Dr XXX

THE MAD DOCTOR is probably the most disturbing Disney cartoon I’ve seen, perhaps not counting those with dodgy racial overtones. And yes, I include all the donkey transformation stuff in PINOCCHIO.

Firstly, the plot: Pluto is kidnapped  by a sadistic vivisectionist in the middle of the night. Mickey, heroically rushing to the rescue (and not pausing to consider the implausibility of a mouse keeping a dog as housepet) finds himself impotent, as a dreamlike series of obstacles, threats and indignities prevents him from making any progress. It’s very much like a real nightmare.

Secondly, there’s the tactile discomfort. This cartoon really makes you feel the skin-stinging cold of being out in a thunderstorm while wearing only hot pants, sensible shoes and kid gloves. (Is there a Linnea Quigley remake anywhere?) And getting bitten in the ass by a skull (surely there MUST be a Linnea Quigley remake?).

Thirdly, there’s the soundtrack — pitiful dog yelps, pitiful mouse screams, malevolent music, and the cackling of the deranged surgeon. Plus constant thunder and lightning. I wouldn’t show this to a kid. Unless he was mugging me at the time.

Just as the movie is going into a high-tech remake of THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, Mickey awakens, swathed in sweaty sheets, and realizes it was all just a beautiful horrible dream. And then Pluto crashes through the window to sandpaper his face with a yard of stinking tongue.

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7 Responses to “Dr XXX”

  1. “I can graft a chicken’s gizzard on the wishbone of a pup”. Jesus. Someone call Tom Waits. He *needs* to cover this.

  2. mndean Says:

    I like how the fly is the ultimate source for the buzzsaw sound in the dream. The sound of my A/C compressor made me believe helicopters were overhead in a dream I had not long ago. They kept circling away/back as the compressor kicked off/on.

    Oh, and more ass abuse!

  3. Yeah, when in doubt, Walt always goes straight for the derriere.

    Good note on the sound segue, a rather psychologically astute observation for a mouse toon. And I long to hear the Waits version — maybe a follow up to that Disney album (Stay Awake?) that had Sun Ra and Suzanne Vega etc doing Disney covers.

  4. mndean Says:

    Sun Ra doing a Disney cover…hmmmm. [attempting to imagine the sound of Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf done by the Arkestra and failing].

  5. Imagine no longer –

  6. mndean Says:

    It’s interesting in that it’s surprisingly more conventional than I’d have expected.

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