|“||He's not trapped in there with them. They're trapped in there with him.||„|
|― Liv Hawthorne|
Willy's Wonderland is a 2021 American action comedy horror film directed by Kevin Lewis from a screenplay written by G. O. Parsons. The film stars Nicolas Cage, who also serves as a producer, along with Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner, Kai Kadlec, Christian Del Grosso, Caylee Cowan, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, David Sheftell, and Beth Grant.
The film follows a quiet drifter who is tricked into cleaning up an abandoned family entertainment center haunted by eight murderous animatronic characters.
Plot[edit | edit source]
A quiet drifter ends up stranded in remote Hayesville, Nevada after his vehicle breaks down when the wheels go over a spike strip in the middle of the road. He is picked up by mechanic Jed Love, who takes him to Willy's Wonderland, a once-successful abandoned family entertainment center. Owner Tex Macadoo offers him to work as a night shift janitor in exchange for repairing his vehicle. Meanwhile, teenager Liv Hawthorne is handcuffed by her caretaker and Hayesville's sheriff Eloise Lund due to her previous attempts to set the place on fire. When Lund leaves, Liv's friends: Chris Muley, Kathy Barnes, Aaron Powers, Bob McDaniel, and Dan Lorraine, come and release her.
While the Janitor begins his cleaning duties, Tex and Jed leave until the next morning, but not before leaving him locked in the building. The restaurant's now-withered eight animatronic mascots — Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, Ozzie Ostrich, Tito Turtle, Knighty Knight, Gus Gorilla, and Siren Sara — are revealed to be alive and aggressive, ending with Ozzie Ostrich attacking the Janitor. However, in an unexpected plot twist, the Janitor ends up beating Ozzie to death with a mop.
Liv and her friends arrive at Willy's Wonderland, dousing the walls in gasoline until Liv decides to enter through the vents to get the Janitor out. Simultaneously, the Janitor is attacked by Gus Gorilla in the restrooms; he easily defeats Gus by stomping his face into a urinal, killing him. In the vents, Liv is chased by Arty Alligator, but she escapes into a themed room where Siren Sara attacks her. Liv's screams are heard by both her friends and the Janitor, who come across a still-alive Liv as Sara runs away.
The Janitor ignores Liv's warnings about the animatronics and refuses to leave the building. Outside, the teens climb to the roof, but a fight between Chris and Bob collapses it and everybody falls into the restaurant. While the Janitor cleans the kitchen, Liv explains that Willy's Wonderland was originally owned by Jerry Robert Willis, one of the last century's sickest killers, and his psychotic cannibal partners, who often murdered unsuspecting families for pleasure. Eventually discovered, they committed a satanic ritual to transfer their souls into the animatronic characters. The Janitor does not pay attention as several animatronics come to life and start attacking the group.
In the ensuring chaos, Knighty Knight brutally impales Aaron with his sword, while Siren Sara and Tito Turtle pursuit and devour Dan. Arty Alligator attacks Kathy and Bob in a room while they are having sex, mauling them to death. The Janitor manages to kill both Knighty and Arty with Liv's help. Stalked by Cammy Chameleon in an arcade, Chris calls Sheriff Lund for help; she goes there with deputy Evan Olson upon finding out that Liv is in the restaurant. On the way, Lund reveals to Evan that after Willy's Wonderland was shut down, the animatronics continued murdering people around Hayesville until she, Tex and Jed made a deal with them. Over the years, they tricked stranded drifters into cleaning up the place, offering them as sacrifices to the animatronics in order to stop their killing spree. Liv's parents where among the victims and a guilty Sheriff Lund adopted her.
The Janitor and Liv arrive at the arcade, but Cammy snaps Chris' neck, killing him. After defeating Cammy, Sara and Tito, the Janitor and Liv attempt to leave, only to be stopped by Sheriff Lund and Evan. Lund handcuffs the Janitor and leaves him to die as Evan takes Liv away. While driving, Evan is attacked and killed by a stowaway Tito as Liv escapes. Back at the restaurant, the Janitor fights the remaining animatronics, killing Cammy and badly injuring Sara. Enraged, Sheriff Lund tries to lure Willy Weasel to kill the Janitor, only for Willy to come to life and tear her in half. Willy and the Janitor face off in a brutal fight until the Janitor rips his head off, killing him.
The next morning, Tex and Jed return to the building and find it completely clean, with the animatronics destroyed. The Janitor receives his repaired vehicle and invites Liv to accompany him. While Tex and Jed discuss planning to reopen Willy's Wonderland, Siren Sara suddenly appears and sets their car on fire with gasoline from the previous night. All three are killed in a massive explosion that also destroys the restaurant. Finally, the Janitor and Liv run over and kill a wandering Tito Turtle on the road along the way, driving out of the town as the sun rises.
List of Deaths[edit | edit source]
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On Screen||Notes|
|Jim Hawthorne||Killed off-screen.||One of the animatronics (possibly Willy Weasel)||No||Seen in the beginning of the film.|
|Judy Hawthorne||Killed off-screen.||One of the animatronics (possibly Willy Weasel)||No||Seen in the beginning of the film.|
|Ozzie Ostrich||Beaten to death with a mop.||The Janitor||Yes||Ozzie is the first animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Gus Gorilla||Face stomped against a urinal.||The Janitor||Yes||Gus is the second animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Birthday boy||Skull impaled with fake claws.||Jerry Robert Willis||Yes||In a flashback.|
|Birthday boy's sister||Killed off-screen.||Jerry Robert Willis||No||In a flashback.|
|Birthday boy's parents||Killed off-screen.||Jerry Robert Willis||No||In a flashback.|
|Jerry Robert Willis||Committed suicide.||Himself||Yes||In a flashback; his soul come to possess Willy Weasel.|
|Cultist #1||Committed suicide.||Himself||Yes||In a flashback; his soul come to possess Arty Alligator.|
|Cultist #2||Committed suicide.||Herself.||Yes||In a flashback; her soul come to possess Cammy Chameleon.|
|Cultist #3||Committed suicide.||Himself.||Yes||In a flashback; his soul come to possess Ozzie Ostrich.|
|Cultist #4||Committed suicide.||Himself.||Yes||In a flashback, his soul come to possess Tito Turtle.|
|Cultist #5||Committed suicide.||Himself.||Yes||In a flashback; his soul come to possess Knighty Knight.|
|Cultist #6||Committed suicide.||Himself.||Yes||In a flashback; his soul come to possess Gus Gorilla.|
|Cultist #7||Committed suicide.||Herself.||Yes||In a flashback; her soul come to possess Siren Sara.|
|Aaron Powers||Impaled with a sword.||Knighty Knight||Yes|
|Dan Lorraine||Brutally eaten alive.||Siren Sara and Tito Turtle||Yes|
|Knighty Knight||Decapitated with his own sword.||The Janitor||Yes||Knighty is the third animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Bob McDaniel||Mauled to death.||Arty Alligator||Yes|
|Kathy Barnes||Mauled off-screen to death.||Arty Alligator||No|
|Arty Alligator||Jaw brutally ripped open and his neck ripped out.||The Janitor||Yes||Arty is the fourth animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Eric Miller||Killed off-screen.||One of the animatronics (possibly Willy Weasel)||No||In a flashback; his corpse is found.|
|Eric Miller's family||Killed off-screen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback.|
|Female smoker||Killed off-screen.||Willy Weasel||No||In a flashback.|
|Ice cream shop's owner||Killed off-screen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback; his corpse is found.|
|Ice cream shop's customer #1||Killed off-screen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback; his corpse is found.|
|Ice cream shop's customer #2||Killed off-screen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback; her corpse is found.|
|Hardware store's client||Killed off-screen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback; her corpse is found.|
|Hardware store's worker||Killed offscreen.||One or all animatronics.||No||In a flashback; his corpse is found.|
|School's teachers and students||Killed off-screen.||All animatronics.||No||In a flashback.|
|Biker janitor||Decapitated with sword.||Knighty Knight||Yes||In a flashback.|
|Hippie janitor||Killed off-screen.||Cammy Chameleon||No||In a flashback.|
|Hippie janitor #2||Killed off-screen.||Cammy Chameleon||No||In a flashback.|
|Chris Muley||Neck snapped.||Cammy Chameleon||Yes|
|Deputy Evan Olson||Chest bitten open.||Tito Turtle||Yes|
|Cammy Chameleon||Head twisted off.||The Janitor||Yes||Cammy is the fifth animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Sheriff Eloise Lund||Brutally torn in half.||Willy Weasel||Yes|
|Willy Weasel||Head ripped off.||The Janitor||Yes||Willy is the sixth animatronic to be killed by the Janitor in the film. he is the lover of tito turtle.|
|Tex Macadoo||Killed in a massive explosion.||Siren Sara||Yes|
|Jed Love||Killed in a massive explosion.||Siren Sara||Yes|
|Siren Sara||Killed in a massive explosion.||Herself||Yes||Sara is the seventh animatronic to be killed, but she died by the explosion of Tex's car. She is the only animatronic not to get killed by the Janitor in the film.|
|Tito Turtle||Run over at full speed.||The Janitor||Yes||Tito is the last animatronic killed by the Janitor in the film. he is the lover of willy weasel.|
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Nicolas Cage as the Janitor
- Emily Tosta as Liv Hawthorne
- Beth Grant as Sheriff Eloise Lund
- David Sheftell as Deputy Evan Olson
- Kai Kadlec as Chris Muley
- Caylee Cowan as Kathy Barnes
- Terayle Hill as Bob McDaniel
- Christian Delgrosso as Aaron Powers
- Jonathan Mercedes as Dan Lorraine
- Ric Reitz as Tex Macadoo
- Chris Warner as Jed Love
- Grant Cramer as Jerry Willis
- Chris Padilla as Jim Hawthorne
- Olga Cramer as Judy Hawthorne
Willy's Gang[edit | edit source]
Willy Weasel[edit | edit source]
Willy Weasel is an animatronic weasel and a mascot of Willy's Wonderland. Seemingly a friendly animatronic, Willy is possessed by the soul of Jerry Willis, the original owner of this restaurant who is actually a serial killer, after the Satanic ritual sacrifice was performed and actively kills and devours everyone and people who stand up for him in his sight.
Ozzie Ostrich[edit | edit source]
Ozzie Ostrich is an animatronic ostrich who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. He has a long neck for extra reach and uses his metal beak as a weapon.
Tito Turtle[edit | edit source]
Tito Turtle is an animatronic turtle who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. He speaks mostly in Spanish, and has strong hands and claws.
Knighty Knight[edit | edit source]
Knighty Knight is an animatronic knight human who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. He has the appearance of a medieval knight and wields a heavy sword as a weapon.
Cammy Chameleon[edit | edit source]
Cammy Chameleon is an animatronic chameleon who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. Despite her lack of claws and teeth, she utilizes her long tongue as a weapon.
Arty Alligator[edit | edit source]
Arty Alligator is an animatronic French alligator who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. He has strong teeth, and is wild and fast.
Gus Gorilla[edit | edit source]
Gus Gorilla is an animatronic gorilla who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. He uses brute strength and is capable of surprise attacks.
Siren Sara[edit | edit source]
Siren Sara is an animatronic fairy who was once a friendly children's entertainer and later gets possessed by a serial killer in devouring everyone along with Willy Weasel and the other animatronics. She has the athleticism of a ballerina and is capable of surprise attacks.
Production[edit | edit source]
Development[edit | edit source]
Theatrical writer/producer G.O. Parsons was advised to make a film to expand his career, but he was displeased with his first attempt in 2016, a short titled Wally's Wonderland. He put the script on Blood List, seeking to have it produced as a feature film. The script was featured on the site, and caught the attention of Nicolas Cage, who agreed to produce and star in the film.
The film was announced in October 2019 by Screen Media Films. It was confirmed via Deadline that Nicolas Cage had joined the cast, as well as producers Jeremy Davis from JD Entertainment and veteran actor Grant Cramer from Landafar Entertainment, in collaboration with Mike Nilon from Cage's Saturn Films. In December 2019, Kevin Lewis was hired as director. In February 2020, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, Chris Warner and Caylee Cowan joined the cast.
Certain changes were made to the film during production. Some of the animatronic characters, Beary Bear, Douglas Dog, Pirate Pete, Pauly Penguin, and Regina Rabbit, were replaced with Gus Gorilla, Arty Alligator, Knighty Knight, Tito Turtle, and Cammy Chameleon. Due to legal issues, the film's name was also changed to Willy's Wonderland.
Principal photography began in February 2020 for a month in Atlanta, Georgia.
Merchandise[edit | edit source]
G.O. Parsons announced on his Twitter feed that the Willy's Wonderland t-shirt design worn in the film would be available.
Release[edit | edit source]
Willy's Wonderland was scheduled for theatrical release on October 30, 2020, but this was prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Screen Media Films announced on January 15, 2021 that it would be available for digital distribution worldwide, starting February 12, 2021, through a video on demand release, with a simultaneous limited theatrical release in the United States.
Reception[edit | edit source]
The film holds an approval rating of 59% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Willy's Wonderland isn't quite as much fun as its premise would suggest -- but it's still got Nicolas Cage beating the hell out of bloodthirsty animatronics, which is nice." Anton Bitel from VODzilla.com rated Willy's Wonderland 7 out 10, saying: "It is set in an amusement centre for children, but comes with adult doses of foul-mouthed language, sex, gore and death. Its scenarios feel a little rote, but are enlivened by the craziness that Cage brings to everything". Empire gave it a positive rating of 3 out of 5 while IGN gave to it a rating of 6 out of 10. Also Variety prized the operation, sentencing: "Kevin Lewis's giant-furry-funhouse-mascot slasher movie knows how preposterous it is but plays it straight".
A mixed-to-positive review came from Battle Royale With Cheese's Matt Conway, who wrote: "There's an inherently twisted glee in seeing these Chuck E. Cheese-esque creations recklessly throw out vulgarities in their unending pursuit of immoral crimes. When the director is able to tap into the premise’s over-the-top mania, he unleashes a flurry of intimately shaky frames painted with colorful buckets of bloodshed. Lewis and screenwriter G.O. Parsons admirably never take their offering too seriously, implementing a few humorously bizarre frames along the way [...]".
Kimberley Elizabeth from Nightmare On Film Street gave a score of 7.5/10 commenting: "Nicolas Cage['s] unique brand of kickassery is the jelly to this animatronic PB & J Horror sandwich". Ready Steady Cut wrote: "Daft plot, fabulous fight scenes, teenagers in peril and plenty of gore. Sure, the film could have been better, but it didn’t exactly need to be: this was thoroughly entertaining" and gave to it a rating of 3.5 on 5. The Playlist gave a similar opinion and rated the film with a B+.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Ozzie is the only mascot who is anatomically correct to an actual animal, that being an ostrich.
- It's confirmed Cammy Chameleon can be painted different colors to mimic an actual chameleon.
- Ozzie's surprised face to Cage snapping the broom became a minor YouTube meme on the internet.
- A potential sequel to the movie could possibly be made if the film gets enough "love and support" as stated by the film's Creator G. O. Parsons.
- Arty Alligator and Knighty Knight are the only animatronics who do not speak in the movie.
- Tito Turtle and Willy Weasel are lovers.
[edit | edit source]
- Willy's Wonderland at the Internet Movie Database
- Willy's Wonderland at AllMovie
- Willy's Wonderland at Rotten Tomatoes
- Willy's Wonderland at Wikipedia
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