Over the years the movies have made precious little use of the distinctive talents of Eartha Kitt, but adults who accompany children to "Ernest Scared Stupid " (citywide), Disney's silly Halloween kiddie horror comedy, can be grateful for her stylish, witty presence.
Fitted out in a fright wig, Kitt plays a kind of backwoods Louise Nevelson, a junk sculptor who lives in an antebellum plantation mansion crowded with her somewhat sinister creations, expressive of her interest in the occult.
Long considered the town eccentric in the bucolic burg of Briarville, Mo., she's the one person to grasp what's going on when its children start disappearing. It seems that Ernest, the goofy nitwit created by comedian Jim Varney in TV commercials and three previous Ernest movies, has inadvertently unearthed a troll, buried alive 200 years earlier. If the troll succeeds in capturing the souls of five local kids no child in the entire world will be safe.
All this unfolds with much gimmickry and numskull action under the frenetic direction of John Cherry, who wrote the script with co-producer Coke Sams. "Ernest Scared Stupid" (rightly rated PG rather than G) is perfectly OK for 12-year-olds, but could give nightmares to the very young and impressionable.