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(Revised on 4/9/2005 - I originally wrote it in 2001 out of memory!)
I'm sure many people have watched twisted parodies of Charles Schulz beloved PEANUTS comic strip like MAD TV's "South Parknuts" and Saturday NIGHT LIVE's Peanuts tribute sketch in 2000, but none of them have the fast-paced thrills of this obscure animated student short done at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1986 by renowned animator Jim Reardon (who later worked on cartoons like MIGHTY MOUSE: THE NEW ADVENTURES and THE SIMPSONS)! The short has been screened at Lunacon (a sci-fi con I regularly attend) since about 1997 or 1998, and I was immediately hooked! This was the best of the old CalArts student shorts among what Lunacon showed (before I saw Craig McCracken's WHOOPASS STEW, which later became THE POWERPUFF GIRLS)!
Most of the other Peanuts parodies always had Charlie Brown die or commit suicide, to all of which I say, "been there, done that," but this was about the first time I've ever seen Charlie Brown unleash the beast within (something I, and possibly some other people, always wanted to see him do after some of the Peanuts Gang were so cruel to him)! In this short, the Great Pumpkin puts a bounty on Charlie Brown's head, and the rest of the Peanuts Gang race against each other to kill Charlie Brown in all sorts of ways, until Charlie himself, when getting chased by the gang at one point, becomes Rambo/Schwarzenegger-like and goes around blowing away all of the Peanuts Gang with his uzi! Then, for some reason, we see other cartoon characters slaughtering each other (Mickey Mouse, Popeye, the Hanna-Barbera Godzilla with a sound byte from GODZILLA '84 etc.), and amongst all the carnage and destruction, Charlie Brown stood victorious! The climax was just hilariously chaotic! There was even a funny (and long) disclaimer in the closing credits ("This film is not intended to ruin the good name of Charles M. Schulz's PEANUTS characters," etc. etc.)!
This short may not be for the more sensitive fans of PEANUTS, but if you're lucky, give BRING ME THE HEAD OF CHARLIE BROWN a try! It is, by far, the best of the twisted PEANUTS parodies!
A CAL-ARTS student film by Jim Reardon (who worked on numerous episodes of "The Simpsons"), "Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown" does what it says on the tin: numerous beloved fluffy characters go after Charlie Brown by order of the Pumpkin King. It's all done in B+W and resembles pencil tests, much like most films made by animation students. Yet I can imagine that it would have stood out a lot from its contemporary CAL-ARTS productions in terms of tone, as it really does feel like not a sort of Disney/WB homage or an art-house film but rather the kind of spoof that one would find on YouTube or MySpace. Thus, this can be viewed today as a good piece of immature fluff that was perhaps ahead of its time in terms of style and tone. If you can track it down somewhere, it's worth taking a peak.
Good news: Charlie Brown finally fights back! Well, the Great Pumpkin
calls for the head of Charlie Brown, and the Peanuts gang are out to
kill him in numerous ways. Except this time, the blockhead is ready to
settle the score.
This is really just a parody made by some guys at CalArts about 20 years ago. It's a very funny cartoon, the animation and designs are very well done, and it shows how talented the then neophyte animators were. Of course, I wonder how Charles Schulz felt about this cartoon, or if he even saw it. It truly does deserve some kind of public release.
This is a great student film, with bonus points for making fun of such
a cherished cartoon icon.
Lots of garish humor, over-the-top violence, and blatantly sadistic comedy. The things that make student films great.
Audio and voice-overs are rather sub-par...but I think it might have been intentional to just lampoon the voices rather than trying to copy them.
Model wise, they're pretty dead-on to the Charlie Brown art form.
Interestingly, most of the people who worked on it have had some impressive careers and worked for major studios.
If you want to see it, check the message boards for a couple of links to it (or just google search it).
This short created by Jim Reardon (who wrote episodes for TINY TOON ADVETURES), pokes fun out of the Peanuts cartoons. As one person who commented on it at Internet Movie Database saying it was "The Ultimate Peanuts Parody". the voices don't sound like the ones in the cartoons we usually watch, they sound like adults. Charlie Brown's voice sounds foreign, and Lucy sounds like John Wayne! When Charlie Brown screams, you don't hear "AAAUUUGGGHH!!!" you hear a man screaming in extreme pain! This short references another student film called Snookles (made around at the same year of this short). The King of the Monsters appears cameo in this short (referencing the Coca Cola commercial around the time of GODZILLA 1985 and BAMBI VS GODZILLA see the tail). There are a lot of other cameos including Rocky, Richard Simmons, Popeye and Micky Mouse. This film should be shown on the Spike and Mike Sick and Twisted Film Festival or should be released on DVD by Fred Olen Ray's Retromedia or Something Weird. This is a great film for aspiring film-makers and for anyone to get into the animation business. Rated PG-13 for violence and gore.
Bring me the Head of Charlie Brown was a CalArts student film and thus
was not usually known, though it's a hilarious riff and parody, even if
it's a bunch of guys doing the voices.
The Great Pumpkin places a bounty on Charlie Brown, and the entire Peannuts gang sets out to collect the reward. Charlie is then set upon by exploding footballs, falling pianos, and whatnot.
By the end, Charlie's had enough, and lays down a suppressive fire, taking out the PEanuts gang, before stating "Happiness is a warm Uzi."
Kind of morbid at times, but it has some great funny moments, and given the humorous way that the student film is to make this like another Charlie Brown holiday special, all the more funny.
Jim Reardon would go onto write for Tiny Toons and direct episodes of The Simpsons, and here, you can see that he was surely fitted for the job.
Rated NR(would be Rated R for Pervasive Strong Graphic Violence/Gore)
Bring Me the Head Of Charlie Brown is an animated short film made by some students at Calarts in the year 1986.If you want to watch the film, it is available on youtube.The short is basically about this.The great pumpkin puts a bounty on the head of Charlie Brown.So basically everybody in the Peanuts gang tries to murder him to get their reward.After a while Charlie Brown cant take it anymore so he starts going on a murder rampage killing all the peanuts characters.The film is shown as a commercial.Bring Me The Head Of Charlie Brown is a funny animated short and I recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After the Great Pumpkin places a huge bounty on the ever-hapless Charlie Brown's head, the Peanuts gang try to bump poor Charlie off: Schroeder drops a giant piano on him, Lucy tries to get Charlie to kick a bomb that's disguised as a football, Snoopy bites his hand off (blood gushes everywhere from the grisly stump), and Linus even attempts to strangle Chuck with his beloved blanket. So Charlie, sporting a gnarly Travis Bickle-style Mohawk and packing an Uzi, opens up a king-sized barrel of marvelously gory and excessive over-the-top violent death and destruction on the whole nasty lot of 'em. Writer/director Jim Reardon, who went on to direct countless episodes of "The Simpsons," pokes blithely wild and deranged anything-goes no-holds-barred wicked fun at everything from Sam Peckinpah to Richard Simmons to even Mickey Mouse and Godzilla. The animation is admittedly crude, but still effective and the adult voice actors ham it up with lip-smacking brio. Better still, the amusing novelty song "Charlie Brown" by the Coasters even plays during the gut-busting ending credits (the disclaimer at the very conclusion is absolutely priceless!). Favorite line: "Happiness is a warm Uzi." A gloriously tasteless hoot and a half.
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