Thursday, October 18, 2012

Night of Terror #18: Melissa's Shorts

Hello horror fiends (fans)!! Tonight I'm very pleased to announce a guest post from none other than my friend Melissa, who (as she mentions in the post) has been gracing her friends on Facebook (and Twitter) with a different Halloween-themed short for every day leading up to Halloween. So I thought it would be cool to invite her on to discuss some of her picks so far. Here she at!!!

When I was a kid nothing got me more excited for Halloween than a themed cartoon. The same still applies today and I get just as giddy, if not more, for Halloween time and all the cartoons that go along with it! In preparation for one of my favorite holidays I’ve been posting various Disney classics (as well as some non-Disney cartoons) to my personal Facebook account, occasionally twitter, to get others as excited as I am. Since I don’t want to give anything away for the rest of my list I’ll discuss some of the clips I’ve posted thus far -- everything else is a surprise!

I’ve included quite a few of the original classic Mickey Mouse shorts like “The Haunted House”, “The Mad Doctor”, and “Lonesome Ghosts”. Also included is a more recent Mickey Mouse cartoon “Runaway Brain”, and if you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor and watch it. There are a few unsettling clips from full length Disney Animated Classic films such as the Headless Horseman in “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” from Mr. Toad and Ichabod Crane and the equally terrifying scene (if you’re 5 years old) “Night on Bald Mountain” from Fantasia. And certainly no Disney Halloween list would be complete without “The Skeleton Dance”, the original Silly Symphony and Donald
Duck’s “Trick or Treat”. Now, the reason that I’ve picked these specific cartoons are because they either hold some sentimental value to me, such as them scaring the shit out of me as a kid (again see “Night on Bald Mountain”), or because I feel that since Disney rarely plays their classic cartoons I should at least post them so people don’t forget about them and their significance. Also, they’re all available on YouTube so why not use them?

Many of these early cartoons had some sort of ground-breaking technique that make them the classics they are today. For example “the Skeleton Dance”, as I stated earlier was the original Silly Symphony directed by Walt Disney himself and animated by Ub Iwerks, was one of the first cartoons that had combined music and animation so that they would play off each other. While this concept wasn’t entirely new because cartoons had been using sound at this point, the idea of a musical cartoon and the two concepts being linked to each other was. Carl Stalling, the composer for the music for this cartoon, suggested this idea to Walt and Walt was hooked. “The Skeleton Dance” is interesting as well because not only is it a creepy cartoon, it’s also a funny one (with skeletons dancing and using each other as instruments). And with it’s inspiration being derived from Danse Macabre it makes for a perfect Halloween cartoon. So if you haven’t seen it -- watch it.

My other favorites from this list would be the Mickey Mouse cartoons “The Haunted House” and “Lonesome Ghosts“. I like “The Haunted House” because it has some cool animation techniques in it, like the part where Mickey plays the organ for all the dancing skeletons (apparently I have a thing for dancing skeletons). Also because it’s far creepier than any Mickey Mouse cartoon we would have seen at this point, what with Mickey playing an organ duet with the Grim Reaper. As a side note - I believe it was released the same year as “The Skeleton Dance”, so maybe Walt was just digging the
creepy feel of cartoons at this time. But “Lonesome Ghosts” is my favorite because Mickey, Donald, and Goofy were basically the original Ghostbusters (the part that is really reminiscent of Ghostbusters was how excited they were when they received their first customer!) and to me this is just the quintessential Halloween cartoon. The three blundering idiots are called in (by the ghosts ha-ha) to rid the house of ghosts! Upon arrival they discover the house is empty except for some ominous laughter so they decide to split up and take care of the ghosts. This of course results in more humorous altercations between the goons and the ghosts. When suddenly! Mickey, Donald, and
Goofy stumble into molasses and flour and look like ghosts themselves! Thus spooking the real ghosts away. Another reason I love this cartoon so much is because I’m a sucker for anything Walt Disney worked on, and at this point Walt was still voicing Mickey Mouse.

Stay tuned to the rest of my Halloween picks either on Facebook if we’re friends or on my twitter account. I promise I’ve got some great ones coming up still -- and I may even deviate from my Disney picks a tad -- that will be appreciated by all! And thank you Joe for letting me babble on about something I really love.

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