(Re)Animations: Tales from the Far Side Halloween Special (1994)
Tales that might not be terrifying, but certainly entertaining.
Last week during our Top 5 Forgotten TV Halloween Specials countdown one of our fellow club members, the lovely LaDracul, brought to my attention an overlooked Halloween special that I fondly remember seeing on TV but completely forgot about (there were tons more great suggestions from readers as well): Gary Larson’s Tales from the Farside®.
As the only animated adaptations of Larson’s The Far Side® to date, it might be easy to overlook Tales from the Far Side (1994) and its sequel, Tales from the Far Side II (1997), if not for director Marv Newland’s (Bambi Meets Godzilla) unique choice to include no actual dialogue. Apparently though this differs between the VHS and televised versions as you’ll see in the clip below. Seeing as how the popularity of the strips somewhat dwindled at the end of the 90s, along with decent MTV programming, there isn’t much else remarkable about the short and only the first short is actually themed around Halloween (though the sequel did contain some sci-fi/horror elements).
Of the two specials only one actually made an appearance on US television while the second short was only broadcast on BBC. Both carry Larson’s signature style and anthropomorphic stories, which takes place in a Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror format of lighthearted, ghoulish gags. In the one of the two best sequences from Tales from the Far Side I, Exploding Boy, a monster duo plays an unexpected practical joke on their fellow closet monster while in Dead Ranch a group of zombies take some time out for fun complete with roasting brains by the fireside.
There is an official DVD for the two TV specials available on Gary Larson’s official website, but because I believe that $40 (plus shipping & handling) is way too much money for only 75 minutes of otherwise out of print cartoons you can also find them via download… you just didn’t hear it from us.
This article is part of the Countdown to Halloween blogathon, a month-long blogging marathon dedicated to honoring the Halloween season. For more information and a full list of participating sites, please visit www.countdowntohalloween.com.