Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

(Re)Animations: Tales from the Far Side Halloween Special (1994)

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October 10, 2011

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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.

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About Author

Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

  • LaDracul

    Truly, the man is a genius. And it’s a shame the second one never made it to the US. (BTW, thanks for the mention. :) )

  • http://HalloweenAddict.com AllHallowSteve

    Ooooooooo! Thanks for the reminder!
    I’ve never seen this. Ever.
    I’ll have to find it –ahem– “somewhere.”

  • http://www.superhauntedstories.com SuperVillain

    i enjoyed the post on the top five forgotten halloween specials
    i’m hoping you will also do a post of the top five halloween speicals of all time!

    hopeing to see disneys “legend of sleepy hollow” on there!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a8il8kOMsg

    and donald ducks – trick or treat!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skdVouumMk4

    • http://www.strangekidsclub.com Rondal

      Some really good choices there, SuperVillian, and definitely a great idea. It’s been YEARS since I’ve seen Disney’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Thanks for sharing that link. :D

  • http://notchordamnatchoz.blogspot.com Andrew

    I miss the far side.

  • Brandon Bennett

    I have Tales from the Far Side on VHS. Just found it about a month ago for $1.50!

    • http://www.strangekidsclub.com Rondal

      That sounds like a heck of a deal, Brandon! :)