Not since “The Witch’s Ghost” has there been a “Scooby Doo” adventure so deeply rooted in Halloween that it qualifies as automatic viewing for the holiday. While it is a change in pace for the Mystery Inc. crew, it’s a fun adventure in to the magic and supernatural element, along with some pretty stellar animation, and a pretty awesome surprise ending that I admittedly didn’t see coming.
BOOTLEG FILES 659: “The Hangman” (1964 animated short).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: No release to date.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell through the cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: It would be nice.
With Halloween a few days away, I was wondering if it would be too corny to stick a horror movie into this week’s column. But rather than go the traditional route of horror movies featuring ghouls, ghosts and God-knows-what the FX people conjure up, I am opting for an intellectual horror story where the real evil does not require the presence of the supernatural or the paranormal – but, instead, comes from the quotidian.
As part of Horrible Imaginings Film Festival’s Saturday offerings, a smattering and a half of shorts were available for viewings split into a few blocks and attached to the features playing that day. Here are a few highlights from these.
For the uninitiated when Scooby Doo was attempting a new formula, they turned “Scooby Doo” in to a series of movies where they solved crimes with big celebrities like Dick Van Dyke and Sonny and Cher. Among the most popular crossovers was Batman and Robin. For years Batman and Robin were the most consistent allies of Mystery, Inc. getting in to all kinds of scrape ups with them, and battling people like Joker and the Penguin. They just seemed to click. “The Brave and the Bold” continues the long tradition by teaming them together by pairing the modern iteration of Scooby Doo with the family friendly animated “Batman: Brave and Bold” and it works.
If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.
BOOTLEG FILES 657: “Alice the Fire Fighter” (1926 animated short by Walt Disney).
LAST SEEN: On several online video sites.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright opens it up to endless duping.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Although it has been restored, it is stuck in public domain hell.
In 1924, an aspiring animator from Kansas City named Walt Disney caught his first big break when he signed with the independent Winkler Pictures to create a series of short films that combined animation with live action. Disney came up with the concept of a having a then-contemporary riff on “Alice in Wonderland,” with a live action little girl interacting with comic cartoon characters. This series became known as the Alice Comedies, and 57 one-reelers were created over the next three years.
Who else can soak in every bit of fun about Halloween than Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat? Branching off from the series of short films, “A Halloween Boo Fest” is a perfect celebration of Halloween and autumn that tells quite the interesting story. The Man in the Big Yellow Hat wants to show George his first ever country Halloween, but George ends up getting in to so much more along the way.