1960s-era kids show The Banana Splits is being reinvented as a horror film. Originally intended as a children’s variety show that mixed live-action and animated elements, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour was an NBC program hosted by a cast of animal characters who played in a band together, which ran for two seasons from 1968-1970.
Created by Hanna-Barbera Productions - who ruled the animation roost for decades with hits like The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons and The Smurfs – The Banana Splits consisted of Fleegle (a beagle on guitar and vocals), Bingo (a gorilla on drums and vocals), Drooper (a lion on bass and vocals) and Snorky (an elephant on keyboards). The ensemble was originally to be called The Banana Bunch, but when that name proved unable to obtain due to legal issues with the author of a book by the same name, Hanna-Barbera decided to go instead with The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. The series saw oddly psychedelic, animal-suited actors perform sketches, music and introduce animated content.
Over half a century later, The Banana Splits are getting set to make a comeback of sorts. Though Warner Bros brought the characters back in 2008 to a limited degree, Deadline reports that not only are The Banana Splits on their way back once again, but this time in a completely different way, as the subject of a horror film. Premiering this year via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, The Banana Splits will later debut on television at Syfy.
The film’s plot focuses on a young boy named Harley, who, along with his family, makes a special birthday trip to see a taping of The Banana Splits TV show. But when things take a strange turn, bodies begin piling up and suddenly, Harley’s fun day at a TV studio transforms into something far more sinister. At the time of this writing, there's no word as to whether the film will be set in the 1960s or present day. In terms of cast, The Banana Splits will star Dani Kind, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong, Romeo Carere, Steve Lund, Sara Canning and will be directed by Danishka Esterhazy. There currently is no confirmed release date, though the film is confirmed for release later this year.
As far as potentially creepy concepts for a horror film go, this one seems to have it all. The idea of characters from a children’s variety show being involved in murder is odd enough as it is, but once the actual Banana Splits are added to the equation, things get even murkier. Watching the original characters sing their theme song is chilling for reasons that are difficult to pin down. Perhaps it’s the unblinking eyes or the ratty looking costumes, but hopefully whatever it is, Esterhazy will take care to harness it. With a set up like this, there's ample potential to make The Banana Splits a memorable bit of horror.