Return To Oz 1985 ***

An indirect sequel to the classic film, Return To Oz junks the musical numbers and the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion characters, and pushes Dorothy into darker territory. Played by Fairuza Balk, she’s initially introduced going through strange psychiatric experiments by the sinister Dr Worley (Nicol Williamson). Dorothy escapes the electro-shock treatment and returns to Oz, to find it transformed into a macabre wasteland. Frank L Baum’s imagination was the source for characters like robot Tik Tok and Jack Pumpkinhead, but while these innovations are true to the source novels, the result is nightmarishly entertaining, making some off parallels between Kansas life and Oz that go far beyond the original film in their incisive, disturbing commentary. Return to Oz gave a generation of children sleepless nights, and it’s not hard to see why, but Return to Oz is far more ambitious than Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful.


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