My journey into this movie was an interesting one. Based on the children’s late 60s to early 80s TV series that projected the quirky characters Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky into kids homes every week. The timeframe that Hanna Barbera’s part live-action, part animation show was in its prime was just ahead of my time, being extremely young when it drew to a close, but it was present enough in my consciousness for me to have a vague connection thanks partly to an older brother and cousins.
This time around, the film would cast these fun-loving, larger than life personalities with a horror bent, and much like the remake of Child’s Play earlier in the year, which used artificial intelligence gone wrong as its main catalyst, but one could argue that it’s done with a much more efficient way.
The premise is admittedly a simple one, with the show still running in one of the backlots of the film studios and we meet our central characters Harley Williams, a kid who struggles to fit in with his peers, and is taking to the filming of the series by his mother, Beth, his massively unlikeable step father Mitch (guess who’s going to meet their comeuppance?), his older brother Austin, and classmate Zoe.
For Harley, it’s a dream come true with the potential to meet his favourite character Snooky (the one that looks like an elephant and coincidentally the one that seems to not be as messed up as the other Banana Splits members).
Inevitably though things go wrong when the Banana Splits – all computer programmed robots – malfunction and begin to hunt and kill the adults in the film so that the kids can have a very bloody, and fucked up version of their show presented to them.
The film is incredibly formulaic, and it’s pretty obvious which characters are marked for a brutal death, but surprisingly there are some decent and gnarly kills that will satisfy the average horror fan. Plus the comedy beats are fun, making this an enjoyable watch all round. Great entertainment for a night in with some pizza and good company.
- Saul Muerte