Cry Baby Lane (found Nickelodeon TV horror film; 2000)
Cry Baby Lane was a Halloween-themed comedy-horror made for TV film that originally aired on Nickelodeon's television block SNICK on the night of October 28th, 2000. After its premiere, it was never released on any form of home media, or aired outside of the United States, and wouldn't be aired again for over a decade.
A young Andrew and his older brother, Carl, conduct a seance in their local graveyard, in an effort to impress a group of girls. Unknowingly, they release the soul of a dead Siamese twin. Whatever the evil twin touches turns evil, and by the next day, havoc is wrecked upon the town. After Carl becomes possessed, Andrew travels to Cry Baby Lane and cuts the root out of the heart of the good twin, to end the effects of the evil twin's reign of terror.
The film was originally envisioned as a big cinema film with a budget of $10 million; however, Nickelodeon's parent company Paramount, had different ideas, and the film was ultimately shelved. A year later, Nickelodeon reopened the plans for the film and wanted to go ahead with production, although the film had a reduced budget of $800.000. The film's two writers, Peter Lauer and Robert Mittenthal, jumped at the chance to make it. Filming was completed in around 20 days, with the shots of the town being taken in Ohio and the rest filmed in New Jersey.
Criticism and Nickelodeon's Response
The film's original premise was to be both scary and child-friendly. However, the airing was speculated to have invoked an extreme number of parents to complain en masse about the film's content, as they had found the film to be too inappropriate for children.
This allegedly caused Nickelodeon to state that they did not own the film and were not responsible for its "accidental" airing, with some workers even denying the existence of the film; however, some claimed that they were aware of it when contacted by forums and sites from 2007 to 2011.
This ensured the launch of several fan-sites in the early 2000s where people could talk about the film’s existence. When contacted, Nickelodeon would deny knowing anything about the film, despite the overwhelming evidence. Some Nickelodeon employees even went as far as to spread false information such as the film never having aired on TV, or simply being a myth.
Resurfacing and Aftermath
In 2011, a user of the social media forum Reddit named "firesaladpeach" claimed she had a bootleg VHS of the film recorded on the night of its original premiere, on a thread on the talk board “/r/TodayILearned”. She later released the film on a file-sharing website and YouTube, attracting hundreds of viewers. The sudden spike in popularity the Reddit thread had garnered is speculated to have prompted TeenNick to re-air the film on October 31st, 2011, where they proclaimed in advertising that it was "Nickelodeon’s dark secret", so scary it was "banned from TV". The airing ultimately revealed that Nickelodeon had the film all along.
The film was originally rated TV-Y7 in 2000, but in its 2011 re-release, it was re-rated TV-PG-V. Oddly enough, in its 2017 re-airings, Nickelodeon had removed the rating in its entirety.
The film’s director, Peter Lauer, was interviewed soon after its re-discovery and said that he was surprised and flattered by the attention his film had gotten 11 years after its original release. He claimed that he was unaware of its supposed banning by Nickelodeon, stating that he "just assumed they didn't show it again because they didn't like it. I thought it failed, and I moved on". A Nickelodeon representative later claimed that the film was never banned, disowned, or destroyed by Nickelodeon but that it was merely forgotten. Despite the speculated initial outrage and Nickelodeon's attitude towards the film, it has achieved a cult following.
- Andrew Barrett's portfolio page of the movie. Retrieved 12 Nov '17
- Direct link to Andrew Barrett's SoundCloud playlist of several music pieces. Retrieved 12 Nov '17
- Daily Dot interview with Peter Lauer. Retrieved 21 Sept '17
- reddit.com /r/TodayILearned talk board, with firesaladpeach's claims. Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- YouTube video, showing proof firesaladpeach had the film (reupload). Retrieved 22 Oct '17 | Archived 11 Aug '11
- Reddit thread with a dead download link to Cry Baby Lane. Retrieved 06 Jun '18
- Video from Nickelodeon's website with description. Retrieved 21 Nov '17
- Reuters' article on the 2011 re-airing of the film. Retrieved 18 Nov '17