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John’s Horror Corner: The Banana Splits Movie (2019), transforming classic children’s television programming into horror mediocrity.

March 15, 2020

MY CALL: Sorry, guys. This should have been a goofy cheesetastic gory fun-fest. Instead we got a rather boring, maybe occasionally mildly humorous movie with mediocre death scenes. MORE MOVIES LIKE The Banana Splits Movie: For better movies about robots behaving badly, I’d recommend Child’s Play (2019), Virus (1999), Screamers (1995), Nemesis (1992), Hardware (1990), Class of 1999 (1990), Moontrap (1989), Deadly Friend (1986), Chopping Mall (1986) and Demon Seed (1977).

The original source material for this movie is from a kids’ television show about a band of four anthropomorphic animal characters that host a variety hour of cartoons, live songs and skits. So it should come as no surprise that, in creating a horror-spun reimagining of The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968-1970), director Danishka Esterhazy (Vagrant Queen) leads us into an at least somewhat silly premise. And silly it is… although I wish it was also more comedic to match.

Beth (Dani Kind; Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) and Mitch (Steve Lund; Haven, Bitten) take their family to a live-recording of The Banana Splits at the TV studio. Apparently, the creations of some sort of TV studio mad scientist, the Banana Splits are actually sophisticated robots capable of surprisingly autonomous behavior and decision-making. When a programming update goes awry, they become murderous killer robots aiming to protect their show from cancellation by a villainous producer and anyone else they perceive as a threat to the show. And this basically means that parents and their children run for their lives.

Not that any of the kills were particularly good, but the first death scene (i.e., the lollipop death scene) is among the most comical and smacks of the campiness of the Leprechaun sequels. It’s kinda silly, pretty bloody, and graphic as a giant lollipop is plunged down a human co-star’s throat. Subsequent death scenes lack teeth in execution, but pack some cheeky rubber guts and bones, eyeball and burn gore, and plenty of blood. The kills aroused a few smiles, but overall the death scenes aren’t very exciting… and the scenes in between the deaths are quite boring. Although, I did enjoy the quadruple amputation—it remains yet another death scene that could have been better. To be kind, maybe there are as many “acceptable” death scenes as there are lame ones.

With the exception of the mother and her young son, the acting is pretty clunk—but no more so than the lines being delivered. Writing is not a strong suit here. I never cared about the characters or the robots, nor did I care what happened in the movie.

I definitely disagree with IMDB, which lists this as a “comedy, horror.” There’s essentially no more comedy than in any other horror movie. It’s just that the concept is silly. But anyone actually expecting a horror-comedy will probably be disappointed.

Moreover, this movie wasn’t very fun to watch. It had all the right components, but little of the execution necessary. You might enjoy laughing about this movie with good company. But on its own merits alone, I find this movie mostly boring.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2020 9:39 am

    I love Horror and Horror Comedy it was an OK stand-alone Horror movie, but, as a Horror Comedy it didn’t stack up to what I think of when I think of Horror Comedies! My Horror Comedy differs, I think of Chopping Mall, Gremlins, My Dead Girlfriend, Bubba the Recheck Werewolf,and My Uncle John is a Zombie as Horror Comedies! This movie had so much promise but again I was let down Just like Black Christmas (2019) and Marvels attempt at the Infinity War (don’t get me started on that one) I thought it SUCKED, because I’m a GIANT Comic book nerd:-)


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