Horror of Horrors: The NeverEnding Story
Lilith here again. And I bet you are asking yourself again why I am talking about a fantasy movie in a horror of horrors column. But those of you born in the 70’s and 80’s will understand. This movie was one of my favorites as a child, yet successfully scared the bejesus out of me on multiple occasions. Let’s go through all the many parts of this movie that will guarantee it’s ability to traumatize and horrify any child under the age of 13, and maybe some of us older than that watching it for the first time.
Through the eyes of Bastian we travel to the wonderful world of Fantasia. This land is full of incredible species, mystical tribes, and stunning landscapes. But is has a villain that is reining supreme. What is this villain? No, it’s not The Joker. Nor is it something we are used to like a fire-breathing dragon, or a money-hungry environment-destroying company. It is simply “The Nothing”. It is a void of darkness and nothing (maybe inhabited by the Vashta Nerada?) that is consuming everything throughout the land. No this is not your classic monster or villain, you can’t really kill or defeat “nothing”.
Despite being a mass of nothingness, this villain of ours summons a werewolf early on to track down Atreyu, the young warrior boy that has been tasked with finding a way to defeat the “nothing”. Yes, this monster is a puppet, but he is a monstrous, evil, scary puppet. One with blood dripping from it’s mouth in a way you know he would give you an infection rivaling that of an R.O.U.S. if his bite didn’t kill you in the first place.
Atreyu sets off across the land to try to tackle his mission. On this trip they travel through the swamps of sadness and the first event that broke our heart in this movie occurs: his horse Arta sinks in the swaps to his death because of the overwhelming sadness the swamp pushes down on his heart. There’s been some Buzzfeed posts recently claiming that this event was what caused depression in our generation, and I think I have to agree.
Atreyu next has to meet with the oracle, pass her trial, and hopefully gain the knowledge she can give him to defeat the “nothing”. This oracle is an evil, laser shooting out of its eyes pair of sphinyxes. It made me shiver as much as the opening of the Ark in he first Indiana Jones movie. Next Atreyu is forced to look in to a mirror to see his true self, and all I kept expecting to see was some terrifying evil creature staring back at him. That being said all he sees is Bastian, but the scene is rapt with anticipation.
And despite everything Atreyu set out to accomplish, he fails. Fantasia is consumed by the “nothing”. Of course, eventually Bastian mans up and saves the day. So in the end we have the happy ending. It still doesn’t dilute the fact that this movie had so many terrifying moments, especially for the age group it was meant for (10-13 years old). While I can watch this movie with a clear mind now, one that enjoys the movie and the nostalgic feelings it produces, I still get a little frightened when rewatching it as an adult.
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Posted on January 2, 2015, in Features, Horror of Horrors, Movies, Reviews and tagged childhood horrors, Horror of Horrors, sadness, The NeverEnding Story, The Nothing, The Southern Oracles. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.