You might not be familiar with the term 'Z-Movie,' but if you grew up in the 90's, chances are you've seen one. They're the beyond-low-budget monstrosities that teased you from the walls of the mom-and-pop video store. Usually, the films themselves could never live up to the pictures on the videotape boxes (because this was way before your fancy 'Digital Video Discs' and 'Blu-Rays') but occasionally you'd find something truly unique. 'WEIRDO FLICKS' will clue you into some movies which 'unique' doesn't even begin to describe...
'Terror Toons' - 2002, Directed by Joe Castro
Once upon a time this little indie flick adorned the walls of EVERY mom-and-pop video store. It was one of those that looked so horrible, even my tasteless self wouldn't give it the once-over. I can't count the number of times I left the video store choosing nothing over this one. Boy, was I wrong.
After reading a couple reviews that indicated how insane this movie is, I finally decided to give it a go. It's just barely an hour, so why not? I can't really say for sure what I watched, but it kept me entertained, and it's safe to say Joe Castro is legitimately demented.
The film starts off as one of those 'horror' movies that's just an excuse to show some 'actress' skin, but quickly goes off the deep end. Basically, two sisters are home alone and one gets a DVD in the mail called 'Terror Toons' (creative, right?) which she promptly plays. Somehow, it makes the characters in the video (some weird-looking puppets) come out of the TV.
They do a number of cartoonishly-violent things to her, her sister, and her sister's friends, including causing a guy to laugh himself to death and hypnotizing someone with the comical swirly-eyes effect. On that note, there are several other bargain-bin computer effects throughout which reminded me of public access TV or that 90's kids show 'Beast Wars.'
And children's cartoons seem to be a big influence on the film as a whole. There's a very 'Tex Avery' vibe throughout, and a lot of bad slapstick humor. Somehow, though, all the corny jokes and horrible acting DIDN'T detract from my enjoyment. There are a lot of super creative ideas going on here, and a good chunk of them are well-executed.
Like I said, though, I'm still not really sure what I watched. I can't tell if the humorous parts are unintentional, or if any of it is supposed to be how it is, but that's the way I like it. This is a confusing and delightful mess of a movie made by a very strange individual. Oh yeah, there's also apparently a sequel.
VHS photo by Toby Hudson.