Toy Story of Terror Parent Review
Traveling in the trunk during a long trip, the Toy Story gang amuses themselves by watching a vampire movie. Although Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Mr. Potato Head (voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack and Don Rickles) are excited about this entertainment option, Rex (voice of Wallace Shawn) seems a bit frightened by the action. So Mr. Pricklepants (voice of Timothy Dalton), the plush hedgehog introduced in Toy Story 3, takes it upon himself to defuse the suspense by pointing out the predictable plot elements of the film. His stuffy lecture might have worked too, had not the same sorts of scary things started happening to the toys themselves…
First of all, it’s a dark and stormy night. Then the car gets a flat tire forcing Bonnie and her Mom (voice of Emily Hahn and Lori Alan) to take refuge at a strange dwelling. (Okay, the roadside inn doesn’t look that creepy, but you get the idea.) Once inside their assigned room and with the humans asleep, the toys decide to venture beyond of the safety of the suitcase and explore their dimly lit surroundings—even though Mr. Pricklepants reminds them that characters who do likewise in horror movies always start disappearing one by one.
Of course the lederhosen-wearing doomsayer proves right. But it is not until each of the separately captured pals is reunited in the same prison that they begin to unravel the mystery behind the Sleep-Well Hotel.
Despite a storyline reminiscent of Toy Story 2, it is very likely the spooky depictions in this made-for-TV animation will make many young viewers as nervous as the neurotic Rex. That’s because this spoof really isn’t intended for children, or anyone else who isn’t already very familiar with thriller movies (the screenplay even contains a nod to the ominous shower scene in Psycho). But tweens and high school students old enough to be studying the rules of storytelling in their English or Drama classes may really appreciate the running commentary by the thespian wannabe Mr. Pricklepants, and the way the script builds humor by mocking the conventions of the horror genre.
If you fear the audience at your house may not be old enough to appreciate the main feature, then you might want to check out some of the bonus extras included with the home video release of Toy Story of Terror. The most entertaining of these will be three short films: Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex. These also star the Toy Story characters and show them helping Barbie and Ken enjoy a tropical holiday, participating in a group therapy session for discarded trinkets given away in kid’s fast food meals, and making a big splash (especially the usually timid Rex) at a bathtime bash.Directed by Angus MacLane. Starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack. Running time: 22 minutes. Updated August 20, 2014
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Toy Story of Terror here.
Toy Story of Terror Parents Guide
What stereotypical horror movie images and plot devices did you notice in this story? Does it help to defuse the tension of the script by analyzing them? Why do you think some people are attracted to films that are intended to make them scared?