Disney’s long-awaited entry into the streaming space is here, with Disney Plus racking up more than 10 million subscribers to its service in just a matter of days.
It’s a promising start for Disney’s battle against Netflix, with its focus on its own in-house content paying dividends thanks to the likes of its animation classics, Star Wars franchise and library of Marvel films.
But wow-eee, Disney really has had to plumb the depths of its archive in order to fill the gaps between those tentpole titles. Yes, the masses will be lapping up The Mandalorian, but the true Disney connoisseur should be turning to these insane flicks for their next Disney Plus marathon.
Darby O’Gill and the Little People
Let’s start off with some mildly inappropriate cultural cliches, as Disney takes a trip to the Emerald Isle. Very much tapping into the stereotypes of the Irish being superstitious drunks, Darby O’Gill and the Little People is full of leprechauns and banshees. It has its charm – not least a rare performance from Sean Connery in which he abandons his native Scottish accent for an Irish one. And beats up a leprechaun.
Picture the scene: it’s the late 1980s and TV execs the world over are riding high on the inexplicable success of ALF, a TV show about a puppet alien. Thinking it can bag itself a bit of the ‘next E.T’ pie, Disney lands on… Fuzzbucket.
If you were one of the many kids who shudder at the thought of actually being visited by E.T, wait till you get a load of Fuzzbucket. Part mole, part troll, maybe part man? It’s a fine line between someone dressed in a furry suit being cute (see: Ewoks) and someone being… not cute. Fuzzbucket falls very much into the latter category – even the kid who stars opposite Fuzzbucket looks like he doesn’t want to be there.
The Ugly Dachshund
Just, the absolute NERVE to call any dog ugly. Unlike Fuzzbucket above, they’re wonderful little balls of fluff, in whatever shape or size. This one’s a retelling of the ‘ugly duckling’ story, swapping ducks for dachshunds and swans for great danes. Controversial opinion: dachshunds are overrated, and great danes rock. Take THAT, Disney.
Return to Oz
The Wizard of Oz: a fantastical coming of age story full of talking lions, loveable scarecrows and (admittedly creepy) flying monkeys. Return to Oz is the sequel you’d get if you only ever showed the director that flying monkeys scene. It is unwittingly terrifying, opening with Dorothy in electrotherapy after her first trip to Oz, before heading off to thwart another evil force. An anti-kids film to ruin the sleeping habits of a whole new generation, thanks to Disney Plus.
The Shaggy D.A.
Unbelievably, this is a sequel. As a boy, Wilby Daniels was once turned into a dog by a magic ring, in a prior misadventure that saw him returned to his human form by its conclusion. Now he’s comfortably in his middle age, and is a lawyer. Depending on your stance on lawyers, you may feel what happens next is perfectly deserved as, when Daniels looks to run for District Attorney, a rival stumbles into the ring, turning him back into a dog. Freaky Friday with a canine twist, essentially, which is far better than what this actually turns out to be. Great tagline, though: “It's Laughter By The Pound! You'll Roll Over, Sit Up, And Beg For More!”
A practical jokes salesman takes his family to live in an apparently haunted house. Are the crazy poltergeist-like shenanigans the work of real spirits, or just dad mucking around again? Surprise! It’s Mr Boogedy. Except, Boogedy isn’t some cute Casper-alike. He’s like a sentient booger, and his grotesque face will be seared permanently onto the retinas of any who dare watch this made for TV effort.
Operation Dumbo Drop
Remember when Disney made a Vietnam war film? A Vietnam comedy, no less? Sure, it’s a kid-friendly ‘parental guidance’ flick, but the synopsis sounds far more sinister, with an army officer and his unit working to prevent a warlord from dropping an elephant out of the sky and to its doom. Starring Danny Glover (Predator 2), Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) Dennis Leary (the Holsten Pils lager adverts). Good family fun...