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 28, 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 10 years.
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 gets 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 troubled in production, as it was originally set to be a big cinema film with a budget of $10 million, but as Halloween approached, the budget was reduced to $800,000 so that it would be ready for an October 31 release. Additionally, the production team only had 20 days to shoot the film.
Criticism and Nickelodeon's Response
The film's original premise was to be both scary and child-friendly. However, the airing still invoked an extreme number of parents to complain en masse about the film's content as they had found the film to be too frightening and too inappropriate for children.
This 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 period, or that they knew something about it when contacted by forums and sites from 2007 to 2011, due to it being considered a lost film for more than 11 years.
This ensured the launch of several fan-sites in the early 2000’s where people could talk about the film’s existence. Despite the overwhelming evidence, every time Nickelodeon was contacted; they always replied that they did not know anything about the film. Some Nickelodeon employees even went as far 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 on the blog forum reddit.com under the name "/u/firesaladpeach" stated that she had a bootleg VHS of the film that she had recorded on the night of its original premiere, on a thread on the talk board “/r/TodayILearned”. She later released the film onto YouTube, attracting hundreds of viewers. This may have prompted TeenNick to re-air the film on October 31, 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 since they knowingly stated its airing via introduction and were most likely ready for a negative reaction to their makeshift movie.
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. It aired on TeenNick's The '90s Are All That and then The Splat, on March 31 and October 31, 2015. It aired again on October 31, 2016. It then aired on July 8 and October 21, 2017.
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 original outrage and Nickelodeon's attitude towards the film, it has achieved a cult following.
Movie and Reruns
These images were uploaded to the internet, before the movie was rediscovered in 2011.
- reddit.com /r/TodayILearned talk board, containing /u/firesaladpeach's comments Retrieved 22 Oct '17
- YouTube video, showing proof /u/firesaladpeach had the film (reupload) Retrieved 22 Oct '17 | Archived 11 Aug '11
- Daily Dot interview with Peter Lauer Retrieved 21 Sept '17