You might think that Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was a delightful children's film about a factory made of fantastical, edible candy inventions, but a new theory suggests something far more sinister.
Uproxx have suggested that much of the film draws parallels with Dante's Inferno, a poem that describes a man (or boy, like Charlie) who descends into hell (the factory?), where sinners (perhaps other snotty children) are taken to different levels (candy rooms?) where they're punished accordingly for their sins.
Fan Theory Or Theme?
The similarities are pretty striking, but as a few people have pointed out on the video's Reddit thread, it's not exactly profound. Rather, the film displays some very obvious and common themes that are found in countless other works of fiction; Themes which were first introduced by great works such as Dante's:
There's also more than a few gaps missing in the theory. For example, the children in the movie aren't quite punished in accordance with their specific "sins", as happens in Inferno.
Breaking It Down
Regardless, it's a little jolting to look at one of your favorite childhood movies with such a dark and different mindset. Let's take a look at some of the similarities between the 1971 film and Inferno:
The Gates Of Hell
Look, it's the entrance to the most wonderful place in the world! Or, y'know, the actual gates of hell. Although it's distinctly lacking the iconic inscription on the gate in Inferno: "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
The First Circle
The first circle of hell is Limbo, and includes a green pasture and a flowing river. Sound familiar? I think it's safe to say that the decor wasn't quite as edible.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Inferno shows the nine circles of hell reflective of both the deadly sins and their relevant punishments, and the poem is rife with revenge and punishment for the wicked.
The sins are a central theme to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, with its respective sinners copping some nasty punishments for their wrongdoings. In fact, wickedness is pretty a common characteristic in the movie, and kind of confirms that children are basically the worst.
Spoiled brat Veruca Salt is greedy; Gum chewing champion Violet Beauregarde is prideful; TV addict Mike Teavee is the sloth; And food-obsessed Augustus Gloop is gluttonous. The poverty-stricken Charlie is also tempted by envy and the apparent wrath of Slugworth.
River Cruise Through Hell
Okay, so this is one scene from the film that actually seems like literal hell. Gene Wilder's crazed speech while they raced through a tunnel of red lighting and confronting imagery would make anyone suspect that someone had spiked the Snozberry wallpaper with some dodgy acid. Or maybe it was those edible mushrooms?
Their bad trip is very similar to Dante's own frightening boat journey through the depths of the underworld, and a scene that's not easily forgotten.
Escape From Hell
Spoiler alert! Similar to how Charlie leaves the factory via a magical glass elevator, Inferno ends with Dante escapes hell by climbing up Satan himself and ascending his horrible prison.
Can you think of any more parallels between Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Inferno?