Thursday, October 23, 2008

HALLO-LOONEY-WEEN. Or more precisely some suggested Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for October viewing. Every once in a while, they would make a cartoon with some spooky elements. If you are making your own monster movie marathons this month, what better way to start them off them by screening some Halloweeny-type Looney Tunes before the main feature starts. And all of these are readily available on DVD. So start spinning! Remember these??? 13spooky Looney Tunes to start off your Halloween right!
  • WATER, WATER EVERY HARE -- "My baby! My mechanical masterpiece! So nearly complete! So nearly perfect! If you ONLY had a living brain!" Green, chrome-domed mad scientist (who is made to sound like Vincent Price) laments his lack of spare parts when a flood carries Bugs Bunny (our hero) floating by on his mattress. I particularly love the neon signs on the exterior of the castle alternately flashing "Evil Scientist" and then "Boo!". When Bugs wakes up and speeds away in fright, the evil scientist sends his monster "Rudolf" to catch him. "Uh oh. Think fast, rabbit!" mutters Bugs and storms right into the classic beauty parlour routine. "My stars! Where did you EVER get that AWFUL hairdo?!?!" Bugs even manages to make himself invisible with a diabolical potion. But of course, our hero is saved by a thrown axe busting a bottle of ether. A stone cold classic.
  • SCAREDY CAT -- Porky Pig and Sylvester move into a haunted house. It turns out the house if tormented not by ghosts but by a group of mischievous mice who terrorize Sylvester and try to commit bodily harm to Porky (unbeknownst to the Pig, of course). The wonderful shadows thrown on the wall -- in which it looks like a hooded executioner is leading a procession to an execution -- is wonderfully evocative. The mice eventually hog-tie (pun intended) Porky and Sylvester flees the house in terror. However, his conscience convinces him to return and save his master.
  • HAIR-RAISING HARE -- "Did you ever have the feeling you wuz being watched?" asks Bugs Bunny as a mad scientist (who looks like Peter Lorre) sends a mechanical hoochie mama to lure the rabbit to his castle. Inside the castle, Peter Lorre has the same red-furred, tennis shoe-wearing monster that we saw in WATER WATER EVERY HARE. This time instead of doing the monster's hair, Bugs does his nails. This cartoon is every bit as enjoyable as the other appearance of the red-furred monster was.
  • BROOMSTICK BUNNY -- It's officially Halloween in this one. Bugs Bunny is hitchhiking dressed as a witch -- and he stops in at Witch Hazel's dump. Everything is fine until Bugs takes off his mask; then Witch Hazel realizes a rabbit is just what she needs to throw in her cauldron of goop! Witch Hazel is voiced by the phenomenol June Foray -- and it's the exact same voice AND the exact same character name as the Witch Hazel who appeared earlier in the Disney Donald Duck cartoon "Trick or Treat".
  • HYDE AND HARE -- The sweet little old doctor who feeds Bugs Bunny every day in the park takes him home as a pet. Unfortunately for Bugs, the doctor's name is Jekyll. Various axe-wielding shenanigans occur until Bugs himself swallows some of the evil formula before returning to the park.
  • HAVE YOU GOT ANY CASTLES -- Not entirely spooky but there are several spooky things about this cartoon which make it nice October viewing. This is one of those "books coming to life" cartoons which Warner Bros. did several of. Among the spooky characters we can find Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Fu Manchu, The Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein's Monster, The Invisible Man, Topper, The House of Seven Gables and Seven Keys to Baldpate.
  • CLAWS FOR ALARM -- Once again, Porky and Sylvester are going to stay in a haunted house but this time it's a hotel. Of course, it's also actually haunted not by ghosts but by mischievous mice. While more of the same, it's still worth a look.
  • FALLING HARE -- This is the one that has Bugs Bunny actually meet his match: a gremlin! While not really spooky in any way, it does feature the supernatural creature known as a gremlin so I'm letting it in our Halloween cartoons on a technicality.
  • TRANSYLVANIA 6-5000 -- Bugs has to stop making that wrong toin at Albuquerque. He winds up in Transylvania looking for a telephone at the spooky castle of Count Bloodcount. The Count insists Bugs stay for the night and tries to put the bite on him. Unfortunately for the Count, Bugs finds a book on "Magic Woids and Phrases"; everytime Bugs says a magic woid, the Count changes into a bat and back. A very bizarre-looking entry.
  • BIRTH OF A NOTION -- "I didn't know Leopold could dance." Daffy Duck casts asparagus at ducks who are stupid enought to fly south for the winter. He decides to get a home for the winter by conning some sucker. The sucker is Leopold the dog. Daffy puts a bone on his front porch and then stops the dog from eating it saying it's poison. Having saved the dog's life, Daffy is invited to stay (secretly) in his master's house. His master is Peter Lorre whose mad experiment requires the wishbone of a duck! So Leopold is trying to keep Peter Lorre from finding out he's got a secret houseguest, Daffy isn't too fond of Peter Lorre and continually tries to cause him bodily harm while Leopold constantly thwarts him and Peter Lorre finally finds out he's got a duck on the premises and tries to capture Daffy!
  • JUMPIN' JUPITER -- Porky Pig and Sylvester (who realized they were such a comedy team) are out camping in the desert (shades of Jack Arnold!) when they are abducted by space aliens. Big green gooney looking ones. A really nice touch in the cartoon is that the sound of the spaceship is the exact same sound made by the giant ants in THEM!
  • SATAN'S WAITIN' -- While chasing Tweety Bird, Sylvester falls to his death. Not the usual opening to a Looney Tune cartoon, is it? As the "up" staircase is barred, Sylvester goes downstairs to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks and meets the devil (a dog, of course). The Devil informs Sylvester that since a cat has nine lives he may go back to Earth -- but beware. . .the Devil will be waiting for Sylvester when his nine lives are used up.
  • A CARTOONIST'S NIGHTMARE -- This is an early B&W cartoon which features the rather bland hero Beans (similar to Bosko and Buddy); characters like this proliferated at Warners before the advent of Porky, Daffy and Bugs took them to a higher level. A monstrous villain called The Beast has captured Beans in a drawing done by a cartoonist. When the cartoonist falls asleep at his drawing board, The Beast reaches out of the drawing and pulls the cartoonist into it. The cartoon is filled with ghastly villains like Spike the Spider, Dirty Dan and a monstrous octopus named One Punch Otto!

It's interesting to note that, 9 times out of 10, if there was a spooky monster or ghost in a cartoon, Warner Bros. would pit them usually against Bugs Bunny or the team of Porky Pig and Sylvester. It's probably no surprise that Bugs would feature prominently since he was their top draw; and the team of Porky and Sylvester played the cat's cowardice against the pig's blissful ignorance of what was going on around him. Having said this, the team of Porky and Sylvester are indeed a distant second to Bugs since they only have 3 cartoons on this list and one is basically a retread of the first. Sylvester did meet Satan, of course, but this time without Porky Pig.

Well, I hope these cartoons got you in the proper mood to start your own Halloween spooky movie marathon.


Pax Romano said...

My sister and i do the "My stars! Where did you EVER get that AWFUL hairdo" bit a lot. Needless to say it gets stares from the public.

And Witch Hazel and her magic hairpins ... my kinda gal!

Cerpts said...

I certainly hope the public stares because they are being confronted by witty brilliance and not because they're mouth-breathing lemmings who can't fathom people with actual personalities! Blessings on you and your sister (and Witch Hazel while we're at it) for keeping the dream alive!

pbpereira said...

Small point, but Hair-Raising Hare preceded Water, Water, Every Hare.

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