The Terror of Tiny Town

September 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm (2 Heads, Terror of Tiny Town) (, , , , , )

The Terror of Tiny Town – 1938 – United States

A year after co-directing Harlem on the Prairie (an “all-colored” western), Jed Buell and “Jed Buell’s Midgets” made a successor: The Terror of Tiny Town “with an all midget cast”. Terror of Tiny Town is a poor man’s western with little people who ride ponies and rustle calves, and some tossed off gags and songs—exploitation at its purest.

I’ve been stalling on writing this for days. I can’t think of anything meaningful to say about this dumb flick. In short (no pun):

Awful acting: Besides the hero, these actors are elementary school level. After a lifetime of watching cheapies, I don’t know what good acting is, so if I notice it, it’s probably catastrophic.

Tuneless songs: The cast sings like they act and the songs are forgettable. Then there’s the overbearing whimsical soundtrack adding inappropriate levity to every scene. The barbershop quartet was fun though.

Lame jokes: Infrequent jokes haphazardly tossed off don’t constitute a comedy. A little person walks under a saloon door, a baby-faced man has a deep overdubbed voice, a duck bites someone’s ass. I laughed once when a little person chugs two huge glasses of beer.

Terror of Tiny Town is trash, banking on society’s fascination with the unusual. While that’s an intrinsic element of exploitation, Terror of Tiny Town fails to be significant. For example, Tod Browning’s Freaks features a sideshows cast (little people, bearded lady, Siamese twins, human skeleton, living torso) and makes a somewhat sympathetic flick that still satisfies our need to gawk, with a story commenting on the alienation of the deformed. Great stuff.

Terror of Tiny Town fails. It’s boring and offensive. While it may be the only flick to combine them, there are more interesting westerns, comedies, musicals, and films with little people.  Besides as a curiosity (admittedly, it’s very curious) and a glimpse into perversion’s depths, don’t bother.

Rating: 2/10 Shrunken Heads. It’s a crappy western starring little people. Despite a terrible review, some of you will see it anyway.

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