Marking what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday the CinePunked team delve into a world of predators, childlike innocence and Muppets as they revisit Jim Henson’s Labyrinth (1986).
Sleeve notes are below.
With Robert JE Simpson, Dr Rachael Kelly and Ben Simpson.
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Episode URL: https://player.whooshkaa.com/episode?id=945108
We recorded this episode back during the first lockdown – in June 2020, and then in a fit of wisdom I thought I’d hold on to it until January to tie in with David Bowie’s anniversary – and we even announced it in our King Creole pod. And then, well, it didn’t happen. I’m so sorry if you’ve been waiting, cus the darn thing has been ready.
But using it to open Season 5 of the podcast has allowed us to the start the year on a really strong episode, doing all the things we love – exploring a loved film, and celebrating both what we love about it, and navigating the problematic subtexts that have become apparent as the decades slip by.
As you’ll hear acknowledged in the pod, I’m an unashamed Bowie (and Muppets) fan, and this was another one I insisted on recording. I’d been really surprised by the conversation we had during the Willy Wonka pod, and I thought this might throw up some similar feelings as we re-evaluated our collective youth.
Sitting on it for a year and a half, also allowed me to forget everything we’d said, so the edit was very much a voyage of rediscovery. Very quickly we got caught up on Bowie’s trousers, but that worked out well, as we could then discuss the predatory/creepy nature of Jareth and Sarah and from there the joys of the technology, music, star power and more. I hope it helps to stimulate a few conversations.
In one of those wonderful bits of serendipity, Labyrinth was first released in the USA in June 1986, just a few weeks before The Transformers: The Movie which was the subject of our last pod. Maybe its the age of our editors showing… I like to think its a deliberate structuring of our guide to cinema.
This is our first time looking at the work of Jim Henson in the pod – though we don’t go nearly far enough in our examination, something I want to come back to (look I stayed in the closest hotel I could find to the Henson studios when I visited LA – we WILL get to Henson’s magic). Its our third pod to look at the work of Terry Jones – not an intentional focus, but it does raise questions about the importance of an artist, or indeed why we keep returning to certain people.
Once again this is an episode that presents challenges – where we have to address the elephants in the room, the things that make us uncomfortable, and yet still find positive things to indulge in. My favourite kind of conversations.
We’ve published this just two days shy of what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday (8 January 2022), and four days shy of the 6th anniversary of his passing. I hope it makes you want to revisit his work too.
The episode contains audio clips (used within fair use provision) from the following:
Labyrinth (dir. Jim Henson, 1986), produced by Henson Associates / Lucasfilm, distributed originally by Tri Star Pictures / Columbia-EMI-Warner Distributors.
Labyrinth, original trailer (1986).
Fraggle Rock (1983-1987), produced and distributed by Henson Associates.
Labyrinth is available to buy on DVD/BluRay/4k Ultra BluRay, and also via multiple streaming services. Distribution is currently handled by Sony Pictures.
The soundtrack album, containing music by David Bowie and Trevor Jones is available from all good digital services.
The CinePunked theme music is ‘Riding the Synth‘ – © 2020, Ben Blademan Simpson. Used with permission.
Episode recorded via Zoom in Comber, Holywood and Newtownards, Northern Ireland on 12 June 2020 with our separate home studio setups.
Engineered and edited by Robert JE Simpson. First published on 6 January 2022.