The Sesame Workshop caused quite a stir this week, with their direct to video release of the film Elmo IV: The Jump Over Hell. Eager children and parents, hoping for a new cuddly adventure, were shocked by the graphic violence and adult themes of this new outing. Apparently, this prequel to the enormously popular children’s television show Elmo’s World attempts to answer the questions left open by the show itself. Whatever happened to the third Noodle brother? Why is Elmo red? What unsettled spirit resides in Elmo’s animated piano. And what is Dorothy the Goldfish really thinking? Apparently the filmmakers were inspired by Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, with its realistic and gritty style. Executive producer Kevin Clash stated:
“We thought it was important to tell the whole history of this character, and sometimes when you ask the tough questions, you get some very difficult answers.”
Angry parents were not appeased by this response. The film depicts a shiny white Elmo befriending the third Noodle brother, Mr. Noodle. Actually an evil sorcerer, Mr. Noodle puts Elmo into a trance, and sets him off on a murderous rampage all through Sesame Street. Elmo’s fur is forever stained red by the blood of his victims. Ironically, Elmo was so out of control that he turned on his master, and tore apart Mr. Noodle himself. The trance now broken, Elmo realized what he had done. Tormented by the memories of his evil deeds, Elmo hung himself in Mr. Hooper’s store. The second act of the film has Elmo being judged in the afterlife, and thus being sent to Hell. Elmo rallies his fellow hellions together, and they perform the “jump over Hell”, which allows Elmo to escape back into the living world. Forever plagued by nightmares of his exploits and seeking atonement, Elmo sets out to host a children’s television show. He believed that by educating the next generation he may be able to prevent this nightmare from ever happening again.
When asked if the DVD’s will be pulled from store shelves, Sesame Workshop representatives declined to comment. Although the future of the film is in doubt, the video game adaption seems to be rolling forward. Representatives from Ubisoft stated that they have no plans to halt production of their game based on the film. “Oh, hell yeah,” a spokesman said. “We might make it even bloodier. And we’re already planning a sequel. I can’t tell you the title, because I don’t want to give out any spoilers, but let’s just say it rhymes with Schelmo 5: Blell Can’t Schmandle Me Again“.