Director – Danishka Esterhazy (Level 16, The Trails of Rasputin)
Starring – Dani Kind (The Night Before Halloween, Good Witch), Finlay Wojtak-Hissong (The Kindness of Strangers), Romeo Carere (Pyewacket, Don’t Talk to Irene)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Tra la la terror”
I’m a huge fan of television shows from yesteryear. I was born in the 80s and grew up through the 90s so I have a soft spot for shows that was aired during that timeframe but I’ve always been open minded to shows released prior. When I was younger, like early elementary school age, there was a reboot of the classic series Land of the Lost that aired on Nickelodeon. I fucking loved this show. This lead me to check out the original series which I also really enjoyed. That took me down the Sid and Marty Krofft path where I uncovered so much about them and their crazy television shows.
In the late 60s the brothers built the sets and produced the Hanna-Barbera live action/animated show The Banana Splits. I never watched the show but I knew some about it. Recently, the show was adapted into a horror film which is fucking genius. It was a known property collecting dust and the writers and producers opted to bring it to life with a horror spin. This sounded amazing and I had to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Harley (Wojtak-Hissong) who is obsessed with The Banana Splits. His mother surprises him with tickets to a live taping of the show and the whole family goes. This just happens to be the night that the VP announces that the show is cancelled. One of the animatronic Banana Splits overhears about the cancellation and the four go on a killing spree killing all the adults and imprisoning the children so their show can continue. **Spoiler Alert**
I was extremely excited when I tossed this one in. I couldn’t wait to check it out but within minutes I realized that this film was not as fun as I was hoping for. The movie had a few fun moments but I found most of the film to be extremely boring and forgettable.
The acting in this one is decent. The cast is not bad but the performances are flat and unenthused. With that being said, I really disliked the characters. There is not one that I was hoping would survive. They all got under my skin and I was hoping they all met their demise at the hands of these costumed animatronics.
The story for this one is simple but just doesn’t work like I was hoping. A group of children’s television characters going on a murder spree is something horror fans dream of but the film doesn’t deliver them to the viewer in an appealing manner. First, we get characters that you can’t stand before moving to the set of the show where the movie focuses more on the behind the scenes more than the cast of the show. Then we jump to the horror portion which is very underwhelming. This makes me wonder if this was a Five Nights at Freddy’s that was rewritten to fit The Banana Splits? I don’t know but I do know that this film missed it’s mark.
Finally, the film does not shy away from the blood and gore which really surprised me. I figured because it was a Hanna-Barbera and a Sid and Marty Krofft property it would take the PG-13 path. Instead, we are given some great gore and fun kills. These are the only enjoyable aspect of the film. Overall, The Banana Splits Movie is one of those movies that sounds like a fantastic idea but is poorly executed. I can see some of the pop horror fans enjoying this once but I cannot recommend it. Skip it.