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DVD Review: Evil Toons – 20th Anniversary Edition

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As an adult with refined tastes, I don’t appreciate gratuitous nudity in motion pictures, but even I admit that there are times when — for dramatic reasons — it cannot be avoided. Thus, although Evil Toons is a film featuring three male actors, all of whom have legitimate acting credentials, so to speak (plus one whose pedigree is suspicious), I understand that it was absolutely necessary to feature five porn actresses and nude models. One must be sensitive to the historical value of this movie; it was made 20 years ago, which means that some of those exposed breasts were real. Imagine!

Another reason nudity is important to this film is that it is a true story. We have the word of the director that the events depicted actually happened, and have no reason to doubt that a drawing of a monster in an old book of spells would come to life as an animated cartoon and then go on a murder spree. Nor should we doubt that the front cover of the book is a monstrous face that talks, but only to make snide remarks.

Evil Toons starts on a chilling note. David Carradine approaches a noose, gets up on a chair, and hangs himself. We quickly get over our goosebumps when a van load of “college coeds” drives up to an old house where they will be spending the weekend cleaning it for the new occupants, earning a whole $100 each. We meet the girls’ rears before we actually see their “attractive” faces (according to one of them, they’re attractive; of course, they also think they’re co-eds).

The “girls” (as opposed to old hags, I suppose) get right to work, cleaning the old spooky house by spending approximately three minutes throwing boxes around the basement. They are then completely worn out and need to go upstairs to eat ham sandwiches and drink beer. One of the sluts co-eds demonstrates the dance she did to attract Biff, their school’s star football player, which involved removing all her clothes except for a tiny thong and bouncing a lot. Naturally.

Eventually three of them go to bed (lying on top of sleeping bags on the floor of one bedroom, wearing Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie) while the fourth—Biff’s girlfriend—prepares a little tête-à-tête for her and Biff. Part of her preparations includes getting into contortionistic positions in order to open a wine bottle. Unfortunately, earlier in the evening one of the airhead co-eds translated a Latin passage in the spell book (remember, this is a true story), and released the demon/monster. Things start to get a little sticky.

The acting is not quite up to the level of the third grade Thanksgiving pageant in which kids dress up as vegetables, but with practice they could come close. The three established male actors, David Carradine, Dick Miller (yes, that Dick Miller), and Arte Johnson, put as much into their roles as they deserve, and the result is a ridiculous mess that is not going onto many ten-best lists, but is really funny. It’s a B-movie with a sense of humor; the writing is outrageous (outrageously bad), the acting could only have been worse if it were done by morgue tenants (well, maybe not worse), and the sets are inconsistent and screwy. Don’t even think about technical aspects like lighting and sound recording.

This feat of modern filmmaking was accomplished by renowned director Fred Olen Ray (yes, that Fred Olen Ray), who may be better known to some as a professional wrestler. His wrestling career is undoubtedly where he developed his gift for subtlety, which is mystifyingly absent in Evil Toons.

Okay, so this sounds more like a horror of a movie than a horror movie, but that’s fine. This movie has CULT written all over it. It does not for one second take itself seriously, and doesn’t expect the audience to do so, either. If you love bad movies, B-movies, or cult films, do yourself a favor: get a copy of Evil Toons, make a few ham sandwiches, pop open a few beers, and go with it. You might want to make some popcorn to throw at the screen.

Evil Toons is scheduled for release May 4; the DVD includes a theatrical trailer, a making-of video, the "Evil Toons Suite," and a bizarre late-night show parody starring Fred Olen Ray.

 

Bottom Line: Would I rent/buy Evil Toons? Of course I would; it’s a freakin’ riot.

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About Miss Bob Etier

  • Steve

    There’s a new book called “David Carradine: The Eye of My Tornado”. It will examine Carradine’s bizarre death in Bangkok last year.