Evil Toons opens, disturbingly enough, with David Carradine hanging himself. Carradine is playing Gideon Fisk, the owner of both a run-down mansion and an ancient book that appears to be bound in human skin. Though Fisk kills himself, he still appears several years later so that he can deliver a copy of the book to the four girls who have been hired to clean his home.
The girls are all students at Miskatonic University, a name that will be familiar to any fans of the work of H.P. Lovecraft. (Those same fans will also have figured out that the book is the Necronomicon.) Jan (Barbara Dare) and Terry (Suzanne Auger) want to get the house cleaned so they can get paid. Roxanne (Madison Stone) wants to party overnight with her idiot boyfriend, Biff (Don Dowe). Shy and intellectual Megan (Monique Gabrielle) is mostly just worried about surviving until morning. After the girls open the book, they get Megan to translate the Latin writing within. This brings to life a cartoon monster, one who looks much like a combination of the Big Bad Wolf and the Tasmanian Devil but which is far more bloodthirsty and horny than either of them. After killing one of the girls and possessing her body, the Monster stalks the other inhabitants of the house.
Not meant to be taken seriously in any way shape or form, Evil Toons was made by Fred Olen Ray for $150,000. That probably explains why, despite the title, there’s only one evil toon and it only gets a minute and a half of screen time before possessing its first victim. Most of the dialogue is deliberately obtuse, with none of the girls showing any alarm upon realizing that forcing Megan to translate the book has condemned everyone to an eternity of torment. The good thing is that there are enough funny lines to hold your interest and the cast is game (and frequently undressed, which is probably why this film still has a cult following). Monique Gabrielle proves that she can scream with the best of them while Madison Stone is genuinely funny as Roxanne, delivering her lines with a playful quirkiness and even indulging in a little physical comedy with a hard-to-open wine bottle.
Fans of B-horror will be happy to see Dick Miller in the role of Burt, the man who hires the girls to clean up the house. After leaving the girls at the house, Burt goes home and watches Bucket of Blood (starring Dick Miller, of course) on television. “How come that guy never won an Academy Award?” Burt asks. Burt’s wife is played by scream queen Michelle Bauer, who gets a guest starring credit for a two-minute role that consists of her reminding Burt what Friday night is supposed to be for.
Evil Toons is undeniably dumb but I laughed more than I was expecting too. I think it helps that the movie confirmed what anyone who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons has always suspected. Most cartoon characters aren’t that innocent, especially the ones that are drawn in the margins of the Necronomicon.