Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)

October Challenge Day 19:

I didn't get a chance to stop off at the video store today so I'd like to talk a little bit about a film that delighted me to no end, frightened me a little, and played a significant role in my movie/horror movie/family time appreciation.

I know Hocus Pocus has experienced the crowd appreciation in recent years - And It Deserves It! LOVE That Movie! I was a fan before it was cool to be a fan, by the way. Straight up.

But there's another film, along the same lines, in *roughly* the same era, that had a similar impact on me, and that is the brazenly outlandish Ernest Scared Stupid.

I grew up with Jim Varney (and his best friend Vern). I remember him quite clearly talking to *me - he was talking to me, you guys!!* (and Vern) through the TV.

I grew up with all his movies, his TV commercials, and his various TV roles. To be completely blunt, this guy was an icon to me before I understood what an icon was.  More-over, he taught me about theater, acting, character development, performance humor, and ways to engage an audience at just the time I was beginning to understand it. As someone who has spent her life in an artistic realm, this was f**king important.

I was a roughly eight, darn near nine years old when I first remember seeing his mug, and he really had an impact on me. An impact that I thoroughly appreciate to this day. In all, he was saying a lot by saying very little (or seemingly) very silly things.

Whenever this guy was around, so was my family. Mom, brothers, Dad - all of them. Hanging out in some form or another - either at the theater, or at home watching Dad complete his video collection by taping movies directly from TV (we, the children, sitting right next to the VHS player, ready to push Pause when the commercials showed up...). When I hear an "Earnest" movie creep into conversation, I immediately go back and remember these days fondly.

I remember the day I saw this movie in the theater with Mom and my two youngest brothers. It scared me - not stupid - but it scared me. The troll in this film is nothing to mess with! In fact, I've had a problem with trolls ever since. It's doubtful a movie like this can be made for kids today. In fact, I believe the film was criticized for being "too scary" when it came out!

At this point in my life none of that matters. This was a fun film - albeit a little terrorizing for the kiddos - but it was also very fun for adults. I know that now because I just watched it again for the first time since 1991 and laughed my ass off (although my 10 year old self was hiding under blankets).

It's difficult to say if anyone approaching this film for the first time as an adult (and with no kids) would appreciate this film as much as I do, but there's a good part of me that thinks they might. It's just the funny, and it's simply perfect for anyone who is looking for a "horror" film to fill the Halloween time without peeing their pants.

I have a strong connection to this bumbling man, getting himself in all kinds of trouble by just trying to be a good person. I have a strong connection to this movie in that it was a part of my life where family was around always (better or worse). That's about the best way I can sum up a movie with the words, "Scared Stupid" in the title....

I love this film. You might not love this film and that's okay. More Ernest for me. Best watched in a group that you call family, and in some place that fosters good memories. Pairs with sodas, cheep beer, laughter, and popcorn from a home popcorn machine (Not Stove Top! and not microwave) - I'm talking this stuff:

Peace, love, and happy memory making to you all.

I re-watched this movie from HBO Now. Use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's sidebar to see where else you can find this heartwarming yet frightening feature.

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