Pop Culture Shock: The Scariest Movie Ever

Halloween is here, the perfect time for watching scary movies. It’s great to shriek, shiver, and huddle up against your significant other for comfort…even if she doesn’t think the movie is that scary and finds the constant sobbing a turn-off.

So every year I gather friends and family to watch the scariest movie of all time. A terrifying panoply of peril and psychological horror.

brave little toaster front cover

But Nathan, you say, that doesn’t look like a terrifying that thing you said of peril and psychological horror. That looks like an innocent, unassuming children’s movie. That’s exactly what it wants you to think. That’s what it wants your mom to think too. “Let’s make sure this isn’t some weird porno,” she says, popping it in the VCR. Once she’s determined that ‘brave little toaster’ isn’t a euphemism for ‘vagina’ and sees the happy little anthropomorphic appliances cleaning house to Little Richard songs, she thinks, “Oh, what innocent, good-natured fun,” and leaves you alone with it.

And then this guy shows up.

brave little toaster air conditioner

A bitter, cynical air conditioner channeling Jack Nicholson berates the appliances for awaiting the messianic return of their Master, who abandoned them in this old, run-down cabin. And when they say he’s just jealous because he’s stuck in the wall, he bursts into a paranoid rage. “I’M NOT AN INVALID! I WAS DESIGNED TO STICK IN A WALL! I LOVE BEING STUCK IN THIS STUPID WALL!”

brave little toaster air conditioner stuck in the wall

Since this is a happy children’s film, what do you think happens next?

A. The toaster talks down the air conditioner from his rage spasm and they all learn a valuable lesson about anger management?
or
B. The air conditioner continues to rant and scream until the other appliances walk away in disgust?

The answer is…

C. Air conditioner explodes.

He freaking explodes, showering the other appliances with sparks, which is probably the air conditioner equivalent of arterial spray.

air conditioner explodes brave little toaster

The only thing that could make this scene more traumatizing would be one last shot of the air conditioner lying in pieces and billowing smoke.

air conditioner remnants brave little toaster

Mom decides to pop back in. “Is everything all right? I thought I heard the sound of innocence dying.” Now the appliances are bouncing on a pogo stick.

brave little toaster pogo stick

“Oh, what hilarious hijinks! I’ll just leave your impressionable mind alone with the influence of the television now.”

Which is fine, because things stay light for a while. The gang sings a cheerful tune about road tripping. The childlike Blankie cries himself to sleep because the others refuse to cuddle with him. A daffodil molests Toaster and then dies of heartbreak. You know, normal kid’s movie stuff.

brave little toaster sad flower

But then it’s off to dreamland, and time for Child Trauma Moment #2.

brave little toaster dream master

Oh, it’s a happy dream! The Messiah–er, Master–has returned! All is well. Except…do you smell something burning?

brave little toaster nightmare smoke

That’s right, Toaster, the smoke billowing out of you turns into a monster that will drag away your beloved Christ-figure. YOU WILL KILL THE ONES YOU LOVE, TOASTER. Hmm, you know what, this symbolism might be a little too existential for the kiddies. Let’s dial back our nightmare to something a little more relatable…demon clowns!

brave little toaster clown face

The demon clown, I should mention, has a fire hose that sprays forks made of water.

brave little toaster water fork wave

Forks made of water. That’s like you seeing a giant snake made of spiders. Then Toaster falls into a bathtub and electrocutes.

brave little toaster bathtub nightmare

Don’t worry, kids, it wasn’t real…it was only a dream! Toaster only got electrocuted in a dream!

And then he wakes up and Lampy gets electrocuted in real life.

brave little toaster lightning lamp

But he survives…and then they all fall into a waterfall.

brave little toaster waterfall

But Kirby the vacuum jumps in saves them…until he falls into quickmud, dragging all of the other appliances down to their certain doom.

brave little toaster swamp mud

But just when it seems like our heroes are lost for good, they are rescued by the pudgy hands of this cheerful fellow.

brave little toaster fat guy

Well, children, things certainly looked dark for a moment there, but it looks like things are finally taking a turn for the…

brave little toaster tools

Huh. There are an awful lot of spare parts and glinting steel tools lying around. M-maybe he’s just a kind-hearted, benevolent appliance doctor?

Oh God. No. No no no no. Whyyyyyy?

Remember Sid from Toy Story? This is the creepy uncle that taught him everything he knows.

brave little toaster mish-mash

After a creepy song from some Frankensteined gadgets, our heroes escape from Silence of the Lamps and make their way to the Master’s new home. Safe at last!

Except the Master has some new appliances, and they aren’t going to let some old junk get in their way. So after convincing the older appliances that they are obsolete, they gleefully shove them out the window into the garbage bin.

brave little toaster new appliances

And now it’s off to the graveyard–I mean junkyard–for a musical number involving old dilapidated cars. Phew…I was starting to feel gloomy and nihilistic, but this is where everything turns around. This is where the old cars teach us that no matter how bad you feel, everybody still has innate value, right? Right?

Or maybe it’s a five minute ballad of broken down cars proclaiming their own obsolescence and worthlessness as they ride, one by one, to die by being crushed to the size of dice.

Well, after the cars finish their animated children’s version of a Rent song, the Master arrives and finds his old appliances. But as punishment for thinking there might be a happy ending to the story, a vindictive junkyard magnet drops him onto the conveyor belt, mere yards from the jaws of the crusher.

brave little toaster rob conveyor belt

 

This is the price of nostalgia.

But if you’re a toaster, what is the price of rescuing your Messiah figure? The price is pulling a Jesus yourself, diving facefirst into industrial machinery.

brave little toaster sacrifice

And then, finally, we get a happy ending. Master fixes Toaster (and the air conditioner too, while he’s at it), and they all drive off to college, where he probably makes out with his hot girlfriend under Blankie.

brave little toaster blankie

So the final deathcount:
1 raging air conditioner (later Lazarused back to life)
1 lonely flower
1 terrified blender
8 despondent cars (with countless more implied)
All your hopes and dreams

The funny thing is, for me at least, this movie was really only dark and terrifying when I came back to it as an adult. I watched it dozens of times as a kid, and I turned out fine. Oh, sure, my best friend always tells me I’m crazy, but I just laugh and pat him on his stovetop. Ol’ Oven’s such a kidder, always making funny jokes. Like when he tells me to leave the gas on all night. Ha ha ha ha. So funny.

*     *     *

Nathan Biberdorf thinks traumatizing your children is a good idea. He also thinks you should let them touch toads and spiders. Click here for more Pop Culture Shock posts.

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3 Responses to Pop Culture Shock: The Scariest Movie Ever

  1. fmharley says:

    Gosh, I loved this movie. I still have the VHS. But that creepy dude and the Master’s new objects… I hated them. And I cried when the toaster jumped to save the master… It was a great traumatizing adventure to have.

  2. The ,most scary part for me was the guy in the tv talking to the people.

    I watch the brave little toaster goes to mars a lot when I was young. Maybe I should watch it again sometime.

  3. Jerrie Hall says:

    This is so funny. I loved it.

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