Written and directed by Fred Olen Ray (the OG of schlock), Evil Toons is one of those films that has to be seen for its odd combination of elements. Cartoons mixed with live-action is not exactly new, as we have all grown up on a helping of it – whether it was Jessica Rabbit or Dick Van Dyke dancing with penguins. However, Evil Toons really is a film that boogies to its own beat. Promising that it was Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets The Evil Dead, Evil Toons has an ’80s style approach painted all over it (despite the fact that it was released in 1992).
Our story revolves around four young women who have been tasked with cleaning an old house over the course of a single weekend. As long as they have the place cleaned up by the time the owners get back, they’ll each be paid $100. Things go well enough at first, but midway through the weekend, a mysterious man (played by the late David Carradine) turns up and gives them a package bearing the words, “OPEN IMMEDIATELY.” The ladies do so, and discover that they’ve been given a very old, mysterious book with a weird-looking cover. It’s filled with sinister drawings and a whole bunch of Latin text, but thankfully the smartest member of the quartet (Monique Gabrielle) is fluent in Latin.
As you might expect, reading from the book causes an ancient evil force (which appears in the form of a cheesy-looking animated monster) to come to life, invade the body of one of the girls and go on a killing spree.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with this movie. The performances are abject; indeed the four lead actresses (mostly comprised of porn stars) would appear to have been employed because of their willingness to be topless than for any actual acting talent. The fleeting attempt to set up an innocent “final girl” is abandoned within fifteen minutes when she, like the rest of the female cast, strips off for no apparent reason.
Whilst many decent, fun genre movies fail to create interesting and rounded characters, Evil Toons fails to even attempt any kind of characterization. The cast are clearly reading directly from the script at various stages and the female leads inhabit a strange unreality that exists entirely in the minds of teenage boys and Fred Olen Ray; where women solely talk about breasts, expose their breasts to each other and to the camera, and parade around in their voluminous 80s-style underwear.
The girls aren’t the only ones asked to provide needless filler. There are four or five scenes in which David Carradine stands outside the house, wearing a black cloak and mugging for the camera in an ominous fashion. He never actually does anything in these scenes, but they are included to remind us that David Carradine signed up to be in this movie.
Though, despite all its faults, there is also plenty of fun to be had with this film. The laughably bad dialogue will undoubtedly keep you thoroughly amused. The music is noteworthy in that it has one of the best/worst soundtracks that you’re likely to ever hear; from the wah-wah-waaaah when someone is disappointed, to the porno-style funky pow-chikka guitar that strikes up whenever one of the girls does literally anything. It really is laugh out loud funny. Some of the effects are reasonably well done although that is relative amid the abject moral poverty that is the rest of the film.
Now, you might be surprised to learn that film’s most entertaining scene has nothing to do with evil toons or naked breasts. What could possibly be more entertaining than those things? Have you ever watched a beautiful women try to open a difficult to open bottle of wine? ‘Nuff said.
Face it, Evil Toons was never conceived as Oscar material. It is clearly a film that isn’t taking itself too seriously. All in all, it hits and misses about equally, but it’s at least upbeat, fun and made in good spirits. What more could you ask for? Any aficionado of B-movies should give it a viewing at least once.
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