Fear: An Imaginary Portrait of the Creative Team Behind The Brave Little Toaster
Visionary #1: You know what I've always wanted to do? Make a film that really forces an encounter with the shadow archetype in a Jungian sense--something that so terrifying that it could provoke an increased fear response, perhaps even triggering a phobia, outside the normative ontogenetic parade.
Visionary #2: Oh, sure. So, a Disney children's film, then?
V1: Of course. But kids are so jaded these days--what's left that would scare them?
V2: How about a horribly deformed toy?
V1: That's a good start. For maximum horror impact, I'm thinking a creepy doll-- no, just its head! And it has a missing eye! And the body of a mechanical spider! And it's alive!
V2: We could call it "Spider Baby!"
V1: Ah, no, that's no good; toys come to life has been done before. We need something even more uncanny. How about household appliances come to life?
V2: The marketing team won't like that. What kind of character would they use to promote the movie, a desk lamp?
V1: It's so crazy, it just might work! Plus, can you imagine the retail opportunities? Kids begging their parents to buy them vacuum cleaners, refusing to go to sleep unless they can cuddle their clock radios, playing in the bath with their toasters...
V2: Well, maybe not that last one. So what else are kids afraid of? Lightning?
V1: Done! Let's fry a protagonist with it.
V2: How about fear of death?
V1: Yes! I'll add in some near-misses with drowning, quicksand, vivisection, and then for the grand finale... a car crusher!
V2: Gosh, that's a little drastic, isn't it?
V1: Not at all! Here, I'll have a car go into the crusher on purpose, just to show it's no biggie. Automotive suicide! Now there's a phobia I bet they haven't included in the DSM yet. It's still lacking something though, something universally terrifying, something so sinister their sheets won't be dry for weeks...
V2: Um... an evil clown?
The Brave Little Toaster. Dir. Jerry Rees. Perf. Deanna Oliver, Jon Lovitz, Tim Stack. Hyperion, 1987.
Buy The Brave Little Toaster DVD