Cast:Jase Blankfort, Trey Rogers, Frank Langella, Larc Spies, Anne Lange, Marc John Jefferies, Allison Siko, Jessica Brooks Grant, Sheri Drach, Gary Perez, Christophe Dahlkvist, Steve Mellor, Bernadette Quigley, Carl Burrows, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Newton, Andie K. Taylor, Davida Williams
Cry Baby Lane was apparently originally envisioned as a $10-million dollar theatrical production, but Nickelodeon's parent company, Paramount, didn't see it that way. The project went through various early stages of development and it was eventually scrapped. A year later someone at the studio decided to proceed with it, but for a television premiere and with a budget of only $800k.
The movie gained notoriety over the years as a "lost film" since its one and only broadcast on Nickelodeon back in October 2000. Rumor is that parents complained to the network about it being "too scary" and "inappropriate" for younger viewers, after which it was never seen or heard from again. That is, until recently when footage was found and made available online. Naturally genre fans such as myself flocked at the chance to catch the now recognized name, but does it really live up to the "hype" that surrounded its disappearance? Sadly no, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.
The story revolves around a young boy named Andrew and his older brother Carl, who would often visit the local undertaker that just loves to tell them scary stories. On one particular night he tells them an eerie tale of conjoined twins birthed by a farmer's wife. One being good, and the other - pure evil. Ashamed, the father kept them locked in a room for years and they eventually died of sickness, leaving him to dispose of the body. They were sawed in half, where one twin was buried in the cemetery, while the other in a shallow grave at the end of an old dirt road.
In the spirit of Halloween, the boys decide to hold a séance with a group of friends at the gravestone that's said to be of the good twin. Unbeknownst to them, the bodies were mistakenly switched and the grave is actually that of the evil twin, leading the wicked spirit of the dead child to come forth and take over the townspeople and causing them to become mischievous and violent. It's now up to the boys to find a way to stop the madness before the entire town is possessed.
Unless you consider cartoonish glowing white eyes scary, then you likely won't find anything remotely frightening within this flick. I'm not sure why so many parents had a stick up their butt about it, but my only assumption is that it offered the somewhat adult theme of possession and death, but regardless of the reason it's not a bad watch. In fact, I quite enjoyed it, but it was probably due to the fact that it was reminiscent of my childhood with the TV stuck on Nickelodeon most of the time.
Of course, I could nitpick about how silly it is that an evil spirit manifests itself through glowing worms (which are also able to magically transport people) or how a grown man could be knocked unconscious by a little boy wielding a plastic lightsaber, but then I quickly remind myself that this is a children's television movie. So, attempting to find logic from any of this is fruitless, but that's also the very reason why I was never bored by it. I'm a supporter of genre efforts that follow young leads, as the stories told from a child's imaginative perspective is usually more interesting than an adults (in my opinion), no matter how silly it may be.
Cry Baby Lane will make its official return to television after over a decade when it airs at midnight on TeenNick this Halloween 2011.
Ultimately, Cry Baby Lane is nothing more than a simple, but amusing children's ghost tale. It doesn't try to break any new ground for the genre, but at the same time offers an interesting story that you somehow can't turn away from, despite knowing what'll happen every step of the way. Worth a look for something a little more fun and light-hearted this Halloween season.
|Posted on October 26, 2011 - 10:53pm | FrighT MasteR|