Why The Brave Little Toaster is More Like a Horror Movie Than a Disney Film

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.

Creepy Opening
The Brave Little Toaster Creepy Opening Sequence
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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 
Air conditioner about to blow from The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

Who could forget the Jack Nicholson-esque air conditioner that goes on a paranoid rant.

Shifty-eyed air conditioner from The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

 “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?)

Busted Air Conditioner in Wall from The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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. 

Appliance Violence

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.

The Master grabbed by smoke in Toaster's Nightmare in The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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! 

The Crusher
The Crusher at the junkyard in The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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.

Cars flinch as another car is crushed on the conveyor belt in The Brave Little Toaster.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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 
Scene from "It's a 'B' Movie" musical number in The Brave Little Toaster.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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. 

Lampy rests under a spooky tree in The Brave Little Toaster.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

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).

The Brave Little Toaster Is a Late 80s Classic That Deserves a Blu-Ray Release

The Brave Little Toaster cover
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The Brave Little Toaster, released in 1987 as a Disney independent production and directed by Jerry Rees, sadly hasn’t gotten much love since the 90s. Based on Thomas M. Disch’s 1980 popular science fiction novel of the same name, The Brave Little Toaster tells the story of an animated toaster, radio, vacuum, lamp, and blanket, and their adventure to the city to find their master Rob. While the film opened at the Sundance Film Festival, it never secured an actual theater run, only later showing in a few arthouse facilities. Most viewers experienced The Brave Little Toaster through its broadcast on the Disney Channel in 1988. This would continue into the 90s. 

The Brave Little Toaster DVD cover

The Brave Little Toaster was also released on VHS and LaserDisc beginning in 1991 by Buena Vista Home Video, and later re-released multiple times throughout the 90s. In 2003, the first and only DVD edition was released to coincide with the 15th anniversary of the film, but we have yet to see a Blu-ray edition, even after its 20th anniversary in 2007, or even its 30th anniversary in 2017. 

While many other Disney films have enjoyed a release on Blu-ray in recent years, like Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros and A Goofy Movie/An Extremely Goofy Movie, The Brave Little Toaster hasn’t gotten the upgrade. We think its a classic that deserves this honor—so here are our top reasons why The Brave Little Toaster deserves a Blu-ray release. 

Animating the Inanimate
The gang lost in the woods
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

While Toy Story has often been praised for bringing toys to life through computer animation since 1995, The Brave Little Toaster was hand-drawing objects that originally had no faces and bared little resemblance to any humans or animals in the late 80s. The skill needed to bring these completely lifeless objects to life cannot be understated, as it was a massive leap of the imagination. Putting this into practice through animation must have been some feat, and really showcases the skill of the animators working on the film, especially when considering the crushing financial and time constraints they faced in completing it. 

Lampy, Radio, Toaster, and Blanky in the cabin
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The animation is just one side of the story—someone had to give a voice to these characters. Various exemplary actors and actresses stepped up to the plate to literally breathe life into these characters such as Phil Hartman and Deanna Oliver. In a great show of virtuosity, Jon Lovitz performed the voice acting for the radio, channeling a transatlantic accent, but also switching his tone and accent throughout the film to resemble a radio changing channels. Without the skill of the animators and the virtuosity of the voice actors and actresses, the inanimate in The Brave Little Toaster would not be believably lifelike.

Great Music
Radio on the nightstand in the cabin
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

The Brave Little Toaster is filled with classic tunes of the past such as “Tutti Frutti” (1955) by Little Richard and “My Mammy” (1918) sung by Al Jonson from The Jazz Singer (1927), the first motion picture with audible speech and singing. These classic tunes connect viewers with the past, and open their minds to some of the history of music and film. As a small child in the 90s, I watched The Brave Little Toaster on The Disney Channel many times, and remember hearing some of these songs of the 50s for the first time through this film. I now have a love and appreciation for the music of the past.

A recorder
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

There are also many nostalgic loveable original numbers throughout The Brave Little Toaster such as “City of Light” and “It’s a ‘B’ Movie.” At the climax of the film, the cars in the junkyard sing the melancholic tune “Worthless” as they stare down the metal crusher and realize they have lost their purpose and are no longer worth anything to society. These original tunes really brings emotion and mood to what the appliances and electronics are facing as they strive to be useful to (but also appreciated by) their masters. 

A Tale of Sacrifice

Lastly, The Brave Little Toaster is a tale of sacrifice. When the gang stops to sleep in the wilderness on their way to the city, they awaken in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm. While Blanky is blown up into a tree, the gang attempts to find it but runs out of battery. Lampy, in a moment of sheer selflessness, decides to jump on top of the battery on the chair and attempt to attract the lightning by stretching its neck out pin-straight. Lampy is then electrocuted and badly damaged through the rest of the film.

Later, when the rest of the gang falls down a waterfall, Kirby decides to leap off of the edge as well, potentially sacrificing its own life to save the others.

Finally, at the end of the film, Toaster, after seeing the Master about to be crushed in the junkyard crusher, resolves to sacrifice its own life by jumping into the cogs of the crusher’s machinery, earning his title as the “brave” little toaster. While darker than most animated films geared towards children, The Brave Little Toaster goes deeper than the surface, and decides not to tell a superficial story, but one filled with raw emotion, loss, sacrifice, and redemption. 

The gang in the back of the Master's car
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)

These are our top reasons why The Brave Little Toaster is a classic that deserves a re-release. Though we may never see a Blu-ray release, you can still buy the DVD edition, as well as the digital copy on Vudu.  Until next time!