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DID YOU READ

8 Talking Animal Movies That Are Definitely Not for Kids

Fritz the Cat

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By Sara Franks-Allen

In most cases, there’s nothing more appropriate for kids than an animated movie about talking animals. What could be safer when you need to keep the little ones occupied for a while so the adults can take a much deserved break? But not every film with puppy or bunny protagonists is really made with a younger audience in mind. Here are ten talking animal films that are really more for the adults in the room, ranging from family films with slightly more mature themes to the literally X-rated. (Warning: Some trailers are NSFW.)

8. Animal Farm (1954)

George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novel is one of the granddaddies of talking animal stories for adults, so it makes sense that this animated adaptation is an early example of talking animal movies for grown ups. The C.I.A. actually funded the making of the film, hoping to win hearts and minds during the Cold War. Although Orwell’s bleak ending is changed to a more hopeful one showing the animals preparing for a second revolution against the tyrannical pigs, most of the movie remains faithful to the book’s farm that mirrors Russia from the 1917 revolution to Stalin’s reign. And Boxer still dies.


7. Fritz the Cat (1972)

The first animated feature ever to receive an “X” rating, Fritz the Cat is definitely not a movie for kids. The directionless Fritz seeks pleasure from drugs and sex while falling in with violent revolutionaries. Director Ralph Bakshi went on to create more animated films for mature audiences, including Wizards and Cool World. Though it clearly wasn’t for everyone and Fritz’s creator — legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb — all but disowned it, Fritz found its audience as a midnight movie and made over $90 million worldwide.


6. Watership Down (1978)

Few films have suffered from the perception that animated movies about animals must be for children as much as this one. Untold numbers of parents have picked up what they believed to be a nice bunny movie for the kids, only to have the tots traumatized as they watch Fiver, Hazel, and Bigwig face life or death battles with humans, predators, and other rabbits. It’s a well crafted movie and faithful to the original book, but kids and particularly sensitive adults should sit this one out.


5. The Plague Dogs (1982)

If you stayed up nights crying over Watership Down, be glad that your parents never rented The Plague Dogs. Sharing both a director and an original book author with Watership Down, The Plague Dogs tells the story of two dogs who escape from an animal testing facility and search for a place where they can live out the rest of their days in peace. The published version of the book it’s based on has a happy ending for the dogs, but the film ends on an ambiguous note, more in line with the author’s original draft for the book.


4. Peace on Earth (1939)

At first blush, this 1939 MGM short might look like your standard cute animal Christmas cartoon. But the adorable animals’ town is built from discarded weapons and armor. The gut punch arrives when two little squirrel children ask their grandfather what “men” are and Gramps tells the story of how humanity destroyed itself in an endless series of wars. The animation style becomes startling realistic as the old squirrel relates the fate of the last two people on Earth, who perished while shooting at one another across the trenches. The idea that there will only be “peace on Earth” when humans aren’t around anymore is a pretty bold statement, especially right at the beginning of the second World War.

3. Pom Poko (1994)

The Japanese film Pom Poko (or Modern-Era Tanuki War Ponpoko) is best known as the movie where raccoons use their giant testicles to attack people. While that’s true (the characters are actually tanuki – a Japanese canine that resembles a raccoon), it’s not the whole story. Pom Poko is about the tanuki fighting to save their forest home from human development. Despite fantasy elements like the shapeshifting abilities of the tanuki, this isn’t a story with easy answers or a happy ending. It’s a hard yet hopeful look at what happens when traditional societies and modern progress clash.


2. Rock & Rule (1983)

Rock & Rule (also known as Ring of Power outside the U.S.) was the first feature film from Canadian animation studio Nelvana. The story draws heavily from Nelvana’s earlier TV special The Devil and Daniel Mouse. While the plot about a small town rock band trying to stop aging rock legend Mok Swagger from summoning a demon isn’t terribly adults only, the film includes scenes of drug use, some mild sexuality and profanity, and a rock heavy soundtrack (Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick) clearly designed to attract older teens. The film received almost no U.S. release thanks to a change in management at distributor MGM killing support for it. But it eventually gained a cult following thanks to late-night airings on various cable channels.


1. The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat 

The bizarre 1974 sequel to Fritz the Cat is like Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams if it starred a randy feline hanging out with Hitler. A depressed, now domesticated Fritz daydreams what his life could’ve been like in a series of vignettes involving everything from a dog version of Der Fuhrer to Fritz’s outer space adventures. Oh, and plenty of dated racial stereotypes and creepily amorous animals. Fun fact: Director Robert Taylor, who passed away in 2014, worked as an animator and storyboard artist on two decidedly more kid-friendly talking animal cartoons — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ducktales.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.