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DIRECTED BY: Scott Zakarin

FEATURING: Jack Mulcahy, Courtney Kernaghan, Jonathan Goch

PLOT: Ashlee and Zack mysteriously share an imaginary friend, a being whom they must aid in a search for his medallion before the sun sets and the evil Vorock triumphs.

Still from Creating Rem Lazar (1989)

COMMENTS: This pint-lengthed movie hits above its weight in the realm of cringeful oddness. Filmed in the late 1980s, it has the hair extremes and the soft-n-smooth musical flair of a stone polished into a glassy spheroid. As a children’s movie, it features the inevitable amateurity found when young actors are thrust to the fore. Multi-cultural feel-good-ism gets an extended nod during a the protagonists’ Central Park encounter with a gang of flamboyant a-cappella greasers, who then move on to a hip-hop black fellow, with then a pair of fiddlers. And the aesthetics behind the titular hero’s ensemble might raise questions, were the viewer not struck dumb by the intense blue motif—blue lycra body suit, blue cape, and Rem Lezar’s mullet dyed blue to match. Creating Rem Lezar is a trial by Aghh, waltzing from one schmaltz piece to the next at a speed which leaves no room for the viewer to collect their wits. That said, presuming you can endure the vehicle, the various messages in this experiment are worthwhile.

Tykes Ashlee and Zach are day-dreamers, often in trouble at school and home for ignoring their surroundings in favor of spending time with a mutually manifested entity who comforts their fears and doubts. Rem Lezar’s creation—through sheer force of belief and cooperation by the youngsters—leads to many teachable moments. And despite his absurd appearance, Lezar has much wisdom to offer—to children in particular, and to people in general.

The pair of kids differ vociferously about how to overcome the challenge from the villain (an ’80s-FX malevolent head), prompting Lezar to calmly explain, “Differences of opinion are fine, and you have to stand behind what you believe. But you have to work together, and giving in a little doesn’t mean giving up.” Later, Zach complains about not fitting in, asking his hero why others have a hard time understanding him. Quite Socratically, Lezar asks the boy, “Why do you think others have a hard time understanding you?” This kicks off a moment of reflection on how comprehension needs to go both ways.

That, and many similar moments, left me with overall positive feelings about this little film. Every piece of advice on offer is sensible, thoughtfully phrased and communicated, and largely dispels the immediately preceding (and surrounding) obtuseness. There’s a lot of hate for this movie among reviewers, with much condemnation of the film’s alleged “creepiness.” This could hardly be further from the truth. Creating Rem Lezar often approaches insufferable, but I was relieved at how harmless the titular character proved to be, and delighted at how well-anchored the film is in regards to how we should treat one another. I only wish these sentiments hadn’t been buried under this mountain of expired cheese.


“Rem, I suppose, could be a reference to REM, or rapid eye movement, the phase of sleep where we have our most vivid dreams. Given the film’s bizarre, dreamlike nature, this seems to make some sense. On the other hand, the only explanation I can come up with for the word “lezar” is that it is the Creole word for ‘lizard,’ which makes a great deal less sense, unless Creating Rem Lezar is less a bizarre, misguided attempt at an empowering children’s film and more a story of a Lovecraftian, shape-shifting, nightmare-reptile which invades the dreams of impressionable youths, masquerading as an amiable–if somewhat inappropriately friendly–superhero, in a wicked plan to sow delusion and madness in the minds of poor, unsuspecting children through mind-numbingly awful sing-songs.” — Derek Miller, BadMovieRealm.Com

(This movie was nominated for review by Emil Hyde, who called it “quite possibly the worst/best/weirdest ‘children’s’ film ever made” and went on to add, “It’s not quality like most of the films on the list, but it is baffling on every level”. Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)

Where to watch Creating Rem Lezar

One thought on “CAPSULE: CREATING REM LEZAR (1989)”

  1. Addendum: nominator Emil called it quite well, and I tip my hat to their succinctness.

    I will reiterate a point here, our quoted “Other Critic” seems to have been unable to dig below the very challenging song-scape. The actually advice found in this TV special is tip-top, for both young and old.

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