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6 Ridiculous Kid-Friendly Adaptations of R-Rated Material

#3. Conan the Barbarian Stops Killing People and Sends Them into Space Instead

Sunbow Productions

The Mature Source Material:

Conan the Barbarian, the hero from Robert E. Howard's pulp stories and Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1980s, chopped his way across the fictional land of Hyperborea long before conventional history, stopping along the way to have sex with cannibal witches:

Universal Pictures
Wool of bat and tongue of dog indeed.

And to chop James Earl Jones' head off:

Universal Pictures
Surprisingly, making him squeal like a little girl.

He is the image of the nomadic fantasy hero, wandering through a mythical world opposed on all sides by monsters, sorcerers, and warlords, and drawing all of his problem-solving skills from a resource pool of sex and murder. In the stories, Conan eventually carves out his own kingdom by strangling the current ruler to death on his own throne, because Conan is a stone-cold motherfucker.

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

In the early 1990s, Conan embarked on a series of animated adventures in Conan the Adventurer along with his faithful magic parrot sidekick Needle, who was presumably there to make sure Conan didn't have sex with anything or chop anyone's head off.

Sunbow Productions
Conan watches his Needle. Needle watches his other needle.

Rather than the wandering blood-and-semen dispenser from the movies and original pulp novels, the Conan in Conan the Adventurer recruits a team of heroes to help him fight against an alien invasion of snake people who have turned his family to stone.

The opening theme song may well be the most insane thing ever recorded for any program in the history of television, because the lyrics just kind of stop for a 20-second breakdown during which a man with a doomspeak voice excitedly screams out the entire backstory of the show and then immediately resumes singing the theme as if nothing has happened.

Conan has a sword crafted from a fallen meteor, which admittedly is pretty awesome. However, the cartoon gets around the inevitable violence that typically results from swinging edged weaponry into the collarbones of other living beings by giving his meteor sword the mystical ability to banish all the snake men back to their home dimension the instant the blade touches their skin. All of Conan's friends also have meteor weapons, so every fight scene looks like a bunch of dudes turning into snakes and then disappearing in a supernova of disco lights.

Sunbow Productions
It's the closest thing to sex that he ever experiences.

#2. The Mask Was a Comic About a Mass-Murdering Lunatic

Dark Horse Comics

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

Yep, we're switching it around, because this time it's the kid-friendly version that you're familiar with. The 1994 superhero comedy starring Jim Carrey was an adaptation of a much different comic. In the film, Carrey plays a man named Stanley Ipkiss, an aw-shucks loser who finds a magical ancient mask that transforms him into a green-faced cartoon character with Chiclet teeth and a full wardrobe of Deion Sanders' suits.

Dark Horse Entertainment
Whose eyes and tongue pop out when aroused. So, less cartoony than a boner.

As the Mask, Stanley not only is invulnerable, but has the ability to conjure any kind of prop or physics-defying sight gag he needs to escape any potentially dangerous situation on a crest of pure yucks. Like here, when he ties a bunch of balloon animals to avoid getting stabbed to death by a gang of muggers. Or here, where he makes the entire police force dance to a salsa song instead of cutting him down in the street with a hail of gunfire.

The cartoon series that followed was pretty much the same as the film, with the addition of the requisite absurd supervillains to fill their action figure quota.

Dark Horse Entertainment
One villain looks like this, until his head detaches and walks on spider legs.

The Mature Source Material:

The original comic series The Mask is still about Stanley Ipkiss, a loser who finds an ancient Nordic mask that gives him superpowers. Except Stanley is an extreme right-wing lunatic, and instead of using his magic to dazzle would-be assailants so he can make his escape, he creates guns, knives, and bombs to murder every single person who has ever wronged him.

For example, here he is bursting into someone's garage and violently slaying everyone inside for virtually no reason:

Dark Horse Entertainment
It makes sense in context. The context: He felt like killing those guys.

And remember that balloon animal scene we talked about earlier? Yeah, here it is in the comic:

Dark Horse Entertainment
Like in the movie, he fires 75 warning shots, but in the comic, he has terrible aim.

Stanley also strolls into his old elementary school and kills his first grade teacher in front of all her students.

Dark Horse Entertainment
We're guessing the writer hated elementary school. Based on his subject matter, but also based on his penmanship.

And here he is unloading an Uzi into a policeman's groin, which is only slightly more humiliating than dressing up like a Chi-Chi's waiter and making him dance:

Dark Horse Entertainment
And he promised a dance as well. But no one dances. The Mask is a killer AND a liar.

Stanley's girlfriend (who is not Cameron Diaz) eventually puts on the Mask herself and shoots Stanley in the back, ending his reign of terror. Hollywood evidently saw potential in a story about a living cartoon character, but was understandably reticent about making a movie about a wisecracking spree killer with magical powers. So they cleaned up all the comic's cruel brutality and replaced it with spastic Jim Carrey-ness, which is arguably no less cruel.

#1. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Were Originally Ruthless Killers

Mirage Studios

The Kid-Friendly Adaptation:

If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, odds are you have seen at least one episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the rhapsody of four humanoid karate reptiles who speak exclusively in surf culture buzzwords from the 1980s and eat nothing but takeout pizza despite having no clear source of income.

Mirage Studios
They save money by ordering it uncut and slicing it themselves with katanas.

The Turtles punch, kick, and quip their way through armies of robots and a dimwitted rogues' gallery of comical villains. Their archenemy, the Shredder, spends more of his time delivering exasperated one-liners about the competency of his underlings than actually being threatening.

Even though there was a reasonable amount of action in the series, it took an emphatic back seat to lame jokes and ridiculous sight gags. Make no mistake -- this was a comedy show, with occasional fight scenes.

Mirage Studios
Costumed rumba dancing, groin scenes with no Uzi ... yeah, it's a kiddie adaptation.

The Mature Source Material:

The original comic book Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created as a parody of Frank Miller's work on Daredevil (Daredevil fights a ninja clan called the Hand, whereas the Turtles fight the Foot). However, despite its conception as a comic industry in-joke and the obvious cheekiness of its title, the Ninja Turtles comic is one of the grittiest goddamned things ever published.

Mirage Studios
For example, here is Michelangelo's heart torn out by a zombie.

The slapstick monkeyshines we know and love from the cartoon series are nowhere to be found in the source material. And rather than the frustrated recurring comic relief character he is in the show, the Shredder is a brutally intense and powerfully formidable villain who only appears in a single story arc because the Turtles stab him in the chest and toss him off a building with a live grenade.

Mirage Studios
It surprises Shredder so much that his last word is a sun icon.

The comic is in black-and-white, which is just as well, because if we were to see the horrifically gory aftermath of Leonardo cutting his way through a wave of Foot soldiers (who are human beings, incidentally, and not robots like they are in the cartoon) in full color, we would never sleep again.

Mirage Studios
We assume the artist's models used chocolate syrup instead of real blood.

The jokiness of the cartoon is especially absent in scenes like this one, where Splinter finally succumbs to his old age and dies of a freaking heart attack:

Mirage Studios
It's a really really mature comic. Like, geriatric mature.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of those rare cases when the kid-friendly adaptation actually makes way more sense, because after coming up with the idea of a crime-fighting squad of radical reptiles, why in the hell would your first impulse be to put them in a hyperviolent pulp noir comic book instead of the bombastic 193-episode toy commercial the universe clearly intended for them?


Henrik M. also enjoys posting the random crap he passes for comics here and random art in general here.

Related Reading: Need more creepy stories from kid-friendly shows? Click here. You'll read about the episode of Family Matters where Urkel's satanic doll murdered everyone. And did you know Satan played a role on Fantasia? No, we're not talking about Walt Disney. Round out your reading with a look at the most irresponsibly themed kids cartoon that almost was.

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