THE MANDATE Episode 29: Getting Vulgar With the Puppets of THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS

Good day, friends. ‘Tis I, your host with the most, John Wren, back with another installment of The Mandate. Returning this week for another gamble is drummer extraordinaire, Jon Martello. You might remember him from our thrashing of Insidious: The Last Key. This week, or should I say last week, we risked our better judgment to see the Melissa McCartney led The Happytime Murders. Despite the lawsuit with Sesame Street over the “No Sesame. All Street” tagline, there seemed to be relatively little fanfare about this film. I believe I saw only one trailer make its rounds on the internet, and that was more of a mockery of the “this is your brain on drugs” PSA than a trailer, and I think I saw one TV commercial spot for it. Mr. Martello, on the other hand, seemed to be slightly more knowledgeable about the film and filled us in on the fact that this was a Brian Henson (son of the late Jim Henson) passion project that he had been trying to get off the ground for years. To sum it up, this film is set in a world where puppets co-exist with humans and a group of puppets from a widely popular family show, The Happytime Gang, are getting picked off one by one by an unknown assailant. It’s up to a disgraced puppet detective and Melissa “Always at level 10” McCartney to put their differences aside and crack the case. Simple enough.

The pre-screening banter included discussions of other popular vulgar puppet films with mentions and comparisons to Meet The Feebles and Team America: World Police. It’s in those two particular films that we kind of set the bar for what we had hoped we were getting ourselves into with The Happytime Murders.

After the conclusion of the film, we spend the better part of 20 minutes discussing all the things we enjoyed about the film, which at this point, is surprising because “real” critics are absolutely trashing the film. We agreed that it was simple, stupid, but a lot of fun. You’ll certainly never look at silly string the same. Jon even gets a little deep and shares a personal story about meeting Jim Henson when he was 2 years old. It does come out of left field a little and has absolutely nothing to do with the movie, but it was a cool story to hear from my guest. Lastly, we cover what we would have liked to have seen in the film, particularly some sort of mention or reference to indicate that this was in the same universe as Sesame Street and The Muppets.

That about does it for us. It’s Labor Day weekend now and no one, other than Rob Zombie, cares about releasing anything this weekend so we’ll be off for a week. I believe the next film on the docket is The Conjuring 2 spinoff, The Nun. So stay tuned and prepared to get spooky. Thanks again for checking out The Mandate. Be sure to share this and any of my other episodes with your friends and don’t forget to check out the other podcasts on the site. Horror Business just posted an epic The Evil Dead episode with yours truly.

John Wren

I am John Wren; a Delco original, and thanks to a cartoon Chihuahua (surprisingly, not the small bird), most know me only by my last name. Although people think I it’s due to self-hatred, I do actually enjoy running in ridiculous races up and down mountains and have recently ventured into the world of triathlons. I used to sing for the Jersey based metalcore band Bottomfeeder (www.facebook.com/bottomfeederhxc) but am now bandless. I’m the worst Buddhist known to man and if I’m given the opportunity, I will ramble on about anything and everything at great lengths, with lots of profanity. I’ve read every Stephen King book, my favorite band of all time is White Zombie, and I will need to take a week of bereavement the day Bruce Campbell dies.

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