Videogum

Remember This Movie?: The Quest

First you dance with the devil. Then you find out about Donkegin.

I spent the summer of 1988 at a friend’s house, repeatedly watching an Australian movie called The Quest on HBO. (I believe they actually aired it daily, in that cute HBO programming way.) The Quest, (called Frog Dreaming in Australia and The Go Kids in the UK), starred a post-ET Henry Thomas as Cody, a precocious child inventor who, with his two funny female friends, tries to solve the mystery of a legendary monster in a quarry pond that the Aborigines call “Donkegin.” Cody rides his bike around Devil’s Knob National Park, interviewing Aborigine shamans about the origins of Donkegin and eventually goes into the water to investigate in a scene that was way too scary for the movie’s PG rating.

The Quest seems to have been lost to history (until I “got the internet” I couldn’t remember its title). But it’s one of those odd generational cult touchstones — I swear I find myself having a conversation at a party about The Quest at least once a month. Besides haunting my dreams with its mystic spookiness (made more sheepish by the not-very-scary answer to the movie’s mystery), The Quest introduced me to the concept of STDs with one line uttered by one of Cody’s friends, who asks her mom “Can you get herpes from French kissing?”

The Quest is available on VHS but not DVD, for all the good that does us, but anyone who saw it as a kid will get goosebumps from this opening scene, which some nice person put on YouTube.

Dear President Of Entertainment: please put The Quest out on DVD. Sincerely, Lindsay.