I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Return to Oz is the darkest iteration of the Oz stories ever put to film. Can you believe it was made by Disney? Well I can, since Walt Disney wanted to make a Wizard of Oz movie for decades. I’m not sure this is what he had in mind, but that’s the 80’s for you. Return to Oz continues to unofficially follow the original. Taking cues from L. Frank Baum’s two sequel books The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz. It’s one of the more faithful adaptations. Since Dorothy is actually a child (played by a very young Fairuza Balk) and the tone is closer to the books.

I never watched Return to Oz when I was younger, but I imagine it scared many children at the time. After returning home to Kansas, Dorothy’s stories about Oz are enough to get her sent away to receive shock therapy! Don’t worry it gets darker. When she returns to Oz, Dorothy finds that everyone’s been turned to stone with the yellow brick road in ruins. The Nome King is responsible. A creepy stone monster pulled off with impressive stop-motion. Equally disturbing are a band of Wheelers. However, the most unsettling part of Return to Oz is Princess Mombi. A witch who keeps a collection of decapitated heads.

Even Dorothy’s traveling companion’s are enough to cause nightmares. Mechanical man Tik-Tok, talking chicken Billina, and flying elk The Gump are fine, but Jack Pumpkinhead may be too much for kids. Not to mention the Scarecrow’s lifeless face (the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion look good though). When their ordeal is over, the rightful ruler of the Emerald City is named. Return to Oz feels like it was made by a more traumatizing Tim Burton.

5. Return to Oz

Dorothy makes new friends

5 thoughts on “I Have a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

  1. I don’t recall seeing this in the theater. I was around five years old when it was released. But I did have a jigsaw puzzle of the movie poster that I vividly recall. And I do remember watching the movie on home video with my cousin. It didn’t scare us so much as gave us numerous opportunities to perfect our impressions of Tik Tok and the lead Wheeler. You’ve gotta love that dark tinge to Disney’s movies in the mid-80s.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m a big fan of this one – particularly its darker tone. I was actually talking about it a few months ago in the office, as it cropped up in a conversation.

    Liked by 2 people

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