Nightmare Fuel / Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
The danger must be growing, for the rowers... keep on rowing... And they're certainly not showing... ANY SIGN THAT THEY ARE SLOWING!
- The Oompa-Loompas are just little people in the book and other versions, but in this film they're orange-skinned, green-haired little demons. Your child was just mutated by a freak accident? That's terrible. Say, this will cheer you up: Men with irradiated skin singing in monotone about how he or she deserved it and how terrible a parent you are!
- The Oompa Loompa song for Violet Beauregarde in particular has a creepy musical arrangement, and the fact that it is the slowest and most somber among the Oompa Loompa songs does not help. The Mike Teevee Oompa Loompa song is also a little strange. The way the words flash during the Augustus Gloop and Veruca Salt Oompa Loompa songs is also a little creepy. It is worse in the book and 2005 film though, because the songs are literally for the children considering their names appear in the songs.
- Even if the Oompa-Loompas themselves don't scare you, the way that they're first mentioned to the audience is pretty deeply unsettling. Think about it: a giant factory has stayed closed for decades, and absolutely no one knows what goes on inside...but every so often, people see the silhouettes of some inhuman, dwarf-like creatures in the windows, with no way of knowing what they are or where they came from. "We daren't go a-hunting, for fear of little men," indeed...
- The Wonkamoblile foam scene seems to take a concept of total wackiness, the wacky car, and distort it into disturbing madness. All the odd bit make a really jarring noise to young ears but it's probably because of the way Mrs. Teavee kept screaming.
- The scene where Grandpa Joe and Charlie drink the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and Charlie almost gets axed by the fan.
- The first thing people of a certain age will mention when the topic of "things that scared the crap out of you as a child when you didn't expect it" will be the boat ride sequence of the movie. No child alive saw it coming.
- How is the scene anything but? The boat enters a dark tunnel, and despite the parents' protests, the boat goes faster, and psychedelic colors swirl around the boat.
- Suddenly, we are seen images of stuff that could easily scare the daylights out of a child, along with weird sound effects accompanying each one. In order:
- A giant cockroach flying through some trees.
- A millipede crawling on a man's face.
- A close-up of a human eyeball.
- A chicken being beheaded by a butcher knife.
- A chameleon chomping down on a bug.
- A scorpion's face.
- Finally, Wonka begins to recite a poem to the scared-out-of-their-wits passengers, with a Scare Chord gradually growing in the background.
Wonka: There's no earthly way of knowing... which direction we are going... There's no knowing where we're rowing... or which way the river's flowing... Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing? ...Not a speck of light is showing, so the danger must be growing... Are the fires of hell a-glowing? Is the grisly reaper mowing? YES! The danger must be growing, for the rowers... keep on rowing... And they're certainly not showing... ANY SIGN THAT THEY ARE SLOWING! RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHH!
- It remains one of the ultimate examples of Nightmare Fuel to this day. It even made Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments list (it was #74).
- The "nice" thing is that this is the only song whose lyrics are actually taken from the book, although the movie added some of the darkest lines such as the ones about the fires of hell and the grisly reaper.
- You know it's bad when Marilyn freakin' Manson decides to include his own reading of that monologue on his debut album, completely unchanged. And it doesn't come off as even remotely out of place.
- Eli Roth said as much: "This is the moment when the movie takes a turn. You're no longer kids on a whimsical adventure. You are now the prisoners of a madman."
- "Daddy, I do not want a boat like this!"
- It was even nightmare fuel for the other actors — they were told that they would be on a boat, and that Gene would do something, after which they had their lines. And that's all they were told! When everything goes shit crazy and people don't seem to be able to even speak right, it's because they CAN'T.
- The look on the character's faces were genuine fright; the actors weren't told that Gene Wilder was going to start monologuing at that point, much less doing it in such a weird and creepy manner. That's how terrifying the scene was.
- Also, the way Grandpa Joe and the other parents hold their kids a little tighter when Wonka starts singing. With the fear being real, you can tell the adults are ready to jump overboard with them if it means getting off this hell ride.
- When Disney Channel ran the movie in the 80's and 90's, they kept this scene (though they cut the chicken decapitation part) and slapped a content warning in front of it, literally the only time this was done for anything that wasn't rated PG-13 or up.
- Willy Wonka himself is pretty freaky at times — even — scratch that, ESPECIALLY — when portrayed by Gene Wilder. Aside from the aura of barely-veiled madness, the guy engineers some pretty disturbing fates for his ill-mannered guests. His unconcerned attitude toward the horrible fates of his guests are certainly unnerving, along with his general Nightmare Fetishist behavior. Memorable quotes include:
My chocolate! My beautiful chocolate!
Mr. Salt: What is this, Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why, are you having fun?
Mrs. Gloop: He'll be made into marshmallows in five seconds!
Wonka: Impossible, dear lady, that's absurd, unthinkable!
Mrs. Gloop: Why?
- Wonka is a mad genius who engineered a wonderland that's irresistible to kids, for the purposes of punishing the bad kids (and, very nearly, the protagonist) in quasi-magical but still pretty horrific ways. What does this sound like?
- Augustus falling into the chocolate river and being sucked up into the clear tube, where he gets stuck. Drowning, suffocation, trapped in plain sight, screaming for help but unheard, seen but not helped...Abandoned to deadly fate...
- At one point, it looks almost like Wonka pushed Augustus into the chocolate river (Augustus doesn't fall into the river until Wonka runs up to him), which adds the interpretation that Wonka deliberately engineered the downfalls/deaths of the other children. Think about it; how likely is it that adding artificial flavoring to chewing gum would introduce a chemical agent that causes a blueberry transformation? A more likely explanation is that Wonka deliberately added it to the gum after learning that one of the prize-winners was a chewing gum enthusiast. Similarly, the TV Chocolate device has incredibly little practical use, suggesting that it was designed specifically to trap Mike. It's even possible that the entire chocolate river wasn't there a week before, or that it contained water instead of chocolate. Probably the worst one, however, is the fan at the top of the Fizzy Lifting Drinks room. The fan makes the room impractical for a testing room, given the large possibility of horrific death if the tester fails to burp or the burping is ineffective. Therefore, the only good reason (to Wonka) to have it there is to kill anyone who has a taste. The scene itself is very horrifying, even despite the attempt by the filmmakers to use burping as Nightmare Retardant.
Charlie: HELP! We're gonna get killed!
- Violet getting turned into a blueberry. Sure, it's funny when you're older, but when you're a kid the only thing you can think about is that she might explode, and how the Oompa Loompas are pushing her out of the room, singing a song and seemingly indifferent.
- The Oompa Loompa song also is a little creepy. The way she handles it is also a little unnerving, sure she is scared and shocked, but she seems somewhat calm (similarly this applies to the other brats, Mike enjoyed his punishment, Veruca does not scream when she falls down the chute, and Augustus is nervous but not as jumpy as his 2005 counterpart).
Wonka: It always goes wrong when it comes to the dessert. Always.
- Watch closely, and it looks like Violet is screaming in fear when the Oompa-Loompas lower her onto her side.
- A minor real-life example. Immediately after filming the blueberry scene, Denise Nickerson flew home. Two days later, she was sitting in math class when suddenly her skin started turning blue, in front of her classmates. The makeup had seeped deep into her pores and resurfaced. This continued for weeks, with Denise being extremely concerned as to whether it would be permanent. Fortunately, it wasn't.
- And even the way Wonka grabs Veruca's tongue in the snozzberry scene is quite unsettling.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
- He simply grabbed her face by the cheeks. Her mouth just happened to be open at the same time.
- Veruca's Spoiled Brat attitude can sometimes reach unnerving levels, particularly during her Villain Song where uses physical violence on the Oompa Loompas and sings lyrics like "I want the world! I want the whole world!"
- It can still be unsettling to watch the infamous meltdown scene in Wonka's office, especially due to how uncharacteristically angry he gets. No wonder when they ran it on The Disney Channel, they warned parents that the movie contains scenes that might be too intense for young children. (The boat scene might have sealed the deal there.)
Wonka: YOU GET NOTHING! YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY, SIR!
- Grandpa Joe was afraid when the Wonkavator was going to hit glass roof. Charlie and Grandpa felt horrified when they would be cut to ribbons. Well, They survived from the broken glass as Wonka warned them in caution to hold on tight.
Wonka: Hold on tight, Everybody. Here it comes! (As the roof breaks, Nobody was cut to ribbons)
- "Pure Imagination" isn't really a scary song - in fact it's quite nice, soothing even. Until Fiona Apple covers it. Suddenly the lyrics are far more chilling than they were before.
- Meta-Example: The bees that are shown collecting honey for the gum machine? Those were actually wasps. At one point during filming, the colony died and had to be replaced. An unknown party (which may or may not have been Paris Themmen) removed the glass dome, causing the wasps to escape and thus forcing everyone to evacuate the set.
- The fact that we do not see the naughty children at the end, unlike in the book version and the 2005 film. Charlie does ask Wonka if the other children will be alright, and Wonka replies telling him not to worry by the time they leave, they will be restored back to their nasty old selves, but hopefully a little wiser for the wear. Though he would not lie to a child who he gives his factory to, he is not an entirely trustful character.