TERROR TOONS 3 – Movie Review (Featuring Bonus Interview with Joe Castro!!)

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TERROR TOONS 3

  • RELEASE DATE: Available August 26th on iTunes
  • WRITTEN BY: Joe Castro and Steven J. Escobar
  • DIRECTED BY: Joe Castro
  • STARRING: Herschell Gordon Lewis, Robert Rhine

 Picking up where the first TERROR TOONS left off; TERROR TOONS 3 begins in a hospital  where the victims of the first film’s blood bath are being examined (including cartoon character made flesh Dr. Carnage…ok; a quick bit of backstory; in TERROR TOONS, sisters Candy and Cindy received DVD from the Devil that released cartoon characters Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin into the real world with over-the-top murderous results).

After a prolonged gore sequence that plays out like GWAR directed an episode of REN AND STIMPY, we are introduced to none other than cult gore director Herschell Gordon Lewis  who then presents truly demented versions of Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs; replete with rabid cops, a anthropomorphized (and extremely horny) wolf, remote controlled cars (for some reason, Red and the Wolf are really tiny), and of course, buckets and buckets of gore (not to mention missiles launching from crotches, a monster composed of severed body parts (created from a magical pot boiling sauce on a stove naturally), and a fire breathing werewolf (the one mentioned above, who also happens to have a giant dick).

Does all of that sound like it makes absolutely zero sense (well almost zero, as the beginning and end of the film serves as a brief sequel to the first film, while the rest echoes the dark fairy tale vibe of TERROR TOONS 2 which dealt with a variation on the Hansel and Gretel theme)? Well, guess what, it doesn’t. Not one tiny bit; and I’m about 110% sure it isn’t supposed to. TERROR TOONS 3 is just what the name implies; a living cartoon comprised of nothing but violence, mayhem, monsters, and gore!

Basically the film serves as a showcase for writer/director Joe Castro’s fever dream visual effects work; which runs the gamut from cartoony (appropriately enough) CG to imaginative, unique, and fun practical gore and creature suit design that displays the best kind of batshit insanity. But, beyond all of that rad-assness is the sense of heart Director Joe Castro injects into the piece. You can tell he’s having the time of his life putting anything and everything he can imagine up on the screen and it’s infectious (in a good way…not like some sort of disease or anything) for us on the receiving end!

My main gripe with this flick is that I really wanted more of Dr. Carnage and Max Assassin’s horrific hijinks. To me, they are the bread and butter of the franchise, and while the fairy tale portion was cool for what it was (a children’s book printed on blotter acid basically); I hope future installments reduce that angle and just focus on the aforementioned looney lunatics. So I guess when the main problem I have with a film is for it to offer more of what it contains that’s actually a positive. Yup. another totally awesome Daniel XIII review here folks…

If you are looking for coherent, logical storytelling  TERROR TOONS 3 is definitely not the film for you; but if your idea of fun is watching the end result of Hieronymous Bosch taking over for Tex Avery on Looney Tunes while on an absinthe binge then this is the flick for you (and me)!

And now I got a real treat for you creeps; a chat with none other than the man behind the madness of TERROR TOONS 3; Joe Castro!

DANIEL XIII. How did the story for TERROR TOONS 3 come about?

JOE CASTRO. That is a great question! Basically, when I began writing TERROR TOONS 3, I wanted to make sure that I captured the originality, fun, excitement, and madness of the first film. Ultimately, when a filmmaker produces and creates his own films without the help of the major studio like we have, sometimes the filmmaker begins to realize he may not have enough time to create all the movies he has imagined in one lifetime. So, what I opted to do was combine the concepts of several of my feature-length ideas into one movie. That is exactly what TERROR TOONS 3 is, all of my craziest ideas mashed up into one, epic bloodbath of special-effects and FX creatures. Ultimately, I wanted the movie to be extremely entertaining and to have a little something for everyone with a dark sense of humor.

XIII. How did gore film maestro Hershell Gordon Lewis come to be involved in the film?

JC. Back in 2002, I was given the honor of creating all the special-effects, blood and gore for BLOOD FEAST 2: ALL YOU CAN EAT, Herschell‘s sequel to his original, splatter epic. We met in Louisiana on his set and instantly, I knew that Herschell was a filmmaking genius and I wanted to be involved in anything he would have me work on with him. I gave Herschell a copy of the original TERROR TOONS and he thoroughly enjoyed not only part one, but TERROR TOONS 2 and that is when I asked him if he would like to be in part 3. Not only does Herschell have a juicy role in the picture but, we also have the divine opportunity of using his original blood formula from BLOOD FEAST in TERROR TOONS 3. Herschell also wrote the lyrics to the theme song for our film as performed by Graham Psilopansophy Tate. We also re-created a special-effects sequence that Herschell created for his original film, WIZARD OF GORE, that was never included in the final release of the movie. Herschell Gordon Lewis most definitely has a big influence on TERROR TOONS 3, and I’m very proud of that fact.

XIII. What challenges did you face bringing such an effects laden production to the screen with the budget you had available?

JC. I consider the entire film one big, feature length special effect [laughs]! It was most definitely a challenge to accomplish the film on a micro-budget because it is a high-budget concept. Mostly, it was a challenge because Steven Escobar, my partner/producer, and I created all the special-effects shots by ourselves in our home-built studio in our backyard and in our garage. TERROR TOONS 3 was approximately 10 days of principal photography and then we spent the course of a year shooting on weekends, the rest of the film, second unit special-effects shots which is over half of the movie. I used every special-effects trick I knew to keep as much of the film practical. I think in the end, the film has an equal amount of practical special effects, as it does computer-generated special-effects. For all those people who are fans of 80’s Horror movies, they will definitely be able to appreciate the special-effects in this film. Most people that see TERROR TOONS 3 will not be able to grasp the concept that basically two people, Steven Escobar and myself, made this entire movie with our hands. It’s a dream we have chased together for 19 years.

XIII. What was the impetus for re-designing Dr. Carnage; and what influenced his new look?

JC. Since Dr. Carnage was killed at the end of the first one, I knew that I had to reincarnate him in a big way and part of his rebirth would be giving him more crazy, cartoon abilities. Dr. Carnage was originally designed using my mug/profile. I personally have a huge nose so it was only natural that I give the new Dr. Carnage a behemoth, gigantic cartoon nose. This change in his look has opened the door for even more new crazy cartoon looks, for the good doctor in the future.

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XIII. My favorite creature in the film is the minion that helps resuscitate the good Doctor. Can you take us through his creation from concept to execution?

JC. The minion is one of my favorite characters. Originally, the sequence was created using practical effects puppets but I opted for a much darker vision and decided to use actor, Angel Cardenas, in a creature suit. The minion character is an enslaved cartoon soul, almost fallen angel like, with a broken wing, forever trapped inside of Dr. Carnage’s body, forced to do whatever is necessary to keep the madness and mayhem alive. Dark indeed.

XIII. Are there more TERROR TOONS tales coming our way, and if so, what can we expect to see?

JC. We have already wrapped principal photography for TERROR TOONS 4 and we are currently in post-production for this movie. TERROR TOONS 4 will be a directorial debut for Scream Queen, Brinke Stevens. That’s right, Brinke writes and directs for TERROR TOONS 4! I’m very excited about this project. We are hoping to have a release of this film in 2017. Readers and fans of the film can find us at our TERROR TOONS 3 Facebook page and Twitter!

XIII. Fangs Joe, it was a real pleasure!

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