Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night vs. Witlesia

Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night

What would we ever talk about if not for ridiculous crap movies from the 80s?

I watched all manner of weird crap on tv growing up in the ’80s, but somehow Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night eluded me. Probably because Pinnochio was always my least favourite Disney movie (is there a more disturbing sequence in children’s cinema than the rowdy lost boys turning into crying donkeys?). And I’ve always found Pinnochio’s extreme innocence and gullibility to be a bit irritating. Real boys have some modicum of street smarts, wood kid. Sheesh. Anyway, pop culture phenomena related to Pinnochio never really captured my interest.

Fortunately, we live in the age of YouTube, so we can get caught up on all the creepy weirdness we may have missed. And man, am I sorry that this is my first exposure to Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night because this movie is amazingly weird. At least the first three minutes are – I don’t have time to watch the whole thing, although it is there on YouTube, if you are looking for a way to waste your Friday.

The first character to speak in Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night is a bee. And not just any bee. A bee who, for some reason, is also a British colonial explorer type. He gets all huffy when what is obviously an evil carnival lands in his forest, but then he gets scared away by the voice of James Earl Jones. That’s all I’ve seen, but from the extensive plot description on Wikipedia (evidently there are a few people out there who LOVE this movie), this Pinnochio is more than a bit of a rip-off of the original Disney plot, but with fewer offensive Italian stereotypes and more James Earl Jones.

To be honest, I genuinely do get a kick out of bafflingly terrible movies, and it’s amazing to see some of the things that have been sold to children over the years. (Wikipedia describes a particularly horrifying sequence where the evil carnival master turns Pinnochio back into a puppet using a magic organ. No wonder so many people I know are terrified of marionettes!) Just because something isn’t GOOD doesn’t mean it’s not extremely entertaining and instructive. And who among my generation doesn’t love talking about the weird shit that freaked us out (or seemed totally normal at the time) as children? That’s a famed favourite pastime of children of the 80s like myself, and one that wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for crazy 80s children’s programming like Pinnochio and the Emperor of the Night.



Yeah, it's ugly. It knows that. But at least it's not trying to show off some kind of inner beauty B.S.

All right, cut me some slack here. I traded a Pinocchio film with Alison for a moth. Never mind if that’s against the rules (is anyone reading this thing anyway?), it’s a fucking moth. But that should say something, I’d rather write about this disgusting relative of the butterfly over some stupid Disneyfied story of a wooden puppet boy with a phallic nose.

Anyways, according to Wikipedia, “there are thought to be 150,000 to 250,000 different species of moth,” so the Witlesia isn’t exactly a dominant type. It hails from the Crambidae family, a grass moth that according to Big Guide “includes many economically important pest species.” I really have no idea what that means. Unfortunately, there’s just not that much on moths out there. Even our Dutch friends at Butterflies and Moths, whose goal is to “be as complete as possible about the biology and ecology of butterflies and moths,” has a broken link under their Moths section. But according to Wikipedia, there are some from the Crambidae family that are useful to the environment, such as the “Water veneer, Acentria ephemerella – a biocontrol agent used against Eurasian watermilfoil” (at least, I think that’s useful), some are harmless and some of these fuckers go out and damage crops (oh, so that remark from Bug Guide wasn’t a compliment. Shit).

But whatever, moths are part of the, um, circle of life. Not to get eerily Elton John on you here but it’s true. Besides, it’s Pinocchio that has far more in common with Elton John anyway. … What the hell am I talking about? Happy Friday everyone.

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] sure it relates to the whole stupid circle of life argument I’ve found myself unfortunately resorting to before. And it always happens to be on a Friday, too. Guess I’m clearly ready for the weekend. Have […]

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