When I was about six, my brother and I watched the 1970's Cat in the Hat cartoon, which went over very
well. But there was one part that just...bothered me, inexplicably. This was Cat's self-insulting song where he sings
about nobody loving him.
The song starts at 2:20 in this video.
Alan Sherman is not a bad singer; it wasn't his voice. When I was much older, I begun to assume it was the
mighty morphin' LSD background, or possibly the neverending hat worm. But really, that seemed too simple to be disturbing.
Ghostbusters was my favorite movie at age five, and that would say something about my young viewer stamina.
But on March 5th 2009, I started to wonder why I was such a determined environmentalist, but came to the
conclusion that I may have been inspired by something in my early childhood. "I watched both Ferngully movies, "
I thought. "Those are environmental movies." So I set off to reread a summary of the original movie and find what could have
shocked me into earth love.
And then I remembered Hexxus.
In case you've never seen Ferngully, Hexxus is the embodiedment of everything harmful to the natural
world, lives off pollution, and is played by Tim Curry, AKA Dr. Frank N. Furter. I am writing this article before
rewatching the movie, and as I remember, Hexxus manages to level an entire rainforest and turn it into a grim, smoggy underworld.
If this weren't enough, I believe there is a part where he bursts from the Leveller machine as an oil-coated sketeton
on fire. It's like the scary boat ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, where the hallucinations
get stranger and stranger, until you suddenly see a chicken get decapitated.
Let's try feeding that into the mind of a four or five year old.
I can't remember what I may have done in response to Hexxus. I was one of those kids that on the first viewing,
watched the whole thing without panicking, then had nightmares and slight trauma afterwards. In this case, I remember seeing
the smoky, levelled Ferngully and thinking "NO NO I DON'T WANT THAT" and getting concerned about
the environment. Not that that's a bad thing at all, even if I did it with a "Can't Sleep; Clown Will Eat Me" mentality.
I do remember one instance where I only watched the bits with Crysta, Batty and the fairy world, then stopped the tape right
before Hexxus came in.
Let's go back to the Cat in the Hat song. Putting together the background music and muddy backgrounds,
the song becomes oddly similar to Hexxus's song "Toxic Love", in its bluesy style and grotesquely-coloured backgrounds. It's
not enough to strike a comparison by the average person, but it certainly would in the mind of a kid who had just
been terrified by a magic smog man.
Watching this video was amazing. I got about halfway through (where I had to stop, as I didn't
want to spoil everything before rewatching the movie) when I started thinking "It's coming back! IT'S ALL COMING BAAAAACK!"
But I also learned that Hexxus's song was cut down for the film release; there are a few lines that are
somewhat sexual, including one where he claims he feels "a special kind of horny". No, seriously. It's
in the above video at 1:50. Hearing Hexxus say this doesn't hurt my childhood...IT MERELY REINFORCES MY FEARS.
Worse yet, people are getting turned on by the song. Yes, Tim Curry has a great voice. Yes, he's playing
a skeletal toxic mass that wants everything living to be dead. I mean, look at these Youtube comments...
People are getting off to Hexxus. PEOPLE ARE GETTING OFF TO HEXXUS. For an instance
of how horrifying this is to me, imagine having your entire family hacked up by a serial murderer, and at the trial, a bunch
of women are squealing and making catcalls at him. Also, Batty's song was edited too; it was for a part where he dances around,
repeating the grim conversations he heard while he was being tested on, each conversation blending into each other while a
garbled piano track of "Rockabye Baby" plays. This includes the line that, even at my age, chills me: "As you see, the
animals don't really feel pain...THEY JUST GET USED TO IT!" Actually, I'm glad this part got cut, as
it probably would have screwed me up just as well.
But really, I need to realize one fact...the last time I'd seen Ferngully or Hexxus was when I
was five, and only at age sixteen did I remember he exists, and not through my own recollection. I really seemed to "forget"
Hexxus, but casually-forgetting seems impossible in a case like this. I think I may have had a true traumatic
memory repression. This would explain my haunting disturbance of the otherwise neutral Cat in the Hat
song. Nowadays I can watch Cat in the Hat without getting that creepy feeling from watching that one scene.
The only other instance of something like this is my reaction to a scene early in Snow White...the
part where the Queen's assassin begins screaming for Snow White to "RUN! Don't look back!" and in reaction, I simply got a
higher stint of fear whenever someone yelled something similar in reality/other programs. Especially at night. Yeech.
I want to create a TV term called "The Ferngully Effect". This would be used for any TV series
or movie that starts off with an otherwise cheerful and innocent premise, then immediately turns dark and disturbing, sometimes
to threaten the viewer into following the cautionary lesson. Neon Genesis Evangelion is a good example of something
with the Ferngully Effect.
What have I to say about Hexxus? I am beyond the relm of typing insults for two paragraphs, as it's simple
what I need to say...Hexxus, you horrifying piece of spew, thank you for pushing me into environmentalism early in my life.
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