Spooky Movie Month Day #30 – Five Nights at Freddy’s
October 30, 2023
*Minor spoilers ahead*
As the mother of tweens, there are few stories I have heard more about in the last decade than Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s.
What began for us as a few catchy YouTube songs by an artist called The Living Tombstone, turned into a life-long obsession. As they got older, the fandom increased from just the music videos to multiple games, to chapter books, a graphic novel series, hundreds of fan-created videos and ‘what-if” stories, we were introduced to Markiplier, MatPat, entire lines of plushies, Funko Pops, clothing and jewelry lines… and so much more!
The empire of Fazbear’s Pizzeria grew to the point where whispers of a major motion picture began to spread through the fan groups…. But no one believed it until it actually appeared on IMDB. Even then, I was skeptical. It barely registered above a “meh” on my scale of how much I cared… until I saw they’d cast Mathew Lillard as William Afton. THAT’S when I started paying attention.
Soon after, they announced the rest of the cast but it was unclear which of the storylines they were following; novels, comics, games….? No one knew for sure because there seemed to be elements of each and with each question, the buzz in my house was at a fever pitch by the time Halloween Week started. With the release to come that Friday, on top of everything else going on that week – everyone was on fire with excitement in my house and it was FNAF all day, every day!
Unfortunately, because of the pageant and my concert, we had to put off seeing it till Monday. To prevent spoilers, we shut down all social media and turned off YouTube from Friday until Tuesday morning.
It was so fun watching all the fans show up in their gear, representing the culture from head to toe! While my kiddos don’t have much fan gear, Lion brought along their “Golden Freddy” plushy from back when they were “The Crying Child” for Halloween in 2021. Dragon brought their headphones in case it got too overwhelming, as it was advertised as far scarier than the games, they wanted to be prepared to be able to zone out with music when needed.
No spoilers, since it’s still new – but I’ll say it was wonderful seeing Mathew Lillard back at it slashing people, wiping blades, just being the lovable psychopath we know him to be. Also given a moment of recognition, we see Matthew Robert Patrick aka. MatPat, with a walk on role just long enough for everyone to recognize him, cheer emphatically, and then move on. He even gets to say his famous tagline, which was pretty cleverly slipped in.
The story, as the younglings tell me, is a combination of the books, games and even some elements they had seen in fan fiction. I loved how the backstory and understanding of who Freddy and his gang really is was established right from the beginning. I was worried it would just be mindless killing and we’d never really get to see the truth, but it’s pretty clear right from the beginning and I appreciated that.
The ending leaves us open for new opportunities to bring in more beloved characters from the Fazbear Frights book series or even The Silver Eyes and the graphic novels that follow. I’m personally rooting for a “Sister Location” story, since Circus Baby is my favorite.
Dragon found his limit and decided he needed a break and a walk about 25 minutes till the end. After, he came home and watched every review, fan video, every theory video and all the clips he could find. He eventually watched the end on Peacock and liked it. When asked what tipped the scales for him, he said it was a scene in the back room when you find out what happened to all the adults who disappeared. He loved the Balloon Boy jump-scare scenes and Foxy’s dance. He also loves Cupcake because, he said, “he has no chill”. Even when the other characters are done and over it, Cupcake is still savage and trying to eat people. Hilarious!”
Lion, being the uber FNAF fan, had a more detailed review:
“I LOVED it!! I liked how there were a ton of different references and it made room for a ton of theories we get to play with in the fandom! I’m sure the next years worth of videos onilne are going to be so much more fun now!
The cupcake was insane. Although the cupcake isn’t actually “cupcake” his name is Carl The Cupcake, or is sometimes known as “Mr. Cupcake” and in reality, he’s a dog. Susie’s dog, Sparky, to be precise. Susie is the child who is murdered and stuffed into the Chica suit, which is the blond girl with pigtails in the movie. It makes sense that her dog is Chica’s cupcake, but she should have had her dog with her in the ghost dreams. There’s also evidence that Cupcake was their choice in the movie instead of using Mangle, which is another version of Chica’s dog from the games who moves through the vents in a smilier way, but it’s all a little confusing and no one seems to be sure who is who or if they’re all really the same or separate entities altogether.
I also thought it was nice that they didn’t immediately demonize the animatronics, they showed that they were kids who were hurt and sad because that’s what they are. They’re not really the bad guys. I also liked how they introduced new characters because it will allow the fandom to create new comics and stories where they get to meet with crossovers from the worlds we already know with this new one.
It also opens up an opportunity for Michael Afton to make a dramatic entrance in, hopefully, the next movie. I loved how they put easter eggs inside the paintings, the kid’s drawings, the backgrounds, especially a meme about the “bite of 87”, but in reverse. MatPat was awesome and I especially loved how his name tag said “Ness” because it’s a reference to MatPat’s theory of how Sans is Ness, which is actually a reference from an entirely different fandom, Undertale!
I liked how the pictures in the intro and the outro seem to be referencing a sequel because you can see the toy animatronics and puppets throughout, as well as shadow animatronics in the corners.
The detail and attention to what the fans truly love was perfect. Especially the references to the books; the boy who seem to possess Golden Freddy in the movie seemed to match the description of the boy Michael from the books and it could be him- since he didn’t look like Cassidy or the Crying Child. It’s all exciting to think about and I can’t wait to see what’s next!”
So, there it is. It truly was a film for their generation. Critics who don’t have any connection to this fandom or the kids who love it will simply never understand and that’s okay. Emma Tammy, Scott Cawthon and Seth Cuddleback didn’t write it for the adults who would cry over continuity and scoff at silliness. They made it for these kids, the kids who have been waiting for this movie since TK, who have grown up reading the books, listening to the music, studying the fan theories since they could figure out how to use a controller and they NAILED it. The target audience LOVED it. Perfect score from all involved. We may even go see it again!
Tomorrow is Halloween – the Mothership is buzzing with all hands on deck to make this holiday magic happen! Check us out tomorrow night to see how it went!