Willy Wonka and the Horror Factory

By RodneyHatfieldJr for Movies

I was flipping through the channels when I came upon Willy Wonka. This was a huge selling VHS tape back in the day. Kinda like the Wizard of Oz, everyone had a copy. It wouldn't surprise me with the volume of Wonka VHS tapes they didn't give you a free copy with every VHS player sold. So you can say my friends, and I watched it a lot. And naturally, when you watch something so many times, you can literally quote the movie. You also pick up on things otherwise not noticed especially when you become an adult and get a bit of wisdom.

Anyway, I sat and watched the last hour of the movie(I think it is a natural reaction now). And I began thinking, this would make a great article lol. This movie is in a sense a gateway to horror. Allow me to explain. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is more than just a beloved children's story. Take away the candy, charming music, bright colors, and a visit to Wonka's factory begins to look more like a trip to hell. 

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is loosely based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It has twice been adapted for the screen, first in 1971 by Mel Stuart, starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. We will be talking about the better original 1971 movie. While both adaptations take liberties with the source material, with Tim Burton's version being a little closer to the book, overall regardless of which, the story is a morality tale for children. Good children are rewarded while bad children are punished. However, when the cheerful veneer is stripped away, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soon become a survival horror movie teetering into the realm of torture. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory have a lot of the classic elements of a horror movie. Inside. Do you want my synopsis? "A crazed recluse invites five unsuspecting children into his funhouse lair and forces them to evade various torture devices if they hope to live and claim the ultimate prize."

We will be going over some of the things my friends and I found while watching it thousands of times back in the day. Now let's get started.

Willy Serial Killer Wonka


First, we know Willy Wonka is a paranoid recluse, certain that everyone is trying to steal his inventions. So he closes the factory. Then he opens it for tours if you procure a ticket. When they get there, the children are picked off one by one, similar to a slasher movie. Just look at what might and do happen to them. Augustus is sent to the oven fudge room to be cooked. Violet is crushed to get the juice out like ancient torture. Verruca falls down a shute to a furnace that might not be lit. Michael is put on a taffy pull machine like a torture rack. Do they survive? Who knows, you can’t trust the word from Wonka. He’s crazy. His first impression is that of a cripple. So that shows he has no problem with lying.

Door to Door Murderer


At the beginning of the movie, when Charlie is looking through the gate at the factory, a man comes over and gives a super creepy warning. You would think that would be enough but it isn’t. He is pushing/pulling a cart full of knives, swords, and cleavers. Is that normal in England? Hear a knock at the door, and it’s the sharp implement salesman. Do we have enough cleavers?

Fifth Fake Ticket


When the supposed 5th ticket is found, they hold up a newspaper of the person who discovered it. The problem? The picture is of Martin Bormann. He was the leader of the Nazi party and the personal secretary of Hitler. Who in their rational mind would put in the picture of the 3rd most powerful Nazi in history.

Grandpa Joe is a Bum


He hasn’t been out of bed for years. But when Charlie finds a ticket, he is jumping around dancing. The family is starving, owell. Bedridden when there is work to be done, dances when there is free chocolate.  Plus if you look, he has two coke nails. If that isn’t enough, it is Grandpa Joe who pressures Charlie into breaking the rules and swigging a bit of Fizzy Lifting Drink. Then tells Charley to sell the everlasting gobstopper to Slugworth. What a great guy.

Boat Ride

First, there are just enough seats for everyone (same with the car later in the movie with the foam wash). So Wonka planned to have kids gone. Which is very troubling. But his dialog is that of the insane. His poetic song has hell, reapers, and hurricanes. What fun. Here is the poem he recites to a scary screaming ending.

There's no earthly way of knowing.

Which direction we are going.

There's no knowing where we're rowing.

Or which way the river's flowing.

Is it raining?

Is it snowing?

Is a hurricane a-blowing?

Not a speck of light is showing.

so the danger must be growing.

Are the fires of hell glowing?

Is the grisly reaper mowing?

Yes! The danger must be growing.

For the rowers keep on rowing.

And they're certainly not showing.

any signs that they are slowing!

Boat Ride Again

But the real bloody ax in the room is the background during the ride. While Wonka gives his creepy poem, A flying cockroach. A millipede crawling over a human face. An extreme close-up of an eye. A chicken being decapitated. An image of Wonka's revival Arthur Slugworth. A lizard eating a bug. A close-up of a scorpion's mouth. The joys of children's movies. 

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