Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top Ten Halloween Cartoons

10) The Case of the Stuttering Pig - Not technically a Halloween cartoon, but a horror movie spoof, this 30's era black-&-white Porky Pig short featured a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde character stalking Porky and his siblings. The Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes bunch did a lot of good spookified material over the decades, but this one is probably my favorite of the lot.

9) "Pink Eye" - The South Park episode where Worchestershire Sauce-induced zombification is misdiagnosed as pink eye. Chef as Evil Kneivel killing zombies with chainsaws was rad.

8) SpongeBob SquarePants Halloween - This is a multi-episode compilation tape. The Halloween-themed "Scaredy Pants" has some great moments, particularly SpongeBob and Patricks's attempt to prank the Halloween party at the Krusty Krab. But "Frankendoodle", the tale of a pencil drawing come to life, is both funnier ("Finland!") and creepier.

7) Billy & Mandy's Jacked-Up Halloween - Not the best of the longer Billy & Mandy cartoons, but I'm a sucker for a villain with a pumpkin for a head. Add in an army of undead jack o'lanterns and I'm a fan for life.

6) The Trouble with Miss Switch - The two Miss Switch afternoon specials had a genuine sense of magic and mystery to them. And Miss Switch is probably one of the cutest witches in all of animation. Either this show or the sequel also featured a computer that was a witch. That concept still blows my mind.

5) "The Headless Horseman of Halloween" - A huge quantity of Scooby-Doo cartoons make for good Halloween viewing, but this one has the advantage of being set at a Halloween party at the Crane family home. That's "Crane" as in "Ichabod Crane", the most famous victim of the Headless Horseman. The presence of Scooby Dum will grate on some nerves, but the inexplicable airplane sequence at the end more than makes up for it. While I'm going on about Headless Horseman, I should really mention the 1980 made-for-TV movie version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starring Jeff Goldblum as Crane. It's really not bad for what it is.

4) Disney's Halloween Treat - An old clip show from 1980 that featured a lot of creepy Disneyana mooshed together. My favorite segments are the climax of the animated Legend of Sleepy Hallow and the Night on Bald Mountain sequence from Fantasia. Nearly impossible to get these days, as this show hasn't seen a video release since like 1984.

3) Ed, Edd, & Eddy's Boo-Haw-Haw - Most days I can take or leave Ed, Edd, & Eddy but their Halloween special is fan-frickin-tastic. Cartoon Network has run it several times this month and I always try to catch it. Set on Halloween night, the big deal is that Ed, the stupid one, is having a total mental breakdown. He spent the days leading up to tricking or treating watching grainy old monster movies nonstop. And now when he sees someone in costume he freaks out, thinking they're the real deal. Truly, one of the creepiest things I've seen in a Halloween special.

2) Garfield's Halloween Adventure - I'm not a fan of the original comic strip, I've not seen the films, and, apart from the U.S. Acres back-ups, I didn't really like the series. But this Halloween special rocks on toast. Lou Rawls sings some of the songs, for crying out loud! And the ghost pirates that appear in the third act scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. I don't think I've seen creepier ghost pirates anywhere, and not for lack of looking, either.

1) It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - Where do I even begin? You've got Linus waiting for the great Pumpkin, Lucy reading the issue of TV guide that features herself on the cover, Charlie Brown's humiliation both trick-or-treating and at Violet's party, the Red Baron, and the classic music. Everyone recognizes that piano tune, but for my money the best music in this show is the eerie jazz flute piece that plays as everyone abandons Linus for the final time.