Overlooked Film of the Week-#79
Toy Story of Terror
I think my favorite creation from Pixar is definitely "Toy Story." This collection of films punches me in the heart in a way their other films don't. I feel like that is saying something considering Pixar is known for putting hearts in a twist. Sometimes, when making movies so set on emotions, it can be hard to have fun, which is also something "Toy Story" has never had a real problem with creating. I find it fascinating how this trilogy of films can balance fun and emotionality in equal measure.
Last year, Pixar put our favorite toys in the middle of a short film made specially for television. It came out in October specially for Halloween, called "Toy Story of Terror." "Toy Story of Terror" is all fun. A film that parodies the norms and cliches of horror movies while also playing by their rules. As a long time fan of horror, I was onboard every step of the way. I have been obsessed with all things "Toy Story" since I was five years old. Putting some of my favorite characters in the middle of the horror genre felt like a stroke of genius. It also helps that Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and all the other voice talent we have enjoyed over the years have return for this wonderful little film.
I love how the film begins with the toys are in the trunk of Bonnie, the little girl who obtained Andy's toys at the end of "Toy Story 3." As they are sitting in the trunk, they are watching a horror movie that is a weirdly funny mixture between "Dracula" and "Dawn of the Dead." As a fan of both those original fright films, I loved how the short was able to find a clever way to blend those two wildly different films into one parody. The toys are in the trunk because Bonnie and her mom are on some kind of unnamed trip and they suddenly get a flat tire. They pull into a shadowy motel where they will spend the night until the assistance can come in the morning to replace their tire.
The toys are a little creeped out by the room they are to stay in for the night. But it gets way worse once the toys begin disappearing at the hands of...something in the shadows. Each disappears until there is only Jesse (Joan Cusack) left and it is up to her to discover what happens to her friends. She aided by Combat Carl, voiced by Carl Weathers. Combat Carl is easily one of the best characters in the short, and it is a shame Pixar didn't make him up until now. The action figure looks like Weathers from "Predator," and he has much of the funny dialogue. It seems whatever this unknown force is, it kidnaps toys and Combat Carl plans to help Jesse help her friends.
Even though "Toy Story of Terror" is tons of fun, I loved that it was able to squeeze a timely message in its dense less-than-thirty minute running time. The genius of Pixar shows, loud and clear and it is proof that "Toy Story" has always been Pixar's greatest creation. I also love how this doesn't feel like a typical "Toy Story" movie. Woody and Buzz are not the big heroes of this story, it is Jesse who overcomes an overwhelming dilemma in order to save her friends. I love that the film revolved around a different character and was still able to put a sincere story underneath the fun.
If you missed "Toy Story of Terror" this week on ABC, go out and get it on DVD or Blu-Ray. Definitely worth a watch this October.