Like that holiday where we lure a strange bearded man into our homes with milk and cookies in the hopes he leaves us material goods, Halloween is used as a set piece for most of our favorite cartoon shows of yesteryear. Occasionally, these offbeat cartoon specials can fall behind the desk we call “adult life,” forgotten about—perhaps forever—lest some intrepid nostalgia-naut takes it upon himself (or herself) to dig them up and dust them off so that you, slightly strange reader, can have your proverbial fancy tickled. Before you stand five such episodes, released from the video containment unit we keep in the basement of the clubhouse. Take a gander…
Animaniacs: Draculee, Draculaa
Animaniacs, much to the dismay of my parents, probably contributed (in no small way) to me being such a smart ass. Thanks for that Steven Spielberg. In this All Hallow’s Eve themed episode, we follow the Animaniacs as they take to the road towards their ancestral home of Pennsylvania (mom and dad are pencils after all!). However, as fate would have it, they end up in Transylvania instead. Obviously, if you’re in the neighborhood you need to go visit the original fangster himself, Dracula, and wreak all kinds of cartoony havoc on his life, which the Animaniacs do—with great style I might add.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: Howl of the Weremoose
How could I possibly pass on this? Ace Ventura (even if in sub-par non-Carrey cartoon form), my favorite holiday and the promise of lycanthropian antics involving a moose (the unofficial mascot of my country)? This is a win 3 times over in my book. In this episode, Ace goes to investigate reports of a killer moose in a small town, only to discover that this Moose is no ordinary animal, but a hunter who has been cursed to turn into a moose when the moon is full. Things quickly get serious (as serious as they can be when weremoose and Ace Ventura are involved) and Ace gets in over his head when he’s pursued by not by one, but THREE weremoose. You really get the most bang for your buck if you dig lycanthropic antlered mammals, let me tell you.
The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone
The Flintstones are pretty much one of the keystone institutions of animated family entertainment, right up there with Scooby-Doo. So much so that to not include one entry on this list would be near sacrilegious. To clear the air on this one, I MAY have seen this episode growing up but I sure don’t remember it. You’d think that some stone age classic monsters would be something that my impressionable young brain would have latched onto pretty tight! I have since corrected that and can ensure you, dear reader, that this one worth revisiting.
Fred wins the main prize on a game show and the Flintstones and Rubbles plan a trip to visit Count Rockulas’ castle n Rocksylvania together. I just want to stop and say that these guys sound like my kind of people. What better way to spend prize money than touring old spooky castles? Seriously. Anyways, it turns out Count Rockula had a secret lab that he was building his own Frakenstone monster in to protect him while he slept. Barney and Fred, of course, wind up waking up the monster and we are treated to all sorts of stone age Halloween shenanigans, managing to drop some pretty respectable classic Universal Monster references along the way.
Pinky and the Brain: A Pinky and the Brain Halloween
Now who doesn’t like Pinky and the Brain? In this seasonal special these two labs rats (1 genius, 1 insane) take a trip to the dark side when Pinky sells his soul to Mr. Itch (aka the Devil) so that Brain can finally achieve his goal of world domination. While in Hades (this universe’s name for Hell), Pinky is tortured and reveals to us his slight sadomasochistic steak by enjoying it. Meanwhile, Brain is torn between living out his dream of ruling the world and saving his friend from eternal torment. Though really, Pinky does seem like he’s having a darn good time. Either way, Pinky and the Brain never fails to disappoint and this Halloween episode is no exception.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Switching Hour
I always forget about Aaahh!!! Real Monsters when I think about old cartoons for some reason… a reason known only to the parts of my brain that deal with those gross adult thoughts like bills and work schedules and buying groceries. Anyways, I can’t see how this Halloween special could be anything less than entertaining seeing as how dealing with monsters is kind of what this show does on a regular basis. Things go awry when Ickis, Oblina and Krumm head to our world for some Halloween shenanigans, because otherwise we wouldn’t have anything amusing to watch, and Ickis ends up switching places with a boy whose costume looks like him. The rest of the episode finds them leaving each others lives while trying to switch back.