‘Banana Splits Movie’ Writers Discuss Turning Children’s Show Into Bloody Horror Fest

Of all the ways to revive an iconic children’s show, turning it into a bloody horror film isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Yet that’s what Warner Bros. has done with “The Banana Splits.”

The 1968-70 Hanna-Barbera variety series “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” consisted of songs and comedy sketches starring an offbeat rock band consisting of four funny oversized animals. The group returns in The Banana Splits Movie, available digitally Aug. 13, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 27 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

In the film, a family attends a taping of the Banana Splits show, only for the robots that comprise the band to start murdering the audience after learning the series is being canceled.

The reboot is produced by Warner’s digital series production unit, Blue Ribbon Content, in conjunction with the Syfy channel, where the movie will air later this year.

The Banana Splits Movie writers Scott Thomas and Jed Elinoff

The movie’s writers, Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas, joined cast members at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International July 18 for the film’s premiere and other promotional events.

“When they said do you guys want to make a horror movie out of the Banana Splits, we said absolutely, 100%, we know what to do, we got this, just leave us alone,” Elinoff said. “This is the price we all pay for having too much fun.”

The writers said they wanted to explore the trust that people tend to inherently have with cute costumed characters.

“With these children’s characters in full costume, be it mascots or characters at amusement parks, the first thing we do is we shove our kids in their faces and we tell them this is someone they can trust,” Thomas said. “But it’s a total stranger. We don’t know who’s in that suit. They could be a horrible person. They could go home and do awful things. So we really wanted to play that up.”

“Anytime you have a character where you don’t see their face, you don’t see their eyes, you don’t know what they’re thinking, I think naturally you can think one of two things,” Elinoff said. “You can think, ‘Oh, this is safe and fun,’ or ‘There’s a murderer in there and we’re all gonna die.’ In a lot of ways, it wasn’t that big a stretch to move from happy things to murderous things. It just gets scarier and scarier and scarier until it’s a bloodbath.”

“It’s not a huge leap to go from sort of silly beloved characters in full animal costumes to terrifying murderers in full animal costumes,” Thomas said. “Any kids show, if you change the soundtrack to the theme from Halloween or something, if it’s ‘Barney’ or it’s ‘Teletubbies,’ it’s freaky. We really enjoyed starting the movie in the beloved world of the Banana Splits, and then letting them go off the rails.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The writers said making the characters robots opened up possibilities for the story.

“In the world of the movie, their show has been on since the 1960s, so when they hear it’s about to be canceled, it sort of violates their prime directive of ‘The show must go on,’” Elinoff said.

“We thought back to the original movie of Westworld, with Yul Brynner as the robot that goes crazy,” Thomas said. “That’s really what we drew inspiration from — what if the original movie Westworld met ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’?”

Still, they said, fans of the characters should appreciate the efforts made to re-create the look and feel of the old show.

“We took some of the gags from the original show, and we also came up with some new ones because we needed to build this world out,” Thomas said. “We knew the soundstages were going to be the locations for the show and also the kills once they went crazy. So we kind of created an environment for each character, and their kill is specific to those environments.”

The writers said they enjoyed the idea of the film having a different meaning for different audiences, be it nostalgia for longtime fans, or new viewers just having fun with a silly slasher movie.

“I think that would be great, just the idea that somebody watches this thing having no idea what they are, and think this movie was so fun,” Elinoff said. “And then learn it was a TV show.”

“I think the idea with this is do something so loud that, love it or hate it, you get people talking about the Banana Splits again,” Thomas said. “Now you look on Twitter and people are Tweeting about it like every 15 minutes, where as before no one really remembered it. And who knows, now that everybody knows what the Banana Splits are again, maybe they’ll come back and be beloved children’s characters again.”

The Banana Splits Movie

Warner Unveils Huge Home Entertainment Presence for Comic-Con 2019

The Warner Bros. studio home entertainment divisions are planning a major presence at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con International, with premieres of new animated and horror movies, celebrations of iconic character anniversaries, and immersive fan experiences for major theatrical releases heading to home video.

This year’s Comic-Con takes place July 18-21 at the San Diego Convention Center and other locations throughout downtown San Diego.

Popeye’s 90th Birthday Party will take place at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, July 18, in room 6DE, featuring a panel discussion and a look at footage from Warner Archive’s new and upcoming Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s Blu-rays.

A Birthday Bash for the 50th anniversary of “Scooby-Doo” is slated for 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 20 in Room 6A. A panel including Grey Griffin and Kate Micucci will preview the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! — The Complete Series Limited Edition 50th Anniversary Mystery Mansion boxed set due in stores Sept. 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The new movie Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, a sequel to Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, will have its world premiere at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF. The film will arrive on home video this fall from WBHE.

A “Batman Beyond” 20th anniversary panel is set for 12:15 p.m. Thursday, July 18 in Hall H. The retrospective of the futuristic animated series will include producers Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami, casting director Andrea Romano, director James Tucker, writers Bob Goodman and Stan Berkowitz, and voice actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle.

The Warner Bros./DC Booth will hold an autograph signing for both Critters Attack! and The Banana Splits Movie at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, followed by a panel discussion for both films at 4:30 p.m. in room 6DE.

Critters Attack! will debut on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally July 23 from WBHE.

The world premiere of The Banana Splits Movie will take place at 10 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Horton Grand Theatre. A horror-movie version of the classic kids show, The Banana Splits Movie will be available digitally Aug. 13, and on Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 27 from WBHE.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Warner Archive will hold a panel to promote the upcoming Blu-ray of V: The Original Mini-Series, at 10 a.m. Friday, July 19, in room 6DE. On hand to celebrate the landmark 1983 sci-fi miniseries will be creator Kenneth Johnson and star Marc Singer, along with the Warner Archive Podcast team of D.W. Ferranti and Matthew Patterson, and moderator Gary Miereanu.

The world premiere of the DC animated movie Batman: Hush will take place at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, July 19, in Ballroom 20, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cast. An encore screening will follow at 9:30 p.m. WBHE’s Batman: Hush arrives digitally July 20; on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 6; and on the DC Universe streaming service Aug. 13.

Batman: Hush

Saturday, July 20 at 10 a.m. in room 6A will be a panel celebrating Hanna-Barbera in honor of the recent “Jonny Quest” complete-series Blu-ray and Warner Archive’s upcoming Blu-ray of The Jetsons: The Complete Original Series. The panel will preview the new releases with a look at the remastering process.

The new animated movie Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans will have its world premiere at noon on Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF, followed by a panel discussion with the film’s stars and creators. The movie will be available on home video this fall from WBHE.

The world premiere of Lego DC: Batman — Family Matters will take place at 2:15 p.m. Sunday, July 21, in room 6BCF, followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers and cast. The animated movie will be available Aug. 6 on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally from WBHE.

In addition, Warner will offer fan experiences for the films Shazam! and Pokémon Detective Pikachu adjacent to the Omni Hotel across the railroad tracks from the convention center.

The Pikachu activation will offer guests a chance to explore an immersive walkthrough pop-up of the film’s Ryme City, including photo opps featuring a neon cityscape, the marketplace, film prop displays, an infinity room and characters from the film. WBHE releases the film digitally July 23, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Aug. 6.

Fans can also visit the Chilladelphia Winter Carnival from the superhero film Shazam!, which will be available digitally and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from WBHE before the convention begins.

The world premiere of DC Spotlight: Shazam! will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Horton Grand Theatre. The documentary, which chronicles the history of the character, will be introduced by Asher Angel, one of the stars of the recent Shazam! live-action film. The documentary will stream later this summer on the DC Universe service.