The Brave Little Toaster is a 1987 animated adventure film that probably needs no introduction, as most of you have probably seen it, and as such can guess where I’m going with this. But for the uninitiated, it tells the story of a friendly talking toaster and his appliance buddies who go on an epic journey to find their old childhood human. So it’s sort of like Toy Story, except starring things you find in your kitchen.
Here’s the thing, though: The Brave Little Toaster is secretly a horror movie.
I’m not even kidding, as this film has a ton of scenes that are downright terrifying. Early on, a talking air conditioner explodes. On seemingly countless occasions, Toaster and his pals nearly get brutally killed. There’s a musical number towards the end in which a bunch of cars sing about what their lives once were before they ARE FUCKING DESTROYED AND TURNED INTO TRASH CUBES! And then there’s this dream that Toaster has, in which he goes through every horrible thing a toaster must fear, including starting a fire, short-circuiting out of existence, and being used as a tool for suicide. Also, there’s a clown…
The funny thing is I didn’t find this film that frightening as a kid (well, except for the part where the air conditioner explodes; that disturbed the fuck out of me!). But as an adult, I’m amazed I was able to handle it, and find it much scarier. Maybe, to some extent, we’re braver as children than we give ourselves credit for, and maybe we become more afraid when we’re older once we become more aware of our mortality and as such have an impulse to react with discomfort when we watch something that makes our childhood seem darker than we might have known at the time. As a child, I thought the song where the cars got smashed as kind of cool. And I still think it’s pretty cool…but I also think it’s incredibly unsettling. And maybe, perhaps, that’s what Halloween is all about.
Have a spooky (but safe!) day, y’all!