V V V U 'U V V
Buying psychoses at Serial Killers R Us
Phantom fails to freak; Freddy
finds film flimsy, phlegmatic
Leave your roomm
Tell it to the
Pro-choicers, put away those coat
hangers. Pro-lifers, pack up your
Kewpie dolls and ketchup bottles.
The war's over. I have single-hand-
edly resolved the abortion question.
Simply require every fertile per-
son in the world to spend one hour
per month in a toy store, and un-
wanted pregnancies will all but dis-
appear. There's nothing like wading
through one of those breeding
grounds of childhood neurosis to en-
sure that you and your partner will
use about five condoms, two or three
diaphragms, and an imperial gallon
of spermicidal foam the next time
you have sex.
I needed to buy a birthday present
for Michelle, my nine-year-old niece,
so I sped off to Briarwood Mall,
where people from all walks of life
go to beat their children in public. It
would be easy, I thought - just pop
in, fork over a few bills, and take
Sometimes I can be very stupid.
Play, psychologists say, is just
another form of learning, and hence
toys should be "educational." I soon
found this to be true. All toys, of
any kind, teach the same invaluable
lesson: People who have a lot of
money are happier than people who
Once toys were relatively cheap
because there was little overhead in-
volved in making them. They were
handcrafted by the village toymaker,
a jolly old man with a twinkle in his
eye who loved to watch the little
ones play, tell them jokes and pinch
their cheeks. The only drawback was
making sure you never, ever, left
your children alone with him.
Now the raw materials for toys
are cheaper (most use plastics, by-
products of processing plutonium for
atomic bombs which the chemical
companies are glad to unload to
avoid being fined by the EPA) but
by the time you figure in union
wages, patent lawyer fees, and the
cost of buying cocaine and prosti-
tutes for TV executives to make sure
they'll air the syndicated cartoon
based upon your toy, you wind up
with a plastic Five-Eyed Phlegm
Monster that would have been
cheaper to sell if you hired a team of
Stanford biochemists to genetically
mutate a real one.
So as I walked through the aisles,
fingering my anorexic wallet and
contemplating a trip to the Sears
menswear department to buy the Mr.
and Mrs. Sock Head Puppet Set, I
repeatedly overheard variations on
the following exchange:
CHILD: I want.
Financial considerations aside,
though, my major problem was ac-
tually finding a toy. Said toy must
satisfy Jim's Three Cardinal Rules
1) It must be something that I
want to play with. In fact, the less
she likes it the better, because that
means I get more use out of it -
although I admit I went too far on
Christmas 1986, when I bought her
a copy of Kierkegaard's Fear and
Trembling because it was on one of
my reading lists the following term.
2) It must not result in her some-
day assassinating a world leader and
telling the newspapers she was
ordered to do so by the ghost of Paul
The second is the tricky one. Ev-
ery major mental disorder is directly
traceable to a childhood toy.
The most popular example is the
war toy. Not a holiday season goes
by without some parents' group
warning that if Santa brings so
much as a squirt gun, Johnny will
wind up on an elementary school
roof somewhere, forcibly air-condi-
tioning a third-grade kickball team. I
have my doubts about this theory -
I had plenty of cap guns as a kid,
but I can't so much as touch a real
gun without spending the next three
days in the fetal position. Granted,
more deaths occur in one grade-
school recess than in the entire Stal-
inist purges, but I don't know how
much better it was when kids had
wholesome pastimes like torturing
the cat and burning ants with a mag-
No, what really worries me are
the toys that are supposedly
"educational." Take the Spirograph,
which has long been sucked up by
gullible parents anxious to foster
their budding geniuses' "creativity."
Big mistake. Buy your kids a
Spirograph and they'll be dropping
acid by age 12. A few minutes
whirling those colored pens into daz-
zling geometric designs translates
into at least five years' worth of see-
ing God on a peyote farm in New,
Mexico, or worse yet, a permanent
job at a New Age bookstore. Lite
Brites have roughly the same effect
- just substitute "speed" and
"writing drum programs for a Aus-
trian industrial music band."
"Reality toys" run a close second.
Nothing is more likely to unbalance
a child than trying to convince him
that work = play. Look in the attic
of any overworked executive dead of
a heart attack at age 35 and see if
you don't find a Fuzzy Pumper Bar-
But games are perhaps the worst.
For example, "Life": the object be-
ing to be the first person to end your
life, just prior to which you sell
your children. Or "Monopoly": ap-
parently the idea of laughing while
your neighbors go bankrupt wasn't
quite corrupt enough for the average
American, so we spice it up by
adding a lottery element to it (hands
up if you don't play with a jackpot
on "Free Parking"). And, of course,
See Poniewozik, Page 9
By Freddy Krueger
I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore.
Who's Eric and what business does he have taking my
movie dollars? He's the Phantom of the Mall, I'm re-
ally impressed. I just saw this picture and I can't stop
laughing. Horror film? They didn't even come to me for
suggestions. I'm the guru of gore, the sultan of slash,
the curator of craziness.
Burned alive in a house fire, Eric lives! The left side
of his head is supposedly burned, but my seven year-old
sister's make-up is more convincing. My make-up is
awesome, isn't it? Anyway, some jerk developer builds
a big mall where the house was, and this Eric guy
hangs around in the basement and ventilator shafts
wasting whoever comes around.
My films have meaning and social significance. This
film is sophomoric dribble, ridiculously inane, and su-
perfluously silly. Eric's not even a bad-ass dude - he
uses kickboxing and a crossbow to subdue his victims.
I have loads of gadgets, gimmicks, and other glorious
goodies which are carefully thought out by high-paid
What happened to the horribly disfigured, deranged,
psychotic killer slashing everything in sight? I'm the
last one folks. Even Jason is on Medicare. Eric is the
worst one I've seen in years. He goes from a bad guy to
a good guy back to a bad guy, and he finishes a martyr.
The writers of Phantom didn't want to make him sur-
vive, thus creating a possible sequel series, because
honestly, no one compares to yours truly.
I like to hurt kids. I like to take people's souls and
stuff them into my cuisinart, add a little Clorox and
have myself a bleached soul cocktail. I like to cut peo-
ple's head's off and use them as conversation pieces at
my pad. I like pain. I cherish the blood curdling screams
of my victims as I ram my stainless steel fingernails
into their bulging eye sockets. Eric, you're a wimp.
I have class. Hey, Phantom, you got a long way to
go. You're a teenager, for crying out loud. I'm an expe-
rienced adult, well versed in the art of violent and dis-
gusting homicide. I have to admit I had a little to learn
when the first Nightmare on Elm Street film came out
in 1984. But now, I'm in the slasher elite, a hero to
kids. My picture is on lunch boxes from Spokane to
Kennebunkport. People love to watch me work.
The supporting cast in Phantom is as inept and
bland as Eric. Even Morgan Fairchild, an established
and critically acclaimed actress in her own right (no, I'm
not quite serious), cannot save this slop from imminent
and obvious failure. Kari Whitman plays Eric's old
girlfriend who won't go out with him anymore because
Sixteen years ago... September 29, 1973
"The State Supreme Court yesterday upheld an appeals court decision
that exonerated more than 60 University students convicted for participating
in the 1969 bookstore sit-in.
"One hundred and seven students were arrested on Sept. 26, 1969 after
they occupied the LSA Bldg. for 12 hours, seeking to negotiate with the
University for a student-run discount bookstore. The controversy resulted in
the creation of the University Cellar."
Forty-eight years ago... September 29, 1951
"Buenos Aires (AP) - President Juan D. Peron shouted to a mass
meeting under his balcony yesterday that a short-lived military uprising had
been put down and a plot to assassinate him and his wife was foiled.
"The state radio had announced a pre-election revolt flared yesterday under
the leadership of two retired Generals, but was stamped out in short order,
apparently with little or no bloodshed."
Sixty-seven years ago... September 29, 1922
"Fill Football Reserve Ranks
"Three more minutes of play! A cold sun sinking in the west, a stadium
- one section tense, the remainder throbbing with cheers of anticipated
victory. And on her own three yard line, Michigan, trying desperately to
fortify a weakened resistance...
"Michigan's Varsity is calling for loyal, red-blooded men to help build a
championship machine for Michigan.
"Will you be one who realizes only when it is too late, or will you
report to the coaches now, TODAY, and make that just a picture?"
Items in the Weekend Almanac are culled from past issues of the Daily on
this date in history. All articles are taken from Daily files which are open
to public perusal in the Daily's library.
A true friendship is a special
relationship that helps us cope with
all our other relationships
But what helps us cope with the true
All upper-middle class people must
99% of U-M students should be
Maybe then I could pass calculus!
But grades cure
PLO shall be victorious
Its a shame the situation is such that
1 group must be victorious & the
Your dreams are your own business
PEW (.S OF A SH(A9D KMtEN:
Weekend Horror Film critic Freddy
half his head burned off. Perhaps she would do better
selling candy samplers.
I'm mad as hell. Not because I'm worried that I will
lose my place in the hearts of Americans as the most
beloved slasher around, but it's getting to the point
where any guy who gets screwed over by the establish-
ment, burned in a fire, or traumatized as a child can
show up later with a chainsaw, machete, or a big pair of
pliers, and claim to be a slasher. My business is losing
Slashers Unite! Stop the flow of illegal pseudo-
slashers like Eric into the movie theaters. I've spoken
with my lawyers and some labor people around Holly-
wood and we're gonna organize. Slashers Local 666 will
prevent imposters like Eric from ruining your quality
movie time. We will provide you with only the best in
As for Phantom of the Mall, Freddy's gonna give a
resounding fingernail down to this dreck. You'd do bet-
ter with an old rental of me slashing like it was meant
Daily Film Editor Tony Silber contributed to this
story, as the length of Freddy's fingernails greatly
hampers his typing ability.
Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge is now show-
ing at Showcase Cinemas.
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Page 8 Weekend/September 29,1989