I’ve been having a lot of fun with these League assignments, and this week’s topic is no exception. Brian over at Cool & Collected posed the question, what 80s kids/teen flick would you like to see get a present day sequel with the same cast now grown up. This one required a bit more in the pondering department if for no other reasons than so many of the kid/teen flicks I grew up loving either had sequels (Karate Kid, Lost Boys, and Back to the Future came to mind) or had stories that were tied up very nicely and didn’t really need to be delved back into (E.T., The Goonies, or Flight of the Navigator.) Though I wanted to go with something like The Monster Squad, I don’t really want to see the cast grown up as much as I’d like to see the concept of kids vs. monsters explored again, so that didn’t seem to be the way to go. I also thought about Teen Wolf, as it’s a film series that was far from perfect and could be improved upon, it just wouldn’t be the same without Michael J. Fox who probably isn’t up to the make-up effects the flick would require. Let’s be honest though, seeing Fox and Jason Bateman team up for a double dose of van surfing would be pretty badass, right? At the end of the day, I love so many of the flicks from the 80s for what they are, that dusting them off and continuing the story just doesn’t tend to appeal to me. Most recent ventures into that territory have really left me wanting (with the exceptions of The Muppets and Tron: Legacy), so I was stumped.
After wracking my brain for a couple of days I finally landed on something that I think could really be interesting though. There are a handful of obscure flicks that I used to watch a lot on HBO back in the day that I was never fully gung ho about, but were still decent or interesting enough to keep my attention (flicks like the Meatballs sequels or Teen Witch.) Of these, there was one film that always sort of weirded me out and felt a bit like it was shooting for something much deeper than I could appreciate at the time. That movie is The Peanut Butter Solution.
It’s a film that I’ve begun to appreciate much more as an adult, and one that I think is just weird and insane enough that it would be really easy to dip back into that world and create something truly magical. For those who haven’t seen it, TPBS is a Canadian flick from 1986 about a boy named Michael who wanders into an abandoned mansion and ends up seeing something so frightening that he loses all of his hair.
Ashamed of his sudden baldness and having to wear some truly terrible wigs, Michael is confronted by the ghosts of a deceased homeless couple that he had met and helped out once. The ghosts tell Michael about the Peanut Butter Solution (in the vein of Freckle Juice, except it actually works), and by the next morning Michael’s hair growth is out of control. He’s then kidnapped by a mad aertist who uses Michael’s continuously-growing hair to make designer paintbrushes that can paint pictures so real you can walk into them (as well as a really creepy hair jacket.) Oh, and Michael’s friend uses the Peanut Butter Solution to grow hair in a very nsfw kind of place. You still with me?
The worst kind of rattail is snaking out of those pants!
Anyway, the flick is surreal and over the top, though the production value is sadly lacking as it feels a lot like a made-for-TV movie. The world and the concepts are great though and I can fully imagine folks like Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillermo Del Toro, or Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze diving into this material and making something truly insane and delightful with the original cast included. This is the kind of thing that I think would make the best 20-30-year-gap sequel, one where it’s not important what decade it is, or that the actors have to try and recapture any magic that might be long gone. For me, this would be a real treat.
Anyway, if you’ve never seen the flick, you can check out the trailer here. Unfortunately this is a pretty obscure movie and it’s never seen a North American DVD release. There are some bootlegs floating around that are pretty decent watchable ports of the old VHS tapes. It’s also up in its entirety on youtube (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10.)
Some of the other League members are also chiming in with their picks:
Christopher Tupa, Tupa’s Treasures, talks about Labyrinth
TL, Flashlights are Something to Eat, talks about the Breakfast Club
Reis, The Dork Horde, talks about The Last Starfighter
Iok, That Figures, talks about a different sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark
Michael, Adventureblog!, talks about Legend
Dex, AEIOU and sometimes Why, also talks about Labyrinth