That’s the Spirit / The Curse of Candace

Today we have the Phineas and Ferb Halloween special. “Phineas and Ferb” is a cartoon brought to you by the guys who created Rocko’s Modern Life. The title characters are step-brothers. Phineas decides at the beginning of summer to not let the whole summer break go by with them just sitting around, doing nothing, and resolves to do something every day. The “something” usually involves some huge activity or machinery that even an adult couldn’t possibly put together in the short time it takes on the show, such as the time they rose to fame and then became has-been superstars; designed, produced, and released a fashion line; wrote, animated, and produced a cartoon special that was released in a movie theater they also built; and decided to have the “longest day ever” by leaving their home town in the morning, traveling eastward across the entire world, and making it back to their hometown by sundown of what was technically the same day they left.

They also have a pet platypus who’s actually a secret agent who mainly fights with the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who… well, mainly he wants to talk over the Tri-County area, but he has a lot of other “evil” schemes, like the time he stole all the mascots from a burger chain because he hated that chain’s advertising jingle.

Maybe it sounds kind of stupid the way I described it, but it’s actually a fantastic show. In fact, in all my internet wanderings over the last few years, I have seen exactly 2 people who watched this show and didn’t like it, one of whom didn’t seem to understand what was going on in the show at all (they seemed to think all the kids were nefariously trying to get away with the worst things imaginable, when in fact they’ve been more than happy to share what they’re up to with their parents, but it never works out; they also ask their parents permission for things when they need to, even though their mom usually thinks they’re playing a game or they mean their toy car or something).

Anyway, I’ve mentioned before how cartoons sometimes have that problem, where no one ever ages and the whole show is supposed to take place over one year’s time or so, but sometimes they have multiple holiday episodes (Hey Arnold has at least three episodes that mention the start of Spring Break, despite it having one episode per holiday). Phineas and Ferb has a bigger problem, in that the whole show takes place over the 104 days of summer vacation. But the creators have gotten around that by either 1) having an episode that takes place during the summer break that just involves someone telling a scary story, or making winter in July (S’Winter), or 2) having a holiday special that explicitly states it doesn’t take place during the summer.

Simple.

I’ve rattled on way too much. Here’s “That’s the Spirit”, the first half of the episode.

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Candace, the older sister, is taking Phineas, Ferb, and Perry the platypus trick-or-treating. The people at the house we see them at ask her where her costume is. She is not amused. She tells the boys that once she’s finished with them, she’s off to her boyfriend’s house.  Then they run into the other main members of their little gang, Baljeet, who’s dressed as a daisy, Buford, who…. I think is a pirate, and Isabella, who says she isn’t wearing a costume (she’s dressed as a fairy princess), but admits she got it at the mall when Phineas doesn’t really react to that semi-flirtatious statement.

Then they run into this house.

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Phineas doesn’t remember seeing it in the neighborhood before, and then a boy pops out of the bushes. His name is Russell – russell/rustle, like the leaves, as Isabella points out. He says the house is haunted, so the kids decide to go in and bust some ghosts. Candace doesn’t want them gong off-track, so she can leave sooner, but goes in after them since she’s responsible for them.  They enter the house, and the lights go out! This is the third review in a row where the lights have gone out at some point.

Perry the platypus escapes to his secret base, where he gets instructions to… find out what’s going on, and put a stop to it. Which is pretty much all he ever gets in terms of instructions. This time, apparently there’s grass missing everywhere. Which is weird. Although not really all that odd at the end of October.

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Back at the haunted house, Russell guides the kids into the area that has the most ghostly activity. Baljeet, who’s a total nerd, says there’s no such thing as ghosts, and, by using his EMF detector (many ghost hunters say that a paranormal presence can cause the levels of EMFs to spike above normal; also if you have old pipes or wiring in your home, that can cause your EMF levels to rise, and can actually explain some paranormal phenomena that some people would associate with a bad spirit, like scratches/rashes, nausea, whatever), can tell there’s a normal level of radiation in the room, except when he puts his detector above his head and it spikes pretty badly. Phineas is getting a reading in the 70s on his EMF meter, and comments that he doesn’t remember even putting an option for a two-digit setting on it to begin with (a reading below 3 is average and normal, a reading of 5 is abnormal and indicates a risk of getting cancer, unless it’s just because you’re standing close to an appliance, so having a score of 77… if this were real life I think all the kids would’ve been dead by this point, even if it the high EMF levels were being caused by ghosts).

Then, a pumpkin man chases after the kids.

I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a sight gag, that there's all those black shapes towards the bottom of the screen, which are presumably dark because they're so close to us as viewers, but the rat that's even closer is clearly defined.
I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a sight gag, that there’s all those black shapes towards the bottom of the screen, which are presumably dark because they’re so close to us as viewers, but the rat that’s even closer is clearly defined.

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Russell insists “it’s totally like this all the time!”

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Perry enters Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s lair/apartment, to find him chained to the wall. He explains “it all started a few days ago when I declared war on grass.” Long story short, he was bitten by a werecow and now turns into a cow every night.

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Cowfenshmirtz then escapes his chains and runs all over the city, to a song which has a chorus including the words “werecow on the rampage.”

Back at the haunted house, the kids are still running from Jack, the Pumpkin King. Then Russell casually mentions that sometimes the floor gives out, and they plummet through a spontaneous hole into a space that is too large to be under the house. And, ghosts.

There were a lot of ghosts outside of this screencap.
There were a lot of ghosts outside of this screencap.

One of them says “I’m not a ghoooost. I’m a sheeet… THAT LIIIIIVES!!”

Pumpkin guy continues pursuing them, and they continue running. They then find a swamp full of zombies.

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There’s a news report about the lack of grass being caused by a werecow, and the newsanchor tells people to stay inside. Instead, people decide to pull out their pitchforks and torches and pursue the cow. Man, not enough people today just have flaming torches in their back pockets.

The kids are finally cornered by the pumpkin king. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Phineas stops being scared for a second and wonders, if the pumpkin guy is a ghost, and he has a pumpkin for a head, what did that make him when he was alive? Ferb says it’s unlikely he was a vegetable-human hybrid, and throws a skull at the pumpkin, knocking it off, to reveal…

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He was a robot the whole time!

It turns out that Russell, and his parents, Waylan and Mona, put together the whole thing, and artificially influenced the levels of EMF detected by the… EMF detector by putting high-frequency transmitters all over the house. The kids are impressed, and Phineas asks if they maybe have one more trick left? Waylan is about to say no, when Doofenshmirtz werecow bursts through the side of the house, pursued by an angry mob covered in flour (from them running through a cooking class earlier). Phineas is happy with this, and everyone leaves, with Rustle, Wailin’, and Moaner seeing them off.

Phineas tells Ferb that for a minute there, he really did believe in ghosts. He looks back at the house, and – gasp – it’s gone!

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Nah, turns out it was… inflatable, and the family is packing it up for the year (which explains why Phineas didn’t remember ever seeing the house earlier).

Phineas then asks “Isn’t this the moment in one of these things where someone really turns into a ghost?”, almost as if he’s seen the last few episodes I reviewed on this blog. Phineas and Ferb turn to stare at the family, who stare back. After a few seconds, Russell gets annoyed and tells them “That’s it!” and Phineas is like “Oh, okay” and the episode ends.

So there was no “it turns out there was a ghost after all!” plot twist, but Doofenshmirtz is still cursed to be a werecow forever, apparently.

“The Curse of Candace” begins with what turns out to be a movie. A werewolf and a blonde girl are pursuing a vampire.

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The werewolf’s name is Michael, and is voiced by Michael J. Fox.

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Am I the only one who thought this movie was terrible?
“…Hey, weren’t you just wearing a shirt?!” – the offscreen vampire

The blonde girl is named Kristin, and is voiced by Anna Paquin, while the vampire’s named Jared and is voiced by Stephen Moyer.

This was one of 4 PG-rated images from TrueBlood I found online.
This was one of 4 PG-rated images from TrueBlood I found online.

phineasferb13Kristin is obviously a reference to Kristin Stewart, who played Bella in the Twilight movies (or at least I’m assuming it’s a reference to that), and I’m assuming Michael is just referencing Michael J. Fox, but I don’t know what Jared is referencing. There is a Jarrod Meistle who writes children’s books about a vampire named Victor, but… I don’t know.

Candace and her friend Stacy are viewing the movie, which they declare “best movie ever.

I don't know if the New Zealand poster is a reference to the Lord of the Rings franchise being filmed there, or if it's supposed to mimicking travel posters found in a travel agent's office.
I don’t know if the New Zealand poster is a reference to the Lord of the Rings franchise being filmed there, or if it’s supposed to mimicking travel posters found in a travel agent’s office. Or I guess it could just be a movie about New Zealand.

Candace walks into a cage housing a bat in the theater, and the bat gets caught in her hair as Stacy asks one of the movie theater employees why they have a live bat.

At the Flynn-Fletcher household, Phineas and Ferb are discussing how “It does seem like more than 104 days,” a reference to there being so many episodes in the series. Their mom is going out somewhere, and their dad is inside, watching a scary movie marathon, if they need anything.

There’s a quick cut to Mr. Flynn-Fletcher inside, as he comments “This isn’t much of a horror movie! Where are all the rock-n-roll musical numbers?

phineasferb16This is what I call a great joke. If you don’t get the reference, it’s a funny enough line on its own. Why would there be rock-n-roll musical numbers in a horror movie? How silly. Then, if you’re a little older and have heard of The Rocky Horror Show (or The Rocky Horror Picture Show), you’d understand the line is a reference to that, probably. Then there’s yet another layer to this joke once you know that Mr. Flynn-Fletcher is voiced by Richard O’Brien, who wrote The Rocky Horror Show and starred as Riff-Raff in the movie.

So that’s four references so far that relate to other roles the voice actors have had.

At the secret base, Major Monogram’s mission for Perry is this: Dr. Doofenshmirtz announced he will no longer try to take over the world/whatever, and he made this announcement in the strangest way possible – he wrote a letter and sent it in an envelope. And it’s scented. So Perry has to go see what’s up.

Perry arrives, and Doof is surprised to see them, so he reads his letter. It turns out his letter said something like “I know Major Monogram is going to ignore this letter and that is why you’re now trapped.” Come to think of it, the letter did seem to still be in an envelope when Monogram and Carl the intern showed it to Perry… how did they know Doof was saying he was retiring from evildoing? Did it say on the envelope?

So, Perry apparently stopped and is now stuck on the stickiest surface known to man – a floor tile from the local movie theater!

phineasferb17Meanwhile, Candace and Stacy are walking home. Stacy says it’s sure lucky it wasn’t a vampire bat that got stuck in Candace’s hair earlier. Candace is like “Haha… yeah.” Candace heads into the backyard, with just enough time left over for her to bust Phineas and Ferb (it’s her goal this summer to get them in trouble for… whatever they do). The backyard is empty, however, except for a set of barbells, a light, and a mirror.

Candace wonders what the barbells are doing back there and picks them up, with absolutely no effort. This strikes her as odd, and she says it’s almost like she has vampire superstrength. She takes a few steps to the right/her left, and floats into the air. The power of flight! Then she lands in front of the mirror, and… no reflection! That could only mean…

The show flashes back to two minutes earlier. Phineas and Ferb have put together four things at the request of their friends. There’s a super grow light to help Isabella’s plant, a set of barbells that aren’t heavy, or something, for Baljeet, anti-gravity sensors are in the lawn so Buford can experience flight, and the mirror has a projection rig in it so Irving (a nerdy fan of Phineas and Ferb’s) can be invisible.

Back to present time, Candace worries that she must be a vampire, when the grow light shines on her for no reason. It’s a bright, intense light, one that would hurt anyone’s face, but she feels like it must be the sun that’s harming her because she’s a vampire, forgetting the fact that she walked all the way from the movie theater to her house without the bright summer sun harming her at all.

phineasferb18Back with Perry and Doof, Perry just jumps to attack Doof, even with his feet still stuck to the floor tile. They fight, like they always do, and Doof is defeated.

Candace runs around the town, looking for Phineas and Ferb to get them to change her back into a human. Eventually she ends up back at home, and tells Phineas all the strange things that indicate she is now a vampire. Phineas asks if she was in the backyard when she discovered she was a vampire, and when she says yes, he chuckles and tells her no, no, she’s not a vampire. He pulls her dark cloak and sunglasses off to show her how the sun won’t harm her.

Then she dissolves into a pile of ash.

phineasferb19And that’s the end.

I like how the first half of this episode ends with “isn’t this normally where something supernatural happens?” and then nothing does, and then the second half actually does end with something supernatural, that actually either contradicts the rest of the series or must be the last episode, since Candace pretty much died onscreen. You know, for kids!

Well, Happy Halloween, everybody! I actually meant this ‘cap to go up on the 30th, with some big conclusion on the 31st, but I got sidetracked, and then my 31st was just AWFUL, so it’s technically still Halloween where I am, but most of you won’t see this until November 1. So… Happy All Saint’s Day! 😀

I’m hoping to work far enough ahead of December to have my Christmas Movie Madness done in time so there won’t be like 4 reviews for it or something. In the meantime, back to Boy Meets World!

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Doug’s Halloween Adventure

Ah, Doug. “Doug” is one of Nickelodeon’s old Nicktoons, about a bunch of 6th graders, focusing on Doug, who learns life lessons. Basically it was like Boy Meets World, but weirder and without as many serious moments.

And like many cartoons, it has a Halloween episode, which you could guess. This one is sort of unusual for me, though, because I have only seen it once in my entire life. It was so weird, back in the 90s when Doug still aired regularly during normal viewing hours, I could never seem to find this episode. Even during October, it was either never on, or it was never on when I could watch it. I was beginning to think the episode didn’t actually exist, until…

Back when I was in 5th or 6th grade, we lived right next to the school I went to. So I woke up early, to make sure I wouldn’t be late, so waking up early+living 5 minutes from the school meant I had like an hour every morning to just watch tv. And finally, one day, early in the morning, this Halloween episode of Doug came on. I can’t remember anything about it, because that was like 10 years ago and I haven’t seen the episode since. It took place at an amusement park, and I remember finding it scary, and I think it might’ve had the same twist all the spooky Hey Arnold episodes have, but I can’t be sure.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!

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We start with Skeeter – Mosquito Valentine, Doug’s blue-skinned best friend – telling a story. Once upon a time, a baron built a beautiful palace for his beloved. After 17 years, it was finally finished, and he carried his new bride over the threshold, and they fell to their deaths, because the guy had forgot to put in a floor. Man, not enough children’s shows today immediately start with people dying violently.

The castle is apparently haunted to this day, and no one had dared enter it for some time, until some mysterious, cloaked man bought it, and built an amusement park around it, leaving the castle as an attraction within the park, and calling it “Bloodstone Manor.” So the presumably Eastern European von Hassenpfeffer or Dinglehopper or whatever Skeeter said apparently built his giant castle in the Midwestern United States.

Tonight, it seems, is the grand opening of this theme park with the haunted castle in it, and Skeeter demands he and Doug go. Doug is not enthusiastic, but agrees to go anyway. Also apparently Bloodstone Manor is actually a roller-coaster, and not just a haunted house attraction. Doug wishes he could be brave like hero Race Canyon, an Indiana Jones reference that gets major points for not being named “State Generic-last-name” like every other Indiana Jones knock-off.

Doug has a fantasy about Dr. Canyon scaling the big cliff up to Bloodstone Manor, and showing no fear even in the face of… whatever this is:

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Doug’s fantasy ends and he dresses up like Race Canyon, by putting on a jacket and a hat over his regular clothes – LAME – because apparently you get into the park free if you’re wearing a costume. He heads over to Skeeter’s house, carrying two bags, and asks Skeeter if he’s ready to go trick-or-treating. Skeeter’s like “Nah man I told you we were going to Blood Manor!” and Doug’s all “What kind of foolish fool gives up the chance to score some free candy!” (I may have embellished that conversation a bit.) Skeeter agrees to go, even though he points out there will be huge lines at the park if they don’t get there early. A short scene cut later, Skeeter wonders if maybe they aren’t too old to go trick or treating. Doug’s trying to stall to keep them from going to the theme park, and insists they aren’t too old, as they’re surrounded by unsupervised children about half their size. You see, children, in the olden days, once you were in middle school, you were considered too old to go begging for free candy house to house. I know that’s hard to believe, what with people not only trick-or-treating up through senior year of high school, but not even bothering to put on costumes, but it’s true!

They are embarrassed when they knock on a door that turns out to belong to one of their classmates, and Skeeter starts getting impatient. Doug tries to come up with something to stall them a bit longer, when green-skinned bully Roger Klaatz “scares” them, and by that I mean he covers his head going “Whoooa who chopped off my head?” and Doug just says “Hi, Roger,” but Roger and his bully gang seem to think they’ve “scared the pants off them.” Roger makes fun of their costumes, even though he’s just wearing his regular clothes with a domino/Lone Ranger/burglar mask on.

Doug and Skeeter head to the park, Doug reluctantly, when Doug’s crush Patty, and her dad, pull up.

It's irrelevant to this review, but Patty's dad is actually wheelchair-bound. I don't think it ever comes up on the show, it's just a fact of life that's never a Very Special Episode and isn't treated as a big deal by anyone. I like that.
It’s irrelevant to this review, but Patty’s dad is actually wheelchair-bound. I don’t think it ever comes up on the show, it’s just a fact of life that’s never a Very Special Episode and isn’t treated as a big deal by anyone. I like that.

By the way, I just realized that for anyone who hasn’t seen this show, you may or may not be thinking me saying “blue-skinned” and “green-skinned” was some sort of metaphor, or a reference, or something. No, some people on this show literally have blue, green, or purple skin, in addition to some characters who have more of a peach color, or the tan that Patty has up there. I remember the creators said this was because they didn’t want to have to keep using boring skin tones all the time, so the blue/green/purple is to add a bit of fun to the show. It’s sort of weird, but I’ve always thought of the blue- and purple-skinned people as being dark-skinned. Maybe it had a lot to do with Doug’s neighbor looking like Bill Cosby. I don’t know.

Anyway, Patty asks if Doug and Skeeter are going trick-or-treating. They deny it, and she says she’s going to a party. I got distracted here because while she talks there’s just a solid loop of animation where she keeps moving her head to the side while she talks.

Patty asks what the boys are dressed as, and when Doug says he’s a hobo (because he lost his hat earlier), Patty says she would’ve guessed he was Race Canyon, but without the hat, and if he were a little taller he’d be the spitting image. This lights a fire within Doug and he suddenly feels brave enough to head to Bloodstone Manor. He asks Patty if her dad would be willing to give them a ride. Patty’s in awe of the boys, and says she’d never go on that ride, not after what happened to those two guys! Doug’s bravery quavers as he asks “What two guys?” Mr. Mayonnaise, Patty’s father (yes, her name is Patty Mayonnaise) says two guys went on the ride and were never seen again, just their shoes. Considering the ride just opened that day I would question the validity of that story.

Skeet and Doug finally get to the ride, but there’s a HUGE line. Like, Splash Mountain in July huge. Or Toy Story Midway Mania when it first opened *shudder*. The boys have just made it to the front of the line after waiting for over an hour, with only 15 minutes left til the park closes. Hm, are they not going to get a chance to ride it while the park is still open, causing them to hide out and sneak onto the ride, only to run into supernatural shenanigans?

Roger butts his way to the front of the line, thanking Doug and Skeet for holding his place, to the objection of absolutely no one behind him. The employee at the door announces the park is closing and no one else can ride tonight, but the gift shop is open. The big line of people behind them apparently teleported away, and the employee entered the Manor, so the three boys are left alone. And wouldn’t you know it, the doors to the place just happen to open, causing them to agree to sneak onto the ride?

“Welcome, foolish mortals!”

So the enter, and the doors close behind them. And then a portrait starts talking.

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The lump in the picture frame takes the form of that hooded green guy in that second cap, and calls the boys trespassers. There’s apparently no way out of the room they’re in, except down because I guess the front door doesn’t work both ways. So there’s this huge area of the floor that’s all green and cavernous and spiky, and the front wall of the place starts pushing forward, like it’s going to push them into the pit. It turns out there’s a huge glass piece over it, though, so no harm done.

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Then a secret passageway opens, the hooded green guy is in it, and tells them to come this way. They follow it and enter a dining room, where the green guy is in another portrait. It’s pretty obvious if this were real life that would have to be an actual person, or a ghost, but none of the boys think about that at all.

Ghoul guy tells them to eat, and that he thought they might enjoy a small salad.

Ewwww, cabbage!
Ewwww, cabbage!

The chairs grab them, and lower them into another floor, where they are plopped into a roller coaster car.  Doug and Skeet are having a ton of fun, but Roger’s scared out of his mind, and then the car stops and the lights go out.

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They turn back on, and Skeeter observes that it’s 10 pm – the park is officially closed. So no one at this park actually goes to check to make sure no one is still on the rides, that there aren’t personal items, bombs, etc? I’m pretty sure they also do some maintenance ride-throughs at the beginning and end of each day at places like Disneyland.

Doug and Skeeter get off the car, to see if they can find an exit, or someone to help them. There’s a set of stairs leading down inside a gravepit, and they follow it, finding the ride’s control room and presumably exit. Skeeter pushes random buttons to see if he can get a dial tone on the phone, and that makes one of the rides cars pull up. Then the ghoulish guy – who I’m not sure if we’re supposed to find doubly creepy because of his dark green skin, because a lot of people have green skin on this show – shows up and is all “Alright you made it THIS time, but you won’t be so lucky next time!” Then a ride car pulls up that just has Roger’s shoes in it.

They then decide that Roger was always a jerk anyway, and leave the park without telling anyone what happened. The end.

No, they hear Roger calling from help from… somewhere, and… well, actually, Doug and Skeeter do almost leave without going back for Roger (I wasn’t even trying to predict what would happen, and I was actually right!), but Doug’s conscience gets the better of him and they go inside. Maybe it would make more sense for them to go find a park employee and ask them for help, but that wouldn’t make for a very good cartoon.

So Doug and Skeet go back into the ride, find a giant hole, wonder if Roger fell down it, Doug says no it must be like the bottomless pit at the beginning that has a sheet of glass over it, but no.

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They both fall down the hole and end up in a place that seems to be part control room and part storage area, with random props and stuff hanging around. Doug finds a sarcophagus propped up against a wall, and opens it.

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This green guy has teleportation powers that would rival One-Eyed Jack/Elmyra’s in that Tiny Toon Adventures episode. Before you can say “AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH,” the green guy grabs Doug’s shoulder and demands to know what he’s doing down there. I don’t know, man, you’re the one who trapped them on the ride in the first place!

Doug and Skeeter are like “Oh, we were just leaving” and head in the opposite direction, until Doug hears Roger saying “Over here, this way, guys!” Doug sees a chicken in the mirror instead of himself, and decides to march right over the green guy and demand that he leaves them alone so they can find Roger. Green guy’s like “Okay” and opens up a secret passage that has an entrance in the sarcophagus. All three of them head down a spiral staircase together, and at this point they have to be at least 45 feet below ground, probably more around 60 feet.

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Green guy leads the boys over to a control panel that apparently serves as the security area for the ride – which begs the question, where was the security guard who should’ve been making sure no one snuck aboard the ride after closing? Also, all the screens apparently get their feed from the exact same camera, which is sort of pointless.

It turns out, Roger got off the ride and called over his bully squad to put together a prank to scare Doug and Skeeter again, and also they’re going to throw s’mores or something at them.

The Green Goblin replays some footage for the boys to show them exactly what happened. Doug is displeased – they went to all that trouble to save Roger, and he’s just going to dump eggs and toilet paper all over them?! The Green Goblin has other plans, however, as he laughs mischievously. I don’t know what to think about that.

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Those beaver teeth aren’t part of a costume, by the way.

Roger grows impatient, waiting for Doug to show up. Then a spooky voice calls out for Roger, seemingly from nowhere. Roger blames one of his friends, but it wasn’t him. It was… the ghosts of Doug and Skeeter!

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It turns out Gobby set up a rig in the basement, so Doug and Skeeter are dressed up and suspended by wires, and Gobby is projecting them out onto the lawn, which I’m not really sure is possible, or at least wasn’t in the early 90s.

Doug and Skeeter say that it’s all Roger’s fault that they’re ghosts now, and they call Roger a chicken, and say it was rotten of him to TP all those houses. Roger agrees with the chicken comment, and him and the goons say they’ll clean up all the houses that very night! Before they leave, though, there’s just one more thing.

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I don’t know why, but this guy really seemed less threatening after I decided he looks like the Green Goblin. Really.

Later, Gobby escorts Doug and Skeeter out of the amusement park, the three of them laughing at the severe psychological torture they’ve just imposed upon Roger and the two goons he hangs out with. Doug thanks Gobby, saying they couldn’t have done it without him. Gobby, whose voice, while still deep and gravelly, isn’t as scary and electronically mixed as it was before, says he has something that belongs to Doug.

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Doug’s Race Canyon hat. The hat that got sucked up onto a bus earlier. That one that cloaked green guy couldn’t possibly have gotten ahold of or known that it belonged to Doug. Unless… Of course! It was obvious! I can’t believe I didn’t see it! All this time, he was… the bus driver!

No, no. When Doug asks who he is, he says you can just call him “Baron von Heffenhopper,” then he laughs maniacally and disappears into a tornado of black ink and stars.

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So… The ghost of Baron von Pooperscooper bought his own house? Assuming he was the mysterious cloaked guy Skeeter mentioned in his story.  How exactly did that business deal go down?

“HELLO. I AM, UM… TED… SMITH. I WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE THIS BUILDING.”

“Um, sure, Mr… Smith. Why would you like to purchase it?”

“BECAUSE I ALREADY LIVE THER- I MEAN I DIED- I MEAN I AM DYING TO… TO… TURN THE PLACE INTO… A… AN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE! YES!”

“….Okay… Well full disclosure, we have to tell you that several people have died on the premises, and the bodies were never recovered, so-”

“YES YES I KNOW ALREADY. WE’LL JUST PAVE OVER THE BODIES OR SOMETHING. AND MAKE SURE WE PUT A FLOOR IN THIS TIME. MAYBE A BIG SHEET OF GLASS TO COVER THE GIANT GAPING HOLE SO NO ONE FALLS IN AGAIN LIKE ME AND MY WI- WHY WHITE CANDLE, WHITE CANDLE, DON’T LET OUR LOVE DIE~.”

“…Um… yeah, so do you have any forms of I.D., a credit card, or…?”

So Doug and Skeeter run out of the park, because it either doesn’t have gates or the gates are still open despite the park being closed. Doug wonders if Race Canyon ever ran away from anything, but he still feels brave, or something.

That wasn’t scary at all. Why was I scared of this the one time I saw it when I was 11? I mean, Baron von Noodlemeier was kind of scary-looking and -sounding, but… not terrifying the way I remember. Hm. Ah, well. I have a good idea for what Halloween-related cartoon I’ll review next, based on this trend of “kids run from scary thing, turns out there’s a mundane explanation, actually there’s also a ghost” plots (although this Doug episode didn’t exactly follow that besides there still being a ghost at the end).

Also, I’d like to just say that I was considering talking about that one Boy Meets World episode that, while not a Halloween episode, is pretty scary, but I decided to leave that for later. I think that’s in season 5, and we’re barely into season 3. There’s also another great one that’s from season 6 or 7, but… we’ll get to it. Eventually.

…You know, the scariest part of this episode is that Doug had a fantasy sequence that included Green Goblin/Baron von Bergermeister before he even went to Blood Manor and saw that his fantasy was a real guy.

What.

Haunted Train

Perhaps I’ll go over the other spooky Hey Arnold episodes next year, but this year, we’re just looking at one more: “Haunted Train.”

This is one of my favorite Hey Arnold episodes. I have watched it again and again, I just really like it. It was one of my favorites as a kid, and it’s one of my favorites as an adult. Let’s just climb aboard and start the recap already:

I forgot to apologize in the last review for the
I forgot to apologize in the last review for the “Premium” thing in the upper right. Viacom pulled the show off Netflix, and I can’t afford the DVDs.

Arnold and Gerald are chilling on the stoop outside of the boarding house. Grandpa gives them some ice cream cones that he’s just purchased off the Jolly Olly Man, and asks how things are going. The boys are both bored – they’ve done every activity they could think of, and have nothing left to do.

A train goes by. It’s like the L trains they have in Chicago (and probably elsewhere), which adds to the vagueness of where this show is actually set. But that’s not important now. Grandpa gets an idea, and asks the boys if he ever talked about the time he worked for the railroad. The boys don’t react at all, and Grandpa’s voice suddenly gets big and dramatic as he adds “…AND first heard the legend of the haunted traaaaaain?”

This piques the boys’ interest. Grandpa’s story is much shorter than the usual lead-ins to a spooky episode. It just goes, 40 years ago, a mad train engineer drove off the tracks and crashed, and no one ever saw him or the train again.

Grandpa: Some say he drove it straight to… you know.
Arnold: Mid-town?
Gerald: Downtown?
Grandpa: ALL the way downtown! To the very-most southern point!
Arnold: You mean…?
Gerald: Wow! He drove all the way to the South Pole?

No, the mad engineer drove the train to… Hades. Every year on the anniversary of its last drive, the train comes back, with the mad engineer driving it. He returns to the station to pick up unknowing passengers, who are hypnotized by a bright light, and and are overpowered by a terrible, foul stench, a smell they say is like rotten eggs, but Grandpa says is like fire and brimstone.

A big group of neighborhood kids gathered over the course of the story.
A big group of neighborhood kids gathered over the course of the story.

Then a terrible, ghastly, haunting sound, one that would send a chill down to your heart, an inhuman sound, starts up. Then the train travels to the “Zone of Darkness,” an area full of fire and horror.

hauntedtrain03Then the train comes to a complete stop, and they’re greeted by… Satan!

Grandpa then reveals that this very night is the anniversary of the train’s final ride, and will be picking up passengers at the old train station, and he makes sure to give them the exact location of the station. Most of the kids leave after that, and Grandpa goes inside, chuckling to himself that the kids sure aren’t bored now!

One dissolve cut later, Arnold and Gerald are alone on the stoop, and Helga is jumping rope on the sidewalk. All the other kids have gone. Now, I know Helga is really mean to Arnold all the time, so I don’t exactly blame Arnold for not connecting that she has a huge crush on him, but she does this a lot, where she’ll just be hanging out near his house, or following him, or whatever. Grandpa figured out she has a crush on Arnold (he mentions in one episode that a lot of the time he’ll see her across the street, jumping rope, like she’s waiting for Arnold), but I guess Arnold’s just not genre savvy enough yet.

Arnold and Gerald are discussing the story. Arnold says his grandpa is known for making stuff up, so he’s not toally sure. Helga doesn’t believe the story at all, saying she wants actual, physical proof. Arnold says that some things can’t be proved that way, and maybe the best way to determine if the story’s true is to visit the old train station themselves that very night. Gerald doesn’t like that idea, and Helga thinks it’s stupid, but then Arnold tells her she doesn’t have to come, and he’d understand if she was too chicken to show up. Being called a chicken is a grievous insult, so Helga agrees to go.

hauntedtrain04Cut to one dark and spooky night, the three kids approach the old train station. Gerald startles a big swarm of bats. Helga, nervous about the huge swarm of flying mammals right over her head, says “Yep, no train, let’s go.” Arnold says they have to wait longer than 30 seconds, and that’s that.

Several hours later, Gerald and Arnold have improvised a blues song about waiting for that haunted train, with Gerald on vocals and Arnold on harmonica. Helga finally has enough and tells them they’ve waited long enough. A loud “Woo-wooo” interrupts her, and she tells Arnold to stop playing that harmonica already. Arnold points out he already did, and as he’s talking, another “woo-wooo” sounds. A train horn!

Yep. Train.

“All aboard the Hogwarts express!”

The doors open and a blinding white light fills the screen, and the three kids find themselves aboard. They comment on this, Helga saying they’re victims of a force they cannot possibly imagine, and run to the doors, which close right before they can get there. The train starts moving, and a terrible smell fills the train car… The smell of rotten eggs! And then they hear some terrible, cacophonous, ear-splitting music! They’re three for three in terms of signs they’re actually on the haunted train.

Then the lights go out. The Zone of Darkness! By this point, Helga is full-on panicking. This is one of the things that makes Helga a great character. Normally she’s very tough, hard-as-rock, whatever. She gets angry pretty easily. But she’s so melodramatic! Just listen to her when she’s expressing her love for Arnold. And then there’s times like this situation, or the time they were all trapped on a subway, where everyone else is clearly afraid, but she’s the one who’s so over the top it either makes you even more nervous or just really annoyed at how nervous she is.

Anyway, Helga knows this is the end. She can feel the hot breath of the underworld upon her neck, and… Wait what’s that behind her?!

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Oh, it’s just Brainy.

hauntedtrain07Brainy is this weird, creepy guy who always shows up behind Helga, breathing heavily. Apparently it’s because he has asthma and a crush on Helga, but he’s downright ridiculous. One time he showed up inside a tree that Helga was standing in front of. If I recall correctly, even Helga said that was weird.

Annoyed at him scaring them so badly, they open the train doors and throw him off, into a still river or pond next to the tracks. So… they could open the doors at any time, and jump out… And they didn’t? Not even in the place they threw Brainy into?

Gerald sees some flames outside the window. They’re almost in the fiery netherworld! Oh no! The train is about to stop, but Arnold has an idea. He’ll just… use a fire hose to put out… all of the underworld… what. I guess the plan was actually to spray the Devil when he showed up on the train. I don’t know.

It turns out the thing they sprayed was an actual guy. The conductor of the train hears the ruckus and intervenes.

Don't think too hard about his chin.
Don’t think too hard about his chin.

Yep. It turns out the train is a commuter train for steel mill workers. The flames come from it, well, being a steel mill, the lights turning off and being blindingly white is just because the train is old and the lights are faulty, the foul stench is the sulfur from the steel mill, and the terrible noise they heard earlier was the conductor playing his accordion. Ah, see? Nothing supernatural going on, just regular old science. It’s almost… disappointing, after all that.

Grandpa drives the kids home, amused at their story. Arnold tells Grandpa he thinks he set them up, and there isn’t really a haunted train, after all. Grandpa says “Well… I didn’t say that.

The camera pans over and… well…

Woo-wooo!
Woo-wooo!

Yep. Turns out there IS a haunted train after all!

And the crazy ghost engineer has a blues song of his own!

This was the first episode in the series following the “someone tells ghost story, kids go to investigate, find real-world explanation, then ti turns out there was a ghost after all” formula. And it’s the only one with a really great song at the end, so that makes it the best, in my eyes.

Four-Eyed Jack / Ghost Bride

Ah, Hey Arnold. I might’ve mentioned in “Arnold’s Christmas” how Hey Arnold is perhaps a rare cartoon in that it only has one episode for each holiday, so they don’t have 3 Halloween episodes and 5 Christmas episodes even though the show only takes place over the course of 10 months. The show even has episodes for April Fool’s Day, Friday the 13th, and a very touching Veteran’s Day episode, the moral of which was “you don’t have to punch Hitler in the face to be considered a hero.”

Though this show has just the one Halloween episode (which I don’t feel like covering this year), it has several other episodes that are spooky-themed, and could definitely qualify as a Halloween episode if they actually took place in October. One is the aforementioned Friday the 13th episode, one involves a headless horse-drawn cab driver and may or may suggest one character gets killed after the end of the episode. Two more are the episodes we are covering today – season 2’s “Four-Eyed Jack”, and season 5’s “Ghost Bride.”

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“Purdy Boys: Trapped in a Mansion with a Bunch of Undead Mummies”

“Four-Eyed Jack” begins with Gerald sleeping over at Arnold’s house. They’re reading a bunch of old Purdy Boys Mysteries books (a parody of the Hardy Boys) that they’ve pulled out of a box they probably got out of the basement. Then Arnold finds a pair of glasses. Weird. Arnold’s grandpa comes in to bring them milk and cookies, and when Arnold asks about the glasses, boy does Grandpa have a story to tell.

haghost02A long time ago, the boarding house had a tenant everyone called Four-Eyed Jack, “on account of the glasses.” He was big on bean recipes, always tinkering away in the basement on baked beans or whatever, until one day there was a big explosion and he died. So now his ghost haunts the boarding house, bumping around all over the place, looking for his lost glasses, especially on dark and stormy nights such as this one! A few more keys to this story is that his ghost is accompanied by a terrible groaning sound, and a foul stench.

Arnold decides it’s his mission to return the glasses to Four-Eyed Jack. Gerald thinks it’s stupid to try to give glasses back to a ghost, but he goes along with Arnold anyway. Grandpa tells them good luck, and also mentions having an upset stomach due to the raspberry cobbler Grandma made earlier.

Arnold and Gerald head out into the hallway after Grandpa leaves. They run into lazy, terrible Oskar in the hallway, in the midst of a fight with his wife. They explain they’re ghost hunting – or Arnold does, at least – and asks if he’s heard any noises lately. Oskar hasn’t, but right after that they hear a strange gargling sound.

Oskar joins the boys on their ghost hunt, because he doesn’t want to stay alone in the hallway if there’s ghosts. They then run into Ernie Potts, who tells them not to mess with the supernatural, and he also adds that he’s heard some very strange sounds coming from downstairs over the last few days.

haghost03On cue, more gargling sounds start up. They all creep downstairs, Ernie armed with a small hammer, Oskar clutching the lucky horseshoe he keeps in his pants (but he insists he’s not the least bit superstitious). They head downstairs, and find the source of the gargling – in the kitchen!

haghost04It turns out it’s just Mr. Hyunh, though. He tells them that if you’re dealing with a ghost, you should prepare an offering, to appease it and get it to leave you alone. Gerald, who’s been very skeptical and annoyed this whole time, insists there’s no ghost. Then this happens:

haghost05I’m sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that.

They then hear a moaning sound coming from the basement, and all five – Hyunh now carrying a fish to please the ghost – head down there. We rarely see the basement on this show, but it looks especially creepy in this episode, sort of like a medieval torture dungeon. The moaning continues, and Gerald’s starting to get nervous. Then they realize… there’s a horrible smell! Just like the one that’s supposed to signal the coming of Four-Eyed Jack!

Arnold is about to open the door the moaning is coming from behind, but Gerald stops him. If he opens the door, Gerald reasons, it will turn out one of them is wrong – “And what if it’s me?” Gerald asks. Arnold’s only response is to roll his eyes.

He decides to turn the knob anyway, but before he can, the knob starts turning by itself! The moaning is intensifying! Oh no, it’s…

haghost06Grandpa!

It turns out there’s a second bathroom in the basement, which Grandpa has always used as his private bathroom, and he was down there, moaning and stinking up the place due to the raspberry cobbler that didn’t agree with him. Gerald’s happy to be right, and that there isn’t actually a ghost, the three tenements are upset that there’s been a second bathroom this whole, Grandpa’s upset that now his secret is out, and Arnold’s disappointed he didn’t get to help out a ghost that he’d never heard of before despite living in the same place for 10 years with a guy who has lived there since the 1920s.

The next scene has Arnold and Gerald sleeping. Arnold’s still clutching the glasses in his hand. And something’s sort of weird with the scene. The “camera”‘s sort of floating and darting around, and everything’s really blurry.

haghost07The glasses leave Arnold’s hands and rise up into mid-air. Suddenly everything is clear again.

haghost08We pan over to Gerald, lying on Arnold’s fold-out couch with his blanket down around his butt. An invisible hand moves the blanket so it’s covering all of Gerald. Gerald is disturbed by this, and awakens from his slumber. And he sees this:

haghost09He rubs his eyes, unsure of what he’s seen, and looks again. The ghost of Four-Eyed Jack says “Um… Boo?” and flies out of the building when Gerald screams, waking the whole building.

I’ve always loved this episode. It’s good at setting up the mood, and you don’t really see either twist coming unless you’ve seen the episode before. Plus, ghost!

“Ghost Bride” begins with Arnold, Gerald, fat, stupid bully Harold (yeah, I don’t know why there’s three characters with such similar names on this show), skinny southern-accented hick Stinky, cowardly jerk with the weird nose Sid, eternal optimist Eugene, crazy nut Curly, and the tough-as-nails bully with a big crush on Arnold, Helga (oy try deciphering that sentence), all walking past a cemetery for some reason.

Harold mentions being creeped out by all the dead people, and Stinky comments that they’ll all be in the cemetery too, some day. Way to keep things light, Stinky.

Somehow they segue into the tale of the Ghost Bride. Curly really wants to tell the story, but they tell him no, Gerald should tell it. Curly insists that he knows the story well enough to tell it instead, but Sid tells him “Gerald is the keeper of the tale” (Gerald was always the go-to guy for urban legends, except for the times Arnold’s Grandpa wanted to mess with the kids).

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Curly is the one with the red glasses and striped socks in the foreground.

The story goes, back in the Middle Ages – the 1980s – a woman was totally in love with a man. They were supposed to be married, but on the day of the wedding, she waited and waited and he never showed up. She found out later that her fiancee had gone and fallen in love with her sister, and they had gotten married that day. I just… dang, that’s cold. The woman finally snapped after a few days, put her wedding dress back on, got a hatchet out of her basement, went to the home of her former fiancee and her sister, and murdered them in their sleep. When the police arrived (I don’t know who called them, since presumably they didn’t make much screaming noises as they were murdered in their sleep), the woman was sitting in a rocker, next to the bodies, throwing rice and humming the wedding march. Before the cops could do anything, she jumped out the window to her death. They buried her in her wedding dress in the very cemetery the kids are standing next to, and her ghost apparently haunts the place.

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That is a remarkably dark story for a kid’s cartoon. They didn’t really mince around the murder/suicide parts, either, like saying “downtown” as a metaphor for, you know, the fiery underworld.

The kids all think it’d be cool to come back at night to see if there’s a ghost. Harold doesn’t want to go, but he’ll go anyway so no one calls him a chicken. Curly leaves, still mad about not getting to tell the story. Helga’s all for it, though, and asks what time they should meet up. They tell her she can’t come, Harold adding that girls scare too easily. Remember, Harold was the only one who expressed any fear at going to the cemetery at night to see a ghost, but Helga’s the one who will get scared because she’s a girl?

Helga’s all “Fine, then,” goes home, and puts together a plan. Later the boys show up at the cemetery, find the bride’s tombstone, decide that just before sundown counts as night, and try to leave.

“… I can’t read the rest.”

But the gate is locked. They try to leave through another exit, but on the way, they hear someone humming the wedding march. Arnold tries to keep a level head, but you can’t argue with humming that doesn’t seem to have a source.

Or this:

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Although it’s just Helga, of course.

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Helga has a few more tricks up her sleeve, such as rigging another cemetery exit to appear to close on its own. Finally Helga’s satisfied, until she hears someone humming the wedding march. She turns and sees… another ghost bride!

This finally scares Helga and she runs to catch up the guys, explaining that all the other stuff was her BUT THERE’S A REAL GHOST AAAAAUGH.

They find a good place to hide from the ghost in a… mausoleum. I don’t know, axe-wielding ghost versus being directly next to dead bodies and coffins?

haghost15Whatever. Eventually Arnold decides to venture outside to see if they can find another exit, and Gerald goes with him. The ghost goes to the place the others are hiding in, and that’s when Arnold notices something fishy. The ghost breaks down the door (which I’m sure is a felony or misdemeanor, breaking cemetery property) and is about to kill everyone, or something, but Arnold pulls the ghost’s veil off.

Turns out it’s Curly. He was so angry at never getting to tell the story! None of the other kids are amused, and decide to “get him.” The kids, minus Curly, leave the cemetery, and Arnold reveals he knew it was Curly because he saw the ghost wearing the same socks Curly had on earlier, and it seemed like something Curly would do. Someone asks if maybe they should go back and let Curly out, but Arnold, showing an unusually cruel side, says he figures it shouldn’t take more than half an hour for Curly to realize the door only locks from the inside.

We then cut back to Curly. He’s tied up in the mausoleum.

haghost16Aaaand someone is humming the wedding march. All the other kids are well out of the cemetery by then. As far as we know, Curly’s the only person still there. Then where is the humming coming from?

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!”

I can’t remember if Curly ever shows up in the show again. But this was the first half of the second-to-last episode of the whole series. If he’s not in the last three half-episodes…

I don’t have much to say about “Ghost Bride.” I mean, Curly is straight-up insane on the show, but I guess they’re too young to learn to either just humor him or make sure they never hang out around him. But he does have a point – why does Gerald always to get to tell the cool stories?

Next time, we’ll have at least one more spooky Hey Arnold episode. And I promise regular Boy Meets World recaps will return soon. Especially since the “original air dates” have almost synched up with our current time. I just like when that happens, is all.

The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain

That is a FANTASTIC title.

If you’ll recall, in my last review, I mentioned how I remembered there being a Tiny Toon Adventures episode with Elmyra as a parody of Elvira, Mistress of Macabre, and there was a plot with something like a serial killer moose, or something?

horroronslumberparty01horroronslumberparty02

Elmyra, Mistress Who’s a Dork, introduces us to our feature, which is in the title spot up there.

We’re first greeted with an imposing, shadow figure who startles all the cute woodland creatures. It turns out it was just Babs, though, and everyone is scared of her giant, rabbit feet.

She and her friends, Fifi (a purple skunk) and Shirley (a white loon) are hanging out in a cottage on a cliff to get to know each other better, or something.  A cloaked figure comes in, and almost hits Babs with an axe.

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It turns it was just Shirley, though. Babs isn’t amused, and says “No more practical jokes!” during their weekend getaway.

The girls use a Ouija board to find out who their soul mates are. None of them are satisfied with the results. A pillow-fight ensues. Mark that under “sentences I never thought I’d write.”

The girls collapse in a pile of giggles, and a stick turns the lights off – or, someone outside the door holding a stick. Babs is upset, reminding the others that they promised not to try to scare each other for the rest of the night. The other girls deny doing anything, which makes sense because the light-switch is all the way on the other side of the room so it would’ve taken some real ingenuity for them to turn the lights off.

Then there’s some honestly terrifying howling sounds – sort of like a cougar on steroids, and we find out it definitely wasn’t Babs, Fifi, or Shirley.

It was a one-eyed moose.

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He shrieks and throws goop at all the girls, then leaves. Fifi distressed at having been slimed, but Babs smells the substance and determines it to be shaving cream, which is really weird considering it glows neon green. She decides fellow bunny Buster must be behind it, and upon opening the door, the girls find not only rabbit tracks, but pig and duck tracks as well! Buster, Hamton, and Plucky. The fiends!

The three boys are sitting around a campfire, joking about how scared they made the girls, then Buster decides to tell a scary story, about one-eyed Jack. One-eyed Jack was a jack-rabbit that was large, got hit by a car, and was turned into a weird, giant jackalope-type thing by an evil scientist.

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Buster then yowls at the other boys, scares them, makes fun of them for being scared, then there’s another inhuman howl that none of them made. It turns out, of course, it was Babs and the girls this time, getting their revenge. The boys run off, because of course they did. Babs congratulates the girls for a job well done, but all Fifi can do is repeat a small phrase in French, a phrase including the name “Jacques.” Babs can’t understand her, but Shirley has a translation – “I think she’s saying ‘One-eyed Jack’!” Babs points out that Shirley always sleeps through French class, so how could she possibly know that Fifi’s saying “One-eyed Jack?”

Shirley says it’s because he’s standing right over there!

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Yeeeeeeeeeks. I remember actually being quite frightened of this as a kid. It’s not as scary now, but still… The people who worked on this show sure know how to do scary character designs!

The girls run back to the cottage, and barricade the front door, forgetting the cottage also has windows and a chimney.

But, no, no obvious plot twist where he just comes in through the back door or whatever. Turns out, he was already in the house and they used him to barricade the door!

horroronslumberparty07

I didn’t even notice him at first, wow.

Fifi takes a stand and sprays him with skunk… spray, and Babs and Shirley run out in the way cartoons do where they bust the wall out in their exact shape. They manage to find an old, abandoned, creepy castle, which turns out to be full of taxidermied animals. In a darker cartoon, you might consider that almost the entire cast of this show is animals, so running into a place that’s full of dead animals, primped and stuffed for display, would be like if you, dear reader, entered a museum full of perfectly preserved human corpses posed to look as if they were golfing, reading a newspaper, or whatever. Perhaps there’s a wall full of mounted human heads. What would be the human part equivalent of using antlers in all of your decorating, I wonder?

Anyway, it turns out Buster, Hamton, and Plucky are all hiding in the castle. When they find out it was just the girls who scared them before, they go to leave, but Babs tries to stop them, on account of there being a real monster out there. They don’t believe her.

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Yep. And then he, erm, plucks Plucky. The four remaining characters, being genre savvy, know the best thing to do in this situation is to stick together, so they walk with their backs all together.

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Shirley’s thirsty, so they all walk like that into the kitchen. The sink is full of dirty dishes, but Shirley still finds a clean glass. She goes to turn on the faucet, and One-eyed Jack’s hand comes out of the faucet and pulls her up the spout (it’s a cartoon). The others are just like “huh, that was weird.” Then Ham announces he’s hungry, and they head to the refrigerator, despite the fact that the castle clearly hasn’t had an occupant in at least two weeks (judging by the cobwebs but lack of dust; also that estimation was meant to be humorously lower than expected; thank you, I’ll be here explaining my own jokes all week), so it seems unlikely the refrigerator would have anything good in it. But he is a pig.

And then he gets grabbed into the refrigerator by good ol’ Jack.

Buster and Babs actually notice and care this time, and Babs expresses annoyance at Buster’s dumb idea  – ‘Our only chance is to stick together!’ she says, mockingly.

They hear a noise, Babs determines is coming from downstairs, so Buster suggests they go up. Buster runs up the stairs ahead of Babs, and the stairs sort of life like a hatch when Babs goes to run up them, so she instead gets sucked into some sort of abyss. Buster realizes he is the only one left, and he then makes a run for it. Down the hill, swinging on a vine, down a long railroad track on one of those handcars you always see in old cartoon, and finally into a kayak. His is a bittersweet victory – he made it out alive, but he’s the only one who did.

…NOPE.

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Turns out the others are all alive as well, but locked up in some dungeon. One-eyed Jack comes in and growls at them, and then… reveals there’s a zipper… it’s actually been a suit this whole time… worn by…

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…Elmyra.

She has captured our cartoon friends for cuddle time, because she loves animals, and such. Before the other characters bust out of their chains and through the wall in true cartoon manner, Elmyra remarks “Don’t you just love a movie with a surprise ending?”

Not much else to say here. Like I said before, I was actually really scared of this episode when I was little. It doesn’t hold up the fright very much for me as an older person, but it’s still a great episode, with a surprising plot twist that actually makes a lot of sense.

I think that’s it for the Tiny Toon episodes this month. I will return shortly with yet another cartoon, this time about… Four-eyed Jack!

Toons from the Crypt

So much for Halloween month! Oy.

Well, here’s a spooky-themed episode of Tiny Toon Adventures.

toonscrypt01We open on a creepy old house, full of skeletons. I don’t know if if it’s creepier or not that all the skeletons are of animals on a show where the majority of the cast is also animals. It’s certainly weird, at the very least.

Then we have Buster Bunny popping out of a coffin… or a trunk, it looks more like, dressed as the Crypt-Keeper from “Tales from the Crypt”. Here the episode title reference should become immediately obvious.

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Buster looks genuinely creepy in this get-up, I have to say.  Wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley.

Also, I seem to recall there being a similar “scary” episode of Tiny Toons hosted by Elmyra in an obvious parody of Elvira and Elvira’s Movie Macabre. Maybe that’s coming up in this episode, I don’t know.

Anyway, our first toon from the crypt is called “Wait Til Your Father Gets Even”, and stars Hamton Pig, and presumably involves his father in some capacity.

It starts with Hamton and Plucky Duck playing jacks, and Plucky is gleefully cheating Hamton, with Hamton (oy I’m getting tired of typing Hamton) blissfully unaware. Not much is going on when suddenly my computer’s DVD software suddenly switches the audio to Spanish.

I restore the audio to English, and Plucky wants to make a deal with Hamton – he’ll bet his halo (yes, halo) against Hamton’s dad’s bottle cap collection. Of course Plucky wins, leaving Hamton alone and ashamed and afraid to face his father. No one mentions why he brought his dad’s bottle caps to play jacks with Plucky. also Hamton says something about how he’ll never gamble again, and now he knows what Pete Rose feels like. This is one of many instances on this show of references that its target audience probably would not have understood, while being a bonus gag for the adult audience. However, I am an adult, I do not understand that reference (although I do know Pete Rose is a baseball player, although I don’t know how or why I know that), possibly because that reference is apparently, according to Wikipedia, apparently years old.

Ham comes home, his mom yells at him and tells him to upstairs without supper and to “just wait til your father comes home!” This episode isn’t very scary so far. Also, I know kids winning things for keepsies is a difficult legal barrier to work through (no it’s not), but, I don’t know, just go back and tell Plucky you have to have the bottle caps back, challenge him to a different game, have your mom talk to Plucky’s mom… something!

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Hamton seems to live in a hotel room, based on the sparse and generic decor. Ham has a daydream about his dad banishing him to… I don’t know, Phoenix*? Some desert wasteland full of red colors and rhinoceros… gypsies? They steal the notebooks and pencils out of his backpack and decide to roast him in the fire when they find out what happened. Ham wakes up and sees his father is home.

*That was a joke.

His dad, it turns out, is very kind with him. He’s disappointed, and was hoping to pass on the collection to Ham some day, but, apparently there’s literally nothing they can do about it. Then Hamton, Hamton’s dad, and Hamton’s brother all sit out on the porch and drink lots of soda pop, because having 24 of the same bottle cap is almost as good as having a whole collection of different caps.

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I just noticed his dad’s eyes are going in two different directions.

Buster-Keeper (Crypt Buster?) points out that story didn’t have a frightening end at all, but says that Plucky’s parents didn’t react as kindly to finding out Plucky gambled.

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On the one hand, that’s dark. On the other hand, this IS a spin-off of Looney Tunes.

Next up is “Concord the Kindly Condor.” According to his theme song, Concord wants to be a veterinarian, and his older brothers, who may or may not be the ghostly uncles from Casper the Friendly Ghost, think he’s a dink. Condors are supposed to eat weak and sickly animals, not help them!

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Pretty much the whole plot of this story is the brothers trying to eat animals and get their brother to stop fixing animals. The brothers eventually lay off when they’re attacked by a bear and Concord helps them. He shows them their doctor’s bill and chuckles “Who says I don’t prey on the weak and sickly?”

Also there’s an elk with Rheumatism using a walker.

The said he was an elk, even though he looks more like a moose in my opinion.
The said he was an elk, even though he looks more like a moose in my opinion. [Knowledge edit: Apparently in Europe, they use the word “elk” to refer to moose. But this is AMERICA.]
Crypt Bunny then introduces us to some real horror: A COMMERCIAL.

But I’m watching a DVD, so…

Our final story stars Elmyra, and is called “Night of the Living Pets.” Elmyra is one character I must explain for those of you who have never seen Tiny Toon Adventures before. She’s a little girl who loves animals and has lots of pets, but she’s, um… a little too enthusiastic. A bit like Darla from “Finding Nemo,”, she’s well-meaning but doesn’t know the things she does are very harmful to her pets.

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Oy vey I’m editing this post about two years later, and my dog who is named Fluffy had to be put down a few months ago. So this grave marker hits me right in the sads.

So the story opens with Elmyra looking through a photo album, full of pictures of her pets who have passed on, including a goldfish she tried to take for a walk, and a horse that JUMPED OFF A CLIFF to get away from her. I know I said that bit with Plucky getting sawn in half was dark, but… GEEZ. Anyway, she wishes she could see all her old pets just one more time, which is a very sweet wish that I think we can all…

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Um…

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I…

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OH MY GOD!!

So all the zombie pets break into Elmyra’s house, and she goes classic Horror Movie route by running upstairs and just hiding in her room. Elmyra cowers in fear, but it’s no use. The zombies have found her. She’s done for.

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Except when she realizes they’re all very stinky and could use a bath! The first pets she bathes dissolve in the bath water. She tries to vacuum an old, dead cat, but it just sucks all the remnants of its fur off, leaving a skeleton. The other animals run back into their graves to get away.

Then it turns out it was all a dream. Her deceased pets didn’t come back to life as zombies after all! Thank goodness.

Well, except, Elmyra decides seeing her old pets is a great idea after all, and she runs into the cemetery to dig them them all up.

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Crypt Bunny says that ending was too creepy, even for him, and the show ends.

…What is there even to say? I was very much mistaken in assuming this would be a scary episode. I wish I could remember which episode of this show it is that plays out more like a horror movie. They’re in some mountain retreat or something and a moose(?) is picking them all off, one by one. I remember being genuinely frightened of that episode as a kid.

Ah, well.

This episode wasn’t particularly good, I think. I didn’t find it very funny, or scary, or anything. The zombie animal designs were creepy, though. That’s something, I guess.

I’m watching another episode as I finish typing this and finish with the pictures, and… geez, some of this show has not aged well. I guess if you were a preteen or teenager when the show first started airing, you could see a lot of these jokes and references as funny, nostalgic kick-backs, but a lot of it just comes off like “oh… I guess that existed back then.” Sister show Animaniacs has not aged as poorly, though.