By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
The new ABC Special, Toy Story of Terror is a fun filled homage to the horror classics by keeping the ideas PG-13. There are a few moments that the well-versed fan of horror will pick out, but for the young ones, there’s nothing absolutely scary about it to make one go hiding under the sheets. Well, maybe the screams, but they are well earned. The humour is right on par with PIXAR’s feature film products,
Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Mr. Potato-head (Don Rickles) all return for a nightmare filled romp. The tale seems to continue from where the third Toy Story left off. But when the build ups are wonderfully marginalized by Mr. Pricklepants (Timothy Dalton), to see his observations come true is just wonderfully hilarious. His understanding of what the horror genre of yesteryear is about is spot on. Writers John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton did a great job at penning this screenplay.
These days, horror does not have to be about visceral terror or in-your-face shocks. Everything done here in Toy Story of Terror is old school—the frights are implied. The question of what true horror is from a toy’s perspective is nicely done. Jessie shows that even she has fears too. Most of it centers deals with how neglected she was back when she was abandoned in Toy Story 2. Her character development defines much of this story’s plot, and if more episodes spotlighting each character are made, the potential for more Toy Story related tales may well be in store in the years to come.
To say too much more about this new product would just spoil the fun that ensues. Hopefully ABC will see to repeating this funhouse filled romp every year. Despite the fact that PIXAR shut down their Vancouver, British Columbia office, which was set to produce more Toy Story shorts, the fate of the franchise seems uncertain. At least the Emeryville headquarters will continue on strong.