Terror Toons

Dir: Joe Castro
Star: Beverly Lynne, Matt Falletta, Scott Barrows, Kerry Liu

All hell is unleashed - literally - after the Devil sends an animated DVD to unsuspecting children - when watched, it frees two psychotic minions, Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin (Falletta and Barrows) to wreak havoc on anyone nearby. Which, in this case, is Cindy (Lynne) and her friends, who finds themselves trapped in the strange cartoon-like universe their house has become. Inevitably, this leads to gruesome, variably imaginative deaths for many present, involving brain surgery, exploding donuts and a very large saw.

It's funny how one sentence can turn your whole opinion of a film. For this is shot on video, and looks pretty cheap - maybe fifty grand, tops. But then, in an interview with Castro included on the DVD, he's asked what he thought of the final product, and reveals it cost a total of just $2,300 and was shot in three days - that's where our respect for the film multiplied about ten-fold. Because given the cost, this is hugely ambitious; okay, perhaps too ambitious (it'd be nice if more had gone into the cartoon characters than a purple gorilla costume and a Halloween mask). On the whole though, we've got to tip our caps to those involved for squeezing every last penny of value out, and making something that certainly has its moments.

Not to be confused with Fred Olen Ray's Evil Toons, this does drag at the beginning - I mean, what is the point of a game of strip ouija, if the girls don't get naked? There was probably more male flesh on view, and I wondered if this was a Dave DeCoteau celebration of brotherly love (if you know what I mean, and I think you do). But as it progresses, the lurid video look works in favour of the cartoon sensibility, though regrettably, no-one gets an anvil dropped on their head, or uses rocket-propelled roller-skates. I did notice the Terror Toons DVD in the film came from Acme, however... If they'd gone down that road further - in the way Itchy and Scratchy takes Tom and Jerry to its logical extreme - this could have been a classic, but only occasionally reaches such demented heights, as in the "kid sister hand-puppet" scene. No-one would mistake this for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but as Roger's sick kid brother, in need of years of therapy, it's nasty, ultra-cheap fun.

[The DVD also includes behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers and interviews, and is now available. For more information, check out Brain Damage Films' website.]

September 2005

I don't know the words,
but the toon is familiar...
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