The Brave Little Toaster (1987) is a lot scarier than we remember it. It’s even as scary as a horror film…well, one with talking appliances and musical numbers. Here’s our top reasons why.
Do you remember the opening scene of this seemingly lighthearted animated film? It’s super creepy! Complete with a dark fog, bare-branched trees, and a desolate cabin in the woods. When you think about it, it seems odd that an animated family film about a toaster and his appliance friends would have such a dark opening sequence. Maybe it was meant to foreshadow what was to come….
Suicidal Air Conditioner
Who could forget the Jack Nicholson-esque air conditioner that goes on a paranoid rant.
“I know what goes on in this cottage…” *shifty eyes* “…it’s a conspiracy.” (Wait… are we sure this was supposed to be a kids’ film?)
He literally blows a fuse and kills himself, sick of being attached to the wall, too high up for the Master to touch his dials. The gang witnesses this freak-out and just stares wide-eyed at his broken body still attached to the wall. So wholesome.
For a family film, The Brave Little Toaster sure has a lot of violence. Well, appliance violence. The group is constantly fighting through most of the movie, and Radio is often guilty of instigating these fights, bashing Lampy with its radio antenna or throwing rocks at the gang in the forest for no apparent reason. Kirby often has outbursts whenever the gang shows they care, even calling Blanky an “old rag.”
Later, the gang ends up at a repair shop where they witness a blender being stripped for its motor. They look on in pure horror as the repairman mutilates the poor thing. Afterwards, oily “blender blood” drips from the table as the gang watches, speechless and wide-eyed. Well then.
When the gang stops to sleep in the wilderness, Toaster has a nice pleasant dream. The Master is making toast. But wait—there’s a whole lot of smoke billowing out of Toaster’s grills. The smoke is grabbing the Master, oh no!
That’s just the beginning. Pennywise makes a surprising cameo, as if children didn’t have enough nightmare fuel with the first part of the dream. Later, Toaster dangles from a tub of water, and helplessly falls in and is electrocuted to death. Yay!
At the end of the film, the gang ends up at the junkyard, and have to constantly try to outwit the tower crane fitted with a magnet that constantly seeks to capture them and place them on the conveyor belt of a metal crusher.
Through the happy little joyful song, “Worthless,” we see various old cars accepting their death and being crushed into small cubes of metal. This isn’t the worst of it, though.
At the end, (spoiler) the Master ends up stuck under some metal on the conveyor belt and is seconds away from being killed by the crusher. It’s only when Toaster sacrifices itself and leaps into the metal cogs of the machine, thus mutilating itself, that the crusher stops working and the Master is saved. What a dark finale!
It’s a ‘B’ Movie
Lastly, and arguably the most powerful reason why The Brave Little Toaster can be seen as a horror film, is the fact that the creators hinted at such. Remember the torture scene mentioned above? While the gang is trapped in the back of the repair shop, they meet all kinds of strange appliances and electronics with a host of missing and/or “Frankensteined” parts. They sing a kind of spooky, horror song (complete with an organ intro) titled, “It’s a ‘B’ Movie,” in which the chorus reads, “It’s like a movie. It’s a ‘B’ movie show.” The horror genre has always been a kind of staple of low budget B movies. Can’t get much clearer than that.
I hope you enjoyed these reasons why The Brave Little Toaster is more like a horror movie than a children’s film. We still love it just the same!
Make sure to check out our article on why The Brave Little Toaster is an 80s classic that deserves a Blu-ray upgrade. Until next time!
**The Brave Little Toaster is available on DVD (paid link) and digital (Vudu).