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The Magic Land of Mother Goose

USA 1967
produced by
Herschell Gordon Lewis, J. Edwin Baker
directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis
starring Roy Huston, David Hammond, Judith Snow, Denny Ray, Valerie Lynne, Linda Appleby, David Williamson, Linda Lee, Ebenezer Lifting
story by Roy Flubrer, screenplay by Eve Weiher, music by John Aman, Terry Smith

Old King Cole, Merlin, Mother Goose, Sleeping Geauty, Little Bo Peep

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Old King Cole (David Hammond) somehow manages to escape his storybook - only to find out his palace in the real world is really boring, and his rag doll (Valerie Lynne) doesn't offer much entertainment either. But lo and behold, here comes Merlin the Magician (Roy Huston), who promises to help all of the King's friends from the storybook to provide entertainment, and he also takes care of the rag doll with a sword trick. From here on, Merlin helps the King with many of his problems, which usually involves some common magic tricks. And somehow the rag doll always gets into trouble.

The King's problems involve getting Sleeping Beauty (Linda Appleby) to sleep, even if her Prince Charming (Denny Ray) is just round the corner. The Wicked Witch (Judith Snow) of course tries to put an end to all the fun because she hates fun, and she puts everyone into suspended animation - anyone but Merlin that is, who hypnotizes her, commands her to get inside a box, then sets the bos on fire, a fire that leaves nothing but her skeleton. It's up to Mother Goose (Judith Snow again) to make them move again and lure all of them back into the storybook they have escaped from. Now most of the characters are easily to convince to return to the book, but Little Bo Peep (Linda Lee) won't go without a sheep. Merlin helps out of course. Rag doll needs to be taught another lesson before she agrees to return - again Merlin. And finally Old King Cole himself proves reluctant - until Mother Goose appeals to his reason ...


Magic Land of Mother Goose doesn't really feel like a movie, rather like a magician's act, and one with a theme to appeal to little children, as the whole film is filmed all on one set with very basic decoration, consists of many tried and true tricks you'd expect from any stage magician, and is filmed from pretty much one perspective (the auditorium) - and knowing that director Herschell Gordon Lewis was never one avert to go the easy way when it came to make a movie, that might exactly be the case. Now, quite a few times, Lewis' penny-pinching methods proved to be a blessing in disguise ... but not here, this movie just looks cheap. Furthermore, the standard magic stage tricks only look half as amazing on film than they do on stage, and the fact that a few too many edits and camera tricks are used during the tricks only makes them less exciting. Now add to all of this stage-like overacting in combination with less than well-drawn characters and a narrative that's episodic in nature, and you're left with ... well, very little.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD