Horror fans who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s almost all talk about The Neverending Story like a kind of gateway drug into horror. Though thoroughly disguised as a benign fairy tale for children, the film was populated by a cornucopia of bizarre and nerve-shredding terrors. Is it any wonder it’s remained an enduring cult classic, even lauded by today’s most hardened gorehounds.
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Our favorite Australian film critic/comedian Mark Bishop’s latest video Top 10 list is all about The Neverending Story! From the film’s literary roots to the unlikely careers of the 3 lead actors, it’s a nostalgic and entertaining romp down Memory Lane. Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the Comments section!
If you can’t stream, the 10 things you probably never knew about The Neverending Story are briefly summarized below the video. At the bottom, you can peep the original trailer and synopsis for The Neverending Story. Enjoy!
1. There actually is a book called The Neverending Story; the German fantasy novel was written by Michael Ende and first published in 1979.
2. Though often assumed shot in England, most of The Neverending Story was filmed in Munich, Germany.
3. Many pop-cultural characters live in Fantasia. In the scene where residents assemble at the Ivory Tower to seek council with The Empress, you can find Gumby, E.T., Mickey Mouse, Ewoks, C3PO, Chewbacca, and Yoda.
4. Artex’s drowning is far and away the most traumatizing moment of The Neverending Story. It took 7 weeks to train the horse to stand still in the neck-deep water, as it’s the animal’s natural tendency to jump out.
5. Noah Hathaway, the young actor who played Atreyu, almost lost an eye in an on-set accident. It was actually while filming his climactic battle with the Gmork, when the wolf-beast’s animatronic paw slashed him across the face.
6. Steven Spielberg was involved in the US production of The Neverending Story, working with director Wolfgang Petersen during the editing process.
7. The actress who played the Childlike Empress, Tami Stronach, had just lost her two front teeth before filming began. Rather than have a toothless Empress, the director had her fitted with false front teeth.
8. The three lead child actors all went on to have successful careers, though not in acting. Noah Hathaway became a martial arts instructor and a tattoo artist based out of Los Angeles; Tami Stronach is a New York-based dancer and choreographer; and Barret Oliver (Bastian) is a talented author and photographer.
9. The film only cover the first half of the book, as a sequel was always intended. Unfortunately, it didn’t materialize until 1990, meaning all the young lead actors had to be replaced. It also lacked the magical sincerity of the first film.
10. The author hates the movie. Michael Ende called it “revolting” and demanded that his name be removed from the credits. He was most embarrassed by the topless sphynx characters.
Official Synopsis: On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The Neverending Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him to survive.
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