You can never have too much Toy Story and Pixar knows this. In addition to the full-length feature films, Pixar has produced a number of shorts called Toy Story Toons that have preceded other Disney films in theaters. They’ve now gone one step further with Toy Story of Terror!, the first of a new series of specials set to air on ABC. In this 22-minute episode, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the toys find themselves in a nightmare situation after a flat tire lands them in a shady roadside motel.
The quality of Toy Story of Terror! is exactly what you would expect from Pixar. Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), Wallace Shawn (Rex), Timothy Dalton (Mr. Pricklepants), and Kristen Schaal (Trixie) all return to reprise their roles from the films and the animation is absolutely wonderful. It’s Toy Story, only on a smaller scale.
Bonnie is on a road trip with her toys when a flat tire in stormy weather forces them to take shelter in a roadside motel for the night. While everyone is sleeping, Mr. Potato Head decides to do a little exploring and discovers that all is not what it seems at this tiny motel. The short is full of references to classic horror films like Psycho and Mr. Pricklepants acts as liaison to the horror genre with commentary of the typical horror film format throughout the episode. It’s his little added touch that provides a good deal of the humor throughout.
Toy Story of Terror! also introduces a few new toys as well, most notably action figure soldier Combat Carl voiced by Carl Weathers and his miniature version, Combat Carl Jr. Combat Carl only refers to himself in third person and happens to be missing his right hand, in what I can only imagine is an homage to Happy Gilmore. I can only hope that we’ll see more of Combat Carl in future Toy Story productions.
While it’s no numbered sequel, Toy Story of Terror! satisfies that Toy Story craving, if only for the time being. It mirrors the films’ quality in most ways, and I look forward to seeing more specials from Pixar in the coming years. Now if they could make it into a regular series, then we’d be set.