISNEY.
And then, you know what? My poor parents, having just seen a movie featuring a little girl with a bear, assumed I must LOVE this movie, the little girl was just like you! And so they went on to buy me a few Rescuers-related items, including The Rescuers Board Game, so I could relive the horror over and over again. GOOD TIMES.
So needless to say, Little Miss Sunshine and I did not watch The Rescuers.
What was your first childhood movie-related trauma?