- Directed by John R. Cherry III
- October 11, 1991
Ernest, the descendent of a reverend that imprisoned an evil troll, accidentally sets that very troll free and now must stop it before it captures enough souls of little children to set its brethren free upon the world.
As juvenile and family friendly as the Ernest films are, they offer up plenty of genuine laughs. I am serious on this. I watched this movie mostly because it was comfort food and made me nostalgic. Yet there were moments I found myself laughing. Not a chuckle but an actual all-out belly laugh. Probably because the humor employed is just dumb humor. Ernest Scared Stupid does not try to be highbrow but instead embraces what it is and goes for silly. The idea is to make you laugh and put a smile on your face and it will do just that.
I am still confused how they got Eartha Kitt in this film. Kitt plays Old Lady Hackmore who is the adult sister of some of the kids taken in the opening scene. She does a great job but Eartha Kitt in an Ernest movie just does not seem possible yet there she is. Kitt looks to be having fun in the part and sometimes that is why an individual takes a particular part.
The only returning Ernest actor in this film is Bill Byrge who plays Bobby. And I do believe this is the first time he has an actual line in one of these movies. Normally Bobby is silent and conveys everything with facial expressions or by mouthing the words. Gailard Sartain, who was previously paired with Byrge as his brother Chuck, does not appear here. Instead he is paired with John Cadenhead as his brother Tom.
Byrge’s pairing with Sartain predates the Ernest films. They were paired in a series of advertisements by the same company that created the Ernest character. In those they played twin brothers that looked nothing alike and endorsed a variety of products in a comedic fashion.
The villain of Ernest Scared Stupid is a two nosed troll named Trantor (Jonas Moscartolo performing/Ernie Fosselius voice). His big plan is to make more trolls and take over the world or just terrorize people. Not sure which. I am not sure even Cherry knew.
Jim Varney returns as the iconic Ernest P. Worrell. The naïve yet earnest Ernest is working as the only garbage man in the small town of Briarville, Missouri. He believes himself to be a mechanical genius and during the film builds a series of ridiculous Rube Goldberg/Pee-Wee Herman style contraptions that invariably fail in comic fashion as part of his effort to do his job or fight the troll. Ernest is indeed a technical genius yet as the curse put on his family implies exceedingly stupid.
One particular highlight of this film for me is Jim Varney Ernest slipping into various characters while giving ridiculous speeches. He is just about anyone and anything you can imagine and weirdly at points his characters appear to be at different places doing different things at the same time. It’s just a weird thing that adds to my enjoyment of the movie.
And this is a weird and enjoyable film. This is something you can sit by yourself and watch and enjoy as well as bring your kids in to enjoy it with you. There is no bad language or intense moments. The monster is about as ugly and gross as anything you would find in your average fairytale.
This film did not catch on with audiences so it was the final Ernest movie to be produced by Touchstone Pictures. I can certainly see why it did not catch on. Not because it was a bad movie but because Ernest is a niche product. He is a cult figure and they do not necessary have broad appeal although they have a very strong following among a very specific demographic. The next film was the final film to be released in theaters with everything else that came afterwards being direct to video and independently produced.
Ernest Scared Stupid as an entertaining and family friendly Halloween comedy. It is a good movie that I say you should watch!