Blog, Candy, Deep Thoughts, Food, Movies — September 13, 2013 2:37 pm

Deep Thoughts: Slugworth

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There was always something about the ending of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory that left me feeling unsatisfied.  For years, I turned off the TV early to avoid whatever caused that sensation in my mind.  After a recent viewing, it finally occurred to me what the problem is: Slugworth.

slugworth01Slugworth doing his Slugworth thing in a dark alley.

The first thirty minutes of the movie really hype up this mystery man known only as Slugworth, billed as Willy Wonka’s arch-nemesis.  Every time a child finds a golden ticket to enter Wonka’s candy palace, Slugworth is coincidentally on the scene.  A few times throughout the tour of the chocolate factory, his name and presence come up.  Obviously, viewers are supposed to take strong mental note of him, as if there is some impending major battle at the end of the film… but it never happens.

Instead, Slugworth finally shows up in the last few minutes only to be dismissed as Wonka’s sole human employee.  The guy gives a thumbs up and that’s it!  No more explanation.  No real pay-off.

slugworth03An elaborate cover-up?

I suppose the average viewer doesn’t think much of this, but I am no average viewer.  Instead, I’ve been lost in thought over the last few weeks as to what his role really is in the Wonka company.  My hunch?  I suspect Wonka hired Slugworth to plant the golden tickets after personally researching each winner-to-be.  None of the ticket holders got in the factory by pure chance, which explains why Slugworth was always around when a winner was revealed.

Even Slugworth’s theme is sinister.

Unfortunately, even that relatively simple explanation doesn’t satisfy me!  Is there really even a person named Slugworth?  Is Slugworth a real chocolate company?  Does Wonka own both the Wonka company and the Slugworth company?  Is the story of Slugworth’s espionage past just a clever cover up to distract people from realizing the monopoly held by Wonka?  Or, in an even great twist of fate, what if Wonka is Slugworth’s puppet?  Would that mean Wonka isn’t really Wonka?  Perhaps, the man we know as Wonka is actually Slugworth!

This train of thought just gets deeper and deeper and deeper…

Additionally, there is never an explanation offered as to who the scary guy that Charlie encounters is.  Could that be the real Slugworth/Wonka?  A former employee?  Someone who asked too many questions trying to warn Charlie?

This happens to me all the time.

In all seriousness, I don’t know if this is a flick I should keep watching.  Along with Back to the Future and Ghostbusters II, I’ve seen Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory more times than any other movie out there.  It’s easy to get caught up in the dark underworld of details that lay between the lines of plot and candy-coated magic when you’ve seen a film so many times.

Am I the only one losing sleep over this?

2 Comments

  • I, like you, have seen this movie more times than I can count. Even to the point where I know the words to the “Cheer Up Charlie” song. But this post opened my eyes to something I never thought about – other than thinking it was just some horrible way of dealing with a plot hole the writers failed to patch. To think that Wonka could actually be a puppet and Slugworth is some sort of ghost figure, running the whole show from behind the curtain. That makes everything seem so sinister. I love it! Great post.

  • I, like you, have seen this movie more times than I can count. Even to
    the point where I know the words to the “Cheer Up Charlie” song. But
    this post opened my eyes to something I never thought about – other than
    thinking it was just some horrible way of dealing with a plot hole the
    writers failed to patch. To think that Wonka could actually be a puppet
    and Slugworth is some sort of ghost figure, running the whole show from
    behind the curtain. That makes everything seem so sinister. I love it!
    Great post.

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