Attention, scary movie fans: If you're in the market for a horror flick this Halloween, you can skip your go-to spooky classics and blood-curdling modern favorites. If you want to be truly terrified, it's time to watch a Canadian children's film about the dangers of peanut butter.
I'm talking about The Peanut Butter Solution, a movie so terrifying and bizarre, I was convinced that my memories of watching it as a child were false. I thought I must have been confused and that it was just a convoluted nightmare born in the imagination of a creative and easily spooked first-grader.
Then, as an adult at a bad movie night, I was amazed when this horrifying Canadian dream began to play out on screen. There were shiny bald heads. There were ominous art teachers. There were jars of peanut butter, offered up by laughing ghosts.
Don't be fooled by the surreal upbeat trailer with its peppy music, autumnal lighting, and family hugs. Sure, this wasn't quite as scary when I watched it as a grown-up, but it was scary enough that we sat in stunned silence until someone said "People show that to children?"
The movie follows the adventures of Michael Baskin, an 11-year-old boy who explores a burned-down house and is so frightened by the experience that he spontaneously loses all of his hair from a condition called "Hairem Scarem."
Sounds harmless, right? Sounds like a totally normal start to a mildly scary kiddie movie?
[SPOILER ALERT! Although come on, this movie is from 1985.]
The ghosts of two people who died in the house appear in the middle of the night and bring Michael a peanut-butter-filled hair growth solution. He grows so much luxurious hair so rapidly that he attracts the attention of his creepy art teacher, who kidnaps Michael so he can make and sell paintbrushes made out of his hair.
It gets worse! The art teacher continues to kidnap small children from the elementary school to create an underground child workforce, where they live in squalor and spend their days making paintbrushes out of their classmate's hair.
Everyone is looking for their lost children in all the wrong places, and at one point the art teacher strolls down the street in a coat MADE OUT OF HAIR and no one seems to notice.
If you want to find out the thrilling conclusion to this peanut-butter fueled nightmare, you can watch the whole movie on YouTube. If you have kids, take it from someone so freaked out about seeing this movie at age six that she thought it was a hallucination: Watch Hocus Pocus instead.
And no matter what, the next time you spontaneously lose all your hair after seeing something scary, be careful with the hair growth solution offered to you by local ghosts. In either case, maybe don't spread peanut butter all over your head. Stick to snacks.