You remember K. Gordon Murray, right, the mastermind behind the American dub of the Mexican film Santa Claus (Spanish: Santa Claus)? Well it turns out he made more films. Alright, well he didn’t make films, but he did badly dub more films into English, and I’m going to be looking at one of them today—Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters… or Tom Thumb and Little Red Riding Hood… or Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb vs. the Monsters. PICK A TITLE!
Ugh. This lack of naming is why I’m unofficially calling this The Return of K. Gordon Murray.
Alright, well let’s take a look at the poster and see what we’re in for
NOW… THE FAMOUS CHARACTERS OF THE FAIRY TALE WORLD… TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME
So who do we have, K. Gordon?
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
I mean, we’ve seen them together before, but whatever. Go on.
STINKY THE SKUNK
Of course you remember Stinky the Skunk, right? His terrible odor awoke the whole kingdom in “Sleeping Beauty.” No? OK then, he was a rejected dwarf who was sent away for being too extreme. WHO IS THIS? I am not aware of one Grimm Fairy Tale featuring a skunk. A little research shows one South American folk tale called “The Jaguar and the Little Skunk,” but it’s more likely that K. Gordon saw that there was a skunk in the film and assumed it was a famous fairy tale character, when it was probably just a skunk. Plus, he speaks in an annoying high-pitched voice like Chip n’ Dale. Who else do we have?
and THE FRIENDLY RED-HEADED OGRE
Just go with it at this point. Oh, recognize him? That’s because he’s played by Jose Elias Moreno, the same guy who played Santa Claus in that other film.
In fact, some more of the cast and crew of Santa Claus return as well, including both voice actors and, of course, the man, the myth, the legend, the over-expository narrator, KEN SMITH.
Unfortunately, old Kenny only returns to narrate the opening of the film, but it’s exactly what you’d expect. Since the movie starts on a spinning globe, he just starts narrating away about “the awe-inspiring act of creation” (his dub of Inherit the Wind is far less entertaining) and how some places on the earth still contain fantasy characters. Apparently, every evil fairy tale character lives in “The Devil’s Dominion,” where a courtroom decides the fate of the ones who stop doing evil.
The wolf and the ogre are standing trial for not eating Little Red Riding Hood and killing Tom Thumb, and at the trial we see an array of famous villains like Dracula…
Not the Bela Lugosi or Christopher Lee Dracula, but apparently the John Carradine Dracula of the later Universal films. That’s what the kids love.
We also have The Kidnapper.
I’m not sure who this is supposed to be, but he kidnaps children because they’re “tender and make good broth.” He could be any given giant, ogre or something. (He’s not The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as the Mexican film came out before the book was written.)
Following him, we have Carrot-Head.
Seriously, though, this guy is called Carrot-Head, but also says his head is full of water.
Next to him is Frankenstein’s Monster. They call him Frankenstein, but I’m not opening that can of worms like the rest of the internet. Finally, we have Two-In-One.
I think it’s supposed to be a man and monster attached at the hip, but it looks more like two guys who glued their butts together by mistake (Or on purpose maybe, whatever they’re into).
Unfortunately they’re not all here to play the Family Feud. They are instead the jury of the trial, which is ruled over by the Evil Queen. The Queen is introduced by this guy blowing a bullhorn, even though it’s dubbed over with a bugle call.
It’s jarring to say the least. Anyway, we meet the Queen from Disney’s Snow White.
I mean, it’s a fairy tale in the public domain, but this look is so obviously copied from the Disney version of the character that I cannot believe they didn’t sue.
Even weirder is the fact that none of the other villains resemble their most famous interpretations. Frankenstein’s monster has a goofy hairdo, the Big Bad Wolf wears a really cheesy costume that looks nothing like the Disney version, and as mentioned above, Dracula does not resemble Bela Lugosi at all.
They refer to the Queen as The Queen of Badness, which I’m sure was way catchier in Spanish, but K. Gordon just translated it literally. However, other times she is referred to as The Queen of Madness (and I think Sadness once), so it looks like the dubbers just forgot what they were calling this character after all.
Anyway, the jury declares them guilty and The Queen of __adness declares that they are to be executed by the circular saw. Um… am I still watching a kids movie? I wasn’t expecting something out of the Spanish Inquisition.
Yeah, yeah. However, in something right out of the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition, the prisoners are tortured by having their feet tickled with a feather.
Yeah, that’s not as catchy, real life Spanish Inquisitor Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros.
Meanwhile, as the Wolf and Ogre await execution (they’re charged together for different crimes, but it’s not the worst representation of the legal system in a kids film), Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb (clearly voiced by the same adult actress) are wandering through the world to save them.
They meet a fairy who originally says there’s no way she can help them, although she then promises they will go without hunger, thirst or cold. However, she also says “May God help you,” even though she’s a magical fairy who could have done more. Along the way, the town is poisoned by The Queen of __adness and her sister, who turn them into dead-eyed monkeys. Remember the sister from Snow White? Of course you don’t! Apparently she has one, and she kind of looks like Margaret Hamilton from The Wizard of Oz out of costume, but that’s probably a coincidence.
The Queen of __adness often looks into her crystal ball because apparently a Magic Mirror cost too much for the props department. Instead of the iconic “Mirror mirror on the wall,” she opens with “Kachi Poochie Poochie Poochie” or some gibberish along those lines. It’s absolutely hysterical. She sends various monsters to stop Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb along the road, but of course the children defeat them with the help of that totally-out-of-a-fairy-tale skunk.
At one point, the Queen of __adness even communicates with Satan himself, even though unlike K. Gordon’s other film, we don’t see Santa Claus shoot an arrow into his anus. Sadly, it’s just through her fireplace which apparently has a connection to hell.
Strangely, a lot of time is spent with the wolf and ogre in prison, including Three Stooges antics where they hit each other with their prison ball and chain (although we hear a gong sound effect) and a poorly-overdubbed musical number.
Eventually the children free the wolf and ogre and confront all the villains in the kingdom. Red Riding Hood tricks the Queen of __adness into falling into her fireplace, sending her to Hell… or as Stinky the Skunk exclaims in his squeaky voice “The witch fell down to Hades.”
This apparently destroys all of the evil in the entire world! Wow, K. Gordon, you’re really into epic tales of good and evil, aren’t you?
Did kids enjoy this? I just imagine they would have been confused and a bit horrified at points (the wolf and ogre are about to be sawed to death when they get saved). The dubbed songs are terrible and out of sync, the voice acting pretty lousy, and the plot nonsensical. It’s nowhere near as enjoyably bad as Santa Claus, but it’s worth it to revisit the truly awful and confusing world of K. Gordon Murray.
Next week, I’ll be back with my next Match-Up.