“They got little hands/Little eyes/They walk around/Tellin’ great big lies . . . They got grubby little fingers/And dirty little minds/They’re gonna get you every time.” Surely, Randy Newman didn’t have in mind this poster for William Castle’s long forgotten Deliciously Grotesque . . . oops, I mean, sorry, I need my bifocals . . oh, right, Shanks, when he penned his 1977 hit “Short People,” but now that I’ve seen this image I doubt I’ll ever be able to separate the two. If there’s anything stranger than Newman’s endlessly controversial (really?!) ode to all the little people out there, it’s certainly this odd bit of business starring none other than Mr. Mime himself, Marcel Marceau, in two roles: as a scientist reanimating dead animals and his puppeteer assistant. Yes. That’s what it’s about. Oh, and it’s also a rape-revenge story, apparently. (Wait, this is PG-rated?) How this all plays out onscreen is anyone’s guess (perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not available on DVD), though if you have inside information, please step forward. Until then, I just have the wonders of this one-sheet to stoke my amusement. Without the help of internet search engines I might have assumed this “new concept in the macabre” featured a youthfully goofy Al Pacino as a devil-may-care undertaker . . . albeit one who specializes in adorable, teeny-tiny caskets that he tucks under his opposable thumb-arms. While not as oddly erotic as the original M*A*S*H poster, this one is perhaps my new favorite in the subgenre of fingers-as-legs graphics. Time Out‘s film guide calls Shanks (SHANKS!!) a “genuine weirdie.” Come on, Paramount, stop sitting on your hands and open the vaults. You’re sitting on a goldmine.
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