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Casper Meets Dennis The Menace Double Feature.png

Casper Meets Dennis The Menace are a 1995 American comedy fantasy film starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci, based on the Casper the Friendly Ghost animated cartoons and comic books. The ghosts featured in the film were created through computer-generated imagery. The film was distributed by Universal Pictures, and 1993 live-action American family film based on the Hank Ketcham comic strip of the same name. The film was directed by Nick Castle, written and produced by John Hughes, and distributed by Warner Bros., which released the film under its Family Entertainment banner. It concerns the misadventures of a mischievous child (Mason Gamble) with a cowlick and a grin who wreaks havoc on his next door neighbor, Mr. Wilson (Walter Matthau), usually hangs out with his friends, Joey (Kellen Hathaway) and Margaret (Amy Sakasitz), and is being followed everywhere by his dog, Ruff. The film premiered on June 25, 1993. It is known simply as Dennis in the UK to avoid confusion with an unrelated British comic strip, also called "Dennis the Menace," which debuted in 1951. A direct-to-video sequel called Dennis the Menace Strikes Again was later released in 1998. The film was also followed by a Saturday morning cartoon series called All-New Dennis the Menace. This is not the first live-action Dennis the Menace film. The first live-action film to feature Dennis was Dennis the Menace: Dinosaur Hunter, which premiered on TV in 1987. The script was written to use certain references from both Back to the Future (also starring Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson) and Home Alone (also written and produced by John Hughes).

Plot

In Friendship, Maine, Whipstaff Manor has been inherited by a neurotic and spoiled woman named Carrigan Crittenden as explained to her and her attorney Paul "Dibs" Plutzker by her father's lawyer Rugg. An invisible ink inscription in the will reveals that there is a treasure hidden somewhere in the manor, which inspires Carrigan and Dibs to investigate. They are greeted by a friendly but lonely ghost named Casper, but their resulting panics summons Casper's three loud and obnoxious uncles: Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso. Carrigan and Dibs hire a series of professionals - including Father Guido Sarducci and GhostbusterRaymond Stantz - in an attempt to rid themselves of the ghosts, but to no avail. Dennis Mitchell is a five-year-old boy who lives with his parents Henry and Alice, and is the bane of next door neighbor George Wilson's existence. Because of his trouble-making but unintentional behavior, his parents often struggle to find suitablebabysitters to deal with him. On one night, they manage to get one named Polly and her boyfriend Mickey to babysit him, but repeated doorbell pranks from him push the two too far (not knowing he is behind this), and they end up pulling a prank on George when he rings the doorbell to scold Dennis after finding paint and wood in his food in an earlier incident. While all of this and the rest of the events in town go on, a burglar named Switchblade Sam (said name not mentioned in the film, only in the end credits) arrives in town and begins robbing houses, as well as striking fear into the children that he meets. They finally hire a therapist, James Harvey, who can communicate with ghosts, helping them to move on to the next world by helping them to resolve their unfinished business keeping them on Earth. Harvey travels around the country with his teenage daughter, Kat, in an attempt to find the spirit of his deceased wife Amelia. Harvey and Kat move into Whipstaff and stay for the night. A lovestruck Casper attempts to befriend Kat and Harvey, but is unsuccessful because of the return of his uncles, who proceed to torment Harvey until they are subdued with a vacuum cleaner. Dennis' parents are both called away on business trips at the same time, and when everyone they know refuses to look after him, they turn to George and his wife Martha (who loves Dennis and sees him as a surrogate grandson) to look after him. George is further irritated by him spilling bath water on the bathroom floor, swapping chemicals, and bringing his pet dog, Ruff, into the house for a while. All of this is happening around the time the Summer Floraganza, a long-awaited event, is scheduled to happen. As a longtime member of the local garden club, George is chosen to host it. He is excited to have this honor, as he has been growing and nurturing a rare plant for forty years. After growing for the said length of time, its flower finally blooms, only to die several seconds later. The next morning, Casper finally befriends Kat and Harvey, by fixing them breakfast. At Kat's new junior high school, her classmates vote to have their upcoming Halloween dance at Whipstaff Manor because of its exceptionally creepy reputation. Later, Kat's classmate, Vic, asks her out to the Halloween dance by order of his friend, Amber. This incident rouses Casper's jealousy and inspires him to spend more time with Kat and strengthen their bond. Meanwhile, Harvey speaks with Casper's uncles, who admit that they are amused by Harvey's existence. After learning that Casper has no memories of his life, Kat finds his old toys in the attic and sets them up to remind him. When his memories return, he gives Kat his mother's dress for the Halloween dance. He discovers his old sled, causing memories of his death from a fatal illness he received as the result of staying out too late in the cold to play with his brand new sled. Kat and Casper find a newspaper clipping revealing that Casper's father had created a machine that can bring the dead back to life - although he was sent to an insane asylum before it could be completed - and they set out to find the machine and try to get it to work. Their search leads them to an underground laboratory, where they prepare to bring Casper back to life. Alice gets stuck at the airport due to a storm, thus forcing Dennis to stay with the Wilsons for an extra night, which coincides with the unveiling of the plant and its blooming to the members of the garden club. While that is happening, he is sent away for causing trouble (namely overturning the dessert table when he pushed a black button, which he found out opened the garage door), when he hears Switchblade Sam robbing the house. He goes downstairs, and finds George's gold coins missing. He runs outside to tell him just as the flower is beginning to bloom, which causes him and all the guests to miss its entire lifespan. Not knowing about the robbery, he severely scolds him, tells him that he has no use for him, and that he doesn't want to know or see him anymore. Shortly thereafter, Dennis gets on his bicycle (with a wagon attached) and rides off into the night, eventually bumping into Switchblade Sam in the woods. Sam then abducts him, intending to use the child as a hostage. Meanwhile, Carrigan and Dibs, in their search for the treasure, come across a vault in the same area as the laboratory. They steal the potion needed for the machine so that one of them can die, enter the locked vault and be resurrected. Carrigan ends up falling off a cliff and returns in ghost form and steals the treasure from the vault. Carrigan orders Dibs to revive her, but he, tired of her constant mistreatment of him, refuses and she throws him out a window. Casper and Kat then trick Carrigan into claiming that she has no unfinished business, which causes her to pass onto the afterlife against her will. Casper reveals that the treasure is a baseball autographed by Casper's favorite Brooklyn Dodgers player, Duke Snider. At that moment, Harvey crashes into the lab, having died accidentally after unexpectedly falling into an open street construction trench during a drinking binge with Casper's uncles. After being reminded of who he is, Casper sacrifices his "only" opportunity to return to life for the sake of Kat's father, and they use the "Lazarus machine" to resurrect Harvey, exhausting the potion (and Casper's chance to become human again). Meanwhile, the guests arrive at the mansion and have set up the party. Amber and Vic prepare their prank, but the Ghostly Trio intervenes and drives them away before they can succeed. Kat appears and proceeds to play hostess. Casper, who has gone to his room to mourn his lost chance, is visited by Kat's mother in the form of an angel. She thanks him for his sacrifice and returns him to temporary human form, allowing him to dance with Kat. While they dance, Amelia appears to James. Her message to him: he must not keep trying to contact her, since she has no unfinished business after living such a good life with him and Kat. At the party, the human Casper asks Kat for a slow dance, during which he levitates them off the floor. At the stroke of ten (and in the middle of a kiss with Kat), Casper returns to his ghost form, scaring everyone else out of the mansion. Kat, Casper, and Harvey decide to continue the party, and dance to the singing of Casper's uncles. Dennis' parents return home and learn of his departure, and they, the authorities, his friends (Joey, Margaret, and all the neighborhood kids), and George (who feels intense guilt and remorse after remembering all the things he said to him and having now discovered his house was burglarized and that Dennis actually had good intentions when he tried to tell him) search all night for him. Around the same time, Dennis unintentionally but effectively defeats Switchblade Sam by tying him up and handcuffing him, losing the key, and repeatedly setting him on fire, amongst other things. He returns to George's house the next morning with Switchblade Sam in his wagon, having also recovered George's gold coins, and Sam is taken into police custody by a slightly amused sheriff who had previously advised him to leave town. Dennis and George make up, and the Mitchells and Wilsons become friends on better terms. That night, George explains that he's learned some things about kids: kids are kids, and that one has to play by their rules, roll with the punches, and expect the unexpected, in which afterward Dennis, trying to get a flame on a marshmallow to go out, then accidentally hits him in the forehead with it. The film's end credits are accompanied with Dennis inadvertently humiliating his mother's egotistical coworker, Andrea, while she is using a photocopier. Dennis impishly whacks the "PRINT" button and runs away, with other workers looking on. Andrea loses her balance and her head gets pinned face-down on the scanner-bed, and the machine relentlessly flashes its blinding light in her eyes as it repeatedly "takes her picture" and spews out page after page of black-and-white "photos" showing her various agonized facial expressions as she writhes about on the scanner bed.

Cast

  • Bill Pullman as Dr. James Harvey
  • Christina Ricci as Kathleen "Kat" Harvey
  • Malachi Pearson as Casper (voice)
  • Mason Gamble as Dennis Mitchell
  • Walter Matthau as George Wilson
  • Joan Plowright as Martha Wilson
  • Christopher Lloyd as Switchblade Sam
  • Robert Stanton as Henry Mitchell
  • Lea Thompson as Alice Mitchell
  • Amy Sakasitz as Margaret Wade
  • Kellen Hathaway as Joey
  • Paul Winfield as Chief of Police
  • Ben Stein as Boss
  • Natasha Lyonne as Polly
  • Devin Ratray as Mickey
  • Hank Johnston as Gunther Beckman
  • Melinda Mullins as Andrea
  • Billie Bird as Edith Butterwell
  • Bill Erwin as Edward Little
  • Arnold Stang as The Photographer
  • Cathy Moriarty as Carrigan Crittenden
  • Eric Idle as Paul "Dibs" Plutzker
  • Ben Stein as Rugg
  • Joe Nipote as Stretch (voice)
  • Joe Alaskey as Stinkie (voice)
  • Brad Garrett as Fatso (voice)
  • Spencer Vrooman as Andreas
  • Amy Brenneman as Amelia Harvey
  • Devon Sawa as Casper (human form)
  • Garette Ratliff Henson as Vic DePhillippi
  • Jessica Wesson as Amber Whitmire
  • Dan Aykroyd as Raymond Stantz
  • Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci
  • John Kassir as Crypt Keeper (voice)
  • Rodney Dangerfield
  • Fred Rogers
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Terry Murphy
  • Mel Gibson