Dir. Kevin Lewis
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Set in the back roads of America, WILLY'S WONDERLAND sees unsuspecting traveller Nicholas Cage spend the night in an disused children's entertainment centre as charge to get back on the road. Over the night a group of teens decide to burn the venue to the ground but not before the contents of the building begin attacking everyone.
At it's best, WILLY'S WONDERLAND is a no holds barred assault of children's innocence and satanic violence with plenty of bloodshed. At it's worst, the film constantly reminds us the Cage is the poster boy for this picture. In the same year we get PIG, it's a contrasting performance. Cage phones it in and literally has him half-arsedly destroying the killer animatronics while a bunch of teens become the fodder. Not a single scripted word is said and there are some strange poses from the man who gave us some great one liners through cinema history. Truth be told, this could have been a far more entertaining movie without Cage who often detracts from any seriousness the film has to offer. Every interaction he has with the teens highlights how amateurish this film is and it's b-movie nature which for the most part works well.
Blood becomes more flowing as the film progresses and the use of mostly practical effects, both with the animatronics and kills, gives this film a real charm. The character design is straight out of 70s kids shows and similar to THE BANANA SPLITS, has a nod to nostalgia that plays into the fear of these creatures.
There's something about WILLY'S that peeks at something greater but for what it's worth, it's never dull and once the killing gets started, the film becomes a rollercoaster ride of terror that will certainly give this cult status in years to come.