MGM is releasing 1968's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" today for the first time on Blu-ray, and I don't know whether to rush out to get the thing, or hide under the bed.
It's being billed as a "heart-warming family classic." Hmmm. Is it really? Sure, it starts out all lollipops and gumdrops, but then it takes a sharp turn into balls-to-the-wall horror.
The basic plot sounds harmless: Eccentric inventor Dick Van Dyke fixes up an old jalopy, which turns out to be a magic flying car. What fun! Then the Child Catcher (yes, that’s his name) arrives, with his greasy, stringy hair; huge nose; Wicked-Witch-of-the-West voice and horrific singular focus (“There are children here somewhere; I can smell them.”). Why hello, thirty years of therapy. If you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about. He easily ranks right up near the top of my list of the scariest villains ever put on film.
Whaddya think -- benign family fare or the stuff of nightmares?