So last year I rewatched a sort of horrifying movie from my childhood and live blogged it. The movie, called The Peanut Butter solution, continues to haunt me, so I’m reposting it. This will be interesting to a nearly microscopic portion of the population. Enjoy!
When we were kids, my sister and I made our parents rent this particular movie from the library over and over again. Also I think maybe they played it on TV sometimes? Anyway, we watched it a bunch. It was called The Peanut Butter Solution. It’s this low-budget Canadian movie from the ’80s, which I guess is a children’s movie, but as it turns out, it’s kind of deeply disturbing. Actually, based on having googled it as an adult, it appears many children from my generation were haunted by this movie. A lot of them actually thought it was a weird dream they had, because it’s just that strange. But no, it exists. In case you have any doubts, here is the preview:
I told this friend of mine about it in university, and she actually ended up finding a copy on DVD (why the hell anyone put this on DVD, I have no idea) and gave it to me for my birthday. I think I’ve only watched it once since I got it. It’s just…did I mention that it’s really strange? In any case, I’m going to watch it again, and provide an extremely detailed synopsis. This could be fun! But it’ll probably just be weird.
Basically, there’s this one kid, a boy named Michael.
His mother left his family and he’s all depressed. He has an older sister and a dad who’s a shitty artist who draws pictures of cartoonish, anthropomorphic birds that look like this:
And he has this wacky Asian friend named Connie. This guy:
Connie tells him that an old abandoned house burned down, and there were these winos who lived in it or something? So they died? And Michael gave one of them money the day before, so he’s like, super attached. Also, they have this SUPER CREEPY art teacher. He’s totally French and makes them draw pictures of dogs. He’s really overly critical of the students and touches them aggressively while talking to them. They call him Signor for some reason. It’s really obvious that he’s evil.
Anyway, Michael and Connie are totally obsessed with that haunted house that burned down for some reason, so they decide to go check it out. There is creepy music so something bad is going to happen. Connie can’t manage to climb in through the wreckage, but Michael does, and once inside, he screams and comes running out. He can’t remember what he saw because it was so scary! OMG! Traumatic! Actually, it’s SO traumatic that all his hair falls out the next day. It’s way awkward. He’s like, completely bald. He cries a lot. If you started watching the movie right now, you’d probably think the kid had cancer; he’s crying like he’s gonna die, but it’s not that serious, Michael!
The doctor diagnoses him with harem scarem (seriously, there is a scene where that happens). The Signor is all freaking out because Michael isn’t at school, and harasses Connie, trying to figure out what’s going on. That’s weird, why the hell does the art teacher care? Oh and he also has this whole thing where he hates imagination. Also: the principal suddenly realizes that the Signor has been kicked out of several schools and changed his name and appearance several times, so she fires him. Um, what kind of background checks do they do at that school? This shit is not on the level, he definitely should have been fired a super long time ago.
Connie comes over. Michael is angsty and drumming on his drum set because he’s just that angsty. He screams “I LOOK DISGUSTING!!!” like a total drama queen when his friend tries to talk to him. His dad and sister are over his shit, so they glue a wig to his head, and then he’s happy, until he goes to school, and some mean kid rips off the wig while they’re playing soccer. Kids are the worst.
In the middle of the night, Michael hears something in the kitchen, so he goes to check it out, and the goddamn winos are there! There are Wino Ghosts in his house! There are two of them, a man and a woman. They’re totally scary obviously, but Michael doesn’t seem too perturbed, because they say they’re there to help him. Oh, OK, well if you say so, WINO GHOSTS. The Wino Ghosts are pro-imagination, not like that asshole Signor. They have a recipe that they give him. It involves dead flies, a rotten egg and (obvs) a spoonful of peanut butter. The Wino Ghosts warn him not to use too much peanut butter, or something bad might happen. Here is the Wino Ghost Lady. She’s kind of a jerk:
He makes the thing (fortunately he has a rotten egg lying around I guess?) and it looks totally gross. He tries to put it on his head, but it’s too runny! Needs more peanut butter! “That’s the only SOLUTION!” he says. Get it? The Peanut Butter Solution? Anyway, his hair starts growing back a few minutes later! It’s a miracle! It keeps growing insanely fast. In like, 10 minutes he has a full head of hair that shows no sign of slowing down.
When Connie comes over, Michael tells him about the potion (not about the Wino Ghosts though since that’s completely crazy). Connie is like, “I wanna put some down there!” Yeah, seriously, he wants pubes, so he puts that mess on his crotch. That is an actual thing that happens.
By the time he gets to school, Michael looks vaguely like David Cassidy. Kids keep playing with his hair in class because it won’t stop growing! Things are escalating! When he gets home that day, he’s looking all Cousin It. His father is oddly unconcerned. He’s like, “Well done, son!” Uh, OK. His sister is totally jealous. She wishes SHE had hair like that. The next day, Connie has to cut Michael’s hair during class! Seriously, how is no one more concerned about this situation? Also, Connie’s pubes have gotten so long, they’re sticking out the bottom of his pants! For real! They literally show his pubes growing. I can’t find any stills of it, so you’ll just have to believe me. This is Michael’s hair, instead:
Oh yeah, and Michael keeps having nightmares about that traumatizing thing he can’t remember, and also about the Signor. His hair is literally trailing on the ground, and his principal says it’s too distracting! He can’t go to school! He makes an impassioned speech about wanting to be educated, not just hairy, but it doesn’t fly. He wanders the streets, and then randomly falls asleep. The Signor stops by, and totally kidnaps him! What an asshole. Michael’s dad is pissed and breaks stuff. Headlines show that a bunch of kids have gone missing. Like 20! So much is happening!
So now Michael is lying in a bed, being drugged by the Signor. Uh, where are we going with this? No, don’t worry, not there. Back at home, Michael’s sister and Connie decide to buy Michael’s dad a paintbrush to make him feel better, and when they go to the art store, that find a paintbrush…that’s made out of MICHAEL’S HAIR! The clerk is insanely unhelpful. He literally says he bought the paintbrushes from a company without a name, out of an unmarked van. That does not seem legit. What kind of art store is he running? But he does remember that the guy who sold him the brushes is named…dun dun DUN…SIGNOR!
The kids wait around ’til the unmarked van shows up. The Signor gets out WEARING A COAT MADE OF HAIR WTF. Connie jumps in the back of the van, and the sister follows on her bike, as Connie leaves a trail…of sugar. Then there is a driving sequence where they play an extremely absurd Celine Dion song. Yes, you heard me correctly. It’s pretty awesome actually. The sister loses the trail eventually though. Fail. Here is that entire scene, in case you would like to experience it for yourself:
The Signor finds Connie in the van and brings him to his totally creepy factory, where the kidnapped kids are forced to make paintbrushes out of Michael’s hair. It’s quite an operation. The Signor claims it’s “the first and only magic brush and hair factory in the world.” I don’t know, that’s quite a sweeping statement. The ONLY ONE in the world? I’m not convinced. Anyway, Michael is being held in the bed thing. Apparently he’s on an all-yogurt diet. Evidently yogurt promotes hair growth.
The other kids tell Connie there is a way to escape, but it’s no good. The Signor has painted magical paintings using the magical paintbrushes. Well, wouldn’t you? Oh yeah, I don’t really know why the paintbrushes are magic. I guess because Michael’s hair is growing thanks to a Wino Ghost recipe? Not sure. Also, it didn’t appear the art store was promoting the magical qualities of these paintbrushes, so what exactly is the selling point? Also not sure. There are many, many plot holes. Anyway, the paintings are so real that you can walk into them, but you can’t use them to escape, because none of them are real places. They are all animated-ish looking, so you can tell they’re legit magic.
At night, Connie goes to talk to Michael, but the Signor catches him. Chaos ensues! The kids start fighting back against the Signor. Seriously, there are like, 50 of them, and just one of him, so they should be able to overtake him, but they don’t? The Signor tortures Connie by spinning him around in a net, until Connie says the Signor is a super awesome teacher, and says he wants to be his son? Ugh, creepy. For some reason, the Signor is like, OK.
So now that they’re tight, Connie asks the Signor to paint the thing that scared Michael in the first place. He’s like, eh, why the hell not. By simply running a magic paintbrush over the canvas, a magic painting is created! There is weird music and it’s all glowy and junk. The Signor is all loling and making funny faces as he paints and the kids are like, laughing? Kidnapping is hilarious. They all have stockholm syndrome.
He paints the burned down house where Michael saw the thing that scared him, and Connie convinces him to go inside, and he does, and then HE gets scared and is knocked unconscious. The kids free Michael, and he says he wants to see what scared him, so now HE goes in the magic painting. He goes inside the house, and realizes that the thing that scared him was just the goddamn Wino Ghosts! But he’s not even scared of them! Uh OK.
Michael comes out of the painting, and the Signor wakes up. He’s bald now, obvs. The Signor catches some of the kids in a net, but remember how there were like, 50 of them? They steal the Signor’s keys and run for it, but a second door is locked. Fortunately Michael’s dad and sister have just figured out where they are, and they come in just in time. His dad’s so blase! His kid has been missing for a couple weeks, and he’s like, “I missed you, son! It’s great to have you back.” OK I guess.
At the very end, MICHAEL’S MOM COMES BACK. WTF. I thought she left the family? Now her and the dad are kissing. I guess everything’s OK? Her only line? “Michael, what happened to your hair?” Now there’s more Celine Dion during the credits. And that’s the end! For real!
Anyway, there, now you never have to watch it and worry about being traumatized. And seriously, if you do a few google searches, you will learn that hundreds of Canadian children born between about 1983 and 1989, give or take a couple years, have also been traumatized by this movie. It’s a thing! A scary, scary thing. Why my mother allowed us to watch it, I have no idea. It probably explains a lot about who I am today.