Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has given pleasurable highs to many an acid dropper, but there’s nonetheless something dreary about all the song-and-dance numbers peppered throughout this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s tale. Listening to Jack Albertson’s Grandpa Joe sing about Wonka’s factory tour-yielding golden ticket is enough to make one pine for deafness, and there’s simply no excuse for Mrs. Bucket’s (Diane Sowle) somber ditty about her poor son Charlie (Peter Ostrum). Yet aside from its abominable musical concoctions – as well as some overly shrill acting by Julie Dawn Cole as spoiled Veruca Salt – Stuart’s classic is still an eerily entrancing head-trip headlined by Gene Wilder’s equally sweet and bitter chocolatier. With devious eyes and snide comments for his bratty guests, Wilder’s Wonka is alternately clownish and creepy, a slightly deranged madman in a purple suit who runs his factory with munchkin Oompa Loompa slave-laborers. Stuart’s psychedelic journey through the cocoa plant has its share of now-dated moments – the graphics used for text look silly, the chocolate river still looks like brown toilet water – but there’s a menacing undercurrent to the odyssey that’s immeasurably heightened by Wilder’s indifference toward the demise of Veruca, Violet Beauregarde (Denise Nickerson), Augustus Gloop (Michael Bollner) and Mike Teevee (Paris Themmen). Though its tour guide may eventually turn out to be a softie for well-behaved kids, what makes Willy Wonka so delicious is the fact that Wilder’s sweets-peddler is the kind of disturbed freak mom and dad warned you not to accept candy from.