Top Ten Halloween TV Episodes/Movies/Specials!Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
It’s that time of the year, but every year around a holiday, I start to notice that some of the fun is missing. Especially Halloween. When I was a kid, every year, it seemed, there was a new animated special (most likely on CBS, who had the best special program bumper of all time!) or made for TV movie or special episode that kept you glued to the television and away from harmful things like fresh air and exercise. So, it is with a touch of nostalgia that I introduce my personal top ten favorite halloween themed TV offerings from years past. I know such things exist now, but I don’t really want to watch Zack and Cody fuck up my favorite holiday, thanks. Here we go, in personal rank order:
10. Right now, as you read this, there are cutesy couples the world over who are planning to wear Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes to a party or on Halloween proper. You should immediately stop reading this and hold an intervention(speaking from personal experience, if certain types of women get this idea in their heads, nothing short of stabbing will stop them) and prevent this cliched crime against costuming. To help ease the pain, they can watch the lovely animated special Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Pumpkin Who Couldn’t Smile from 1979. Granted, the crying pumpkin who won’t shut the fuck up about how no one loves him might flip the wrong switches in your costume scorned friends, but rest assured all will come out okay in the end. Plus, it’s a delightful little movie about what a jackass Raggedy Andy is, so that should help.
9. When originally concieved, The Worst Witch was not on the list. Suddenly, I became worried that if I left it off, ThatCostumeGirl would never sleep with me again, it being one of her favorites. For certain, there’s plenty to watch in this film. There’s Charlotte Rae, Tim Curry, Diana Rigg and a very young Faruza Balk. Also, Tim Curry SINGS. So, that should always help. Of course, it might be better if you were drunk or high or…something when you see his song “Anything Can Happen On Halloween”, because he’s in front of a blue screen while Chromakey happenings take place behind him. It should be cute and funny. It ends up being sad and scary. It will always hold a place in my heart, however, as…you know…it’s Tim fuckin’ Curry.
8. After I grew up (physically), I seemed to recall a made for TV film with that guy from Taxi dressed like Dracula, but in a disco suit. I thought that perhaps it was early brain damage from too many drinkings of glue/gasoline/Hi-C. Turns out my memory was right on. The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t (or, The Night Dracula Saved The World) stars Judd Hirsch as Dracula and a cast full of all your favorite silly-ass monsters (The Mummy…really? How the hell was this thing ever scary? It’s a dried out dead guy that Stephen Hawking could escape from unaided). He calls them to his castle to demand they be scary or leave forever. You know…TITS or GTFO. If you do some creative looking around the internet, you can find this one in it’s entirety. Also, Henry Gibson plays Igor, so, there’s a reason to watch it, anyways.
7. Every damn year, I watch Disney’s Halloween Treat, because every year I forget that it’s an hour and a half long clip show. What makes it bad is that Disney apparently can’t seem to figure out that they have made exactly four scary clips, and in Disney’s Halloween Treat, Pink Elephants on Parade and Heffalumps and Woozles are not in evidence! (What…they’re terrifying!). What makes it good is the inclusion of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Night on Bald Mountain. Also, there’s some class narration from Han Conreid (Captain Hook!) as the Magic Mirror from Snow White! Some of it sucks, but some of the clips paired with some cool narration make it worth a look.
6. Buffy The Vampire Slayer did something strange for being a horror themed TV show. They only did a Halloween show every other year. In Buffy’s first Halloween offering, we find several badass elements combining into an excellent episode of the show. First and foremost, Willow shows some skin! Second off, we get to hear Spike (back when he was still a kickass bad guy) deem the night’s evil as “Neat!”. See, in the Buffyverse, Halloween is supposed to be evil’s night off. However, a visit from far underused warlock Ethan Rayne turns everyone into their costumes. Willow is dressed as a ghost, so, she becomes one. Xander becomes a soldier, and Buffy, who wanted to dress like a girl from her undead boyfriend Angel’s human past, ends up becoming just that. The hero of the series is, all of a sudden, afraid of all the things she’s supposed to kill. But, let’s not forget what the best part of the show is. Willow shows some fine looking skin. Recommended!
5. Way back when I was a little kid, I saw an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow that had one thing going for it. The best casting decision of all time: Jeff Goldblum as Ichabod Crane. Then again, the year was 1980, so I might not be remembering things all that well. But, think about it…tall, gangly, dork who gets all the women playing the quintessential tall, gangly, dork who gets all the women! Also, rounding out the casting is Dick Butkus as Brom Bones and Meg Foster as Katrina. No shit! You can find this one around, but to date, it hasn’t been produced on DVD. Perhaps someone on eBay can rip you off for a copy. Then you should worry about such things as getting a tape on eBay or the fact that you still own a VCR.
4. And, in another made for TV movie that I love from childhood, we come to Dark Night of the Scarecrow. When I was a kid, me and my elementary school friends were all terrified of Bubba, the antagonist/protagonist scarecrow ghost that exacts terrible revenge against the people who killed him. You see, big retard Bubba (Played by retard market cornerer Larry Drake…seriously, that’s like most of the parts he played!) was innocently playing with a neighborhood girl, when she’s later attacked by a dog. The local assholes assume that Bubba did it, and brutally murder him just before they find out he’s innocent. That’s okay, though, because Bubba will get his! Who wouldn’t want to watch a deranged, retarded ghost dressed as a scarecrow run down a man with a combine!
3. Finally! An entry that has master thespian Roddy McDowall in it! A Pinky and The Brain Halloween is, unbelievably, funnier than their Christmas special, which is one of the best out there! When Satan(Gary Marshall) offers The Brain a deal, the genius mouse turns it down, but soon after finds that he’s the leader of world…what he’s always wanted! Unfortunately, it comes at the price of Pinky selling his soul. Now that The Brain has the world, he no longer has his best friend. That’s right…Pinky goes to hell, and The Brain, who decides he’d rather not have the dream without his buddy to share it with, goes to hell to get Pinky back. How is this done? Interpretive Dance-off! You have to see this one to believe it!
2. Now, we come to what has made number one on lists like this since it’s inception. So, naturally, being the trend bucker that I am, put it at number two. It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! is a maginificently animated(considering it was made in 1966), insightful, slightly sad, animated special. Just like all the best Charles Schulz Peanuts strips, minus the animation, or course. Linus Van Pelt wants to spend his Halloween in the pumpkin patch waiting for The Great Pumpkin, like he does every year(Which I don’t understand…how old could the little, blanket-slinging shit possibly be?),so he can demonstrate his sincerity. How that is supposed to mean that he gets presents from an overlarge squash I’ve been trying to figure out for 34 years. I do watch it every year because, I suppose, just once I want The Great Pumpkin to show up and give Linus some presents (and not be some horrible monster), just like I want Charlie Brown to kick that fuckin’ football, this being the first time that situation is shown in an animated special. So, for everyone that’s ever wanted to shoot Lucy Van Pelt, or see Linus get a reward for his sincerity, watch this every year! Maybe this year it’ll be different!
1. Which brings us to a tie! That’s right! So, let’s divide it up this way:
1(b). Roseanne! Every episode of Roseanne that revolved around Halloween was quality(except that last one…oi). Most Halloween episodes hinged on Roseanne’s need to commit practical jokes on her friends and family for the holiday. Personally, the best of these, for me was an episode was called “Halloween IV” where Roseanne forgets about the spirit of Halloween and three ghosts show her what…hmm…I think I might have heard that story before. The point is that when it comes time for Roseanne’s big prank in this episode, you won’t see it coming.
1(a). The Simpsons! For twenty years running The Simpsons have produced a Halloween episode every season. Titled “Treehouse of Horror” it usually consists of three skits based on popular films or stories. Not only are some of the individual shorts shown on the show funny for a Halloween episode…some of them, like “The Shinning(Shhh! Do ya want to get sued?)”, “Bart Simpson’s Dracula“, “Dial Z for Zombie” etc are some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen! Also of note, the inclusion of aliens(And brother and sister team) Kang and Kodos in every Treehouse of Horror, usually chortling like the mediocre badguy aliens they are. I’m not going to go into the decline of show here,(Mostly because I don’t see things that way) but, watch out this weekend for the twentieth (No shit!) Treehouse of Horror, featuring a 28 Days Later parody. I can’t wait!
So, there it is! I consider these to be the best, and I usually end up watching all of them this month. I hope you like some of these as well. Some looking around will kick them up on certain video sites, but there are some that you’ll just have to find through alternate means. Bear in mind that some of these are gone for good, but hopefully some more of these will come back, or some quality Halloween shows will come back! Good luck, and don’t forget the candy! And the beer!