Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special (1977)

It’s Halloween and Daffy Duck’s Nephew encounters Witch Hazel while trick or treating. Terrified he runs away screaming and insisting to Daffy that he saw a witch. Determined to prove him wrong he takes him to her house. Meanwhile Bugs turns up in the same costume Daffy’s nephew is wearing and has his own adventure with Witch Hazel. As always with these Looney Tunes “movies,” they’re really just bare boned one page premises serving as frames for craftily edited montages that count as big movies. If you hadn’t seen these Looney Tunes shorts a million times like yours truly, you’d never really be able to tell much a difference.

I’ve always thought of that as lazy, personally. In one scene while in Witch Hazel’s small hour, Bugs gives her Dr. Jekyll’s elixir, which she drinks and turns in to Dracula.  Bugs then magically transports to Dracula’s castle, for some reason. It’s a segue in to “Transylvania 65-000,” but damn is it ever sloppy and distracting. Either way, “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special” at least has the good idea of making the “movie” an ensemble, and bringing up a lot of the more famous horror oriented Looney Tunes shorts. Characters pop in and out of “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special,” and we’re given a refresher course in to how great a lot of the spooky shorts were. Not to mention June Foray returns as Witch Hazel.

Among the shorts edited together to make a twenty four minute special are “Broom-Stick Bunny,” “Hyde and Hare,””Claws for Alarm,” and “Bewitched Bunny,” only to name a few. Once again, if you’ve only seen these shorts a few times, it’s a fairly interesting splicing together of classic shorts, but it’s tough to ignore when you’ve watched these over and over. The contemporary story frame features pretty shoddy animation, along with Witch Hazel being drawn with a different shade of green. Not to mention a lot of the shorts featured various creators beside Chuck Jones, so the art style is just all over the place. In any case, there is at least a look back at some of the funnier and more raucous Looney Tunes shorts, and it’s worth revisiting them for the holiday.