Return to Oz

My prevailing memory of watching films in childhood is a moment of temporary blindness just after emerging from the cinema as my eyes struggled painfully to adjust to the sudden dramatic change in light levels. For me, this disorientating threshold between fantasy and reality was nearly always characterised by a slight case of post-traumatic-stress-syndrome. This was the age in which filmmakers for children looked to Pasolini and George Orwell for inspiration. In addition to the bunny-rabbit genocide of Watership Down (1978), we were treated to a unicorn holocaust in Legend (1985), the brutal massacre of the “gelflings” by the “skeksis” in The Dark Crystal (1982), the apocalyptic wages of the “nothing” in The Neverending Story (1984), not to mention the prodigious mullets sported by David Bowie in Labyrinth (1986) (which were enough to traumatise even the most hardy infant).

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