You know? Fred Olen Ray is psychic or something. Evil Toons opens with David Carradine trying to find a way to end the evil spell of the book and decides to kill himself… by hanging! The only thing missing was amyl nitrate and some women’s clothing.
The late 80s and early 90s were the only time when guys like Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski could get away with making the movies that they do. I hate to say this but they just don’t make them like they used to. The hey-day of the home video market didn’t really have anything approaching a rulebook so forty thousand dollars, some exotic locations and a bunch of actresses more than willing to go topless was all you needed to make a mint. Scripts were strictly incidental. The people paying to have these movies made wanted to know if there would be tits and if so, how many. I’m telling you, what a weird industry.
It’s tough to review a movie like Evil Toons because no matter how you slice it, unless you outright trash the movie, you’re going to look like a total scumbag. The Fred Olen Ray experience is similar to spending 90 minutes in a strip club. Sure, you’re watching a horror movie, but the gore is minimal and the special effects aren’t terribly sophisticated because let’s face it, nobody watches Evil Toons for the suspense and gross out factor. You’re probably tuning in because half the cast are mid-profile porn stars or maybe, just maybe, you’re a Dick Miller fan.
Crusty old David Carradine escapes to the basement of an LA estate with a suspiciously familiar looking book in tow. He then hangs himself. Flash forward. Four extras from the Once Bitten Twice Shy video pull up to the estate, hired to clean it out for the new owners who are to move in soon. The place has a pretty hectic history, though, as occupants routinely seem to disappear. While cleaning they turn up the same book that Carradine was so haunted by that he killed himself. Three of the four chicks are stock direct to video trash, in truth porn stars Madison Stone and Barbara Dare and cheesey flicks veteran Suzanne Ager. The fourth, the awkward brainy one, played by Monique Gabrielle, reads some of the passages from the book and lets loose a demon that takes the form of a crappy cartoon wolf. He gets inside one of the girls and spends the rest of the movie chasing them all around. Oh, and they’re all frequently topless.
Man, nobody does cheese like Fred Olen Ray and it’s not like he’s trying to hide it, either. Like I said, this movie comes from an era ruled by names like Jim Wynorski and Andy Sidaris. They didn’t have to make any sense, they just needed to feature exotic locales and/or actresses and run feature length, affording the opportunity for the women to expose themselves as often as possible. In Evil Toons’ case, that happens a lot. See, Evil Toons takes place in the fantasy imagination of a fourteen year old. It’s the kind of place where permed blondes spend their leisure time together in lingerie. A world where one woman will show off her stripper moves to her friends and actually wind up in nothing but a thong while the rest end up looking amused.
That’s about Evil Toons in a nutshell. It’s an atrocious titty flick that is aided by a hilariously nonsensical plot, bad acting and so bad it’s good dialog. It’s charming, completely foolish and exactly the sort of late night junk food that you remember from midnight adventures on Cinemax. The thing that makes it more than just a parade of T&A for 90 minutes, though, is a little bit of genre credibility in the form of Dick Miller, one of Roger Corman’s favorites who then turned into one of Joe Dante’s favorites. In one of the movies many weirdo moments, Miller sits around watching himself in A Bucket Of Blood. To further the weirdness, his disproportionately young wife, played by bondage model turned chessy movie star, Michelle Bauer, shows up just long enough to show off her boobs before disappearing.
So the movie is called Evil Toons and I’ll bet you’re wondering why that is. Let’s pretend that I didn’t mention the cartoon demon already. See, I’m also left wondering why the movie is called Evil Toons. Sure, it features a horny cartoon demon terrorizing sexy coeds but just barely. The demon, designed by the late Chas Balun, is on screen for what more than likely totals five minutes. Though, the movie obviously didn’t have the kind of budget to support proper animated sequences, come on! Charles Band’s Puppet Master movies were employing some pretty sophisticated stop-motion animation before this movie was even made. I suppose that what those movies have over Evil Toons, however, is a dedication to horror where Fred Olen Ray was simply living up to his title as the heir-apparent to Russ Meyer.
Look. Nothing really captures the vibe of the old video store culture quite like a trip to Fred Olen Ray’s world. If you want a decent assessment of Evil Toons then know this about me: I don’t really go for this sort of thing. Softcore, T&A flicks, sexploitation, they do nothing for me. I tend to lean toward action and horror movies because of the rush associated with them. These topless romps that Ray was so well known for really don’t have much going on in them and you’d get more out of fifteen minutes alone with a Hustler, if you get my drift. However, Evil Toons is pretty funny. The acting so completely awful and every set up and scenario is ridiculous and because of that, the movie wins. I’m the sort of guy who watches this crap with folded arms demanding to be impressed so with standards set so high for movies that set out to impress no one, it’s odd to find me cracking a smile throughout. Evil Toons is pure prurient trash and I mean that in the best of ways.