JINGLE DELL from Wild At Heart
He appears about midway through the David Lynch directed road trip flick from Hell, WILD AT HEART. Being onscreen for only five minutes – no matter how wonderfully weird – wouldn’t qualify such a role to be considered as a supporting one. But when two titans of the beautifully bizarre join freaky forces, you can bet your mother’s brother the rules don’t apply.
This brilliant. creepy, and touching cameo stars Crispin Glover, unquestionably a true original. As Jingle Dell – just a guy who wishes Christmas last all year round and may or may not be pursued by men in black gloves who may or may not be aliens – Glover’s indelibly demented performance leaves long lasting impressions. Mostly of the WTF? kind. No easy feat considering such little screen time spent with a cast containing a who’s who of movie wackadoos.
If you’ve never met Jingle Dell or maybe just want to get reacquainted with the Kris Kringle crackpot, get ready for a tour de force of freaky.
What kind of plot could sustain a Jingle Dell movie? So glad you asked. Yours truly has a treatment already ready steady to go. Here’s the broad strokes to bring Jingle Dell back to the big screen and a lock for box office success. First, some backstory.
Dell’s disappearance wasn’t a disappearance at all. He left town on his own with that proverbial bus ticket to Anywhere. Instead he wound up in Milwaukee.
A montage fast forwards us through the last twenty years. We see Dell removing all things Clause from his life. Tossing his Santa suit, going to group therapy, and converting to Judaism. By the time the opening credit montage comes to a close, we see a new man. Living the straight and narrow. No more jingle. Just Dell.
That is until a collision of fate and happenstance when Dell glimpses a news segment on the upcoming booze-fueled holiday “tradition” known as the Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl. Initially transfixed by multiple “Santas” running wild in the streets, Dell’s joy quickly goes south at the sight of Saint Nicks kicking the shit out of rival Santas.
The images of so many Santas gone bad obliterates Dell’s protective psychic shell, leaving him seething with rage. When the news segment ends on a three day countdown until the pub crawl commences in San Francisco, Dell decides to put a stop to the bad Santa blasphemy.
In a nod to Wild At Heart, the second act of the script gives us a determined Dell taking to the road in a race to get to the city by the bay for some serious Santa smiting. Will Dell encounter the typical fringe dwellers that populate the Lynchian landscape? You can bet your snakeskin jacket on it. And is that black van tailing Dell being driven by a man wearing black rubber gloves? I ain’t saying nothing, see?
I will say this: the third act takes a disturbing turn as the jolly laughter of drunk Santas go from “Ho ho ho!” to terrified shrieks of “No no no!” and the streets of San Fran begin running red from dead Santas. Will there be any stopping this reborn Jingle Dell on a Kris Kringle killing spree? Let’s get this picture made and find out.