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Labyrinth at Pink Palace



How is it possible that a movie starring David Bowie in the world's tightest pants and the galaxy's biggest mullet flopped at the box office? In spite of enormous pre-release hype, Labyrinth, a dark and dream-like fantasy, written by Monty Python's Terry Jones and directed by Muppet creator Jim Henson, was just a little too weird for 1986 and made back less than half its $25-million budget. The story of Sarah, a fantasy-obsessed teenage girl, and her quest to rescue her infant brother from Bowie's Goblin King, didn't find its audience until it came out on home video the following year. Here's a short list of things you'll want to watch for now that this longtime staple of the small screen is getting blown up bigger than ever when it screens at the Pink Palace's Giant Theater.


• The Bog of Eternal Stench smells so bad nobody who ever touches its dark, brackish waters can ever wash away the stink. Judging by the Bog's physical appearance and the gassy sounds it makes, the Bog of Eternal Stench might have been alternately named the Pond of Belching Buttholes.

• Protagonist Sarah falls into a hole where she is tormented by faces made entirely of hands. It's a fantastic example of Henson's boundless creativity as a puppeteer. It's also nightmare fuel.

• Henson built so much anthropomorphic detail into the world of Labyrinth, even the moss has eyeballs, and it's everywhere.

• Most of Labyrinth's world is handcrafted, but the film is also regarded as Hollywood's first use of "realistic" CGI animation.

• The crystal orbs the Goblin King spins in his hands are inspired by paradoxical drawings by artist M.C. Escher. They are manipulated by juggler Michael Moschen, not Bowie. The final confrontation occurs in an impossible Escher-like landscape made of stairs that travel in every direction — meant to be viewed on the biggest screen available.

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