The Banana Splits Movie Is A Violent Take On Nostalgia
by Ben Martin
Life and entertainment are an endless cycle. When you’re a kid, you fall in love with certain movies and TV shows. Then, 20 years later, these same properties you loved in your childhood come back in one form or another; cashing in on your nostalgia. Usually, that means late-night reruns of those cartoons you used to watch all the time; adult clothing branded with those characters; or a rebooted continuation, ala some of the 90s Nickelodeon shows. However, on rare occasions, older kids entertainment is taken and twisted into something darker or perverse. The latter is the case with the newly-released, The Banana Splits Movie.
The film in review is based on the old live-action animated hybrid series, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour (1968-1970). A show which is undoubtedly a product of its era; revolving around people in animal costumes and metric tons of psychedelia. I wouldn’t go so far as to call The Banana Splits Adventure Hour good, but the show is memorable thanks to its imaginary and earworm of a theme song. These two factors make The Banana Splits stick in people’s heads. Well, those and it’s long run in syndication, up into the early 1990s; which is when I first saw it on Cartoon Network. Of course, it’s all this memorable imagery (including the puppets) that makes a childhood favorite so easy to take in a violent and horrific direction:
The Banana Splits is still going strong as a highly-viable kids show; as audiences fill the studio daily for live tapings of it. Today is young Harley’s (Finlay Woijtak-Hissong) birthday, so he and his dysfunctional family are finally going to see The Banana Splits live! However, behind-the-scenes of the ever-popular children’s show, things are amiss as the A.I. imbued and sentient puppets, the titular Banana Splits, have become aware of their show’s forthcoming cancellation under a new network president. Now, The Banana Splits will exact their revenge by going on a murderous rampage through the studio!
For better or the worse, the filmmakers behind this picture found a way to make a perfectly watchable slasher flick by utilizing The Banana Splits and the iconography therein. Sure, this movie’s premise is dumb; but, it’s also just silly enough to work. The real strong suit of The Banana Splits Movie isn’t its homicidal title characters. Instead, the movie’s protagonists and potential victims are all great in the film. These characters are either highly likable, such as Harley, his brother, and mother. Or they’re prime slasher fodder, as in most of the studio tour group. This latter group of characters are the type of folks whose blood you’re begging to see spatter all over the joint.
Alas, The Banana Splits Movie is one of those slasher movies that does not feature many memorable kills. Yes, there are a couple of creative death scenes. Outside of those, however, the film’s victims are dispensed in rather common ways. Because of the majority of mediocre murders, the movie tends to drag severely at times. Still, if you’re a slasher movie fan, or if you want to see an iconic, all-ages property perverted, The Banana Splits Movie is worth a watch.
The Banana Splits Movie is Available on Digital HD, Blu-Ray, & DVD!