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I'm an Irish guy living in France. I like music, books, creative writing, art, history, vegetarianism, people, and chocolate.

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Friday 13 June 2008

Evil Cymbal-banging Monkey

The other day I was speaking to a friend about things that used to freak us out as kids... you know, things like monsters under the bed, great aunt Martha or Father Christmas.
My childhood trauma - and one I shared with my brother - was linked to the evil cymbal-banging monkey toy. Yes. The evil monkey toy. Fear its wrath!

On my brother's 8th or 9th birthday - I can't quite remember - my Dad gave him a video cassette of a film, Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders. It sounded like an innocent, child-friendly fantasy story. My brother watched it, alone. And was freaked out. He asked me to see it again with him - you know how fun it is to freak yourself out - so I watched it with him. It turned out to be more of a horror film than a kiddie's movie. The first part of the film (which is set in contemporay America) is the story of a sceptical journalist who borrows a book of spells from Merlin and ends up iniating himself in magic - only to find himself confronted with a zombie cat, his wife's blood, and a demon apparition.

The second part deals with a cymbal-banging monkey toy which is stolen from Merlin's shop, and ends up as a present for a young boy. Trouble is, the toy is haunted by an evil spirit, which tries to destroy the boy and his family. When left alone, its eyes light up red. Each time it bangs its cymbals, something dies. It sets the house on fire, withers all the plants in the home, kills the family dog, and almost causes the kid to die in a road accident. When the boy's father manages to bury it in a field far from home, it somehow manages to find its way back with the family. In the end Merlin comes to take it back, so there's a happy ending. But still... freaky film.
I was probably about 14 when I saw the film, so it didn't give me any nightmares... but it was pretty uncanny. Now the
evil cymbal-banging monkey toy is a kind of inside joke between my brother and me. Someday I'd like to find the film and watch it again - for old time's sake. I wonder if any other unsuspecting kid was freaked out by Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders!

It's funny, though, how memories like that stick with you all your life - especially the unpleasant ones. It seems that we let our lives become much more affected by the negative things that happen to us than by the positive things. Maybe someday I'll learn to be less cynical and pessimistic, and begin reflecting on all the wonderful things that have happened to me, and - as they say in France - "see the world in pink".


george1001 said...

For a humorous perspective you should get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version.

Groovy Shamrock said...

I'll have to get my hands on it, it looks fun! Cheers for the tip.

Emerald Champagne

rambling on...

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