Return to Oz (1985)

return to oz

“I believe I’ll lock you in the tower for a few years ’til your head is ready, and then I’ll take it.”

The Scoop: 1985 PG, directed by Walter Murch and starring Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson and Jean Marsh

Tagline: An all-new adventure down the yellow brick road.

Summary Capsule: Dorothy returns to find everything not as she left it… sheesh, men!


Andie’s rating: 5 out of 5 headless dancing girls

Andie’s review: Okay, Return to Oz is one of the first movies I can actually remember seeing in the theater and it scared the living crap out of me. This is not a movie filled with lollipop-guild-over-the-rainbow-off-to-see-the-wizard magical fun. It is filled with a princess with 30 different heads, creepy guys with wheels for hands and feet, and a king who turned people into ornaments. At five years old, this was more than I could handle. I mean, Wizard of Oz had some scary characters, but this 1980’s sequel made the flying monkeys look like little fairies.

The story picks up a few months after the fateful tornado of the first movie. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are rebuilding the farm, and Dororthy keeps having nightmares and trying to tell people about Oz. So Aunt Em takes Dorothy to this crackpot doctor who wants to give her electric shocks, so Dorothy escapes and goes on another trip to Oz.

This time around though, everything sucks. The yellow brick road is all torn up, the Emerald City is stoned (literally), and there are all sorts of shady characters lurking around, some of which I mentioned in the above paragraph. In my opinion, the scariest is Mombie, princess of the Emerald City who took all the dancing girls and beheaded them and now keeps their heads in cases in her castle and can switch heads whenever she friggin’ feels like it! Now as cool as this would be, they actually show her switching heads and running around like a chicken with her head cut off and it’s scary! Ugh. (Shiver)

But the bright spots in this delightfully scary fairy tale are Dorothy’s new friends. They include a cool talking chicken, Jack the Pumpkin Head, and a contraption that flies made up of some sofas and a gump’s head. But the best new friend she makes is Tik-Tok of the Royal Army of Oz. He is a cute little tottering robot that looks out for her.

As the self-designated children’s movie reviewer around here, this is a must see. Maybe not so much for five-year-olds, but there is a lot of enjoyment in it, especially if you like dark fantasies and fairy tales. A definitely twisted sequel to Wizard of Oz that I highly recommend.

"So how do you feel about gold?"  "Frankly, I'm not a fan."
“So how do you feel about gold?” “Frankly, I’m not a fan.”


  • All the people from the hospital in the “real world” play characters in Oz.
  • The cute little Dorothy in this movie is played by Fairuza Balk, who goes on to be a scary witch in The Craft and Adam Sandler’s girlfriend in The Waterboy.

Groovy Quotes

[upon arrival in Emerald City]
Belina the talking chicken: We come all this way to see a bunch a stiffs.

[to Dorothy]
Mombie: Not at all beautiful, you understand, but you have a certain…prettiness. Different from my other heads. I believe I’ll lock you in the tower for a few years til your head is ready, and then I’ll take it.

Jack: If his brain’s ran down, how can he talk?
Dorothy: It happens to people all the time, Jack.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • The Neverending Story
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas


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