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I watched this at Christmastime with all my extended family as we sat around in a post-present glow, everyone sipping on flavored coffee and having bits of fruitcake or cookies. I told them simply that some enterprising lad had trimmed up Willy Wonka a bit, and switched out the music. Of course, there were enough distractions going on that only one or two people really caught the tell-tale of the opening credit sequence, and most kept watching oblivious to the Horror that was to come...

This was my ideal viewing scenario, where the audience knows nothing of what to expect in the story, though of course this is too famous a film to expect people to have never watched the original. For much of the beginning, the family was just humoring me, kind of weirded out by the musical changes, not really getting yet that it was subverting the rosy hopefulness of the original film. I don't think it was until the first death that they truly got it. It happened so fast that my mom even missed that, and one sister insisted that I "rewind" it so that mom could witness the twist.

It was at this point that I think things started to click into place for the innocent viewers. Oh, that's why the new music often gives a sense of dread. Oh, that's why the picture looks a bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre. When the next impending death was approaching, savvier viewers started to anticipate it, wondering with glee how it would be handled. Veruca Salt in particular was a huge crowd pleaser, eliciting gasps from some, cackles of surprised glee from myself and others, and my sister nearly gasping for air, insisting I replay it three times. (This from an older lady who loves 1950s classic romances).

The whole affair is rather masterful, and I think I pulled off a near perfect viewing coup. My only quibble really is that both the edit and the narrative are a bit clunky in handling Charlie's departure. It's rather obvious when the original scene is faded out from, and even more obvious where it's re-inserted. "Why are they going back to that room?" one relative asked. I thought it was all rather unnecessary too, as it would've made a good fake-out in it's original position, a great set-up for the already extant perfect ending. Very little change is required from the theatrical ending to make it play out oh-so-very-differently. Of course, it requires having a killer who's as suicidal as they are homicidal, but that's pretty normal, tbh.

One final word about the highlight for me, which was the boat trip. The change in music combined with the surrealistic super-imposed background imagery made for a truly terrifying and unsettling sequence. What's great is that so many of the horrific elements of this film, and especially Roddenberry's performance, require so little alteration. Just a bit of recontextualizing, and suddenly our crew of main characters seems as oblivious as the typical teens in any slasher film. They should be running for the front door, not further inside. But what's even more satisfying here is that their individual sins keep them going further. As an audience, we rather feel they deserve their fates.

Whether or Horror fan or simply curious, I can say this is one of the most creative and fun edits I've yet come across on this site. Big thumbs up, and I recommend everyone give it a look.

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Owner's reply March 05, 2023

From your descriptive writing I feel like I was right there with your family watching. Hahahaha! Oh what a horrific present you gave them all! Thanks for sharing that! And I wonder if anyone noticed Mike Teevee's favorite show? That must've been quite startling as well. : )

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