SUMMARY: A parody of ‘Peanuts’ by way of Sam Peckinpah, in which a bounty is placed on Charlie Brown’s head and the Peanuts gang all try and bump him off, pushing him to breaking point.
WHY IT’S HERE: A student film by Jim Reardon, later to write and direct for such TV series as ‘Tiny Toon Adventures’ and ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown’ is a spoof of the ‘Peanuts’ TV specials reimagined as a violent revenge thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah. Reardon’s film is simple and crudely animated in black and white but it is also very, very funny. A familiarity with ‘Peanuts’ and the TV specials in particular is necessary to get all the references and knowledge of Peckinpah or violent new-Hollywood films of the 70s helps, although the joke is broad enough to understand without specific reference points. When a bounty is placed on his head, all the Peanuts gang turn on Charlie Brown, with even the Kite Eating Tree making a bid to bump him off. Finally, Charlie Btown snaps, Travis Bickle-style, leading to a climactic killing spree. Although it may offend hardcore ‘Peanuts’ fans, ‘Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown’ has a genuine affection beneath its visceral surface. Reardon is clearly well-versed in the exploits of the ‘Peanuts’ gang and expects the same of his audience.