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Entranced: A Musical Sweeping the Country

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Worth reading 😎

An infectious movie musical gives Australians a lethal case of happy feet.

Synopsis

On a blustery day in the Australian town of Junee, a deluge of DVD covers for the film 'Carolyn, The Musical' flood the usually quiet streets. After a town-wide viewing of this strange film, it is tasked upon the geriatric couple of Callie and James Ridley to 'send these bastards back where they came from', sparking an impromptu road trip to the faraway town of Yeppoon.

However, chaos emerges throughout Australia as swathes and swarms of 'entranced' people start to emerge, often attacking and infecting people through highly extravagant musical numbers, repeating a particular song from the film, called 'Carolyn In The Sky'. Callie, James and their fellow Juneesians must find the cure to this musical malady before Australia is turned into a land of dancing, prancing and romancing fools!

I’ve always thought that civilization would be kinder if people lived as if they were in a musical. What day wouldn’t be improved by a rousing chorus of “Mama Mia” at the bus stop or during a football game? Alas, in Jayke Luland’s short comedy, “Entranced,” a hypnotic movie musical sweeping across Australia is a diabolical plot for world domination. Not only that, but it is an awful movie.


This review contains an immediate caveat. To be fully appreciated, “Entranced” should be reviewed by an Australian, or somebody more fluent than I in the country’s geography, politics, and popular culture. Many references sent this Yank scrambling to Google for answers, an act which tends to blunt a passage’s humorous intent.


Junee is a “small, lackadaisical town” where “if Australia were to have an enema, they’d probably stick the nozzle into Junee.” One day 6,535 DVDs of the movie “Carolyn: The Musical” fall from the sky. After watching the movie, one citizen of Junee spontaneously launches into its song and dance routines.  


As their fellow Juneesians become afflicted, the bohemian “Kooky Callie” her racist husband, James, volunteer for a mission to dispose the DVDs in Yeppoon, “the faraway epicenter of bogans in Australia.” (Note to fellow Yanks: the Urban Dictionary defines “bogan” as the Australian equivalent to trailer trash.) En route, they discover that “Carolyn” mania has spread wherever they go. Meanwhile, back in Junee, a hippie and an environmental activist discover a unique cure for the epidemic.


“Enchanted” is pure absurdity from beginning to end, which at around 20,000 words, are not far apart. The humor mostly derives from utter narrative ridiculousness; for example, there’s an artist whose medium is urine, and a scene where the Great Barrier Reef vomits. There’s also a high body count, especially in one unfunny sequence where characters kill each other one after another. And there’s a lot of name-dropping, which even if I understood all the allusions, becomes tiresome.


Nevertheless, although sometimes buried beneath the insanity, “Enchanted” has moments of biting satire. For example, the mad millionaire behind the “Carolyn” plague designed it to “brainwash the lemmings of Australia’s proletariat class” and timed its release to the next electoral cycle. Opiate of the masses, anyone?


Overall, despite some quibbles, I found “Enchanted” a madcap lampoon compact enough to be read in one sitting, including pauses to laugh, or to look up something. 

Reviewed by

Gregg Sapp is author of the “Holidazed” satires. The first three books are “Halloween from the Other Side,” “The Christmas Donut Revolution,” and “Upside Down Independence Day,” with “Murder by Valentine Candy” forthcoming. Previous books are "Dollarapalooza" and “Fresh News Straight from Heaven.”

Synopsis

On a blustery day in the Australian town of Junee, a deluge of DVD covers for the film 'Carolyn, The Musical' flood the usually quiet streets. After a town-wide viewing of this strange film, it is tasked upon the geriatric couple of Callie and James Ridley to 'send these bastards back where they came from', sparking an impromptu road trip to the faraway town of Yeppoon.

However, chaos emerges throughout Australia as swathes and swarms of 'entranced' people start to emerge, often attacking and infecting people through highly extravagant musical numbers, repeating a particular song from the film, called 'Carolyn In The Sky'. Callie, James and their fellow Juneesians must find the cure to this musical malady before Australia is turned into a land of dancing, prancing and romancing fools!

4 April 2020 - Junee

It was a blustery afternoon in the small, lackadaisical town of Junee, and many of its residents were returning home after a long, arduous day of working mundane and menial jobs across the region. The day had been a miserable one, and now as an ominous dusk rolled into town, a long and dreary night loomed. With a sizeable storm forecast to hit at approximately five pm, many Juneesians were battening down the hatches and preparing for a long night of watching A Current Affair with a beer and a banger sanger.

An uncomplicated townsfolk, the most prestigious position that a Junee citizen could wish to attain was to become a moderately successful multi‑millionaire. But the only person who wanted that was five‑year‑old pre-schooler Tyrell Walton, who would later realise that no one from Junee could ever amount to anything, so he would have to settle for being an assistant janitor at the town library. Despite the disappointment one would expect from such a bleak future, it was actually one of the better paying jobs in the rural town, so Tyrell had a nifty forty‑thousand‑dollar‑a‑year salary to look forward to.

One of these uninspired Juneesian townsfolk—sixty‑five-year-old Callie Ridley—was the owner of the local Tools ‘n’ Fools hardware store. Callie, with her flower‑patterned blouse and peroxided hair, was a sharp-witted lass compared to the other Juneesians, primarily because she was rather cheery and upbeat, and not living in soul‑crushing agony, awaiting death, eternal damnation, and the new episode of Married at First Sight. A pearly-white smile in a sea of yellow, gritted teeth could be confronting for people unfamiliar with the region, and Callie was that ever‑confronting smile of sartorial resplendence.

Her fellow townsfolk called her ‘Kooky Callie,’ as her deviation from fashion orthodoxy was considered by many to be the first sign of her forthcoming derangement. With Callie displaying such heterodox interest and bizarre fashion ensembles, many locals had internally agreed that if she started listening to anything other than Lee Kernaghan or Adam Brand, the nearest mental hospital would become Callie’s place of residence in the foreseeable future.

Callie spent her days reading New‑Age self‑help books, drinking glasses of chardonnay, making chicken noodle soup and listening to podcasts of dodgy shamans promising to unlock the third eye for the reasonable price of $49.99 per month. It was a meagre existence but one of comfort and security. She didn’t seek an adventure; adventurers however often sought her, due to her aforementioned chicken noodle soup. She soldiered through, despite the lack of energy from her Juneesian counterparts, to run the best hardware store in all of Junee (the only hardware store for that matter) with her husband James Ridley. James, a former captain of the Junee Diesels, loved Bacardi Breezers, and had an unrepentant support for One Nation – stemming from his lack of cultural awareness and his personal attraction to Pauline Hanson, which, understandably, many found perplexing. He was often found working on his beloved Subaru Brumby, blissfully ignorant of the world outside Junee.

On this particular day, as Callie cleaned the store and prepared to go home to her beloved husband, she heard a loud thudding outside. She figured that this was either a passing hailstorm or some local hooligan scallywags loitering around the streets of Junee, so she ignored the noise and continued to clean the store. The thudding continued, and after five minutes of dealing with the persistent thuds, Callie decided to leave the warmth of the hardware store to see what was going on.

As she stepped outside, she gasped in shock as she stared at the streets of Junee, which were now seemingly deluged with wet DVD covers. In a scene out of a self‑aggrandising experimental film by Lars Von Trier or Alejandro Jodorowsky, the streets of Junee had turned into a large‑scale, five‑dollar bin as the mysterious DVDs fell from the sky, scattering through the streets of the town – admittedly a marked improvement from the feral cats that usually foraged through leftovers from the Broadway Street Café and cavorted with their Yorkshire Terrier counterparts.

Callie bent to pick up one of the DVDs, examining this strange item. Despite being a regular consumer of the cinematic arts, she didn’t recognise this DVD labelled Carolyn: The Musical. The cover featured an unidentified actress holding a Gray‑Nicolls cricket bat, but had no listed actors, director, rig operator, production company, grips and perhaps most bafflingly, no gaffer. It seemed like something the university kids in Wagga Wagga would make, thinking it would be a laugh to produce a four‑hour‑long experimental film, since they had a reputation of doing similar things in the past.

Something wasn’t right, and in her state of confusion Callie was determined to figure out what was going on. With a freshly boiled cup of chamomile tea, a small vial of what appeared to be oregano, and plenty of Scotch Finger biscuits in her hand, she ventured down to the local Athenaeum, ready to raise hell and concerns.

About the author

Jayke Luland is a 22 year old writer from regional Australia. With an interest in Film and Literature, he is looking to create wild tales of absurdity & satire. view profile

Published on December 15, 2020

20000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Action & Adventure

Reviewed by