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My Top Ten Picks for
Must See Horror Cartoons
10. The Monsters Cartoon
The Mini-Munsters was a 23 minute cartoon that was aired as part of the The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie in 1973.
The cartoon begins when The Munsters are informed their cousins Igor and Lucretia are coming to visit them all the way from Transylvania. Meanwhile, Eddie wants to be able to play in a band and not annoy his parents because of the constant noise. So, Grandpa invents a car for Eddie that runs on music so he can go to school to practice. Meanwhile, a gas company is infuriated and destroys the car and takes the family's pets leaving the family to plot and get back their beloved pets.
9. The Addams Family Cartoon
Addams' original cartoons were one-panel gags and he never developed any of the characters or even gave them names until the sitcom was being developed. All information below is derived from the various media versions.
The family that the cartoons, movies, and television shows are based on is apparently only one surviving branch of the Addams clan. Many other "Addams families" exist all over the world. According to the film version, the family credo is, Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc (pseudo-Latin: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us").
They reside next to a cemetery and a swamp at 0001 Cemetery Lane, in a gloomy mansion (In The New Addams Family, the address was changed to 1313 Cemetery Lane, in a reference to rival show The Munsters). (Charles Addams was first inspired by his home town of Westfield, New Jersey, an area full of ornate Victorian mansions and archaic graveyards.)
Although they all share macabre interests, the Addamses cannot be considered evil people. They are a close-knit extended family. Morticia is an exemplary mother, and she and Gomez remain passionate towards one another. She calls him "Bubbele", to which he responds by kissing her arms—behaviour Morticia can also evoke by speaking a few words in French. The parents are very supportive of their children, cheering even their smallest accomplishments. The family is unfailingly friendly and hospitable to visitors, in some cases willing to donate large sums of money to causes, despite the visitors' horror at the Addams' particular lifestyle.
Two animated television spin-offs and an animated guest appearance have also been produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
The Addams Family's first animated appearance was on the third episode of Hanna-Barbera's The New Scooby-Doo Movies, "Scooby-Doo Meets the Addams Family" (a.k.a. "Wednesday is Missing"), which first aired on CBS Saturday morning September 23, 1972. Four of the original cast (John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Jackie Coogan, and Ted Cassidy) returned for the special which involved the Addamses in a mystery with the Scooby-Doo gang. The Addams Family characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams comics. After the episode aired, fans wanted more animated adventures featuring the Addamses, and Hanna-Barbera responded in kind.
The first animated series ran on Saturday mornings from 1973–1975 on NBC. In a departure from the original series, this series took the Addamses on the road in a Victorian-style RV. This series also marked the point where the relations between characters were retconned so that Fester was now Gomez' brother, and Grandmama was now Morticia's mother (though the old relations would be revisited in the 1977 TV movie, to keep continuity with the original sitcom). Although Coogan and Cassidy reprised their roles, Astin and Jones did not, their parts being recast with Hanna-Barbera voice talents Lennie Weinrib as Gomez and Janet Waldo as Morticia, while none other than an eight-year-old Jodie Foster provided the voice of Pugsley. Again, the characters were drawn to the specifications of the original Charles Addams comics. One season was produced, and the second season consisted of reruns. A complementary comic book series was produced in connection with the show, but it lasted only three issues.
The remake series ran on Saturday mornings from 1992–1995 on ABC after producers realized the success of the 1991 Addams Family movie. This series returned to the familiar format of the original series, with the Addams Family facing their sitcom situations at home. John Astin returned to the role of Gomez, and celebrities Rip Taylor and Carol Channing took over the roles of Fester and Grandmama, respectively, while veteran voice actors Jim Cummings, Debi Derryberry, Jeannie Elias and Pat Fraley did the voices of Lurch, Wednesday, Pugsley and Cousin Itt. New artistic models of the characters were used for this series, though still having a passing resemblance to the original comics. Two seasons were produced, with the third year containing reruns. Oddly in this series, Wednesday maintained her macabre, brooding attitude from the Addams Family movies, but her facial expressions and body language conveyed the happy-go-lucky, fun attitude of her portrayal in the original television show.
They also appear in an animated M&Ms Dark Chocolate commercial in 2008 as M&Ms themselves as a continuing commercial idea "Theres an M&M in everyone."
8. Growing Up Creepie
What do you get when you combine a teenage girl raised by bugs with a new school infested with humans? Creeped out, that’s what! And that’s just how Creepy Creecher feels when the loving parents that took her under their wings inform her that she’s adopted…and that she’s (blecch) a HUMAN! Now, Creepie needs to find a way to fit in with these hairy, scary bipeds without sacrificing her individuality – or revealing her secret! After all, the family Creepie loves will be exterminated if anybody finds out!
The premise of the animated series was greatly changed from the film, to the point where one only superficially resembled the other. Where in the film, Beetlejuice is the antagonist who ends up nearly marrying a disgusted Lydia, in the series they are best friends, and Lydia, socially misunderstood in the living world, frequently visits him in the afterlife. The Maitlands, the most significant characters in the film, are nowhere to be found in the series. Unlike the mind-numbing bureaucracy of the movie, the afterlife was converted into the "Neitherworld", a bizarre and humorous parody of the real world, with the fact of it being the afterlife only rarely mentioned.
Episodes generally centered around the ghostly con-man Beetlejuice, his best (and only real) friend Lydia, and their adventures together in both the Neitherworld and the "real world", a fictional New England town called Peaceful Pines ("Winter River" in the film). Beetlejuice's core character, that of a ghostly con artist, remained the same, although in the cartoon he did not display the adamant lechery he did in the film outside of occasionally asking for a kiss. Lydia's character went through comparatively greater change; she became far less "goth" than she was portrayed as in the movie and was presented as an upbeat girl who simply liked "weird" things such as spiders and horror movies (although, conversely, she tends to dress more gothically in the show than in the movie.) As in the film, Lydia could summon Beetlejuice out of the Neitherworld (or go there herself) by calling his name three times or as part of a chant:
"Though I know I should be wary,
Still I venture someplace scary;
Ghostly hauntings I turn loose ...
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
Occasionally, there are other effects of this chant (for example, Lydia's room changing to a gothic castle, or instead of Beetlejuice appearing, sometimes she goes to the Neitherworld).
The show's humor relied heavily on sight gags and wordplay, some of which was fairly sophisticated for its intended target audience, making it a favorite of a wide range of age groups. Many episodes, especially towards the end of the run, were parodies of famous films, books, and TV shows. It was kept clean (figuratively) in that it didn't involve drugs or alcohol outside of mentioning that an old western town didn't have a saloon because of the time slot.
Throughout the series, Beetlejuice would often try to scam residents of the Neitherworld -- and, sometimes, the "real world" as well (Lydia's parents were occasional unwitting victims of his pranks) -- through various means, whether it be via baby-sitting (in which he actually sits on the babies) or trying to beat them in a race. Only Lydia, it seemed, was immune to his tricks; it was explicitly stated at several points that she was the only person Beetlejuice couldn't deceive. It is also revealed that Beetlejuice is afraid of one thing more than anything else: Sandworms. This was hinted at in a single line of dialogue in the movie but expanded on greatly here. They appear as purple and green snake-like creatures with two pairs of eyes on top of each other and stegosaurus-like spines on their backs. Beetlejuice also has a major problem with nice things.
Given that Casper is depicted as a ghostly little boy, it is a source of controversy by fans of the series in regards to the question of whether or not he is, in fact, a dead child. Early Casper cartoons seemed to suggest this, as they portrayed him "living" beside a gravestone. Specifically, the short There's Good Boos To-Night featured Ferdie, a fox befriended by Casper coming back from the dead as a ghost. Casper's death (as well as the reason why he became friendly) has become disputed since then.
This somewhat macabre premise was later abandoned in favor of the idea that ghosts were merely a type of creature, similar to ghouls, goblins, etc. He was thereafter portrayed with feet and shown to have ghostly parents. In the 1960s and 1970s, the stock answer provided by Harvey Comics in response to those wondering how Casper died was that he was a ghost simply because his parents were already ghosts when they were married.
Casper was created in the late 1930s by New York City native Seymour Reit (1918-2001) and Joe Oriolo, the former devising the idea for the character and the latter providing illustrations. Intended initially as the basis for a 1939 children's storybook, there was at first little interest in their idea. When Reit was away on military service during the Second World War before the book was released, Oriolo sold the rights to the book to Paramount Pictures' Famous Studios animation division, for which he had occasionally worked.
The Friendly Ghost, the first Noveltoon to feature Casper, was released by Paramount in 1945 with a few differences from the book. In the cartoon adaptation, Casper is a cute, pudgy ghost-child with a New York accent, who prefers making friends with people instead of scaring them (Casper used to scare people but got tired of it all). He escapes from his home and his brothers and sisters at the Winchester Mystery House and goes out to make friends. However, the animals he meets (a rooster, a mole, a cat, a mouse resembling Herman and Katnip, and a group of hens) for some reason take one horrified look at him and run off in the other direction. Distraught over his acquaintant life, Casper unsuccessfully attempts to commit suicide by laying himself down on a railway track before an oncoming train (apparently forgetting that he's already dead) before he meets two little children named Bonnie and Johnny who become his friends. The children's mother at first is frightend of Casper, but later welcomes him into the family and sends him off with her children to town wearing clothes after he wards off a greedy landlord.
Casper appeared in two more subsequent books by Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo, There's Good Boos To-Night and A Haunting We Will Go. These were later adapted into Noveltoons before Paramount started a Casper the Friendly Ghost series in 1950, and ran the theatrical releases until the summer of 1959. Nearly every entry in the series was the same: Casper escapes from the afterlife of a regular ghost because he finds that scaring people can be tiresome year after year, tries to find friends but inadvertently scares everyone, and finally finds a (cute little) friend, whom he saves from some sort of fate. The cartoon series also boasted a catchy title song which was written by Jerry Livingston and Mack David.
Casper went on to become one of the most famous properties from the Famous Studio. Alfred Harvey, founder and publisher of Harvey Comics began producing Casper comic books in 1952, and in 1957, purchased the rights to the character outright.
After Harvey bought the rights to Casper and many other Famous properties in 1959 (including Herman and Katnip, Little Audrey, and Baby Huey), they began broadcasting the post-1950 theatrical Famous shorts on a television show sponsored by Mattel Toys titled Matty's Funday Funnies on ABC in 1959 which introduced the Barbie doll to the public. The other Famous produced Casper cartoons had already been acquired by television distributor U.M.&M. T.V. Corp. in 1956. U.M.&M. retitled just "A Haunting We Will Go", but miscredited "Featuring Casper The Friendly Ghost" as "Featuring Caspers Friendly Ghost".
New cartoons were created for the New Casper Cartoon Show in 1963, also on ABC. The original Casper cartoons were syndicated under the title Harveytoons in 1962 and ran continually until the mid-90s. Casper has remained popular in reruns and merchandising, and Hanna-Barbera produced two holiday specials, Casper's First Christmas (which also starred Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Quick Draw McGraw, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy) and Casper's Halloween Special, and also the Saturday morning cartoon series Casper and the Angels in the autumn of 1979, all on NBC. Also featured on the NBC version was a big ghost named Hairy Scary (voiced by John Stephenson). None of Casper's original co-stars appeared in the show.
In 1995, the friendly ghost was adapted into a live-action feature film entitled Casper, where he and his wicked uncles, the Ghostly Trio, were created with computer animation. The film constructed a backstory for Casper and is the only time in the series that the question of his death has been addressed. According to the film, Casper was a twelve-year-old boy living in Whipstaff Manor with his inventor father J. T. McFadden until he died from pneumonia after playing out in the cold until it was past nightfall. Much of the backstory he is given in the film is contradicted by other Casper media.
In 1995, Fox created a new Casper series, based on the 1995 feature, that lasted two years. Two live-action direct-to-video follow-ups, Casper: A Spirited Beginning and Casper Meets Wendy, which introduced Hilary Duff, to the film were later made. They were followed by Casper's Haunted Christmas (starring Spooky and Poil from the animated spinoff of the first movie), and Casper's Scare School, which were done entirely in CGI with no live-action elements. These films are often referred to as being "sequels" to the 1995 feature despite the fact that they heartily contradict the feature and do not appear to even take place in the same universe.
In 2001, Harvey Entertainment was acquired by Classic Media LLC which continues to license the Harvey properties including Casper.
5. Groovie Goolies
Created in 1970, was a take off of Filmation's wildly popular The Archie Show with a monster bent. Combined with another show featuring a character directly spun off The Archie Show, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, the Goolies were a group of hip monsters, many of whom were, in look and sound, pop-culture echoes of the classic horror-film monsters created in the 1930s and 1940s, mostly by Universal Pictures including Frankie (Frankenstein's Monster), Wolfie (The Wolfman, who talks like Wolfman Jack), Mummy, Drac (Dracula), Batzo and Ratzo (two mean green-skinned kids), Boneapart (an animated skeleton that might have been Napoleon Bonaparte), Dr. Jekyll & Hyde (bicephalous, a reference to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Hagatha (a witch), Bella La Ghostly (who looks very much like Drac and like Lily Munster), Broomhilda, Hauntleroy (an often whiny, goody-two shoes kid patterned after Little Lord Fauntleroy), and Orville (a take on the man-eating plant from The Little Shop of Horrors).
4. Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
Billy and Mandy are two children from Endsville, a typical "Anytown, USA." One day, while they are celebrating the 10th birthday of Billy's old pet hamster, Mr. Snuggles, the Grim Reaper appears. He comes to reap the old hamster's soul, but, to his surprise, Billy and Mandy are not afraid of him at all. Mandy refuses to give Grim the hamster and offers to play a game of limbo for its soul (a homage to the classic film The Seventh Seal). If the Reaper wins, he would get the hamster's soul.
Grim, assured of his victory, says that, if they win, he will be their best friend "forever and ever". Grim takes Billy and Mandy to Limbo, where they compete in Grim's favorite game—limbo. However he loses because Mandy cheats by making Mr. Snuggles attack him, and Grim is doomed to be the "best friend" of these two children, a task he suffers with no small amount of disdain and mockery from other supernatural creatures. Grim is very depressed in the first days of his servitude, but as the time passes, he gradually adapts to the new life. Despite this, he has a love-hate relationship with Billy and Mandy and desires that he will eventually break free from his servitude (he mentions fantasies of killing them multiple times).
The show takes place in Modern Day Endsville, Billy and Mandy's hometown. Endsville's location is an Anytown, USA where the location, climate conditions, and anything else bends to the whim of the plot. The city has been seen several times with palm trees, hot summers, and a beach, while it is shown that it snows there in November ("Dumb Wish"). In "Jeffy's Web", the Statue of Liberty can be seen. The age of the town is also frequently changed: it appears in flashbacks of Harold's youth ("The Taking Tree"), the early 1900s ("Who Killed Who?"), medieval times ("Billy and Mandy's Jacked Up Halloween"), and prehistoric times ("Wrath of the Spider Queen"). Like many American cities, Endsville has a financial district, mall, schools, fire and police departments, museums, and a beach. Endsville also has a volcano and a nuclear power plant.
Grim ostensibly comes from the Underworld, so the show makes frequent forays onto his turf. Grim's scythe is able to produce cosmic rifts through which the characters can visit different planes of existence, including afterlife variations like Nirvana, Asgard and Lower Heck.
The show's universe, in addition to frequently violating the laws of physics, also contains a number of historical variations and anachronisms. Abraham Lincoln is President (save for Ecto Cooler where he appears as a ghost) and is a personal friend of Billy. The world police organization is not the United Nations, but the League of Nations, which in reality, disbanded in 1946. The presence of what appears to be a Communist leader in the League of Nations may also suggest that the Soviet Union has not dissolved in this universe.
The universe is also Evil Con Carne's universe: the characters meet, briefly. In the third season episode "Skarred For Life", General Skarr meets the characters in what could be seen as a full crossover. Skarr is now a recurring character in the show, and he struggles with fighting his addiction to war. Hector, the star of Evil Con Carne, also makes a brief appearance, along with Boskov the Bear (to whom Hector is physically attached), Cod Commando, and Skarr (3 other characters on the show) in a crowded jail cell in the episode "Duck!", (leading us to believe they were victims of the ghost duck), which provoked Hector to point out that he's "not even in this stupid show anymore"; in the episode "Chicken Ball Z" he sells his island to Mandy for $50,000 she earned in the karate tournament.
There is limited continuity between episodes, allowing for the destruction or alteration of the world, or with the disappearance, horrific transformation, or (implied or not) death of the main characters such as Mandy becoming a giant brain eating meteor in Little Rock of Horror. Often the episode will end with no resolution at all. One show ended with a comical "the end". Billy once attempted to end the show early out of boredom.
However, there are a few exceptions to the usual lack of continuity. Characters that have appeared in the previous episodes may return again, such as Pinocchio, who debuted in "Nursery Crimes" and returns in "Billy Ocean," Lord Pain from "House of Pain" who returns in "Everything Breaks" and Boogey from "Bully Boogie" returns in Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure and Billy & Mandy: Wrath of the Spider Queen. The characters usually show awareness of the previous events during these shifts. The events centered around recurring characters may even grow into a larger canon and cause changes to the characters.
Billy and Mandy often breaks the Fourth Wall, and the characters often mention previous episodes in a humorous manner. However, the one who breaks the fourth wall most frequently is Mandy. She often seems aware of the audience and comments on current events directly to the viewer (her comments are usually insults to the episode). This is commonly at the beginning of every show (except My Fair Mandy, and possibly Wild Parts/The Problem With Billy), where she gives the audience some form of message. She may also appear in various guises. What message she gives, and/or what guise she appears in, are specific to the episodes shown. For example, in the case of Hurter Monkey/Goodbling and the Hip-Hop-Opotamus, she says to the audience that she's "only got one nerve left, and you're getting on it." In another episode, she literally got up and walked out of the television upon knowing that the episode will, once again, be about pets (something very common in the universe of Billy and Mandy). If the current show is showing episodes from Season 1/2 or if it's random episodes from various seasons however, Mandy uses her message from Dumb Luck/Nobody Loves Grim ("It's not enough to succeed, others must fail."). Billy also breaks the fourth wall a great number of times as well as Grim, who says, I'm pretty good at reading subtitles backwards.
3. Grimm's Fairy Tales
Animated Tales Series based on stories written by the Brother's Grimm
2. Courage, The Cowardly Dog
Courage the Cowardly Dog revolves around the exploits of Courage, a small, fuchsia dog who, despite his name, is afraid of the most mundane things. His fears are normally justified, however, as Eustace, Muriel, and Courage are constantly attacked by (or running into) various monsters, aliens, villains, curses, experiments, natural disasters, and other forms of peril that Courage must face.
Every opening of the show documents Courage's past: "Abandoned as a pup, he was found by Muriel, who lives in the middle of Nowhere with her husband Eustace Bagge. But creepy stuff happens in Nowhere; it's up to Courage to save his new home."
In the series, when Courage wants to save his family from the villain, instead of typical feats of strength, the villain is usually defeated in a variety of many other ways: Courage tricks the villain, he flees from them, makes amends with the villain, somehow convinces the villain to change, Muriel saves the day, or in some cases, the villain simply voluntarily moves on in favor of plotting another diabolical scheme. Ironically, Courage exhibits no courage whatsoever. Almost every single event that happens to him causes him to scream manically and usually shape-shift into some random object that portrays fear, sorrow, confusion, or some other random emotion.
A typical feature of the show is the spoofing or reference of various classic horror and cult films as the basis for many episodes. This is seen in episodes such as "The Demon in the Mattress", "The Precious, Wonderful, Adorable, Loveable Duckling", "Heads of Beef", "Klub Katz", "Night of the Weremole", "Journey to the Center of Nowhere", "The Great Fusilli", "Robot Randy", "1000 Years of Courage", "Invisible Muriel", "Human Habitrail", "Courage the Fly", "Mega Muriel the Magnificent", "The Transplant", "McPhearson Phantom", "The House of Discontent", "Courage vs. Mecha-Courage" and "Hard Drive Courage".
1. Scooby Doo
Is a long-running American animated series produced for Saturday morning television in several different versions from 1969 to the present. The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, was created for Hanna-Barbera Productions by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and character designer Iwao Takamoto. Hanna-Barbera produced numerous spin-offs and related works until being absorbed in 1997 into Warner Bros. Animation, which has handled production since then. Although the format of the show and the cast (and ages) of characters have varied significantly over the years, the most familiar versions of the show feature a talking dog named Scooby-Doo and four teenagers: Fred "Freddie" Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville "Shaggy" Rogers.
These five characters (officially collectively known as "Mystery, Inc.", but never referred to as such in the original series) drive around the world in a van called the "Mystery Machine", and solve mysteries typically involving tales of ghosts and other supernatural forces. At the end of each episode, the supernatural forces turn out to have a rational explanation, typically criminal plots involving costumes, latex masks and special effects intended to frighten or distract. Later versions of Scooby-Doo featured different variations on the show's supernatural theme, and include characters such as Scooby's cousin Scooby-Dum and nephew Scrappy-Doo in addition to or instead of some of the original characters.
Scooby-Doo was originally broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976, when it moved to ABC. ABC aired the show until canceling it in 1986, and presented a spin-off, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, from 1988 until 1991. Scooby-Doo returned to the air on the WB Network, during the Kids' WB programming block, in 2002. The current Scooby-Doo series, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, began in 2005 and airs Saturday mornings on The CW network. Repeats of the series are broadcast frequently on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the United States and other countries.
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