I was bored and this happened. The rules are: 1) I have to have have heard of them; 2) they have to have been guests at someone’s house, not guests you’d hate to have. And that’s it. MASSIVE SPOILERS for Sweeney Todd, Orphan, Woman in Black (2012 film) and other things you should know the plot of by now. Seriously though, this will ruin Orphan for you. Buy the DVD off Amazon, it’s like £4 and highly recommended.
10) Antony Hope. Antony Hope is a pretty sweet kid. But what you really don’t need when you’ve lured your arch-nemisis into your lair and are about to slit his throat the last thing you need is some kid bursting in and loudly announcing that he’s eloping with said nemisis’s ward and… whoops, didn’t see you there Judge Turpin. Not to mention said ward is actually *your* teenage daughter.
Also given the lyrics to Johanna, I’m pretty sure he’d watch you sleep.
9) Mrs Doubtfire. It’s a charming kids’ movie right? Well how would you like it if your ex disguised himself as an old woman to spend time alone with your children, sabotage your relationship and mope about how he’s still in love with you? Sound creepy yet? Thought so.
Art Blastside. Art Blastside is a fairly obscure character from a YA book called Piratica by Tanith Lee (highly recommended). The basic premise is that sixteen year old Art recovers from amnesia with memories of her mother, the pirate Molly Faith: wise, daring, beautiful and dead. She runs away to London to find her mother’s old crew but her memories were confused: her mother was not a pirate but an actress playing a pirate and her old theatre troup are on hard times advertising ‘Pirate Coffee’.
The actors recognise their old friend’s daughter and take her in. But Art is as stubborn as her mother. She takes the protesting actors out to sea on their tiny prop coffee ship. The ship breaks apart not long out to sea, leaving them all floating somewhere in the English channel.
A passing ship picks them up and Art leads the pirate-actors in a mutiny, putting their rescuers in a lifeboat at gun point. Now I adore Piratica. Since I bought the book aged 14 I’ve taken it with me in every house I’ve ever lived in (impressive, given most of my books are still at my parent’s house). I firmly believe that Art Blastside is the kind of heroine young girl’s need (brave, clever, determined, flawed). But the fact she kind of screws over the people taking her in not just once but twice in the first few chapters makes Art Blastside the (eighth) worst house guest ever.
7) Peter Pan. Peter Pan’s a wonderful film right? A charming Disney film about enchantment and wonder. Actually it was a book before it was a film and a play before that. I’ve never had chance to see the play but the book is one of my favourites: I first read it at fifteen and was surprised at how funny and clever it was. And dark. Really dark.
Basically, Neverland is dangerous. The numbers of Lost Boys are kept stable because they keep dying when Peter forgets to come save them. The way I read this as a kid is that Peter Pan is awesome and can save anyone from pretty much anything in Neverland. Assuming he can be bothered.
You want this guy to come into your house and disappear with your children? Really?
6) Mary Poppins. In a time when philanthropists were campaigning to stop children being shoved up chimneys as a career, this nanny does it in the name of a musical number. Also, I dimly remember a scene where she denys having just won the animated derby and threatens to have the children arrested for slander. Mary Poppins: making your children doubt their own sanity since 1964.
I’d say more, but honestly she kind of scares me.
5) Esther (from Orphan). Esther starts off as the best and most adorable adopted daughter ever. She’s polite, picturesque (seriously, she has this china doll dress sense that makes me unsure whether I want to hug her or be her) and charming. Then she looses her shit. Among the edited highlights are attempting to date rape her adopted father, suffocating her adoptive brother (while wearing the most terrifying crazy-face I’ve ever seen) and clubbing a nun to death with a fucking hammer.
Also she’s a 33 year old Estonian dwarf. Just saying.
4) The Pensevie Family. While they seem innocent enough you just know they’d irritate you if you were stuck in a lift with them. Also they kind of overthrew the lead system of government in Narnia. Which was probably the right thing to do but it takes a certain type of person to be leading a rebel army withing a day of arriving in a place. They don’t tend to be the kind of person you want staying at your house.
Also, they will decamp to your house for the entire duration of the war. Do you really want to deal with all the ‘Aslan says…’ and ‘in Narnia…’s? Really?
3) Tamora, Queen of the Goths. Tamora is a warrior queen so it’s kind of hard for me to hate her. At least, it is until the scene where she incites her sons to use rape as a weapon. At that point she stops being a feminist icon. Her sons cut off the victim’s (her name is Lavina) hands and tongue but leave her alive. Later the whole visit her father’s house dressed as Rape, Murder and Revenge to taunt him during his increasingly public breakdown.
When someone comes to your house dressed as Rape, Murder or Revenge it’s usually a sign to hide behind the sofa until they go away. Or bake them into a pie. Whichever’s easier.
2) Gandalf. With great power comes great responsibility. Unless you live in Middle Earth, in which case it’s totally okay to use magic to dick with people. In the hobbit Gandalf meets Bilbo in the street, has what passes for a disagreement in the Shire and responds by etching a magic rune into his door (ruining the paintwork) that basically translates as ‘summon dwarf’. Thirteen hungry dwarves presently turn up unannounced, demanding to be fed and getting sarcastic when Bilbo doesn’t know about the incredibly random shit they keep talking about. He gets progressively more stressed as they eat him out of house and home and force him to wait on them and end the evening by singing a song about how they’re going to smash up all his stuff. And then they bully him into going to rob a dragon.
Gandalf was the original Worst. House Guest. Ever but during a recent film I found someone who was even worse than Mr. Organises-Parties-In-Your-House-Without-Asking-Or-Knowing-You
1) The Woman in Black. Worse than 13 hungry dwarves.
To elaborate. Adoption by rich relative was by far not the worst fate that could happen to an illegitimate child in Victorian England. Living with said family was not the worst thing that could happen to its (in this case his) mother. And while the Woman did end up in an asylum it’s a chicken and egg argument about whether she was crazy before she got there.
In any case, a house guest who goes violently insane, scrawls across the walls in unidentified red liquid and then hangs themself in the nursery is not going to be the highlight of any garden party. Especially not if they spend the next however long killing all the local children and forcing their spirits to haunt visiting lawyers who are just trying to do their job.
So. Now you know not to invite to your fantasy dinner party. Next time: the ones who didn’t make the list.