While the premise seems solid at face value (a group of living but outdated appliances venture into the world to find their old master, a redheaded child), The Brave Little Toaster was secretly disturbing, and it undoubtedly made countless children terrified of their bedroom humidifiers.
The movie starts like any classic horror film, with a dark and gloomy night bolstered by haunting music, bare tree limbs, and a ramshackle cabin alone and atop a hill. However, the dark parts of The Brave Little Toaster are not limited to the fear-inducing opening scene. Instead, many of the most frightening moments in The Brave Little Toaster arrive unexpectedly, like an acid flashback, and during the movie when young viewers are most vulnerable.
This classic children's film follows a toaster, a gooseneck lamp, a chronically depressed electric blanket, an old radio, and a vacuum, who lived in a run-down vacation cabin. After years of abandonment and desperate for their master's affection, the appliances break out of the cabin and embark on a horrifying adventure to reunite with their neglectful owner.
Many children remember the anxiety experienced when they entered the attic or basement of their childhood home alone. Blanky's experience alone in the attic is far more terrifying than an active imagination. After hearing a car in the distance, but nearing their abandoned cabin, the other appliances stack on top of one another and push Blanky into the attic to look out an attic window for their master.
Blanky spots a blue car in the distance, but as it nears, Blanky begins to experience an intense hallucination, and the blue car turns into a yellow station wagon with Master in the backseat. Blanky imagines being reunited with Master, and they dance and enjoy each other's company.
Of course, the blue car passes the cabin, and the Master isn't in the backseat. Blanky likely experiences his delusion as a result of his severe depression caused by Master's abandonment.
After Blanky's twisted fantasy in the attic, the appliances gather on the first floor of the house and reminisce about Master. Annoyed by their perceived weakness, and jealous Master never treated him like the other appliances, the air conditioner goes insane.
He explains to the other appliances that Master left them, and he won't return. Then, the air conditioner accuses them of conspiring against him because he must live in the window and wall. Amid the air conditioner's verbal assault on the other appliances, he starts spitting fire and eventually burns himself out. The scene ends with the air conditioner smoking, and near death.
During their first night alone in the forest, the appliances settle down to sleep. As any child can relate, nighttime is often scary and cuddling to sleep makes the night more bearable.
However, as Blanky attempts to cuddle with the appliances with whom he lived, he is shunned by each, and the other appliances are quick to push Blanky off of them and remind him he isn't Master. Blanky is forced to curl up into a heap of a blanket and sleep alone.
It's obvious to the audience that Blanky is the weakest of all of the appliances. He is depressed, he hallucinates, he can't fall asleep on his own, and in the forest, children again get reminded that Blanky personifies the victim identity. While the rest of the appliances witness the forest animals singing and dancing, three mice decide to kidnap Blanky.
Fortunately for Blanky, Toaster chooses to get involved, and he chases off the ravenous mice.