Toy Story, Pixar’s first feature film, was initially imagined as a television special. After the film’s path led it into theaters, the studio’s focus turned to releasing films theatrically. After the success of the Cars Toons shorts, Pixar has decided to revisit the idea of a TV-special. Toy Story OF TERROR!, a half-hour special scheduled to air in tandem with the Halloween season, is the studio’s first attempt at a project fully inspired by the genre of horror. At the D23 Expo this past weekend, the first 10 minutes was shown and an air date was announced. Read my thoughts after the break!
During the Toy Story of Terror and the Motivation Behind Pixar’s Short Form Content panel at the Expo, Pixar General Manager Jim Morris stated that the short was the studio’s first horror film. Pixar being Pixar, you will not have to worry about a film that is not family-friendly. The short’s director, Angus MacLane, said that they wanted to have many things from the horror genre, but also wanted to make it accessible to everyone.
As we have seen from films such as Toy Story 3, though, the studio is willing to add some scary elements in order to tell a great story. We were shown about the first half of the TV-special during the Animation and Imagination presentation in the D23 Arena. Gone should be the days where television specials were associated with inferior quality, as the 10 minutes we viewed were very good. It starts with the toys in the trunk of a car, on their way to Bonnie’s grandmother’s house. Mr. Pricklepants serves as the narrator, of sorts, pointing out the many elements that usually appear in the horror genre, scaring his fellow toys at the same time.
When Bonnie arrives at a motel, the toys end up going exploring and are separated from one another. Jessie, who will serve as the lead character, is left all alone and is terrified. The first half ends with a scene that is easily the creepiest, and will look extremely familiar to fans of horror films. There are many gags throughout the 10 minutes that parody/emulate story elements from horror. The special does a great job of throwing in humor along with the scarier pieces. From what we saw, the story moves at a breakneck pace and is yet another high-quality form of entertainment from Pixar.
Toy Story OF TERROR! premieres October 16 on ABC at 8 pm ET.