Well, it was bound to happen. A generation of kids who grew up with The Banana Splits program would be treated to a live-action big screen motion-picture. A fictional bubble-gum rock group consisting of four animal characters in red helmets: Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky. They danced about a kiddie carnival, rode bumper cars and sang the song you could never get out of your head. And, yes, I was among those children who grew up watching The Banana Splits on television.
But when watching the new 2019 big screen movie, I had only momentary flashbacks to my childhood. When a kid asks his parents, “Why does Drooper have blood on him?” and when hot mom takes one of her two shirts off and, armed with a large monkey wrench, starts beating up Drooper and screams, “Abracadabra this, bitch!” my money was immediately on Snorky. Yep, the new motion-picture is a horror film. People will be killed, blood will be splashing around and lots of screaming and running.
When the producer of the children’s program learns The Banana Splits program is being cancelled by a vicious network executive, our four anthropomorphic characters take matters into their own hands.
There are a number of in-jokes such as a reference to the Sour Grapes, and the true fact that the program (as indicated by the tour guide) was originally going to be called “The Banana Bunch” but permission could not be obtained by the author of a children’s book of the same name. You will catch a glimpse of old favorites such as the Cuckoo Clock and the Banana Vac. I could not spot the Goofy Gopher, but that does not mean he is not there.
Regrettably, the movie was shot in South America (as indicated during the closing credits) no doubt to ensure a profit from day one. The movie was filmed low budget and (especially the first ten minutes) the low budget shows. As much as purists cried “foul” after seeing the movie trailer online earlier this year, the only flaw with this movie is the fact that it carries the old cliché of horror films. Twenty or thirty minutes into the movie you already can predict who will face a grizzly demise and who will no doubt survive the evening’s ordeal. As a horror movie there is plenty going for it and having watched the movie trailer in advance to know what I was in for, this was not a disappointment by any means. As a horror movie, it works. Skeptic? Give this one a try.
By the way, the movie airs on the SyFy Channel this Saturday evening and the movie can be streamed on Amazon.com, not to mention the commercial DVD available for sale.
Perhaps the only real horror is wondering why Banana Splits Funko Pops, tee shirts, CD soundtracks and a 2019 horror film is available for purchase but the original 1970s series has yet to be released on DVD commercially in the United States.