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Friday 28 June 2019

Symbolism of American McGee's Alice, Part Two

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice, released in 2011, continuing the story of Alice Liddell’s dark journey back down the rabbit hole and through a shattered looking glass. The game balances Alice venturing through the realms of Victorian London and Wonderland, uncovering a murder mystery and a much dark, grimmer reality behind the house fire that killed her family. The game has many themes related to Alice’s mindset, but also the world and culture around her during one of the most progressive but miserable of times for British citizens.

Please note this essay contains content of a graphic nature in relation to this video game’s plot. Reader discretion is advised.

The game takes place a year after the first. Alice Liddell lost her family to a housefire, and fell into a ten-year long catatonic state from the trauma. In Rutledge Asylum, Alice eventually stirred, going on a battle through her subconscious to liberate Wonderland from the Queen of Hearts’ corruption, overcoming her madness and guilt. Whilst the first game ended on a high note, it turns out Alice had a relapse. Now downtrodden and teetering on the edge of sanity, Alice stays in a London orphanage. She has daily sessions with Dr. Angus Bumby, a child therapist who uses hypnosis to help deal with traumatic memories.

Alice comes to the conclusion that the house fire wasn’t an accident, and may have been orchestrated to cover up another crime. Meanwhile, Wonderland faces existential destruction by the Infernal Train, a hellish locomotive built by the March Hare and the Dormouse. The train churns out the Ruin, monstrous, oily, doll-faced abominations, corrupting Wonderland.

Through fragmented memories and prodding from the characters in her mind, Alice realises Dr. Bumby is the mastermind behind the fire, in a long-winded crime spree of murder, rape, and child abuse. As a young man, Bumby was infatuated with Alice’s sister Lizzie, but wasn’t subtle in what he wanted. Bumby stalked Lizzie, and tried using his hypnotherapy sessions with her to get away with assaulting her. He was rejected, prompting Dr. Bumby to break into Alice’s house, rape Lizzie, lock her in her room using a key given to him by Alice’s father for his therapy sessions, and then burnt the house down to cover up his crimes. Alice survived, actually seeing Bumby in her house and then outside, but the memory was forgotten.

We later learn that Dr. Bumby began pimping orphaned children, erasing their memories, and turning them into prostitutes, claiming he is simply serving “all appetites” in the Industrial Era-London. Yeah, this is a pretty dark, disturbing video game. Alice sensed something was wrong, though she was too wrapped in her own trauma to notice. As such, the Infernal Train was created by weakened parts of her mind and set loose through Alice’s sessions with Dr. Bumby. It could be speculated that a part of Alice’s psyche wanted her traumatic memories to be removed, allowing Dr. Bumby to start erasing her mind. But, Alice eventually realises something is wrong and begins a journey through Wonderland and London to uncover the truth.

The game’s story begins with the rather nasty death of the White Rabbit, who warns Alice that something is amiss, specifically that she has dormant memories regarding the fire, but that she has noticed the prostitution of her fellow orphans. Alice wanders the streets of London, stalked by spectres of the Jabberwock, the personification of her guilt. She winds up back in Wonderland where her journey truly begins.

Her first stop is the Vale of Tears, a lingering, lush vestige of her old, innocent Wonderland, filled with giant toys, weird critters, and a giant crying statue of Alice – a subtle nod that her subconscious knows the truth and is sobbing over her own ignorance. The Cheshire Cat, Alice’s conscience, guides her to the Vorpal Blade, left in the bones of the dead Jabberwock, symbolising how Alice overcame her guilt.

This is where we meet both the Insane Children and the Ruin, two sides of the same coin. The Insane Children represent the orphans and how they are suffering at Dr. Bumby’s hands. The children are put through the Infernal Train, coming out as the Ruin. By-products of the train, the Ruin are oily, mechanical, doll-faced monsters, in constant pain, and stripped of their humanity, representing the pimped children. They are “fed” to London, the Infernal Train resembling a neverending, hellish convoy of gothic city buildings. The Insane Children hide away, leaving invisible messages for Alice to find.

There are ongoing themes of abuse throughout Wonderland that hint at what Dr. Bumby has been doing to the children; in the dodos in the Hatter’s Domain, plugged into machinery to never stop working, the paper ants in the Oriental Grove who are murdered by wasps, and the oysters/fish in the Deluded Depths, who are eaten by the Walrus.

Alice reaches the Mad Hatter’s domain, now ruled by the March Hare and Dormouse, who have turned the place into an industrial factory to build the Infernal Train. This whole levels represents the dark side of the Industrial Revolution, with an army of Dodos being used as a workmen without any care for their welfare. The March Hare and Dormouse represent the parts of Alice’s mind influenced by Dr. Bumby to erase her memories. The Mad Hatter, Alice’s self-preservation, has been taken apart and scattered around the factory to let Alice’s mind be infiltrated by Dr. Bumby’s influence. Alice repairs him to start taking back control of her subconscious. Though Alice beats the March Hare and Dormouse, the Infernal Train is let loose.

The next portion of Alice’s journey occurs in the frozen sea of Tundraland, created when Alice is knocked “out cold” by a pimp named Jack Splatter. Though beautiful, it is also cold and dangerous, with Splatter symbolising a frozen sun, a cold, unfeeling, influential presence. Alice finds the Mock Turtle, formerly in charge of the Looking Glass Railway, now captain of the HMS Gryphon. They flee underwater, but sharks wreck the ship. The Mock Turtle still represents Alice’s sorrow, but also her empathy, scolding Alice for ignoring the sufferings of others around her.

The Deluded Depths is an underwater community built by the Carpenter, but is truly a place of depravity and madness, literally symbolising Alice’s descent into madness. The Walrus and the Carpenter own a theatre and put on macabre shows, referencing freakshows and how the handicapped were treated in the Victoria era. The Walrus represents the brutality behind these shows, the voyeurism of Victorian-era society, and again, alluding to the cruelty of the prostitution going on behind Alice’s back.

The Carpenter is a theatrical, easily distracted fool with a flair for dramatics, but is shrewd and devious. He sends Alice on a wild goose chase to assemble the pieces for his upcoming play, though this is a distraction so he and the Walrus can gorge themselves silly on fish through gruesome means. Alice soon realises she has been tricked, learning the devious duo sank ships and killed sailors to build the Deluded Depths. The Carpenter symbolises Alice’s ignorance, more interested in his show and theatrics, using the illusion of the stage to distract Alice. However, when Alice confronts the Carpenter, she learns he is more of a well-intentioned figure.

He sends her on the wild goose chase, hoping to deter her curiosity but to also avoid drawing in the Infernal Train by murdering fish to go along with the destructive effects on Alice’s mind. He created the Deluded Depths to save a part of her mind, appeasing the Walrus’ gluttony and trying to look like he was involved in the destruction of Alice’s mind to evade the notice of the train. The Carpenter pushes Alice to safety when the train arrives, freeing her from her ignorance, opening her mind to the idea that she has been deceived and someone is trying to erase her memories.

Alice speaks with her family solicitor, Mr. Radcliffe, retrieving her toy rabbit. She returns to the Vale of Tears, now an apocalyptic wasteland destroyed by the train. She follows the voice of the Caterpillar, her personified logic, wisdom, and common sense. She follows it to a large insect mount, shrinking down to scale it to find the dormant Caterpillar. The Oriental Grove is based on Radcliffe’s taste for all things oriental, where the Caterpillar is worshipped as a god by the victimised ants.

Alice finds the Caterpillar in a cocoon. He advises her to find the Queen of Hearts, who hides the secret truth related to the fire. He then hatches out of the cocoon, now a butterfly. Butterflies are a recurring motif in the game, using in a specific gameplay move that lets Alice move around quickly, and she bursts into a flock of them when she dies in-game. Butterflies can signify transformation, change, life, and hope. The Caterpillar becoming a butterfly symbolises Alice changing herself, opening her eyes to the bigger world around her.

Our journey takes us to Queensland, the former seat of the Queen of Hearts, and the centre of Alice’s mind. Alice’s mind is crumbling and the Queen’s influence as the centre of the mind is dying. Alice is stalked by the Executioner, a scythe-wielding guard who is unstoppable and invulnerable to harm. He symbolises Alice’s rage and a desire for death, or to be punished. However, Alice finds an “Eat Me” cake and grows to the size of a giant, symbolising her newfound confidence and empowerment, and squishes the Executioner beneath her foot.

The Queen of Hearts hides at the “heart” of her crumbling empire, formerly the source of Alice’s madness and rage, but now serves another purpose, hiding her childhood memories of the fire. She is the dark side of Alice’s mind; the perfect place to hide subconscious knowledge. The Queen resembles either a young Alice, or her sister Lizzie, both being the first victims of Dr. Bumby. Lizzie was raped by Dr. Bumby and then locked in her room to die, though it is possible she was murdered beforehand. The Queen is locked away, angry that Alice allowed Dr. Bumby’s alter ego, the Dollmaker, to succeed her in the role of Alice’s mirror image.

When Alice expresses her relief of being rid of the Queen, the latter responds by devouring Alice, drawing her into what I assume is an illusionary scenario where Alice has had a relapse and returned to Rutledge Asylum, but is beyond help. Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear, performing medieval practices on Alice to try and cure her mind (i.e. using leeches, drilling into the brain, etc.) The likely symbolise Alice’s memories of her time in Rutledge, and her fear of being tormented again, but also of her own current torment at the hands of Dr. Bumby. She also meets visions of other characters, including Dr. Bumby, who pretty much states he has been manipulating Alice, opening the girl to realising what has happened.

Alice escapes her hallucination, eventually winding up in the Dollhouse, a place likely created by the Dollmaker, symbolising the true nature of his orphanage. It looks innocent enough, with giant dollhouses filled with toys, fences made of giant pencils, and huge dolls everywhere. However, it is actual quite dreadful. The houses contain furniture made from doll parts, and the giant dolls have entrances to other parts of the land through their mouths or where their private parts would be, revealing the horrific abuse behind the orphanage’s doors.

Within the depths of the Dollhouse, Alice finds the nightmarish workshop of the Dollmaker, who is how she personifies Dr. Bumby’s cruelty and true self – a manipulative, unfeeling, lecherous monster, with enormous grasping hands like those of a puppeteer, and bleeding oil from his eyes, representing the constant misery he consumes others in. We see the Dollmaker capturing the Insane Children, turning them into mindless dolls, and feeding them to the Infernal Train, which spits them out as the Ruin, symbolising the cycle of prostitution the children go through.

Alice now knows most of the secrets her Wonderland friends were trying to guide her too. The Dollmaker transforms Alice into a doll, but she is marked with the Greek symbol of Omega, which is associated with great power. This symbolises Alice’s true power over her own mind, allowing her to break free from her doll form.

In the real world, Alice confronts Dr. Bumby, who is waiting in a train station for his next patient. He proudly boasts of his crimes, keeping the key to Lizzie’s bedroom a momentum of his first victim. In Wonderland, Alice boards the Infernal Train, encountering her friends along the way, who scold her for her ignorance, but now personify different parts of her guilt.

The Mad Hatter blames Alice for not realising that Dr. Bumby was trying to erase her memories. This further points to the Hatter being Alice’s self-preservation, which, if not in pieces, would have known something was wrong (“I’d like to forget what you did. I’ve tried, but I can’t.”) The Caterpillar instils Alice’s guilt for not recognising the suffering of the orphans, and how bystanders, who do nothing to intervene in a crime, can be just as guilty as the culprits. Finally, the Queen of Hearts reveals to Alice that Lizzie was raped, which young Alice didn’t understand was going on at the time of the fire. Alice then confronts the Dollmaker in the train’s engine, and is able to destroy him. The engine also features the Omega symbol again, representing the battle for dominance within Alice’s mind.

In the real world, Dr. Bumby dismisses Alice as a madwoman with little evidence to vilify him. Alice goes to leave, but steals back her sister’s key. She then turns around, and from Dr. Bumby’s point of view, we see Alice has become her idealised Wonderland self. This could be interpreted as Dr. Bumby either going mad, or “seeing” Alice’s true self, overcoming his control to defy him. Alice then pushes Dr. Bumby onto the tracks and he is killed by a timely, karmic train.

In the closing scene, Alice steps out of the train station and finds herself in a strange fusion of London and Wonderland, referred to as “Londerland”. This implies her mind is, for now, at rest, and she can live both in reality and her dream world. The Cheshire Cat gives a closing speech, commenting that Alice has overcome her pain, learning to endure and face it, rather than conveniently forget it. As he puts it, “Wonderland is safe…for now.”

A third game called Alice: Otherlands was meant to be released, but was reworked into a couple of short animated films, where Alice crosses paths with famous 19th century historical figures. It is revealed that Londerland is a dreamscape that has granted Alice a superpower of some kind that lets her traverse the subconscious of other people…somehow. I suppose this is meant to show that Alice has overcome her trauma and madness, forming a type of lucidity.

Nowadays, American McGee is using Patreon to plan out a prequel called Alice Asylum, featuring a traumatised young Alice dealing with the fallout of her family’s death, getting to a point where her mind will be ready to confront her madness.

Monday 10 June 2019

Symbolism of American McGee's Alice, Part One

American McGee’s Alice is a 2000 video game, created by American McGee, popular for its dark, creepy storyline, and fantastic visuals used to create a nightmarish version of Wonderland. Exploring the fractured subconscious mind of Alice Liddell, the game presents a darker, twisted version of Alice’s world, as goes on a journey to overcome her fears, guilt, and madness. This particular version of Alice in Wonderland has gained quite the following, and one of the best “grimmifications” of iconic fairy tale/children’s books. The game gained a sequel, Alice: Madness Returns in 2011, a small collection of short animated films, Alice Otherlands, and may gain a prequel called Alice Asylum, if things go well and interest is high.

In the game, Alice Liddell is thrown into a trauma-induced comatose state when her family die in a house fire. We see in the opening scene that Alice’s cat Dinah may have caused the fire, though this is later retconned in the second game. Alice is institutionalised in Rutledge Asylum, where she remains for ten years in her unresponsive state. She is cared for by her psychiatrist Dr. Wilson, the original game released with a fictional case file written by Wilson. Events and characters in the asylum imprint upon Alice’s psyche.

A nurse reunites Alice with her lost toy rabbit, stirring Alice’s mind, leading her subconscious self to appear within a ruined Wonderland, ruled by the tyrannical, monstrous Queen of Hearts. Alice’s journey involves her acknowledging and overcoming her self-imposed survivor’s guilt and belief she is responsible for the fire.

Let’s talk about Alice herself before we follow her down the rabbit hole. Her subconscious self resembles her physical appearance, sporting her iconic blue dress and white pinafore. Her pockets have astrological symbols on them – the symbol of Jupiter, the Roman king of gods, and Eris, goddess of chaos and strife. Jupiter’s symbol represents Alice’s power and being the true ruler of Wonderland, whilst Eris represents Alice’s madness, and the chaotic nature of Wonderland. She also wears a necklace shaped like the Greek letter Omega, which can relate to great power.

Alice’s journey has heavy themes of loss. She collects a number of weapons to kill her enemies, but these tools are actually exaggerated toys, representing her lost childhood, and how she has yet to mature psychologically, thus her toys are now weapons. Her iconic weapon is the Vorpal Blade, a legendary sword that killed the Jabberwock, reimagined as a kitchen knife.

Upon landing in Wonderland, Alice reunites with two of her friends, the White Rabbit, and the Cheshire Cat. Both have seen better days, being quite skinny, withered, and creepy. The White Rabbit represents Alice’s toy rabbit, her innocence/childhood, and connects her to her family. He scolds Alice for being late, hinting at how Alice has wanted to wake up from her coma for so long.

The Cheshire Cat serves as Alice’s companion throughout the story, often giving advice through his macabre humour, and knows many secrets that Alice must recognise herself. He likely represents Alice’s conscience or inner self, the voice that she has been unable to hear for so long. This explains why the cat looks so emaciated and bony, and his habit of phasing in and out of existence. Every character in Wonderland appears to have a counterpart in the asylum. In the Cheshire Cat’s case, it is a mangy stray cat Dr. Wilson catches multiple times tending to Alice, hinted to be a surviving Dinah.

An early level in the game involves Alice going to a twisted school to create a “drink me” shrinking potion, representing her lost education and another part of her life gone. Alice travels to the Vale of Tears, once a pool she made by crying, now a large flowing river, her sorrow and grief overflowing. She meets the Mock Turtle, whose shell was stolen by the cannibalistic Duchess. The Turtle represents Alice’s sense of loss, sorrow, and depression. Alice agrees to retrieve the stolen shell, in order to learn the location of the Caterpillar.

After travelling upriver, Alice comes to the Duchess’ house, formerly owned by Bill the Lizard, who is now a cowardly, alcoholic chameleon. His changing shade of colour represents Alice’s changing, unpredictable mind, and a portion of her fears. Alice is sucked into the house and fights the gluttonous, cannibalistic ogre of a Duchess. The Duchess is addicted to black pepper, perhaps symbolising Alice’s own subconscious addiction to remaining on medication and staying in her induced state. The Duchess ends up sneezing so much that her head explodes.

Alice finds the White Rabbit again who escorts her to meet the Caterpillar, who is the revered wiseman and leader of the resistance against the Queen. However, a giant, actually the Mad Hatter, deliberately steps on the White Rabbit. The Hatter, partially representing Alice’s trauma in the asylum, is literally trying to stomp out her stirring mind, keeping her docile. The Rabbit’s death symbolises the loss of Alice’s last connection to her family, and she curses how everyone she loves dies “violent and unnaturally”. All the characters who die in Wonderland perish in such a manner.

We meet the Caterpillar next, who is more straightforward with Alice rather than speaking in riddles as usual. He tells Alice she must defeat the Jabberwock, the Queen’s champion, using a weapon called the Jabberwock’s Eye Staff. Afterward, he sends her to find a large mushroom which will restore her to her full size, and expand her mind’s lucidity. The mushroom is guarded by the Voracious Centipede, an aggressive, warmongering brute who sports a German war helmet. This character serves as another obstacle in her mind, a personified desire to be punished with violence.

The next destination is the Pale Realm, an enormous chessboard where the white and red chess pieces are at war. The revered White Queen is taken prisoner, and beheaded by the Red King using a guillotine. This may be a reference to Marie Antoinette, executed during the Reign of Terror, symbolised as what was wrong with the old regime of 19th century France. In Alice’s case, the White Queen represents her maternity, femininity, and empowerment. The Red King is one shade of Alice’s guilt, blaming her past actions, and sense of prior self-assertion. Alice believes she was selfish and ignorant as a child, lost in her dreams where she could be a queen. Luckily, Alice is able to overcome the Red King, and by the rules of chess, resurrects the White Queen – once again finding empowerment within her own mind.

Alice then gets knocked out and captured by the Mad Hatter, once an ally, now an enemy. The Hatter now runs a mockery of Rutledge Asylum, where his old friends, and several insane children (who play a larger role in the second game), are tortured and transformed into automatons. The Dormouse in particular remains oblivious to his own suffering, and is constantly drowsy, symbolising Alice's unwillingness to wake up and face her trauma. These torturous methods likely represent Alice’s treatment in the asylum, especially the unpleasant methods of the 19th century. The state of being turned into automatons symbolises Alice’s fear of being locked in her coma forever, unable to think, move, or feel.

The Hatter is aided by the Tweedles, who represent the cruelty of the asylum’s abusive orderlies. In Dr. Wilson’s casebook, he mentions multiple times that Alice is mistreated by two bungling orderlies, who happen to be brothers, and are related to the asylum’s snobbish superintendent, who is the Hatter’s inspiration.

The Hatter is obsessed with time, stealing the White Rabbit’s pocket watch, which allows him to freeze or slow down time. His laboratory/asylum is shaped like a large domed clock. The Mad Hatter ultimately represents Alice’s fears and self-preservation, terrified of running out of time and dying, or remaining trapped in her comatose state. The Mad Hatter is revealed to be mechanical in nature, representing Alice’s loss of self, unable to escape her trauma in either world. Alice overcomes her fears by defeating the Hatter.

At this point, Alice’s subconscious begins to remember the night of the fire, creating the volcanic Land of Fire and Brimstone. She finds a burnt out replica of her house, where the Jabberwock waits for her. The Jabberwock is bio-mechanical, implied to have been rebuilt by the Mad Hatter, representing Alice’s dominating survivor’s guilt. She has placed this monster in her path to come to terms with, confront, defeat, or give in to the guilt. The Jabberwock is very blunt and damning towards Alice, unforgiving in his words towards her for “letting” her family die. He is trying to convince Alice that it is her fault and to surrender to her trauma. He is a part of Alice that hates herself, and believes she should be punished.

You selfish, misbegotten, and unnatural child! You smelt the smoke, but you were in dream land taking tea with your friends. You couldn't be bothered. Your room was protected and spared, while your family upstairs roasted in incredible and unimaginable horror!

The heroic Gryphon, freed by Alice from the Hatter’s asylum, rescues her and rips out one of the Jabberwock’s eyes, completing the Eye Staff. The Gryphon represents Alice’s courage and willpower, becoming her champion to defeat the Jabberwock. Prior to going into battle, Alice can meet Humpty Dumpty, who gives her the powerful blunderbuss. Though his head is fractured and his wall is ruined, Humpty Dumpty appears rather relaxed, giving Alice the strongest weapon in the game, perhaps a sign of her recovering mind.

Alice leads the army of resistance into Queensland, the hellish domain of the Queen of the Hearts. The Queen’s red, inhuman tentacles stretch across the whole of Wonderland, corrupting Alice’s mind, symbolising her lingering madness. The Queen is at the heart of Alice’s mind, serving as the source or host of her trauma and a majority of her negative emotions. Her tentacles are like the arteries of her heart. 

The Gryphon and the Jabberwock have a skyward battle, battling for dominance of Alice’s mind – guilt versus willpower. Unfortunately, the Jabberwock wins and kills the Gryphon, scoffing at Alice for believing she could overcome her guilt so quickly. However, he is proven wrong when Alice uses newfound willpower to fight back and slay the Jabberwock. While this doesn’t eliminate her trauma and guilt, it allows Alice to banish such desires for self-destruction and punishment from her mind.

Alice and the Cheshire Cat traverse the Queen’s castle before coming to the throne room. Outside, the cat warns Alice that she and the Queen of Hearts cannot both survive in Wonderland, being two parts of the same mind. He isn’t stating that Alice could die, but rather her mind cannot heal if she is at war with herself. The Queen assassinates the Cheshire Cat, banishing Alice’s conscience so she can face her madness alone.

The Queen of Hearts is a nightmarish abomination, a blood red monster made entirely of tentacles, who can levitate and has psychic powers, symbolising her rule over Alice’s mind. But, her mask-like face slides off during the battle, hinting that the Queen is merely a puppet for another entity. Alice defeats the Queen of Hearts, whose body is sucked through a wall, revealing a purely demonic creature within. This is technically still the Queen of Hearts, but actually personifies Alice’s madness. This monster opens her mouth, revealing the Hatter’s face inside, symbolising how Alice is preserving her madness to keep herself suffering. The Hatter then opens his mouth, revealing Alice’s own face – her true traumatised self revealed.

The Queen chastises Alice, warning her that Wonderland “is for grown ups”, and that “self-pitying dreamers” cannot survive, threatening to destroy Alice should she linger. This is effectively Alice’s traumatised mind screaming at her childish, virtuous, idealistic avatar to accept their loss, to give up, and wallow in her madness. The source of her despair, rage, misery, and trauma personified as a huge, fleshy abomination, a Lovecraftian-esque creation of Alice that has built up power over time and one she must overcome.

But, Alice’s journey has been fruitful, and she is able to destroy the Queen of Hearts and overcome her madness. As the Cheshire Cat mentioned, Alice could not survive whilst psychologically at war with herself, which turned out to be a literal statement. The game ends with Wonderland and all of her dead friends being restored, and Alice is seen departing Rutledge Asylum with suitcase and cat in hand, freed from her fractured mind, and her guilt and trauma at least suppressed for now.

Our journey down the rabbit hole isn’t over yet, as seen in the game’s sequel, Alice: Madness Returns...

Wednesday 29 May 2019

9 - An Alchemically Underrated Movie

9 is a computer animated film, directed by animator Shane Acker, released on September 9th, 2009 (09/09/09). That right there is already an interesting marketing decision, in a movie that is loaded with unusual symbolism and a story that involves alchemy, occultism, visual discussions on the darker sides of religion, government, and science, as well as the discussion on what life is. Or, it could just be a kinda cool, highly underrated animated movie with a stellar voice cast and a fantastic knack for good storytelling and world detail. A lot of film critics said the film lacked substance. I don’t know what version of the film they were watching, but 9 has a lot more too it than meets the eye.

In the story, nine animated dolls (or “Stitchpunks”), awaken in a post-apocalyptic world where machines have wiped out humanity following war and poisonous annihilation. Though divided in their beliefs and friendships, the nine Stitchpunks have to band together to defend themselves from the machines, learn the truth of how they came to be, and decide what course the future shall take.
In the background, sprinkled throughout the film, we learn an unnamed scientist (Alan Oppenheimer) was tasked with creating a new form of technology to use as a weapon. He creates the Fabrication Machine, a cycloptic robot, using his own intellect to power it. The robot is shown to have been childlike, but could learn and think for itself. The ruling Chancellor of the Scientist’s country, seized the Machine, and placed it in a factory to build war machines in its own image. But, the power and pain put upon the Machine causes it be corrupted, and it turns on humanity, wiping them out using poisonous gas.

As society collapsed, the Scientist used alchemy to transfer parts of his soul into the Stitchpunks, sending them off into the unknown, hopefully to save humanity. The Scientist used an alchemic talisman to perform his transmutations, and died after creating 9, leaving a recorded message for him, on how to defeat the Machine using the talisman, and bring life back to the dead world.

The movie appears to be set in an alternate history where World War II, or a similar conflict, led to the end of humanity’s way of life through our own literal machinations. It then hints at the beginning of a “new age”, one which is now decided by the Stitchpunks, the last relic of mankind, a mixture of scientific, alchemic, religious, and spiritual creations. During my research for this little film examination, I found similar looks at the movie, describing it as a reference to something called the Age of Horus, a phase of the world imagined by occultists and philosophers who practiced/studied Thelema.

Thelema was developed Aleister Crowley, an English occultist and writer. In the religious movement, it was theorised that mankind were transitioning through different “aeons”, each accompanied by changing magical and religious expressions. The first was the Age of Isis, which occurred during prehistory, which saw mankind worshipped a singular female goddess. The second, the Age of Osiris, which occurred during the medieval periods of history, with the worship of a singular male god. The third is the Age of Horus, which appears to occur in 9.


Occultists describe this aeon as a time where humanity will go through a time of self-realisation, and age old establishments like religious orders, governments, and the military will collapse. Awareness of knowledge and the illumination of self-discovery will bring about this new age. This is evident in 9. Aleister Crowley described the Age of Osiris as a time characterized by strong governments and religions. Nowadays, both institutions are now routinely questioned by people, whilst mere centuries ago, such things would have been considered dangerous or heretical, just as science and the occult were to religious authorities.

Perhaps on a religious level, the movie appears to take inspiration from this philosophy, with an emphasis on science and technology, and the questioning of those in a position of religious influence or power. On the other hand, it tackles the flaws of mankind, both in religious and scientific views, and the dangers of our own need for progress, industralisation, and knowledge. The Age of Horus is further described as a time where humanity will obtain godhood through their own means. The creations of artificial intelligence and alchemically-born homunculi symbolise this, reflecting on the discussion of the belief in god versus man’s own ability to create life like a deity.

The Scientist explains to the character 9, via projection, of how he created the Machine as an instrument of progress and creation – commonly how science is viewed to benefit the world. But, the Chancellor, who bares a resemblance to Hitler, favoured using the Machine as a weapon of war, betraying the Scientist’s good intentions for his own power, control, and warmongering. The Machine is described as being made entirely from the Scientist’s intellect, and lacked a human soul, so was corrupted by those who hurt it. The Machine’s ability to learn and childlike mannerisms were exposed to warfare, and so it came to the conclusion that mankind had to be destroyed to in order to bring about peace – a concept that was a complex one, considering the dictatorship viewed it as a way to dominate others through war.

We see that the Machine does have a lot of personality to it, in spite of only being based on the Scientist’s intelligence. It is possible that the exposure to the Stitchpunks’ collected souls made it more human, as it is shown to get angry, throw tantrums, and think creatively, as seen when making its robotic servants to ensnare the dolls.

Alchemy plays a big part in the movie, as the nine heroes of the movie are actually creations associated with the practice. The Stitchpunks are homunculi, artificially created humans. If you have watched either anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, you’ll know what I’m talking about. These homunculi are the epitome of man playing god, using science/magic to create human life through unnatural means. Of course, science and medicine have developed far enough to help with artificial insemination, embryo transfers, sperm banks, etc.

The Stitchpunks may be based on the Golem of Jewish folklore, a man made of clay. The film acknowledges the characters’ historical origins, as the twins 3 and 4 are seen opening a book authored by Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, alchemist, and renowned occultist during the Renaissance. The book shows imagery of the process to create homunculi, which the Scientist replicates to bring his creations to life. The imagery is based on an engraving of a homunculus’ creation in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s book Faust II (based on the tale that the sorcerer Faust made a pact with the Devil). The term “homunculus” is Latin for “little man”, which the Stitchpunks appear as, small toy-sized creatures made of rags and minor mechanics.

Each Stitchpunk is like an evolution of their species, with 1 being the most thrown together, whilst 9 is the most perfected in design. This allowed the characters to each stand out from the next, even if they are named by mere numbers. However, this can be seen as a relation to mathematics, but the progress of technology, with each character being a “version” of a model – 1 is the prototype, and 9 is the perfected product.

When the film begins, we see the birth and awakening of 9 (Elijah Wood), who is unable to speak, finds the talisman, and quickly becomes aware that the world outside is dead. 9 is insatiably curious, which causes a lot of trouble for him, and is open to questioning others, especially the dogmatic 1. He is a natural leader, brave, inspiring, and a bit daring. He is the final jigsaw piece in the puzzle, coaxing the other scattered Stitchpunks to stand together to find answers to their creation, what has happened to the world, and how to fix it. While certain characters like 2, 3 and 4, 6, and 7, are all doing their own thing to find answers, they are all apart, following their own paths, and 9 is the one who ties them all together. 9 is perhaps the personification of the Scientist’s willpower, humanity, or is the core of his soul.

9 goes outside and meets the elderly 2 (Martin Landau), a frail but curious thinker who was banished from safety by 1 for his open-mindedness and desire to know about their origins. 2 is like an elderly version of 9, and probably the closest in personality to the Scientist, being kind, wise, and cautious. He is a learned character, knowing not to touch things without a little caution, and repeatedly has to stop 9 from doing something stupid. 2 wears a candle fixture on his head, symbolising illumination, discovery, and perhaps forbidden knowledge, bringing to mind images of curious souls reading in the dead of night.

2 gives 9 a voicebox from a doll, and has to stop him from playing with a bullet, hinting at the fallen world being killed by war. The duo are then attacked by the Cat-Beast, the last remnant of the slumbering Machine, a monkey-cat like creature who seeks out the Stitchpunks and the talisman. Its gorilla-like physique could be a reference to how apes personify mankind’s evolution, and how such ideas have been mocked by fundamentalists. The Cat-Beast captures 2 and the talisman, taking them to the Machine’s factory, which looks quite frightening and hellish, a place of war and death.

9 is taken in by 5 (John C. Reilly), a timid, one-eyed inventor and healer who is 2’s friend. 5 may symbolise the Scientist’s desire to create, but also a fear of the consequences. He works to fix and heal the others, symbolising 5 is often bullied and intimidated by the dogmatic 1 (Christopher Plummer) and his gigantic, silent enforcer 8 (Fred Tatasciore). 5 lost his eye during the war, but claims he is content with his loss, as it allows him to concentrate on one thing at a time. Though 5 remains rather fearful, he grows more self-confident during the story.

1 may be the most interesting of characters. He is the oldest, so took on the role of leader and protector. At one point, he was legitimately concerned for the group as a whole, but over time, grew more dogmatic, cowardly, and self-preserving. His better traits were stained by his own fears, and those in the group who wanted answers or to fight back were exiled from their sanctuary. To 1, such members are dead to him, choosing security over progress. In truth, he is afraid to die, but also losing his leadership, authority, and power.

This is shown through his own stylised sense of dress, which includes a pointed hat, a cape, and a staff. His dogmatic figure of authority, garments, and homestead of a church hints 1 personifies the power of the Catholic Church. 1 refers to the church as Sanctuary, his throne room hidden within the bell tower. His outfit resembles that of the Pope or a cardinal, the coin on his hat representing the wealth the Church has. His staff has a bell on it, further relating to the Church’s religious practices.
1 is dogmatic, stubborn, fearful of change and the questioning of his authority. He can be see representing the shortcomings of not just the Church, but of all religious establishments. On the other hand, 1 can be fatherly, protective of others, and serve as a good leader when he chooses to be. Over the film, 1 loses his position, and all of his vestiges, as the other start turning to 9 for guidance and answers.

8 appears to personify masculinity – the protector, the warrior, the strength that supports the weak. He serves as 1’s bodyguard, prone to intimidating the other characters, but is genuinely good-natured and concerned for his friends, especially 1. 8 is very loyal to his leader, but isn’t too bright, and does whatever he is told to do. 1 doesn’t really appreciate 8’s presence until after he is kidnapped. 8 also personifies toxic masculinity, being thuggish, violent, and prefers throwing his weight around to thinking. He is a bit of a dufus, and in one scene, appears to get high using a magnet. That might explain why he is a bit of an idiot.

After 1 tells 9 their history and silences any attempts at suggesting a rescue party, 9 and 5 decide to go to the factory to find 2. The heroic 7 (Jennifer Connelly) comes to the rescue and slays the Cat-Beast. 7 is an independent, fierce warrior, personifying femininity and courage, prefers to walk her own path, and be free from dogma. She has a tense relationship with 1, implied to have been “caged” in the Sanctuary before leaving to go her own way and kill the Cat-Beast. 7 sports a bird skull as a helmet/mask, and her number is torn, hinting at not only a past with the Cat-Beast, but her separation from the others.

7 is the only female in the group, and opposes the authoritarian 1, a sentiment shared with 3 and 4. We’ll come back to them shortly. 9 finds the Machine and inserts the talisman onto it, reactivating it, leading to the death of 2, his soul sucked out into the talisman. It does have to be questioned why and how the Machine can control the talisman – perhaps drawn from its creator’s intelligence. But, it sets up the needed sacrifice of the Stitchpunks and their souls – the last remnants of humanity must be offered up to bring about a new age of life. Striking the Machine with the collected souls will ultimately destroy it.

9, 5, and 7 retreat to the Library, a place of research, knowledge, and much information about the lost world. This directly contrasts 1’s power, subjugating knowledge and free thinking. Here, we meet 3 and 4, mute twins who communicate through gestures or flickering projectors in their eyes. They are historians and archivists, collecting information of the path, and the world around them. 3, 4, and 7 left Sanctuary to explore the world – free-thinkers and empowered women both being past victims of the Church, as personified in 1. 3 and 4 have set up their study in a huge globe, literally living within the old world to uncover the past.

They get knowledge of the world’s past, and creation of the Machine, but 9 has no answers on the talisman, taking him back to Sanctuary to meet 6 (Crispin Glover). 6 is portrayed as a mad oracle who constantly draws sketches of the talisman, and claims the gang must go to the Source (i.e. the Scientist). But, his madness or lack of sense makes him hard to understand. With 2, 3, 4, and 7 gone, and 5 under the thumb of 1, 6 has no one really to explain himself to, so was consumed by his obsession. 6’s quirky design is likely a nod to Tim Burton, with the mismatched eyes, wild hair, and Beetlejuice stripes. But, it has been suggested that his stripy appearance could allude to the clothes worn by POWs in the Nazi concentration camps.

1 tries to silence 9 through 8’s strength, but is enraged when 9 brands him a coward. He will come to learn his actions have been grave mistakes, and he hides true shame for what he has done, especially to 2. The church is attacked by a bird-like machine, starting a fire, which burns Sanctuary down. 7 comes to the rescue, and the group retreat to the Library unharmed, but 1 has lost his position of power. Not that this stops him from trying to cause trouble and assert his rationale, expressing distain for being in the library.

3 and 4 show Paracelsus’ book, and 6 identifies the talisman as alchemic in nature. 1 enters, decrying their discovery as “dark science”, and encourages the others to give up on their mission. 1 expresses anger at humanity having left the dolls with virtually nothing, bitter at having to right their wrongs. He confirms that he sent 2 out to die, claiming that “sometimes one must be sacrificed for the needs of the many”. Though he is trying to justify his actions in the name of survival, he is only referring to his own. This enrages 7, who attacks 1, but runs off in shame once she realises she has attacked one of her own, even if it is someone she hates.

Meanwhile, the Machine creates the Seamstress, a creepy snake-like robot that uses 2’s body as a lure, hypnotising the Stitchpunks by flashing lights at them. 7 and 8 are captured, but 1 is nearly lost as well, viewing 2’s “reanimated” body as a ghost and a sign of his shame. When briefly hypnotised, 1 loses his coin, which is then placed upon 2’s body when the others are giving 2 a viking-style funeral. 1 tries to blame 9 for 2’s condition, but it is obvious he feels guilt. During the funeral, 1 stands separately from the others, now united to save their friends. It is fitting that the warriors have been captured, and it is up to the thinkers to save them.

The Stitchpunks successfully blow up the factory using an oil barrel, and rescue 7, though poor 8 is killed beforehand. This moment hints that the souls are actually being absorbed by the Machine. The dolls retreat to a high hill, convinced the Machine is dead, and celebrate. They find a gramophone, which plays “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, further hinting this takes place in an alternate history. The lyrics match the dolls’ brief relief, but they soon realise their rainbow and land heard of once in a lullaby are still far off, for the Machine isn’t dead.

During this segment, 1 again sits alone, removing his hat, effectively surrendering his authority to 9. There was actually a deleted, storyboarded scene where 1 sits down with 9 and apologises, though his transition is played a little more subtly in the film.

The Machine quickly murders 5, with the gentle healer performs suffering the most karmic and violent death in the film. 6 realises that the souls are trapped in the Machine, and warns 9 that they must be freed. The Machine grabs 6 and falls off a bridge, absorbing the oracle’s soul, but not before 6 tells 9 to go to the Scientist’s workshop (“The Source”). The source is not actually the Scientist himself, but his soul, shared between the nine dolls.

1 decides to take the offensive to destroy the Machine, but despite 9’s cries to further seek out answers, 7, 3, and 4 agree it is time for action, in opposition to words or thought. 9 runs off to get answers to save his friends. He returns to the workshop, finding a recorded message left by his creator, who explains what became of the Machine and why he created the dolls. Ultimately, the Scientist sacrificed himself, the last human, to create new life through alchemy, to ensure a part of his species survives. He also instructs 9 on how to use the talisman to absorb and release the captured souls. This further hints that the Stitchpunks’ souls were intended to be sacrificed.

9 runs back to the others, planning to sacrifice himself so they can free the talisman from the Machine. The group get ambushed and injured in an explosion. 9 goes to die, only for 1 to have a change of heart and sacrifice himself instead (“Sometimes, One must be sacrificed.”) 1 took leadership of the group again, only it was to protect them rather than hide and rule over them through fear and dogma. Sending 2 to his death, then seeing him return as a revenant, losing 8, and then his own power, shakes 1 to his core. He comes to face his demons quite literally, coming to terms with his sins, and decides to fight back rather than hide. Having failed to protect those he was made to serve, 1 makes the choice to be the last casualty to fulfil the role he corrupted.

9 uses the distraction to rip the talisman from the Machine, absorbing the souls from it, causing the Machine to malfunction and explode. The soulless is defeated by the soulful. Despite the film seemingly going for themes supporting science, the Machine, created through intellect, is destroyed through spiritual, almost mystic means.

But, why was the Machine chasing the dolls and absorbing their souls? In the old Facebook page detailing the Scientist’s backstory, we learn the Machine actually had a name – B.R.A.I.N. (Binary Reactive Artificially Intelligent Neurocircuit). Being a product of the Scientist’s mind, the Machine could be seen as a copy of the Scientist, minus a moral compass and a soul. The Machine was removed from the Scientist’s care early on by the Chancellor, alone and potentially afraid/confused, and then used to craft weapons of war and death. As the Scientist describes to 9, the Machine was corrupted, and turned against mankind, wiping them out. Perhaps it was just fulfilling its purpose to win the war by killing those it saw as enemies? Perhaps it did it out of hatred? Perhaps it modelled itself after the Chancellor and dominate others?

Being a copy of the Scientist’s mind, the Machine may have wanted to be whole, and chased the Stitchpunks to acquire their souls. It must’ve been aware of their existence, acknowledging them as creations of its own maker, since it shared the Scientist’s intellect. The Facebook pages implies perhaps a little alchemy was used in the design of the Machine. The Cat-Beast was created to track down the Stitchpunks and the talisman, so the Machine could absorb the souls and become whole.

Afterward, the survivors make a funeral bonfire for their fallen friends, which happens to resemble a five-pointed star. 9 releases the souls of 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8, who ascend up into the sky, causing a rainstorm. We see that the raindrops have traces of organic life in it, implying the souls somehow have returned life to the world. This is hinted as being what the Age of Horus will lead to, with mankind (the Stitchpunks) mastering god-like powers, with the released souls bringing rain.
In a final moment of the film, 7 asks 9 what they should do now. 9 answers that he doesn’t know, but the world is theirs, and will make of it what they choose. In the end, a new age has begun, but what will become of it, who knows.

This film is certainly a strange one, but beautifully animated, excels in a detailed world, and tells a deep lore story that discusses the human condition, the flaws in both science and religion, and the literal transcendence of the soul into a higher being. I highly recommend 9 to anyone who wants to watch an animated movie that is a bit different from the herd.

Friday 17 May 2019

The Yippie Invasion of Disneyland

Disneyland has only closed a few times in its history, often due to disasters or nationwide tragedies. These include the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The second major incident where the park had to close wasn’t much of a disaster or tragedy, but more of a headscratcher. On August 6th, 1970, Disneyland closed five hours early and 30,000 guests had their dreams of the Happiest Place On Earth ruined. Why? Because the Yippies came for a visit.

The term “Yippie” is associated with the Youth International Party, an American political movement founded by Jerry Rubin and Annie Hoffman in 1967. Both turned from regular jobs to politicial activism, Rubin having once run for mayor in Berkeley on a radical left platform, whilst Hoffman was a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Their movement was just about “anti” everything – anti-war, anti-capitalism, anti-establishment. These Yippies were infamous for putting on theatrical demonstrations in the name of their movement.

The group invaded the New York Stock Exchange, marched into the visitors’ gallery, and chucked dollar bills onto the trading floor. On another occasion, in 1968, they nominated a 145-pound pig named Pigasus to run for US President. Well, there are worse choices…

It was then that the Yippies decided to take their unusual political movement to Disneyland and put on a show. Back in 1969, Disneyland was still a stickler on certain rules. Male employees were forbidden from having long hair, beards, or moustaches – ironic, considering Walt Disney, who had merely died three years ago, sported a fine moustache. Luckily for the Yippies, the park was more lenient to guests who had such facial features.

The Yippies chose August 6th, 1970 to launch their invasion of the park, marking the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. They planned to protest the Vietnam War, and targeted Disneyland for being sponsored by the Bank of America – which they viewed as practically the personification of capitalism, and thus a sponsor of the war. The Yippies promoted their planned occupation of Disneyland through mass flyers, promising an insane schedule of radical events – a “Black Panther Hot Breakfast” over in Frontierland, plans to “liberate” Minnie Mouse, the barbecuing of Porky Pig (who is a Warner Bros. character), and the occupation of Tom Sawyer Island in the name of their liberal movement.

The police soon caught wind of the Yippies’ plans, and acted against them. The media freaked out, believing that 20,000 angry hooligans would invade the park, and the police reacted in kind, preparing for a mass invasion of many drugged up Yippies. Armed cops would wait outside the park on standby, whilst normal-dressed officers, park employees, and even managers would patrol Disneyland to apprehend any troublemakers. However, when the day of reckoning arrived, the turnout wasn’t as horrendous as the police had expected.

The turnout of the feared Yippies was much smaller than imagined, likely a disappointment to the organizers, the cops, and the press. The police turned up in their helmets and riot armour in case things gone rowdy. I would assume they expected the Yippies to burn Sleeping Beauty Castle to the ground. A few hundred or so Yippies arrived at the park, several gathering at Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House to throw their Black Panther breakfast, but beyond a few clenched fist power salutes, nothing bad happened.

It was quiet for a while, but soon things started getting a little wild. When the Disneyland Band came marching down Main Street, a group of Yippies started singing their own rendition of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, whilst running in-between the musicians to throw them off. The band retreated backstage. The park’s managers and company executives, including Dick Nunis, mingled with the Yippies to try and keep the peace. Not every cast member could hide well in the crowds, and were exposed by the amused protestors. The Yippies soon started getting rowdy, swearing, chanting, spitting, and harassing the guests.

Many tales have been spun about the event, and what weird things the Yippies got up to during the day, but we’ll cover a few here. Most of the attractions that had sponsors became vocal points for the Yippies, who sung parodies of the Mickey Mouse Club’s theme song. Apparently, Adventures Thru Inner Space became a hazy, smoky drug den. I wonder if Coke Corner’s name took on a new meaning as well, aside from being a target for the anti-capitalism Yippies. Outside, some protestors cried fowl against Disneyland being private property, whilst shouting for the release of known cultist and murderer Charles Manson. Some protestors, who had their hands stamped for re-entry, tried passing on their markings to others to sneak them into Disneyland.

Whilst Dick Nunis was confident that any embarrassment or disaster had been averted by mid-afternoon, things were about to kick off. The disgruntled Yippies met in the Main Street Cinema on what to do next, before forming a large human chain up and down the street, singing about “marching to Cambodia”. They then marched their way to the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, and proceeded to occupy the island as they planned to. There, they raised their Viet Cong flag, and chanted for the release of Charles Manson and the legalisation of marijuana, whilst getting stoned. The staff stopped sending rafts to the island, and now officers moved in to arrest the rally.

By 6pm, the protestors were losing their sense of rebellion, so decided to storm Main Street’s Bank of American branch. They formed a human chain that would fill the length of Main Street, failed to break into City Hall, and chanted for the “liberation” of Minnie Mouse again. A crowd of seven-hundred guests drowned out their swearing with “God Bless America”. In response, the Yippies tore down an American bunting and hung up their own flag, which was a green marijuana leaf in a red star on a black background. When one guests boldly tore the flag down, the Yippies attacked him.

The Yippies tried going back down Main Street into the park, but found cast members and security cards blocking their path, refusing to let them back in unless they stopped their demonstrations. The Yippies started fighting the blockade. Cue the riot police charging into Disneyland. Around three hundred cops raced into the park from several entrances to round up the Yippies, pushing them back towards the entrance. They succeeded, and Disneyland closed for the second time in its history. 30,000 guests were kicked out of the park, though with the offer of refunds.

As for the Yippies, the angry mob screamed for the park to be burnt down. Guess the cops had right to worry after all. The Yippies set trash cans on fire, setting off firecrackers. They threw light bulbs and uprooted plants at the police and exiting guests. The police forced the Yippies back into the car park, where they vandalised several cars. Some broke away and dashed to the Disneyland Hotel, but were intercepted by police cars. Outmatched, the Yippies scattered in all directions as the police gave chase. Disneyland’s sprinklers were turned on at night to flush out any hiding Yippies.

In the end, twenty-three Yippies were arrested for assault, disturbing the peace, inciting a riot, and causing mischief. Though Disney hoped the incident would be forgotten, the media were all over it, but did praise the cast members for their patience. Security at the park was ramped up for several months, and long-haired male guests were banned due to the invasion. Over time, the security guards dwindled, and long-haired guests were welcomed back into the park.

This wouldn’t be the only time Disneyland would deal with similar incidents. A rock concert by Grand Funk Railroad was oversold at the Anaheim Convention Centre, leading to many angry fans, unable to attend, to riot, though four-hundred police officers were on hand to stop them. Many charged for Disneyland, but police, cast members, ticket officers, and security guards met them at the entrance in a human wall to quell the mayhem.

In the 1990s, a white supremacist group who worshipped Nazis plotted to gather Neo-Nazis and skinheads alike in Disneyland to celebrate a “White Workers Day”, and a free case of beer would be handed out to whoever could raise the Third Reich flag over Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island. Disneyland were lenient with the Yippies, but not with Nazis. Anyone sporting the Nazi swastika or being a skinhead were turned away, and the rally never materialised. Gang violence has also occurred at Disneyland, resulting in gunfights, and a couple of deaths as well.

The park has closed a total of five times in its history – after the assassination of JFK, the Yippie invasion, during a 1987 winter storm, in 1994 for an inspection after the Northridge earthquake, and after 9/11.

Nowadays, you’ll get the occasional nitwit bringing a “Trump 2020” banner with them, but nothing quite like the invasion of the Yippies has struck Disneyland since.