A boy named Harley and his family (brother Austin, mother Beth, and father Mitch) attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show, which is supposed to be a fun-filled birthday for young Harley and business as usual for Rebecca, the producer of the series. But things take an unexpected turn – and the body count quickly rises. Can Harley, his mom, and their new pals safely escape?
I never watched “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” when I was a kid growing up back in Dublin, Ireland in the ’70s and ’80s. Honestly, I don’t ever remember it being on TV and while there were plenty of other Hanna-Barbera kid-themed American shows that we used to watch, “The Jetsons,” “Hong Kong Phooey,” and “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels,” to name but a few, “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” was not one of them. I do, however, remember the theme song, which is now stuck in my head and why Warner Bros. decided to turn these lovable, wacky TV characters into rage-filled killer robots, is beyond me but that is exactly what we have in “The Banana Splits Movie.”
Set in the present day, a young boy named Harley (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) is a big fan of The Banana Splits which airs on TV every day and has done so for the past 50 years. When his stepdad Mitch (Steve Lund) tells Harley that he got passes to go see a live taping of his favorite show, he is beyond ecstatic. Harley, his half-brother Austin (Romeo Carere), his mother Beth (Dani Kind) and Mitch, and Zoe (Maria Nash), a friend of Harley’s, go to the taping but while they are there, strange things start happening behind the scenes. We discover that the four Banana Splits characters, Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky, are actually robots and soon thereafter, it is announced that The Banana Splits have just been canceled and when Karl (Lionel Newton), the Banana Splits’ creator, learns of this, he updates the four Banana Splits characters with a new protocol, to kill anyone and everyone who gets in their way. After the last show airs, Harley and his family decide to go backstage to meet up with the Banana Splits for some photo ops but one by one, people around them start disappearing, and as the day turns into night, Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky prowl the studio searching for their next victims, causing the halls to run red with blood.
Why Hanna-Barbera gave the producers of this film the rights to The Banana Splits is beyond me, maybe they realized that these characters wouldn’t work in this day and age as kids are too advanced for walking, costumed characters, and so they decided to do a horror-themed parody instead but while this might have seemed like a great idea on paper, the final result is anything but. It really is just an excuse to take cherished characters from a beloved TV show and turn them into frenzied killing machines and while the producers actually had enough discernment to not kill any children, they do have to endure the deaths of many adults around them, including a man having all his limbs torn off, a man being cut in half, and a woman being smashed in the face with a mallet so hard, it causes her eyeball to pop out of its socket. If you grew up watching The Banana Splits on TV, you might want to give this one a miss, it might just ruin your childhood, forever, and ever, and ever!
Available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD August 27th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment