"The Banana Splits Movie" is the Horror Reboot We Didn't Know We Needed
Children of the early '70s, rejoice! The classic kids' show The Banana Splits will be making a comeback in 2019...with a terrifying new twist!
Yes, you heard that correctly. In The Banana Splits Movie, which is coming in Summer 2019 from Warner Bros. Television Group and the SyFy network, Hanna-Barbera's fuzzy musical foursome of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky, best known for the ear-worm bubble-gum pop hit "The Tra-La-La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)," will be "rebooted" for the 21st century. In this new version, however, the Splits will be re-imagined as beloved kids' TV entertainers by day who turn into heartless, homicidal automatons by night. Yes, seriously.
There's not much info available about the plot or cast of The Banana Splits Movie as of this writing. There certainly aren't any big names involved -- according to the film's IMDb page, director Danishka Esterhazy has done mostly short films up to this point, and the only cast member that I recognized was Dani Kind, who co-stars in the SyFy series Wynonna Earp.
However, after several viewings of the trailer, it looks to me like the movie's plot goes something like this: in whatever universe this film takes place in, The Banana Splits are aging, but still beloved, kid-TV staples. A young Splits fanboy by the name of Harley has a birthday coming up, so his parents score tickets to a Splits taping at the television studio, anticipating a perfect afternoon of family fun.
However, all is not well behind the scenes of the Banana Splits. When a network suit informs the show's producer in the middle of the taping that the Splits are about to be cancelled, the animatronic Splits characters embark on a mission of bloody vengeance on the trapped audience members. Can Harley and his family escape the carnage?
It's not clear from the trailer whether the Splits are switched to "evil" by someone involved with the program, or if they suddenly gain Terminator-style sentience on their own, but either way it looks like a whole lotta people are gonna wind up dead, with the strains of "The Tra-La-La Song" echoing in their ears the entire time.
According to the MPAA warning at the start of the trailer, the Splits film will be rated "R" for "Horror Violence and Gore."
Sounds like good clean sicko fun to me, kids! What do you say?
Five Nights at ... Who?
...if you think that the Banana Splits plot line sounds similar to the Five Nights at Freddy's video-game franchise, you're not alone. Within moments of the Splits trailer's appearance on YouTube, its comment section was filled by users who condemned it as a lame attempt to ride the coattails of the Freddy's games, which revolve around the mechanical creatures from a Chuck E. Cheese style kids' pizzeria coming to murderous life, .
One user even went so far as to accuse Warner Brothers, who once held the film rights to Five Nights At Freddy's before losing them to Blumhouse Productions, of merely adapting their unused Five Nights script with the Splits characters in place of the Freddy's monsters, in order to beat Blumhouse's movie to the punch.
Fans of the original Splits are not happy with this new version either, and they have also taken to the Internet to voice their displeasure with it, claiming that their warm & fuzzy childhood memories of the show have now been "tainted."
...soooo, I guess that means I'm the only person who finds this idea utterly hilarious.
Granted, I have only the vaguest memories of the original Banana Splits show (I was born in 1970, the same year that their Saturday morning program premiered), and I've never played any of the Five Nights at Freddy's games either, so I don't have any skin in either side of this game. However, I *will* admit that on the few occasions when I did see reruns of the Splits as a kid, I was always creeped out by the gorilla-like band member on the drums, with the big grinning teeth (I think that's "Bingo"). Therefore, the concept totally makes sense to me, and I'm completely on board.
"Tra La La Song"
When Can We See It?
The Banana Splits Movie will be available on digital platforms on August 13th and DVD/Blu-Ray on August 27th. The exact date of its television premiere on SyFy has not been announced, but if I were to take a wild guess I'd assume that they will air the film in October, as part of their annual "31 Days of Halloween" festivities.
Until then... keep an eye on your RedBox machines and your Video On Demand selections, kids, because the Banana Splits are coming... for YOU! Tra-La-La, indeed!
© 2019 Keith Abt