So we survived the true horror that was 2020. Granted we are still fighting an invisible monster that seems to have no end in sight. But with the pandemic slowly regressing with vaccinations, it’s starting to feel like life is getting back to normal…some what. While we have been cooped up in our homes watching copious amounts of horror movies, I know we are all getting that collective itch for something new. Well my boils and ghouls, it is time to scratch that itch!
In recent years Nicolas Cage has focused his super-sized and over the top acting chops in wild horror movies. In 2017, he starred in the crazed horror comedy Mom & Dad. The next year he starred in the immensely bizarre and fucked up cult hit Mandy (2018). Lastly he was in the enigmatic and inventive adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s Color Out of Space (2019). Now in 2021, it is time for him to give us something totally bat shit different, as he takes us into Willy’s Wonderland (2021)!
A man (Cage), is jetting down the highway in his Chevy Camaro SS when he rolls over a spike strip leaving all four tires completely shredded. “Coincidently” a shady tow truck driver pulls up to help and takes him towards the nearest town of Hayesville. This quiet man in black quickly realizes all is not as it seems. There is no motel to stay in and the mechanic will only take cash up front to fix his car. But no worries, the mechanic offers him a side job that will make the cash needed. All he has to do is agree to clean up an abandoned family restaurant called Willy’s Wonderland. This newly deputized “Janitor” will have a night he will not soon forget (Or even survive).
I came across the trailer for this one day when I was bored out of my mind trying to find something new to watch. Needless to say, after I viewed it I was certainly intrigued. I mean come on, you got Nicolas Cage beating animatronic monsters to bloody fucking pulps. What’s not to like right? So I bit the bullet and paid the theater at home price of $14.99. Let me tell you boils and ghouls, this was probably the best $15 bucks I’ve spent in a while!!
Willy’s Wonderland is pretty much what you get from the trailer. A fun and gory romp fest that is not to be taken seriously one bit. It was directed by Kevin Lewis who hadn’t sat in the director’s chair since 2007. Maybe time away from directing was what he needed, to take on this truly bizarre and original effort. One of the most surprising decisions he made was not giving Cage any dialogue. You read that right. Cage didn’t have a single line in the whole movie. This decision actually worked very well. Don’t get wrong, I was totally waiting for one of his token/corny one liners, but we never got that. What we did get was emotive acting from Cage, which is something he’s always been good at. So I felt this was the best way to portray the janitor.
As for the rest of the cast, they were completely and utterly forgetful. Which in turn made all of their deaths so much more satisfying. But, the Willy’s Wonderland animatronic killer puppets though, were awesome! With names like Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Ozzie Ostrich, Tito Turtle and Siren Sara their antics and crass language were what drove the horrific tension, much to the janitors’ annoyance. I’d have to say that my two favorites were Tito who was pretty hilarious and Siren Sara, she was downright creepy. But the janitors’ battle with Arty using only a mop was truly fucking badass!
As I said, this is not a movie to take too seriously. Shut your mind off and get ready for a grisly good time at Willy’s Wonderland!
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