Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mikey - The Real Devil Child.

What do you find creepy? What makes your skin crawl? Is it Clowns? Dolls? Masks? What is it about thrillers or horror movies which make you feel uneasy? There are so many cinema ‘baddies’ which everyone remembers and some are famous icons which cannot be touched. But whatever happened to that little forgotten child…the one who was like Dennis the Menace but on a diet of steroids and PCP? Mix that together with a child who is pure psychotic and you have the underrated and forgotten film ‘Mikey’. This was a film my older brother rented from the video store. I remember going to my usual spot of the video store to rent my favourites ‘Kickboxer’ and ‘Rocky IV’ and seeing my brother had this strange VHS in his hand, I had never seen it before. When we left the video store I asked him what was that weird film he rented and he told me it was a horror/thriller about a boy who kills his family, and after much begging and bribing and my promises of  buying him caramel slices from the local deli, he FINALLY agreed to let me watch it with him.

I was about 13 at the time, and I think at that point I was probably still afraid of Tong Po, so watching ‘Mikey’ was really ‘intense’ for me. But at the same time it was really enjoyable and fun. Hard to believe that a film that I saw as intense had a lighter side to it, whether it intended to is another matter. Now the run down of this story is Mikey is a young boy who kills his adoptive parents and sibling and he staged every murder as if some cold blooded killer had stormed into the house and decided to go BTK on the family. I mean what cop or psychologist is going to brand him the murderer or at least psychotic? NONE! Because people are stupid. So now poor little Mikey gets adopted out to a loving husband and wife who have been trying for kids, so they seek out the spawn of the devil’s loins and that is what they get. At first he is a sweet young boy, but then his teacher notices something isn’t right about him and tries to warn the parents and while they understand what she is trying to say, it falls upon deaf ears.

Mikey was portrayed by Brian Bonsall, and for a young kid at the time, he did a really awesome job as portraying a child who is just well, BAT SHIT CRAZY. I think portraying someone like that especially as a child would be quite demanding, fun and there would be a fair amount weight on your shoulders. And Bonsall nailed it. Seeing a child do such depraved things for no real reason at all really makes you want the little bastard to just die! You really hate his character because he’s such a lunatic but at the same time the parents are morons for not paying attention to what was really going on. I mean it’s not like the kid is a perfect liar and charmer, I just think the parents wanted a kid so much they didn’t really care if he played up a little. I think it’s a level playing field because they were shown the signs, they ignored them so now they must pay! I am really glad that Bonsall’s portrayal of Mikey was pretty brutal, and it is something that I still remember vividly to this day. That performance couldn’t have been played by any kid, he would have to have been a pretty well adjusted kid to have been able to pull of that kind of performance and make it believable. Most kid actors are well, terrible, I mean we have the Disney Channel and the kid actors on all those ‘wholesome’ shows are just freakin’ awful.So it’s a shame kid actors get subjected to roles on the Disney Channel instead of something with a bit more ‘meat’ in it. But I guess it all comes down to money. I think life would be so much more simpler if actors were paid in Monopoly Money. Would make their quest a little more interesting, and maybe they would put a bit more effort into when they act.

‘Mikey’ is a hard movie to find, I am surprised I managed to find it lurking in the dark caves of the Internet. But I do remember reading an article some time ago which stated that the film ‘Mikey’ was banned in the UK because I think it was due to be released over there on VHS right after the murder of toddler Jamie Bulger. In case you didn’t know about that murder case; which you should, I shall quickly bring you up to speed. Jamie Bulger was murdered in 1993 by two young boys who’s name aren’t worthy of getting a mention in my article. Anyway Jamie left his mother’s side for a brief moment, and for that moment, these two killers took Jamie by the hand and lured him out of the shopping centre and they tortured and murdered this innocent child. Now I am pretty sure hearing that is a clear indication of why ‘Mikey’ was banned. Britain had already had a previous child killer called Mary Bell, but now two young boys are committing something more heinous? I think they didn’t want Britain to be associated with child killers in any way, so banning ‘Mikey’ seemed like a sensible thing to do. While I do not condone banning of movies, I think maybe in this instance they were right to do so.

‘Mikey’ is an incredibly enjoyable film, it does have it’s intense moments, as well as it’s cheesy one liners, but hey what horror/ thriller doesn’t? I think it has aged a lot, so when you look at it you just think ‘Oh man this is so 90′s’. It doesn’t have a timeless feel to it like John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, but it does have a quality about it which sure does make it look like it has aged but makes you enjoy the storyline and Bonsall’s performance and appreciate the value of it. Because of the circumstances surrounding this release, it is a forgotten gem among the ‘child killers’ sub genre, but I can definitely seeing this as a much rented film in the early 90′s when it was allowed to be released. I enjoyed this for what it is, not for what it didn’t have. I would have liked to have seen this a lot more darker like the film ‘Orphan’, but having said that Bonsall’s performance is still a creepy one. The reason being is you can see that if Mikey continues on murdering people into adulthood you can see a Ted Bundy in the making. And seeing the film from that perspective puts it on a new level of creepiness.

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