I know it’s been brought up HERE, but I’d like to bring up in more detail just how traumatizing JERRY REES’ adaptation of THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER was for me.
It came out in 1987 and I must have seen it about two years later, so I would have been around four at the time. It’s a cartoon movie for kids so my parents must have thought it was a quality movie to show to my niece and me. While she’s always been able to dismiss it as a mundane film, that movie gave me reason to stay up on countless occasions for two or three weeks after first watching it.
While the movie is simply about faithful companions (in the form of appliances) searching for their long-gone master, the movie has some dark undertones that JERRY REES decided to throw in to, what I would assume at the very least, appeal to an older crowd.
A few things come to mind…
First off; the air conditioner. The idea that a character within the movie would explode would frighten some, but looking back on it now it seems as though one could see this as a person who is bordering on the edge of paranoia induced insanity takes the final plunge and has a psychotic episode before effectively committing suicide.
While the Toaster’s nightmare always did give me chills, I was always filled with a sense of sadness when the toaster comes in contact with the flower in a scene that seems surreal in comparison to the rest of the film. It teaches the valuable lesson that unrequited love = death.
But by far the creepiest scene of the movie (with the help of VAN DYKE PARKS’ creepy soundtrack) was when the band of appliances found themselves in the junkyard. The song, titled “Worthless”, stayed embedded in my head while I watched innocent cars tell their tragic tales (loaded with social commentary) as they were carried off to meet their fate. While other parts of the movie can be debated as to whether or not they are actually killed (The Air Conditioner is fixed and the flower does not die per se) these cars are crushed and mangled into cubes leaving no question that they are gone.
While this movie is a great indication as to why I love children’s movies when I was a child, as opposed to ones I see nowadays, all of these elements combined made for one creepy movie for a little kid to watch.