A few other edutainment ideas.
Once sound cards get good enough a music program to write music and virtually play instruments. You'd have the standards to keep the music class from fighting over the same instruments, and it's also a chance to introduce exotic and historic instruments.

A travel game based on the Muppet Movie. The education comes from you having to plan the trip and everyone wanting to make detours to important or historic sites.
 
Last edited:
While I loved that Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was on PBS the fact that it could have been a Disney production is interesting. I love the idea that Henson both supporting the show being on PBS and helping with the production.
I'm old enough to have played the original 5.25" Floppy games in the School Computer Lab, LOL. Yea, I can see Henson supporting this for sure, probably as an animated edutainment series rather than a "game Show". He'd probably like the neo-noir angle and definitely like the diverse cast.

Finally caught up!
Glad you made it, Ralph, welcome aboard.
 
I'm old enough to have played the original 5.25" Floppy games in the School Computer Lab, LOL. Yea, I can see Henson supporting this for sure, probably as an animated edutainment series rather than a "game Show". He'd probably like the neo-noir angle and definitely like the diverse cast.
I actually like the game show and the theme song is one the few nostalgic memories I have of my childhood.
 
I actually like the game show and the theme song is one the few nostalgic memories I have of my childhood.
How about we keep the theme song, as well as the rest of Rockapella's involvement, and place the music into the sound and score of the animated series? Therefore, we'd be able to combine the best parts of the game show and the OTL DIC animated series into one program.
 
How about we keep the theme song, as well as the rest of Rockapella's involvement, and place the music into the sound and score of the animated series? Therefore, we'd be able to combine the best parts of the game show and the OTL DIC animated series into one program.
Seems possible. Of course Rockapella would do well not to go claiming to have invented Zombie Jamboree around Jim, a close friend of Harry Belafonte's


Though I guess Conrad Eugene Mauge, Jr. would have an issue with things too.

 
Last edited:
How about we keep the theme song, as well as the rest of Rockapella's involvement, and place the music into the sound and score of the animated series?
As someone who adores the Where on Earth... choral theme, this offends me.
I don't know why we can't have both shows as OTL, even if they differ in detail. Having the game show sound like a perfect fit for Disney's lineup, the combination of knowledge and skill tests with the hook of 'catching' Carmen's goons (I recall going after Carmen herself was restricted to the Bonus Round if you managed to catch the underling) sounds like a formula that would have a lot of legs for a channel needing non-animated content.

On that note, perhaps a better use of Brian Henson/Disney's talents would be for an American version of Knightmare: with a Disney budget the show could use less green screen and more in-person puppetry, live actors, and set design, even if the poor soul in the dungeon is still blind to it all with that Bucket Helmet of Justice on their heads. Seriously, check out that show, it's a fantastic concept let down by the tech of the time, Disney could take it and make it really work.
 
I personally have no nostalgic association with Carmen San Diego, other than a running joke we had in middle school about the "next" game teaching kids about the geography of Dante's Inferno (the name being obvious). If anyone is passionate enough to guest write be my guest.
 
Slashers V: Old Voices and New Voices New
Part 8: Old Voices and New Voices
Excerpt from Slash! A History of Horror Films, by Ima Fuller Bludengore


With the “Smart Slasher” now a thing, the slasher and horror genres began to take off in different directions with old favorites and new creators taking things in completely different and often socially relevant ways. 1986’s Day of the Dead, made with a comparatively massive $7 million budget thanks to the success of Raimi’s Friday the 13th Part 5, was the biggest zombie film yet made, the “Gone with the Wind of zombie films,” according to Romero[1]. Like its predecessors it addressed consumerism and prejudice, albeit in a very abstract and flesh-eating way. “Nobody had done Zombies on this scale,” recalled Sam Raimi. “Freaking zombies like you’d never seen at the time. And if I somehow led to this happening, then my work is done!”

Day_of_the_Dead_%28film%29_poster.jpg


Meanwhile, Clive Barker and John Carpenter expanded beyond the “masked lunatic kills people” trope and branched into new possibilities, such as the literal “hell on earth” concepts of Hellraiser and Prince of Darkness. The two hell-on-earth films inevitably drew comparisons between their literal hell appearances and their themes of the dangers of unfettered pursuit of knowledge at the expense of ethics and the consideration of the consequences[2].

Hellraiser-UK-Quad-poster.JPG


Hellraiser saw the appearance of a cursed puzzle box unleashing literal demons, in this case stylized in extreme bondage gear, and saw them attempting to drag the unwitting fools who released them back to hell with them. It played against concepts of cultural desecration, tomb robbing, and unfettered curiosity, ultimately culminating in an open condemnation of Euro-American imperialism and colonization. It would go on to spawn its own series of films with “Pinhead”, leader of the malicious but strangely sympathetic demonic “cenobites”, becoming iconic in his own right.

Prince_of_darkness.jpg


Prince of Darkness would bring the literal devil to earth in the form of an ancient conspiracy, a strange green ooze, and curious-to-a-fault scientists who attempt to study the liquid’s “quantum properties”. They literally unleash Satan in their Frankenstein-like pursuit of forbidden knowledge. While a stand-alone film, Carpenter later grouped it with the earlier The Thing and later In the Mouth of Madness as his “Apocalypse Trilogy”.

Childs_Play.jpg


Yet another take on the smart slasher came from Don Mancini. Inspired by the classic “possessed doll” stories and the uncanny realism of automated toys like Teddy Ruxpin and My Buddy[3], Mancini devised what he called the “ultimate take-down of child-targeted consumerism” with Child’s Play. It begins when the convicted killer Charles Lee Ray is gunned down by cops right in front of a young and lonely boy named Andy, who has just bought a new “Chucky” automated doll with his parents. Suddenly there is a string of grisly murders surrounding Andy, who blames them on “Chucky”, who he claims “must have been possessed by the guy they shot.” It remains ambiguous right to the very end whether Andy is the killer and hallucinating Chucky in a trauma-induced psychosis, or if indeed the doll itself is possessed by the killer[4].

In addition to the ambiguity, Mancini layered it with jabs at consumerism, in particular child-targeted marketing. “This was the golden age of merch-driven entertainment and direct marketing to kids,” said Mancini in an interview, “So we let them have it. Chucky kills a woman by smashing her face into a television and quips about what ‘TV does to your brain.’ Or he reenacts a scene line for line from GI Joe or the A team or He Man as he guns down or cuts up someone, quipping about how ‘I always wanted to be like B.A.’ or something like that. The goal was to show how little real difference there was between what we show to our kids, like war cartoons, and what we forbid them from watching, like horror films. We also poked at marketing and product placement when we could.”

chucky-straight-to-series-order-syfy.png

“I’d kill for a Sweetie Kitty® Juice Box, whadabout you, kid?” (Image source “tvline.com”)

Chucky spawned an ongoing series, combining the inherent creepiness of the possessed doll trope with the snarky quips of Freddy. While Andy and the ambiguity would be dropped by the end of the second film, it remained openly anti-consumerist in its themes. It also took every opportunity to hold parents to task for the violence they let their kids watch, breaking the fourth wall on occasion: “Seriously, kids, your parents let you watch this shit?” And while the original anti-consumerist message inevitably got lost or downplayed in the sequels, it is occasionally cited in academic surveys on anti-consumerist works.

Fatal_Attraction_poster.png

Smart Slasher? Or Intellectual Thriller?

1987 had seen the debut of Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction, whose status as a “smart slasher” is in dispute. Featuring the story of a married businessman (Michael Douglas) who has a torrid affair with a lonely woman (Glen Close) and then dumps her in favor of returning to married life, it ultimately becomes a cautionary tale on the destructive nature of infidelity and the objectification of women. The rejection causes the spurned woman to lose her mind and leads her to stalk him and his family, ultimately ending in bloody violence and the desecration of a perfectly good soup. The film was a breakout success, received Oscar nominations and wins, and was praised by critics and Hollywood luminaries, none of whom would place the film alongside Freddy or Jason. However, the slasher genre production community gladly laid claim to it, leading to it becoming an influential film for the genre even as its status within was a source of argument.

Two films in particular would take direct influence from Fatal Attraction. The first of these films was by slasher newcomer Mary Lambert, who, following in the for-the-time feminist footsteps of Fatal Attraction, wrote and directed Sweetie Pie, released by New Line and starring Jennifer Tilley. It was the story of a young and idealistic ingenue actress named Susanna who is repeatedly sexually harassed and assaulted by her Hollywood male producers and directors and forced to do uncomfortable nude scenes, ultimately culminating in a violent rape by her producer[5]. Susanna’s mind breaks and she becomes a serial killer, murdering all the men in the industry who wronged her and other women. The film also hung a critical lampshade on the exploitative nude and sex scenes in the film itself, and by extension the presumably titillated viewers. While Sweetie Pie underperformed at the box office, it became a cult classic and a celebrated early critique of the culture of sexual harassment, assault, and sexism in the industry. It eventually led to a sequel in the 1990s when such issues were gaining national prominence. Lambert’s work would also gain the notice of executive Lindsay Doran, who would tap her for direction on Steven King’s Pet Cemetery in 1989.

Friday_the_13th_Part_VII_-_The_New_Blood_%281988%29_theatrical_poster.jpg

Not this at all…

The next film influenced by Fatal Attraction was, of all things, the next Friday the 13th film, with producer Barbara Sachs openly seeking to develop a Friday the 13th that “would win an Academy Award”. Originally planned to be a Jason vs. Freddy crossover, New Line, who was “winning” the inter-franchise rivalry, dropped out of the plans since they didn’t “need” Jason, though Jason arguably needed them. Writer Daryl Haney proposed a “Jason vs. Carrie” concept where the Final Girl would be psychic, and proposed adding a spousal abuse subplot to add gravitas. However, Sachs had a different idea. Taking influence from the greed-driven cover-up in Jaws, she developed a concept of a developer paving over Camp Crystal Lake and Jason’s Grave in order to put up condos. She proposed it as an environmental and anti-overdevelopment message, Jason re-envisioned as a “defending spirit of the natural”, flipping the script and making Jason arguably the hero and the thoughtless developers he murders the villains.

Though executive producer Frank Mancuso Jr. resisted the idea at first[6], the “flip the script” aspect, making all of the “victims” not dumb and arguably innocent teens but malicious “nature defilers” intrigued him more that the “Jason vs. Carrie” script, so he greenlit the effort. “Fans tended to root for Jason anyway,” said Manusco, “So why not give them a reason to do so?” Tom McLoughlin returned to direct, keeping some of the Raimi-inspired camera work, and turned the entire thing into a “nature’s revenge” tale that made a good $23 million at the box office. While the Academy, to Sachs’ disappointment, wanted nothing to do with the film, the fans generally appreciated the “Jason saves the Earth” aspect, or at least liked seeing snotty rich people getting cut into bits. Some fans revolted at the “politics” of the tale, but in general the film is considered one of the stronger in the franchise today. Despite the eco message, it’s arguable how “smart” the film is, with many fans seeing it a “just another Jason film” and a long way from the Raimi-made psychological horror of two films prior.

Halloween4poster.jpg

Sort of this, but “Smart”

And in the midst of the growing debate of “smart vs dumb” came the relaunch of the Halloween franchise, which had been languishing for half a decade following the profitable but fan-hated Halloween III, which had dropped Michael Myers in exchange for an unrelated story involving witchcraft and science fiction elements. Halloween 4: The Inevitable Return of Michael Myers was a return to form, taking off where Halloween II left off, but included a “smart” element: the events of the previous films had led to the community banning Halloween and anything related to horror[7] in an effort to hide the uncomfortable past. The events of Michael’s murderous return are played against larger themes of censorship and the futility of trying to hide the uncomfortable or socially unacceptable. For example, the “death by sex” trope is avoided and instead it is the prudish parents and friends who attempt to stop the teens from having sex or enjoying sexual things whom Michael slaughters. The lesson becomes one of the unavoidability of discomforting things like death, sex, and fear with Michael now an avatar for the inevitability of these human things and the futility and indeed danger of trying to hide or suppress them.

By this point, however, the horror/slasher fandom was vocally divided between those “revolutionaries” who favored the new “smart” approach and the “reconstructionists” who wanted a return to the straightforward “dumb” hack & slash of the genre’s roots. The “smart” directions taken in Friday the 13th Parts 5-7 and A Nightmare on Elm Street were now entering into the Halloween series as well, which many reconstructionists had hoped would hold on to the original “dumb” approach. This segment of the fandom, already on edge following the “heresy” of Halloween III, was becoming increasingly loud and vociferous and demanding that Halloween go back to its roots. Halloween executive producer Moustapha Akkad and producer/creator John Carpenter were at a severe disagreement on this point, with Akkad siding with the reconstructionists and Carpenter with the revolutionaries. Akkad eventually won out and Carpenter sold his rights to the franchise, eager instead to explore new and original ideas.

Halloween5poster.jpg

Sort of this, but no Man in Black or Thorn subplots, just pure “Michael Kills People” goodness

Thus, the plot of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, was a simple return to the very simple original formula. Michael appears, and murders occur. Rachel’s parents die almost immediately at Rachel's house. Lindsay, Tina, Samantha, and Spitz die at the barn. The death of Lindsay in particular hit home as she'd been established as another older sister to Rachel. And finally, Rachel dies at the Myers house, meaning that Jamie's whole foster family is now dead. It ends with Jamie saying that Michael will never die as Michael is taken away[8].

Reconstructionists celebrated its simple slasher plot without any “intellectual bullshit” to bog it down. Revolutionaries saw it as a letdown after the “promise” of Halloween 4 and in particular cited John Carpenter’s abandonment of the franchise as evidence of their “rightness”. Halloween 5 thus became the first major battlespace of the fan divide between the two factions. It would not be the last.


[1] Since you asked, @farmerted555. Random butterflies based on Romero’s involvement with this timeline’s Tales from the Darkside delayed the film for a few critical months, allowing Raimi’s success to convince the studio to give Romero the full $7 million he was requesting, resulting in the zombiest of zombie films yet.

[2] Both films are largely as in our timeline. The biggest change is that the underlying themes are more overt and the characters are shown to be smart, but this proves not enough to avoid the consequences of their actions.

[3] What, me creepy?



[4] Apparently, this ambiguity was in the original script, but was dropped so as not to “confuse” the presumably knuckle-dragging idiots in the audience. Note that both Andy's mother and Detective Mike die in the end, and thus Andy needs to go to a foster home in the sequel. And Hockey-Mask tip to @Unknown for alerting me to the original script!

[5] Any resemblance to a particular studio Producer strictly coincidental, I’m sure.

[6] All of this follows our timeline except that a) there was no “smart slasher” fad in our timeline and b) Sachs never got the idea to “flip the script” and make Jason quasi-heroic, instead making it just a Jason movie with an “evil developer” thing tacked on. Manusco rejected Sachs’ idea and went with Haney’s resulting in Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood. It was panned and underperformed.

[7] This was writer Dennis Etchison’s original plan and based on his parent’s refusal to let him see any scary films as a kid, which led to him obsessing over them. The idea was rejected in our timeline for being “to cerebral”, but in this timeline the “Smart Slasher” is in vogue.

[8] Plot based on ideas from @Unknown.
 
Thanks for the mention, good sir! Honestly, though, OTL's Day is the best of the trilogy, in my opinion. Romero's original idea was pretty sweet, I'll admit, but it would've lacked the atmosphere and sense of dread knowing that they're all that's left of humanity.
 
Damn, these are all impressive stuff, Halloween, Chucky, and Friday especially.
Chucky spawned an ongoing series, combining the inherent creepiness of the possessed doll trope with the snarky quips of Freddy. While Andy and the ambiguity would be dropped by the end of the second film, it remained openly anti-consumerist in its themes. It also took every opportunity to hold parents to task for the violence they let their kids watch, breaking the fourth wall on occasion: “Seriously, kids, your parents let you watch this shit?” And while the original anti-consumerist message inevitably got lost or downplayed in the sequels, it is occasionally cited in academic surveys on anti-consumerist works.
Hmm, this gives me an idea for one of the sequels: one that calls out kids instead for perpetuating the consumerist society they live in. Like the plot is some kid pestering his parents to buy one toy, but events surrounding Chucky's attacks make him realise his sole love of toys is making him and his family miserable, and afterwards start bonding. Meanwhile,, you have the man/toy itself saying stuff like the latest toy they see on TV is "to die for!".
 
Last edited:
  1. Fred Gwynne needs to still be in Pet Sematary. Even if the movie is made a bit smarter than OTL's.
  2. I have the idea of someone spinning off the premise of Jason Goes To Hell into its own movie. And making the killer in question a quippy killer like Freddy rather than a silent slasher like Jason. And it'd save Creighton Duke from being in one of the worst Friday movies ever made.
  3. Hopefully, Chucky's sequels will be a bit smarter than OTL's. And with a lot less gross-out humor.
  4. That "intellectual bullshit comment" makes me think that the conflict would be between people who want their movies to mean something and people who just want to watch people get chopped up. With "why won't you just let us enjoy horror movies?" being the battle cry of the "reconstructionists".
 
Horror is so not my genre, so I doubt ITTL me saw any of these movies same as OTL me.

Sweetie Pie sounds like a movie that will return to haunt Hollywood once MeToo or its equivalent gets started.

Barbara Sachs Friday the 13th film at least sounds like its trying to do something new beyond 'screaming teens'

Halloween - which one performed better at the box office and with critics/awards will tell you which 'type' of Horror sells best I'd have thought? Or should a 'smart' studio have one of each type as franchises?
 
Top