The Curator of Schlock #335: Young Sherlock Holmes

The Curator of Schlock #335 by Jeff Shuster

Young Sherlock Holmes

I liked it. 

Watching that Suspiria movie gave me an idea. What if I used black magic to get rid of these vampires who are forcing me write their spec screenplay? I’ve digging deep into the manor library finding all sorts of forbidden tomes like The Book of Eibon, Nameless Cults, and Blowing the Bloody Doors Off by Michael Caine. There’s got to be an anti-vampire spell in one of them. Maybe not the Michael Caine book, but you never know.

schlock mansion

This week’s movie is 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes from director Barry Levinson. This is another movie that made the rounds on Showtime a lot when I was growing up. It was supposed to be the next big hit from Amblin Entertainment which had just given audiences The Goonies and Back to the Future. Unfortunately, the movie was a box office disappointment. So this is a one and done, but you could see it as a prequel to any Sherlock Holmes movie.

During the opening credits, we see Steven Spielberg Presents Young Sherlock Holmes. Back then, you’d see Spielberg’s name on everything and I was too young to understand the difference between a producer and a director. What you got with a Spielberg movie was state of the art special effects and with Industrial Light & Magic at the helm, Young Sherlock Holmes does not disappoint. Now this being a Sherlock Holmes movie, you wouldn’t expect to see things like Belloq’s head popping, but you’d be wrong.

The opening of Young Sherlock Holmes begins with the murder of Bently Bobster, a Victorian gentleman out for a meal at one of London’s finest restaurants. A mysterious hooded figure with a blowgun shoots a dart at him that’s laced with a kind of fear toxin. Basically, anyone who gets a dose will see their greatest fears realized in front of their eyes. The roast pheasant Mr. Bobster orders comes to life and starts attacking him. He runs home only to then get attacked by his coat rack while the gaslights in his room start shooting flames everywhere. He jumps out of the window to his death while trying to escape the raging fire. Scotland Yard rules it a suicide.

We get more nightmarish visions that show off the effects powerhouse that was Industrial Light & Magic. One features a vicar seeing a stained glass medieval knight leaping out of a stained glass. Another features copper gargoyles flying about and attacking a man in an antique shop. One of the best nightmare sequences involves custard tarts and French pastries coming to life, even sprouting arms and legs.

I’ve noticed over the years that people just don’t like this movie. Maybe because it involves a teenage Sherlock Holmes (Nicholas Rowe) and John Watson (Alan Cox)? Despite the fact that they’re teenagers, they still act like Holmes and Watson if not a little less refined. Plus, we get an Egyptian cult practicing human sacrifice in a wooden pyramid inside an old warehouse in the middle of Victorian London during Christmastime.

Did I lose you?

I think I lost you.

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444, and episode 450) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.


One response to “The Curator of Schlock #335: Young Sherlock Holmes”

  1. Nice to see this film resurrected with an excellent review. I saw this at the cinema and really enjoyed it, although I remember it being a bit Sherlock Holmes meets Young Indy. I recall it was a box office failure but I thought it was an enjoyable romp of a movie. A good film for a rainy Sunday.

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The Drunken Odyssey is a forum to discuss all aspects of the writing process, in a variety of genres, in order to foster a greater community among writers.


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