Directed By Walter Murch
"Weaugh... Teaugh... PEAUGH!"
So far, upsetting stuff. But fairytales – which L. Frank Baum had always intended The Wizard Of Oz to be – are dark, in places at least. Return To Oz presents us with scary villains, in the Wheelers, the witch Mombi (Jean Marsh), and the Nome King (Nicol Williamson). It shows us mortal peril, in the Deadly Desert (one touch transforms you to sand) and the Nome King’s palace, where one can be transformed into an ornament or tossed into his Fiery Furnace. But these things come with the territory. Without a frightening baddie and a dire situation, what thrill can there be in restoring the order of things? The more terrifying the villain, the more wonderful the escape. Take the moment when our heroes finally escape Mombi, flying to freedom on a creature made of furniture, brought to life with the magic words, Weaugh, Teaugh, Peaugh. It’s a brilliant high, all the more glorious because we’re scared stiff of the bellowing, sometimes headless monster pursuing them. There is darkness, but it only makes the light brighter.