Evil Toons (1992)
"If they undress you, then they possess you"
Four teenage girls working for a cleaning company arrive at an old house to spruce it up in preparation for its new owners. They find a book in the basement, full of magical incantations, and foolishly decide to read it, bringing to life a cartoon demon who likes the blood of young women.
Only during the late 80s and early 90s home video boom could people get away with making and releasing exploitative stuff like Evil Toons which were designed to capitalise on what was big at the time. Though the concept of mixing cartoons and humans was never a then-recent one, with the likes of Mary Poppins and Bedknobs & Broomsticks already cornering that market in the 60s and 70s, the popularity of 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit? saw studios realise that there was could still be a market for them as it was a genre that hadn't been done to death and still felt different and unique. Before animated films began the slow switch across to 3-D with the release of Toy Story, films like Space Jam and the 1992 oddity Cool World were still being made, mixing the older animation styles with live action characters. So this was all well and good. Now imagine some of the more, ahem, voluptuous characters like Jessica Rabbit or Holli Would, both designed to be as sexy and alluring as possible, but in the hands of a director who liked making low brow erotica and 18-rated horror films. Step up Fren Olen Ray and Evil Toons.
From the man behind such films as Hollywood Scream Queen Hot Tub Party, Girl With The Sex Ray Eyes and Bikini Girls From the Lost Planet comes a perverted twist on the live action-animation hybrid film in the form of this exploitative if largely pointless horror-comedy which is described as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? meets The Evil Dead. Sadly, Evil Toons never once lives up to its premise purely because the budget would never ever allow the cartoon demon to be on-screen for any length of time. It has a totally screen time of about two minutes at that and looks like the deformed offspring of a Tex Avery toon. Plus I have some qualms with the title being plural – Evil TOONS – yet we only ever see one. Once he’s courteously disrobed the first female he comes across, the film then relies on the old body swapping cliché of the demon inhabiting the body of one of the characters and getting them to act all differently to show that they’re possessed. I mean its basically an excuse for one of the girls to show lesbian tendencies, try to get another one to remove clothes, make-out, etc.
Evil Toons might fail massively on the titular star but it also doesn't really deliver on other fronts. The haunted house tropes are wheeled out in full effect here and the narrative just has the girls parading around for nearly the full running time. Take out the 'evil toon' and replace it with a slasher villain and you have almost the same film. Ray and his team know this from the offset and don't really want to change the wheel at any point. You know exactly what you're going to get and so did they - minimal effort in making for maximum returns. The film has a certain demographic it's aiming for and goes all-out to attract it - and I reckon when I first Evil Toons, I was in that same undemanding demographic. How is that meme goes? "I'm a simple man. I see boobs and I press like"
The four co-eds look far too old to be co-eds but it is blatantly obvious even to a blind man why the actresses all got cast - they all get naked at some point, with alarming frequency, and they all look great in the buff. They strip tease, dance and fondle themselves in front of mirrors. Its exploitative beyond belief but I am not immune to the subtle charms of the likes of the gorgeous Monique Gabrielle being flaunted across my TV screen. Apart from the girls, there are also a few cameos from the likes of David Carradine (who gets top billing despite a few minutes of screen time) and Dick Miller who pops up in another brief role (and in an amusing in-joke, he’s sat watching A Bucket of Blood, which he starred in). Arte Johnson is quite funny as the sleazy neighbour who lusts after the girls. But this is all about naked girls being terrorised by a naked girl possessed by a cartoon demon. Horror skin flicks don't come as simple as that. Director Fred Olen Ray knows this and he’s a seasoned veteran at delivering the exploitative goods.
Evil Toons is as bad as the title suggests. If you want see some naked girls, rent a porno out. If you want to see a horror film, then watch Halloween. And if cartoons are your thing, I'm sure you can find a Tom and Jerry cartoon on television which looks better than this. Although whether Tom or Jerry would look better naked than Monique Gabrielle is undoubtedly a question for complete morons.
Director(s): Fred Olen Ray
Writer(s): Fred Olen Ray (screenplay)
Actor(s): David Carradine, Arte Johnson, Dick Miller, Monique Gabrielle, Suzanne Ager, Madison Stone, Stacey Nix
Duration: 90 mins