Don’t Go Near the Park

Be my special little princess—in bed.
★★
☆☆☆
Released: 
1981
Director: 
Lawrence D. Foldes
Starring: 
Aldo Ray, Meeno Peluce, Tamara Taylor, Barbara Monker, Crackers Phinn
The Setup: 
Couple doomed to sap the youth from kids for eternity get one chance to save their souls.
Discussion: 

I haven’t the slightest idea how I first heard about this movie, but they were describing it as darn weird and quite disturbing, so that’s enough to get me interested. We begin with an opening title saying that this movie is fiction, but based on “actual occurrences that occurred over the centuries,” which has to be one of the more appealing “it’s kinda true!” openings ever done. I mean, based on that logic, Jurassic Park is pretty much a true story. I mean, there are amusement parks and there were dinosaurs, right? And if we’ve talking over the centuries… I listened to approximately three minutes of the commentary [wanted to listen to more… also wanted to return it] and the director says that the part that is based on actual occurrences is the part where there was a park that several disappearances happened in. You mean so the part with the 12,000-year-old killer siblings was fake?

But we’re not done with the opening crawl. It goes on to state that mankind has always looked for eternal youth, and that some believe that cannibalism is a way to accomplish this, and drain the youth from the young. Super. We then open in space, where we gander at some planets, then see the full moon with two stars to either side at the bottom. Then we are on the Earth of 12,000 years ago, which is experiencing an earthquake. This tremblor, however, leaves the inside of a particular cave serene as a summer day, and this is the site of a meeting between some old mama crone and her two kids, an adult man and woman. The old crone is obviously some 30-year-old in a horrible makeup job [and why couldn’t they just find an older woman?], who tells her children that they will age ten years for every year, but will never die. What this is punishment for I couldn’t make out… maybe they said they’d mow the lawn but instead went out with the cavemen from across the valley, I don’t know. Anyway, she tells them that if they’re good, in 12,000 years, when the two stars flank the moon again, if they shed the blood of one of their own virgin children, they will have a chance at youth again, and presumably not this whole hyper-aging thing. Then we see that it’s still an earthquake outside… a completely pointless, unrelated-to-anything earthquake, and then we flash forward 12,000 years. You gotta admit that this thing has historical sweep.

It is now a mere 16 years ago, where we re-meet Mark, the guy from back in the Cretaceous day, who is enjoying a peaceful idyll by a babbling brook, then chokes a kid and eats his guts. One can learn so much from movies, if one pays careful attention, and I personally was fascinated to learn that the human abdomen is just like a big water balloon full of tomato sauce. With some discreet, free-floating organs just bobbing around inside, apparently, because Mark just reaches in and extracts them like socks out of a gym bag. We see that Mark, who had a poor makeup job to look older at the beginning of the sequence, now looks not a day over 12,000, because he has drained the youth from the tender boy by eating his spicy organ poppers. Then the kid gets older. You see, here’s a good example of a time when I REFRAIN from making a crude and disgusting sexual comment.

Mark is portrayed by a man named Crackers Finn, by the way.

So Mark’s—well, let’s just call him Crackers—sister is still around, and she’s pretty fed up with this whole aging-without-ever-dying thing, and admonishes Crackers that he “must find a woman to bear your child!” So Crackers hot-foots it to the local Mexican Day of the Dead parade, which is incongruously accompanied by traditional marching band music in the Sousa tradition. He sees a cute blond, follows her home, enters the house and surprises her nude in the shower, whereupon she shows him a room available for rent. While dressed in a towel. He rents the room for $50.

Now our scene shifts to some girl, whose dog has run off into the park. Now, one of the contextual cues that tells you this movie is from the 70s is that the dog is named STARSHINE. I need a time machine RIGHT NOW. So the girl goes in the park and into this cave [is this supposed to be the same cave, 12,000 years later?] and gets her foot caught in a trap! Like one of those iron traps that snaps shut—eek. Then the woman, Crackers’ sister, comes out and opens the girl’s big bellyful of tomato sauce as well.

But what of this blonde temptress? She sneaks into Crackers’ room while he is out, and rifles through his things. When she turns around and finds him in the doorway, they have a long staring contest. Then she does what you or I might do and removes her nightgown. Less than a minute later they are married and she’s having a baby.

All of this made me think—you know those Lifetime made-for-cable movies in which women who are moral paragons discover that the husband they married is a serial killer or whatnot? You know, because all men are evil? I thought this could be updated into a great Lifetime movie: Perfect Husband, Perfect Cannibal. Starring Mariel Hemingway, with a very special appearance by Cathy Lee Crosby.

Anyway, so the blonde pumps out the baby and the husband insists that she be named Bondi. I spent virtually the entire movie trying to figure out what they were saying, as it sounded like Blondie or Barney or Bandi or whatever. WHY the girl has to be named this is never explained—or I totally missed it. Anyway, it’s not too long before one realizes that the husband is a lot more interested in the kid than he is the wife, which becomes clear when he tells his wife so right to her face. But for some reason the wife sticks around [No money? No skills? The shame of divorce?] and after a little scene in the zoo where we see that the animals don’t like Daddy, we have a flashback to eons ago, and when we come back like Bandi or Bondi or whoever is 16. She’s having a birthday party when mom flips out [I wish we’d stayed with the bitter wife, especially if she descended into booze], but no, we see that Bambi is going to run away.

She does, but first we introduce this little 10 year old kid who is rejected by someone or something and storms off saying “Not going back! No way! Not going back! No way! Not going back! No way!” Then Boongi is hanging out by some shack or other as this inappropriate blaxploitation music plays, and then three guys pull up in a van, and one of them leans out and say “Hey sugar! Can I give you a ride?” To which Bangi responds “Where?” and the guy says “Anywhere!” So what does she do? She hops right in. She’s apparently quite stupid. Especially since nearly every surface of the van, including the dashboard, is lined with fire engine red shag carpeting. No good can come of that. Sure enough, the guys try to gang-rape her and she calls on her daddy, and then suddenly the van goes off a bridge and explodes! And you’re like Holy Shit, Binbi is dead! And here I thought this was all building up to her dad fucking her [because that thought WILL have more than once crossed your mind]. But wait—Banki is unharmed. She is, inexplicably a safe distance away, without so much as a scratch. Thank heavens, the precious child.

Then she meets the sister, who takes her in to stay with her. Benga sleeps on the couch while she has a dream that is a full-length replay of the opening scene in which the old crone curses the duo. Feel free to fast-forward. When she wakes up she meets this 10 year old boy with curly brunette hair who comes on to her pretty hard. It seems that the old lady runs a kind of home for wayward children, and since Bomba is going to stay, she agrees to be the 10 year old's adoptive sister. And wouldn’t you know, she barely seems to be in the house a few hours before some age-appropriate stud shows up to be her love interest. Most importantly, he’s got weed.

Then things go on, including the 10 year old going out and selling flowers on the street to make some buckage. We now introduce this portly man who befriends the kid and takes him to the park. I believe this guy is Aldo Ray, known from such earlier movies as... well, not really anything of note. He tells the kid that he used to sell flowers, and I’m quite sure he says “I used to make some good bucks. Good for a… well, for a fuck, you know.” Anyway, given all the thinly-disguised molestation scenarios going on here, one could be forgiven for thinking this guy wants the 10 year old just to hold it, but it turns out he’s helping kids who are disadvantaged and turn to 12,000 year old crones in the park for help.

So it goes on, and finally we come to the big showdown, where the tension that the father is going to pop his daughter’s cherry is finally brought to a resolution [I’ll never tell] and then we have a shocking revelation that I also have far too much discretion to reveal. Plus it’s pretty boring. And then we watch the trailer and find out that “since the dawn of time, man has been plagued by the curse of two lusting vampires.”

Now, I tried to be a little discreet about it, but as you’re watching this the creeping feeling starts to overcome one that perhaps this movie is ABOUT this guy having a baby so she can grow up to be his special little princess—in bed. And well, yeah, I’m afraid that is pretty much the case, although the movie merely uses that to generate a dirty viewer excitement, then short-circuits it at the last second. Still, it’s hard to avoid the feeling of “Oh, I can’t quite believe I’m watching this.” Nevertheless, all you perverts out there, I think you can get better sick thrills elsewhere, so if you don’t want to see teenagers torn open to expose the thick, rich tomato sauce inside, I’d proceed straight to the Internet.

Should you watch it: 

I suppose, you could do worse for sick thrills and all-round cheapo horror weirdness.