Labyrinth Turns 30: A Look Back

With the classic adventure film Labyrinth turning 30 today, we tasked SFN‘s team coordinator and Bowie mega-fan Jess Sharpe to give a few words about this massive cult classic.

“How you turned my world, you precious thing. You starve and near exhaust me”

Jim Henson‘s adventure musical fantasy film Labyrinth celebrates its 30th birthday and after the heartbreak that February bought by the death of the goblin king himself David Bowie, a look back on this cult crazed film is muchly needed. On a film that had a $25 million budget it did struggle at the box office unfortunately only making just over half of the budget but through the years Labyrinth has always been one of those films that has made its way into the families video collection.

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Labyrinth is the story of 16 year old Sarah’s journey through the mysterious world of the Labyrinth to get back her baby brother Toby from the lair of the Goblin King, as she makes her way through the wonders of the Labyrinth she encounters many strange beings along the way.

You talk to anyone nowadays and try and find someone who hasn’t seen this film and you will struggle (unless you talk to SFN staff photographer James Ainsworth who we had to force him to which is just pure blasphemy if you ask me) and in past interview both leads Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie have both mentioned how they both would still get noticed years after by children’s as Sarah and The Goblin King, which is just heartwarming to know that such a classic film is still watched to this day.

Released on the 27 June 1986 at the London premiere the crowd contained many popular faces such as the Prince and Princess of Wales alongside director Jim Henson, conceptual and costume designer Brian Froud, Jennifer Connelly who at the time was only 15 years of age, just imagine achieving being a part of something like that at such a young age, it’s just amazing.

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Jennifer Connelly in Labyrinth.

Now realistically it would seem foolish to write an article on Labyrinth and not go on about the wonder of a man that is the Goblin King, David Bowie the pure magic of this man made it no surprise that he got the role even though he wasn’t the first considered role for the film he bought so much to this film that you just couldn’t see anyone else ever filling his shoes, the way he portrayed this character and the costumes he had for it, the main attire of the film the white shirt and waistcoat and those ever so tight grey pants that created the wonder of the “Bowie Bulge” (crude but couldn’t go unmentioned) this marvel of man was the Goblin King and forever will be.

This film has to be one of my all time favourite films, even from a young age it was the film I would watch over and over again and would never get bored of it. It was one of the first video tapes I ever bought. It was that film that set off my Bowie obsession and every night I would chant for the Goblin King to come and take me away, which at 5 years old is rather concerning for my mum to hear but I just loved him and loved that film so much I wanted to be in that film. This film helped create me as a person it made me always want to try and believe there was more that meets the eye in life it helped me develop my creativity in everything I do, just one of the many reasons I adore Bowie was the way he would change his looks and characteristic to create such amazing things.

One of my personal favourite characters from the film is in-fact Ludo, yes they had a fully functional animatronic Ludo, that just sums up the whole magic and creativity of this film who else would think of something like that apart from the genius who was Jim Henson. If you haven’t seen this film just watch it just for Ludo such a lovable creature, will just make your day.

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There were rumours of a sequel but pre-production for it where always pushed back due to the death of director Jim Henson and with the recent death of David Bowie, I doubt there will ever be a sequel which is a shame but to think of someone trying to fill those pants would be a tricky task to complete. So for now we should all relive and marvel in the classic mystical fantasy of the Labyrinth.

Words by Jessica Jayne Sharpe, photo credit to LucasFilm, TriStar and Disney.

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