I had heard of many stories and rumors that there was a secret hidden story behind the Willy Wonka story but I had never really believed them. I thought of them as nothing more than mere jokes and/or fanfiction. You know, how people like to take things that are normally thought to be happy and whimsical like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and label Wonka as a pedophile or some shit like that. I never took anything like that seriously and just thought them to be things people with active, albeit creative, minds have come up with.
To me, the Wonka story was nothing more than a happy and innocent story made for children to enjoy. At least, that was what I thought until the day I decided I would actually find a way to find out for myself. I decided to mail someone who was once acquainted with Dahl (I was told not to give anything about this person away) just to see if any of this was true.
Considering nearly everyone had said something about this story obviously having some sort of subtext about it, I thought I would check to be sure. I was told in the mail, and I quote, "You seem interested in this subject. Many people prefer to speculate, but you are the first one who seemed genuinely curious. Seeing as you want to know as much as you do, I will send you a tape in the mail. Check it within a week." It was a couple days or so later when the tape finally arrived.
It had the words "The True Story of Willy Wonka" written on it in black marker. The only other words on it were it a copyright dated 1963 (a year before the book had come out). At first, I thought this was strange, considering VHS tapes were not around back then. Then it occurred to me that it was possible it had been on film and put on tape later. So I stuck the tape in and played it (after rewinding to make sure).
It started out a bit odd. For one thing, it immediately went in to the title (taken directly from the first edition book cover) with no fade; it just sort of popped in, causing me to jump. What also made me jump was what came after that; the delayed yet abrupt appearance of the music, which was loud and sounded like some fast, angry jazz music. Anyway, it went on to the credits and showed names I had never seen before. The only names I was able to recognize were Dahl's, Patricia Neal's, and some guy named John Black. It kept looping back to the name of the Animation Checker about 15 times.
I genuinely thought there was something wrong with the tape. Right as I went to take it out, it popped immediately in to the outside of the house of the Buckets with the camera zooming in. The art style was really weird; it was black and white and had an odd misty/cloudy look about it; cross-hatched. There was a deep male voice that seemed most likely to be the narrator, but his voice was in horrible quality; it was muffled and at such low volume that I could barely make out a word he was saying.
It cut inside the Buckets' house and the misty/cloudy look was even weirder here; the people moved all wavery-like and wouldn't stop moving, much like those old Zelda CD-i games, but the shading was cross-hatched, which meant there was a lot of extra movement. Sometimes it was hard to make out what was going on. The characters behaved oddly. It seemed Charlie was either gay or highly effeminate as he spoke with a girly voice and spoke of his love for dolls and princesses. And it seemed everyone feared Grandpa Joe; we find out later that he was involved in World War I and it is never explained how, but it seems clear he was responsible for ending it. Charlie's parents also displayed odd behavior; the dad seemed depressed and the mom seemed paranoid and suffered from some major form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. The other grandparents never spoke at all.
From here on it is not too different from the book except for the characters and the fact that Charlie sings songs about his dress he wishes to wear. The story about Wonka is also slightly different: Apparently, he is a Grinch and happened to appear out of nowhere suddenly owning an impressive factory that no one saw built. Seems here no one worked in his factory nor did it ever have any problems causing it to shut down. But when Charlie finds the ticket it happens halfway through the finding.
Also, we don't see any of the other kids giving their interviews as they win. And the message on the ticket found in the book (or any other film adaptation) is absent. In fact, the ticket is blank. No mention of it being gold, but it's black and white so it is hard to tell anyway.
So anyway, the big day came and everyone is waiting at the gate. It's very similar to the book version except there are six kids and Charlie is wearing his dress and the lines spoken by the people are slightly changed from the book halfway through; there are talks of Wonka being a Grinch, how his factory got there and how they got made, and there is a story about Prince Pondicherry's death, having died drowning in Wonka's chocolate palace. They talk about more stuff, but then it seems the wind picks up, drowning them out, though nothing is ever seen blowing; there's just a sound effect of a howling wind.
Then there are bells that chime for when it is time for the gates to open, just like the book. Surprisingly, I can hear it over the loud howling wind, but it hits me that the chimes are not church bells like the book describes; they're funeral bells. Very weird. But this is not the weirdest part.
The weirdest part is Wonka himself. When the doors swing open, you can see a dark shadowy figure stand at the doorway, and then Wonka comes out of the factory hopping and prancing. He certainly does not appear human, though it is somewhat hard to tell due to the style of cross-hatching and the lack of color. Again, this isn't the weirdest part. The weirdest part is his eyes; he had a reptilian stare that quite literally sent chills down my spine. His hair kept moving, not because of the constant motion and cross-hatching, it just moved like he was underwater.
The wind was even louder now as he pranced and hopped down towards the gate. Once he arrived, he spoke. Strangely, I could hear his voice loud and clear even though the cheering and talking from the audience was barely audible. His voice was high, like explained in the book, but not the kind of high voice I expected. He sounded like Michael Jackson speaking seductively. As normal, the kids had to show him their tickets, which he stuck down his pants, then they walked inside.
It wasn't that different from the book from here on except for when they started down the hallways, which looked like demented Tim Burton-style artwork. They kept getting more narrow and kept sloping down more and more the further they went. They also seemed to twist more as they entered each new hallway. The weird part is that there is no dialogue here except a line from Veruca about needing to use the loo, which her father tells her probably won't happen until the end of the tour.
There is also a slow rising of the howling winds from earlier. I found it strange that such a thing would appear inside the factory. They entered an even more twisted and looped-looking hallway with funeral bells chiming once again. The odd thing is that the art style once they entered this room had changed completely; while still remaining cross-hatched and wavery animated, it now actually did look like something Tim Burton might draw. The narrator from earlier also returned, but he was somewhat clearer. I could tell it was the same voice clip from earlier as I recognized a few of the same inflections. Oddly, he didn't seem to have been talking about the Buckets like I would have expected for the intro.
I still found him hard to make out, but I managed to catch a few words such as Grinch, Wonka, and he went on to something about the Oompa Loompas. At this point, I had goosebumps. I actually did not want to know what he was trying to say here, but I was still very curious. Then everything got interrupted by a long message found on a black screen with white text. The writing was in another language; it looked like an odd mixture between Greek and Korean, but somehow managed to look like Green Fuz font. There was no sound at all here; everything was in total silence, though the howling winds show up abruptly a couple minutes in. I expected it to return to the show here, but it went on a few more minutes before it returned back to the show.
They continued to walk through the twisted halls, this one looking particularly messy with shadowy figures of Wonka and the gang walking through. It changed to a side view, and everyone was still black and shadowy, and Wonka was still hopping down until an abrupt change as the funeral bells sounded again, then he was walking slowly. The way he was walking reminded me very much of the Undertaker from WWF, specifically in his Ministry of Darkness days. Other than the obvious, what was also freaky about it was the fact that it happened abruptly with no transitional frames. There was, again, no dialogue aside from one of the kids (I assume a girl) saying, "I don't like this, Daddy!".
Suddenly, they walk through into the chocolate room, no door or entrance, they just walk in. All sound is gone, and each one that actually shows up is distant and echo-ey. When they get here it starts to get really strange.
The room looks eerily identical to the one in the 2005 Tim Burton film adaptation and is not cross-hatched but in what looks like a black and white painting style. The chocolate river...This is one of the more unsettling moments because the river looks like real blood (the only colored element in the entire film). Not blood done in realistic style, but as though someone actually dipped a brush in to a cup of blood and ran a brush across those parts.
What made it more unsettling is that its textures would change slightly with each frame. Quite unsettling, because how were they able to get so much blood to make up each, possibly, seven-hundred-thousand or more pieces of paper? But that isn't the weirdest part, it gets worse: The room doesn't seem to function like normal as Wonka is not introducing anyone to the room nor showing them around. He suddenly starts speaking about the Oompa Loompas, a group of black pygmies he had smuggled from Africa. "Illegally," he adds. They are then shown, but the unsettling part is the fact that, unlike in the book where they are happy, cheerful, and always singing and laughing, they look miserable, and each time they look at Wonka, they look terrified, they give him a look that basically says:
"Please don't kill me!"
I actually heard one say that, though I couldn't quite tell if he said "kill" as he was far away and was sobbing. It had more of the sound of "ack" rather than "kill". The camera from this point stayed at a bird's eye view. Wonka then yelled angrily at the Oompa Loompas with a ridiculously loud voice. It was loud, high-pitched, and screechy. I couldn't even understand him; he could have been speaking in another language for all I know.
Then he turned back to his guests and said something about them that sounded so shockingly and despicably racist. But then it continued to get worse. By the end, what he had ended up saying about them was just plain abysmal, as well as slightly terrifying. I won't even repeat it. It was so bad that even a white supremest would be offended by it. Now I am also not that super-sensitive, politically correct type that thinks blacks can do no wrong (not racist either), but even I was distraught about what he had said. The Salts were revealed to be racists (not surprisingly), but even they were offended.
Anyway, the old Viking boat arrived, but it had some odd reptilian designs about it. The gang got in and I heard Verruca say, "Daddy, I want lots of things, but I do not want a dreadful boat like this!" But that was all I could hear. The gang did talk, but their voices were drowned out by a group of crying Oopma Loompas and the overly loud sailing of the boat in the chocolate (blood?) river.
They ended up going through a dark tunnel and it was very close to the one in the film with Gene Wilder. You know, that psychedelic tunnel ride? But I could barely make out what any of them were as the style made everything look so convoluted. Verruca commented about her underpants being drenched in pee. The sixth child was another girl who spoke some of Violet's lines from the film ("What is this, a freak out?"). I was absolutely baffled as to who this was, though. I also noticed Augustus was gone, though I assumed he fell in to the chocolate river.
Anyway, Wonka sang his rowing song, like in the film, though he sang it closer to how Marilyn Manson sang it but with extra vibrato. The fast, angry jazz music from the intro shows up once again. It seems odd and out of place. I kept seeing the letters J.B. pop up in the background (John Black?). And then the images become clear.
The background images show Oompa Loompas crying and some are singing something in some kind of African language. Then Wonka's song starts turning in to some kind of bizarre language; it sounded like some kind of Yiddish chant, until halfway through where it starts to have a slight hint of German in it. His eyes get bigger, his mouth grows larger, and his teeth make a sudden change to being sharp and snake-like. Then it pauses right on his face for a few minutes and the funeral bells return. The narrator from the beginning shows up again, but halfway through rather than starting out from the beginning.
His voice is now very clear. He mentions the Oompa Loompas being illegally smuggled from a deep dark forest in Africa, and what peaceful lives they lived, but there was shocking mention of horrid things Mr. Wonka did to smuggle them. Again, I will not repeat them. He is about to speak about what happened to them and how the factory got there, but it immediately skips to a room where I can barely make out anything going on. Had no one said anything about it I would have never guessed it was the inventing room.
From here on it just keeps skipping to different rooms, a child disappearing each time. Here, however, it seems no one knows how they disappear.
The sixth child, I still don't know who she is, but I think I heard someone refer to her as "Miranda", unless that was the name of one of the parents (who are mostly unnamed in the book), but I am pretty sure they were referring to this mysterious sixth character. At least she spoke when the name was said, but there were funeral bells here so it was hard to hear if she responded to them. Anyway, the last room they appear in features Wonka making sick powder.
This sixth girl does not seem very pleased about it. Wonka gets extremely angry about this and shouts angrily right in her face. Once again, loud, screechy, and unintelligible. The fact that it was not distant made it even worse. It sounded so loud it even echoed through the room. Then the girl runs inside the door to where it's being made. Then it cuts to Wonka's face slowly zooming in closer and closer. He has a huge rape-ish grin about him.
Very spooky. I hated to keep looking, but I had to see what was to come so I reluctantly did so. Some weird noises that resemble one of those creepy background sounds (music?) you hear on something like the history channel (maybe you know what I am talking about) are heard, but they are kind of muted and muffled-sounding.
Wonka's face, once it zooms closer, starts to show some disturbing texture that looks kind of reptilian. It appears his eyes are slowly getting wider, his pupils slowly morph in to slits, and his teeth, once again, become sharp and snake-like. Then everything goes silent as the black screen with white text appears once again, looking, as last time, half Greek and half Korean. Except this time, the font was Blackadder ITC.
Then Wonka began to chant something in what sounded like Yiddish. Subtitles (weird symbols) appeared below in a font called Malbeck (the font used in the Paramount logo). It was clearly a different chant than last time. Then it showed hints of German in it, albeit more so than last time. The text then flickered to an English translation, but it happened way too fast, too fast for me to stop it and read it. Then it went back to where it was and it was a still picture of the group standing around the room with nothing but funeral bells being heard. It lasted a few minutes, then it started to go in motion again once the funeral bells sounded. I then heard someone shout "Miranda!" So this is her name.
Anyway, these two ran off into the room as Wonka stared down at Charlie. Honestly, I had practically forgotten he was here because he was barely shown throughout the whole thing. In fact, Violet and this mysterious Miranda Girl were shown the most. I almost felt like Mike and Violet were not even in this one considering their names were never spoken. I had also forgotten that he was in a dress. I probably thought it was Violet or something.
I heard him speak again and remembered he was gay/highly effeminate. Wonka went on telling him he won, but instead of taking him directly through the great glass elevator or whatever, he told him to wait a minute. He then hopped off into another room. He found every one of the other kids in here except for Miranda. He said something that I did not quite understand. It was English, but it had a rather convoluted meaning. The children lying down on the floor could be heard crying and moaning, similar to the Oompa Loompas. The parents could not be seen anywhere.
He then turned on the radio and slowly began to strip. The one thing that gave me goosebumps was what was playing on the radio. Melodically, it reminded me a lot of one of those songs you would hear in an old Mario game when you fight Bowser, despite it being in that typical style you often heard during the early '60s such as The Beatles and The Monkeys, but it was one singer only.
It also sounded as though the keyboardist did not know exactly how to play it right. But that wasn't the weirdest part, the weirdest part is this: Now it sounded distorted and like an old radio, like it was from the '60s, and it was more in the background so it was a little hard to hear. Also because it wasn't super loud.
Anyway, I couldn't pick out the exact lyrics, but I did hear him mention some freaky shit that would happen to a bunch of different people by 2014. It was like a bunch of random names being spurted out, but he obviously seemed to know who they were. What they were going to have happen to them is too horrible to mention. I don't even remember half of them. It took a second for me to sink back in to the video as my mind drifted away, absolutely stunned by the music. When I did, I saw Wonka take off his shirt and throw it off and then finally slowly drop down to the ground.
After that the credits rolled. All sound was gone from here. Appearing again were the odd names from the intro. I kept it rolling to see if anything came on after this, only to find a message placed at the end that seemed to have been put in later as the look, quality, and style of it had an early '90s feel to it.
It read: "Don't Let Felicity Know". Then the tape stopped.
I did not know who Felicity was until I looked it up and found out that was the name of Dahl's second wife.
As you may guess, I was quite shocked by what I had seen, but also relatively confused about what any of this was. I went and asked the person who had sent me this tape, who told me:
"Obviously, this was how Dahl had originally written the book. He always made films of these books before he wrote them so he could keep track of every idea he had and also check and see if the lines these characters spoke worked outside of just being read. What happened from there and how it ended up the way it was I really do not know. I did not know him long enough. But I started to question the man after I got a hold of this tape."
I then asked if this person wanted the tape, but they refused and seemed glad enough to get rid of it, though they did not want it to be gone forever; they still wanted the proof and information to stick around. Ever since I saw this tape, I have been looking around to see if I could get any information on it anywhere, and so far, I cannot seem to find anything.