“You put ketchup on your head?” “I couldn’t find butter.”
Justin’s rating: True story — I was the zombie in the final scene. Actually, that wasn’t true.
Justin’s review: Imagine for a moment that your film company has been given the task of putting together a straight-forward safety video for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Perhaps because this is the ’80s and everyone is high on drugs, you decide that the absolute best person to head up this masterpiece is Stuart Gordon, the horror director of Re-Animator and From Beyond, who has been given the instructions of, “Eh, just do what you do best.” Then, because you really want to mess with the kids’ heads, you take a 41-year-old lady and have her seriously pretend to be a little girl. Finally, for toppers, you show all sorts of horrific ways kids can maim and kill themselves in their house. Also, you chuck Jason Voorhees, a vampire, and a werewolf in there.
Congrats. You’ve now made Kid Safe: The Video.
If this was any sort of sane and normal safety video, we wouldn’t be covering it here. But Kid Safe represents the most head-scratchingly weird assembly of talent for this sort of project that it’s somehow become immortal. As you would expect from a video on child safety, this begins with a vampire busting out of a coffin to howl like a wolf. He introduces the “feature” which is about a girl who is left home alone. Considering that she’s clearly going through menopause, we can’t call CPS on this household.
Freaked out by six seconds of flipping through the TV channels, Kathy here decides to end her life in any way possible. To accomplish this, she starts chugging down gin straight from the bottle, visits a room full of possessed dolls, is attacked by a tree, lights the kitchen on fire, sticks a fork into a toaster, squirts ketchup all over her face, and calls 911 on herself after getting freaked out by a shadow. Then when the fire department comes, she assumes that they’re aliens with “laser axes.”
Kathy is a hot mess, but that’s what happens when you leave your deranged aunt unattended during a thunderstorm.
After 10 minutes of this actress making a royal fool of herself, a cop, firefighter, and doctor (huh?) show up to explain to her — and to us kids — how to be safe in your home. Naturally, this involves at least one musical number so terrible that it will euthanize any pet within a 20-foot radius.
After being severely chastized by representatives of the police, fire, and medical departments, Kathy is then tricked by the cop into letting a “stranger” into the house. There there are more lectures, after which Jason and a bunch of random horror characters are denied entry by the now-wiser Kathy.
I get that trying to jazz up boring safety tips in a way that kids might actually remember is a challenging task, but Kid Safe: The Video figures that the only two approaches that work are either to cause psychological trauma in the viewer or extreme second-hand embarrassment. I should show my children this over the weekend.