Thursday, April 25, 2013

Terror Toons (2001)

Directed by Joe Castro
Starring Lizzy Borden, Beverly Lynn, Fernando Padilla

"I don't know where I ended up, but I'm their king now." 

Hanna Barbara meets demented German Expressionism in this hyperactive dayglo nightmare that makes "Itchy and Scratchy" look like...well, kid's stuff. Dig this for a show-stopping opener. Average jerk in a beanie gets sucked into the cartoon dimension. Not sure how, probably by accident. Poor bastard couldn't run into Squiddly Diddly or anyone nice like that, right? No, he runs into this gonzo blood eater Dr Carnage. The bad Doc looks like a radiated Mortiis, and acts like a meth- burning, rubbery Mengele. He straps the guy down to an operating table and experiments on him with weird, savage surgical instruments and jolts of purple electricity. Then he rips the cat's skull out through his belly button. Now, in Doc's world, this is just a harmless sight gag; but humans aren't quite as flexible as animated cells. Instead of shoving his skull back into his head, beanie boy just lies there, a bloody, dead mess. Which just goes to show that cartoons ought to just stay in their own fuckin' dimension, and leave us fleshly types alone.

Try explaining that to a porn star, though. In particular, try explaining it to the jaw-dropping bombshell Lizzy Borden, who stars, however briefly, as Candy. Candy and her sister Cindy (Lynn) are the remarkably well-adjusted children of some shlub and a hysterical drag queen, who are leaving the two girls to fend for themselves for a day or two, so they can attend what has to be a very weird wedding. Normally, since I'm ball parking Borden and Lynn's ages at 24 and 28 respectively, this should not be a problem. They should be able to take care of themselves just fine. But there's nothing normal about this film, so Candy is either supposed to actually be about 10 years old, or perhaps just retarded. If it's the former, than the basketball- sized implants - probably the most cartoonish aspect of the entire movie- certainly give away the game. At any rate, Candy receives a mysterious "Terrortoons" DVD in the mail, and retreats to her room to watch it. Meanwhile, her older (ahem!) sister Cindy and a friend call up their dopey boyfriends and invite them over for some strip-Ouija.

While the overgrown teenagers get their groove on in the living room, Candy is enthralled with the strange cartoon. Foolishly, she chooses "Terrortoons Live" on the DVD menu, and after the strange and terrible story of Doc Carnage is explained (He created crazed gorilla Max Assassin from a lab monkey he stole and experimented on, and the two run amuck throughout the cartoon universe, indiscriminately killing everything they come across, in various slapsticky ways), Max and doc burst right through the screen and into the real world. Yikes.

 What follows is an hour or so of berserk, surreal chaos, as the two cartoon characters plow through the cast of bewildered teens, utilizing increasingly cartoony methods of mayhem. Giant pizza cutter? Check. Dynamite in the donut? Check. You get the idea, right?

Although "Terrortoons" does have it's limitations- Dr. Carnage and Max are played by guys in foam suits, after all, and look more "Banana Splits" than "Roger Rabbit"- but it wins big points on sheer audacity and gleefully mean spirited absurdity. I have piles of bukkake and spanking videos here, and this is still the most perverse thing I've seen in quite a while. If Walt Disney was a nihilistic, gas huffing, teenage punk rocker, this is exactly the movie he would have made.

- Ken McIntyre

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