December 13th, 2004

Picture it: 1985. Cherie Priest is ten years old, at a movie theater with her dad -- who has taken her to see Clue, as it is based upon one of their very favorite board games. Between wheezing, crying with laughter and being picked up off the theater floor where she is rolling around with mirth, Cherie demands to know, "Who is that guy???" "His name is Tim Curry ... " her father says. "Has he been in anything else?" the little girl asks. "Um ... yes," her dad replies. "But we're not going to run out and rent it right now."*

And lo, a life-long fixation began.


I have often said, in as much jest as seriousness, that I would sit through literally anything that had Tim Curry in it. I languished in the Muppet Treasure Island for Tim Curry. I stayed awake for the entire duration of Charlie's Angels for Tim Curry. I slogged through every last frame of Congo for Tim Curry. I EVEN survived McHale's Navy for Tim Curry -- and for this I should receive bonus Curry-fan brownie points because in order to get my fix, I had to also get a mad, protracted splash of Tom Arnold. I'm not trying to brag about my intestinal fortitude here, I just want you all to understand the depths of my love, that's all.

I believe -- from the bottom of my black little heart -- that Tim Curry is the great stage and screen villain of our time. There is no role so stupid that he can't make it sinister. There is no part so hackneyed that he can't make it enjoyable to watch. There is no voiceover so poorly-written that he can't turn it into warm, gooshy sex-lube for the ears. And yes, I am well aware that there is also no script so terrible that he won't consider it -- but in my rather unbalanced opinion, this only adds to his charm.

So a few weeks ago, my boyfriend made a post referencing a little-known Curry classic of potentially epic badness. A lesser fan might have cringed and clicked through the madness ... but not I. No, I ran over to amazon.com and tracked down (ostensibly for Jym's birthday) a copy of The Worst Witch. Finally, this past Saturday night, we sat down and watched it -- and yea verily, my bold "I can watch anything with Tim Curry" stance was challenged.

So. The Worst Witch.
Where does one begin?

In fifty words or less: a cute-but-hopeless witch (Fairuza Balk, pre-acting classes) is failing miserably at her witchy curriculum. She is repeatedly sabotaged by Nelly Olsen a blonde bitchy girl (Anna Kipling, or simply "Teenaged Female With Tremendous Black Unibrow"), and yet in the end she manages to triumph and impress her teachers + the Grand Wizard.

Let me begin with my disappointment vis-a-vis Tim Curry's screen time in this movie. It is possible that more Curry-Time could have saved this film, but in saying so I merely reveal the unhealthy extent of my moony-eyed adoration. In truth, nothing could save this sad little experiment ... but Tim sure as hell gave it the old college try.

So the Grand Wizard is coming to visit the little witch's school for girls and everyone is thrilled. The student girls pass around a much-coveted black-and-white photograph of Curry doing his signature That-Bastard-Wolverine-Stole-This-From-Me eyebrow lift of sexy doom; and they stand beneath a terrible (painted?) likeness that hangs in the school corridor, giggling to each other about his superlative hotness.

Far be it from me to discourage them. When the first half of this wretchedly dull film ambled by and I had not yet glimpsed a flesh-and-blood flash of the Wizard, I too was stricken with anticipation. "Please, Tim!" I cried out, "Come save us from this tedious, badly-acted shamble of a story!" Tim heard my cries, and he arrived at the witch's school to be bathed in rapturous love from the prepubescent masses. And then ... then ... he breaks into song.

The thought of Tim breaking spontaneously into song is a rather pleasant one, really, so I got all excited about this prospect; but what I had not been accurately warned about was the fact that this song is accompanied by eight minutes of what can only be described as pure, distilled graphic manipulation hell. No, really. If Satan himself sat down with a Commodore 64 and The Buggles ... he might have been able to come up with something almost as bad as the music video that is embedded in this movie. Maybe.

And I'd like to go on making fun of the Halloween song for another hour or so, but 2 things prevent me: #1. I love Tim too much and #2. this guy did it so well already. For the love of all that is holy, CLICK THAT LINK -- but not if you're drinking a hot beverage. Go on. The man has screen captures. They must be seen to be believed. He also has a .wav file that nearly made me wet myself.

Wow. In short, and all besotted Tim Curry affection aside, this is -- and I say this as a woman who actually watched House of the Dead without grabbing her Blockbuster card and gouging her eyes out -- possibly the worst hour and a half in the history of entertainment.


Oh Tim, Tim. What, did you lose a bet? What have they got on you, Tim? Is this the man I loved so in Legend? The demigod who charmed me with his voice acting in every Saturday morning cartoon since Pirates of Darkwater? Ye gods. I am slain. Yet even so, Tim even so -- Yes! I would love to practice my flying -- or just about anything else -- with you!**

[*wanders away, happily clutching her new .wav files*]



* i was fifteen before i badgered him into picking up The Rocky Horror Picture Show for me.
** for the last two words of this clip, i would get a cell phone -- and i would set its ring tone to say, over and over again, "Oh, absolutely" in Tim's leering, vaguely creepy, promising purr. "Tim, do you love me?" "Oh, absolutely!" "Tim, do you want to meet my parents?" "Oh, absolutely!" "Tim, can I cop a feel?" "Oh, absolutely!"

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