“I am always about doing the complete of what mainstream audiences want to see. I do it on purpose to get a rise out of people, to get that shock treatment and answer the question why not! Why not do something that has never been done before? Why not shake it up a bit!” – Co-Writer/Director/Producer/Editor/Special FX Joe Castro
Now available to buy on VOD via streaming platforms like ITunes, Vimeo and Google Play comes the next chapter in the twisted and micro budget cartoonish epic storytelling adventure, Terror Toons 3. Picking up where part one ended in 2002, the quartet of survivors including Cindy (Beverly Lynne) must escape the madness, murder and mayhem of a cartoonish inferno now within the walls of Shadow Hill Presbyterian Hospital. Reanimated in the most infamous and bizarre way, the two comedic, murdering monsters known as Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin (who was created, designed and molded around Joe Castro and Steven Escobar) are brought back to life to continue their even more over the top reign of bloody hell. Sandwiched in between the over the top practical and visual FX blood bath, is a tale told by the “Godfather of Gore” Herschel Gordon Lewis involving “The Three Little Pigs”, “Red Riding Hood” and “The Big Bad Wolf” in a routine ride to grandma’s house turns into wild chase of fast cars, injustice, genitals and all out events only found in your nightmares!
I am not afraid to say, but this film really overwhelmed and confused me watching it the first time. It took more than one viewing to be able to wrap my head around the overall chaos of this sequel that continues the storyline from part one while forgetting part two completely. In a recent conversation with Castro, he wanted to move on from part two and direct part one to the recent entry. In Terror Toons 3, everything is bigger as co-writer and director Joe Castro as well as co-writer Steven Escobar intended it to be. All the effects, the mask work of “Dr. Carnage” and “Max Assassin”, the gore, kills, body horror as well as the lack of cohesion, the sexuality among other things. This is set up over a 70-minute running time, with a wraparound story setting up part four and the fairytale told by Lewis. Heavily influencing Castro throughout his career and going back to his time on set with Lewis, Castro and Escobar definitely tapped into the madness and originality that Lewis had instilled in his films and generations of gore based horror or as Castro says “splatter storylines.” You can see not only the influence of Castro’s effects and makeup work reflecting Lewis’s lessons but also David Cronenberg ideals of body horror, Frank Henenlotter madness along with film influences like the original Evil Dead 1 and 2 and Terror Vision. Castro talked about what advice the “Godfather of Gore” gave him back during the filming of the 2002 Terror Toons. “He said to me, Joe, if you can do someone that is so originality that no one can’t get it anywhere else that they only have to come to you.” No matter the influences however, both tales in Terror Toons 3 have an original flair to them that cult audiences have come to love from the duo and found in low budget and fearless filmmaking.
While the storytelling of this film is so haphazard, it is also a charm to the project; as fans of tireless hours of practical FX design, prep and execution will be over joyed with the duo’s work, gore and gross out kills, respect of the classics and the visual kaleidoscope that appears in both tales. In the wrap around story we see Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin basically rip the place apart continuing the cartoon massacre with everyone and anyone in the hospital. Splitting saw blades, huge bugs, exploding heads, mutilation, fluids, gore, organs, the devil and more find a canvas that Castro is especially proud of, “I tried to do everyone practical first! If I couldn’t accomplish it, I went CGI then. There is a love of it (practical FX and makeup) in our genre.” This is continued in Lewis’s tale of crossover fairy tales that seem more like the cautionary and dark Grimm’s fairytales blended with a homoerotic Fast and the Furious / Miami Vice joyride. With characters like lead female pig and two brothers (playing rouge cops), a crossdressing grandma, a team of good looking red hoods and the very well-endowed big bad wolf, you feel trippy, unbalanced and at times really caught off guard laughing when you know it is just plain wrong and dirty! The chewy, crazy and gooey (and I mean gooey) center of this modern and maddening fairytale offers action, car chases and fight scenes that use incredible effects work, scale models and across the board actors willing to do anything and everything to shock and stimulate.
In the end, the twists keep coming as Castro and Escobar leave the door open. Castro showcases his talent and experience with what I believe is every grotesque artistic expression and form of effects known to man! This includes practical FX (including the recipe for Herschel Gordon Lewis’s Blood Feast blood), prosthetics, stop motion, CGI, incredible cinematography, editing and more. Not sure the sequel lives up to the original as this feels more like a tribute for Lewis as well as bridge for part four. However, I dare you to pull your eyes away from this horror lovers feast as Castro and Escobar reopen the dimension of hell and insanity no longer on a DVD but now everywhere within the world of Terror Toons!
Find out more and watch the trailer here.
You can also hear Jay’s full interview with Joe Castro on The Horror Happens Radio Show here.