As a child, I loved watching all the Hanna -Barbera shows that I could fit in. That included the Banana Splits (I watched in the mid-late 70’s to very early 80’s). You can imagine my delight when I saw that not only were they making a Banana Splits movie, but it would be a HORROR film! Every one of us who grew up in the age of the animatronic animal band era has heard the legend of these things walking around at night, killing anyone who witnesses them doing so. Chucky cheese was an absolutely terrifying place to be when one of their animatronic characters was on the fritz. Well, this movie has taken those fears and run with them! Of course, don’t go in expecting earth shattering performances; do go in with the expectation of a well done, campy horror film.
The movie presents the characters (Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky) as fully animatronic puppets that are programed to understand that “the show MUST go on”, at any cost. When the show is cancelled, the Splits are having none of it. A murderous rampage targeting the adults ensues, with the children being kidnapped for a horrific final show. The movie adds a splash of carnival like fun to the ghastly murders, as they take place on various show stages. The Banana Splits Gang carry out one of the most animated draw-and-quarter scenes I’ve seen in a movie.
The gore may seem gratuitous and a bit predictable, but it was completely appropriate for the “feel” of the show. The casting choices are pretty staple for this type of film, as campy horror films go. You won’t see Brad Pitt or any other Oscar winner here, but you do get Nick from “Bitten” (Steve Lund).
The new, demonically programmed Banana Splits gang successfully amplifies that slightly creepy vibe that most Gen Xers grew up with, while watching the original Banana Splits Show. With a surprise “savior” at the end (which is, perhaps, not so surprising) and no physical harm done to the kids, the Banana Splits Movie is a quaint return to childhood television that i recommend watching at least once.