The Banana Splits Movie (2019)

Danishka Esterhazy’s films are often female-centric, like Level 16, a dystopian story where girls are trained to be perfect young women. How that prepared her for a movie that reimagines the 1960’s Sid and Marty Krofft creation for Hanna-Barbera is a good question. Here’s some trivia — the original show was directed by Richard Donner.

If this movie seems inspired by Five Nights at Freddy’s, well, that video game was inspired by Chuck E. Cheese’s and ShowBiz Pizza Place, which was probably inspired by The Banana Splits. Time is a flat circle.

Harley Williams is the world’s biggest fan of The Banana Splits, a children’s show that features Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky as well as their human co-star Stevie. All of the Splits are voiced by Eric Bauza, who is also the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Tweety and Woody Woodpecker.

When his birthday rolls around, his parents buy him tickets to see the show live — on the very last day of production, unbeknowwst to nearly every character. Another unknown — the Splits aren’t actors in suits. Their robots who are slowly turning against their programming.

Before you know it, people are dying left and right, as this turns into a slasher. Writers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas have also worked on the Hanna-Barbera WWE tie-in movies and episodes of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour.

My favorite part of this film was when Instagram star Poppy loses her mind at the death of her fiancee and becomes the lost fifth Split, Hooty. She looks kind of like the killer from Stage Fright, which made me laugh out loud.

Obviously, this isn’t for kids. It’s also not for those that worry about gore. There’s plenty of carnage and dead bodies literally pile up at one point. This is the first Hanna-Barbera property to star in an R-rated movie. Hopefully, it’s not the last, as a giallo-style Scooby-Doo would be my dream come true.

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