One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Gore!

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The Banana Splits Movie

There have been several efforts to destroy my childhood by revamping and modernizing classic characters. But I have to give props for someone who goes all-out to in-your-face do it.

The Banana Splits were the hosts of a Saturday morning kids show. They were a rock and roll group comprised of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky--an anthropomorphic dog, gorilla, lion and elephant. It was silly, it was slapstick, and it was a bit psychedelic (although my tolerance had already been set high thanks to LIDSVILLE and THE BUGALOOS).

This film from Director Danishka Esterhazy takes a decidedly different course with these beloved and/or forgotten (take your pic) children's icons, turning them into animatronic actors who go on an unexpected crusade of slaughter, answering the age-old question: What if the Terminator had been a furry?

Harley (FINLAY WOJTAK-HISSONG) is a young boy who believes in fairies, loves to dress up in wings and wave a wand, and his favorite television show is one he's perhaps a little too old for -- THE BANANA SPITS. For his birthday, he's been given five tickets to see the show live, with his mother (WYNONNA EARP's DANI KIND), brother Austin (ROMEO CARERE), and stepdad Mitch (STEVE LUND, STREET LEGAL). He also can bring his best (and only) friend, who cannot make the trip due to an illness. That leaves his mother calling classmates and ending up with Zoe (MARIA NASH from SUPER MIGHTY MAKERS), who is far from thrilled with the prospect.

But this performance is a special one. As the characters get a software upgrade, the new vice-president has made the decision to free up the stage by cancelling the long-running show. Overheard by one of the Splits, the news conflicts with their primary coded directive: The Show Must Go On! What follows is a horror-fest of the bloody kind, as the Splits go on a rampage, using their comedic show-props to wreak havoc on everyone -- or, at least, all the adults.

The family is joined in their quest for survival by audience page, Paige (NALEDI MAJOLA), the Splits' human castmate, Stevie (RICHARD WHITE), and a few audience members, including a pushy stage dad (KEENO LEE HECTOR) with plans to introduce his daughter (LIA SACHS) to the producers of the show, and Banana Splits superfan Thadd (KIROSHAN NAIDOO) and his flashy girlfriend Poppy (CELINA MARTIN of THE OTHER KINGDOM). Some of these characters are fodder for the script, but some of them are very important -- and at least one of them is the key to a potential (shudder!) sequel!

If you're a fan of FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S and want to see it done as a film with a limited budget but a known licensed property, then THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE is a fun, awful slasher flick, perfect for popcorn and poking fun. And while I went in groaning at the concept (and at it's execution), I found I was actually excited by the teaser at the end (just slightly into the credits) that there could be a second.

Tra-la-la... I'll be there!

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0