Ferocious 5 sheds light on a whole universe of pop and geek culture connections with bite-size lists. Explore topics, properties, fandoms you never knew existed in this article series on Bunkazilla.
Halloween is less than two weeks away and, for this Ferocious 5 list, we’re diving into the world of cartoons once more to unearth some of the most memorable spooky cartoons made for children. Of course, these are also enjoyable for grown-ups too! There’s likely one or two you’ve completely forgotten about. So, what horror animations came to grab children’s attention? Let’s dive into the list!
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
There have been many incarnations of Scooby-Doo but this one tried to take the mystery-solving hound in a completely supernatural new direction.
The plot of The 13 Ghosts sees Scooby and Shaggy unwittingly open a magical chest and unleash the 13 most dangerous ghosts imaginable. Furious at their stupidity, the owner of the said chest – Vincent Van Ghoul (played wonderfully by the great Vincent Price) – tasks Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, Scrappy-Doo and new addition Flim-Flan to capture all 13 ghosts.
And these ghosts were not your standard villain in a mask, these were treated as real spectres. A change that attempted to make Scooby-Doo slightly darker and more contemporary in light of the popularity of Ghostbusters.
It’s personally one of my favourite Scooby-Doo outings and what’s quite surprising to discover looking into the history of this TV series is that it was cancelled before it had a chance to finish the story. Fans of this Scooby-Doo series had to wait until 2019 for the DVD movie Scooby-Doo & The Curse of the 13th Ghost for the series to be properly wrapped up.
While loads of Scooby-Doo exploits have the same premise, this is one of the franchises’ often forgotten standouts. It sits comfortably alongside 2010’s darker Scooby-Doo! Mystery, Inc series too. If you fancy a slice of Vincent Price and Scooby-Doo series is available on digital platforms for old and new fans to re-discover.
Following the box office success of Tim Burton’s horror fantasy, Beetlejuice found itself having an animated spin-off. Absolute television normality for most adult-themed box office successes during the late 80s, early 90s.
The show ran from 1989 to 1991 and clocked up nearly 100 episodes during its short run.
The ghostly con man Beetlejuice was back along with his best friend Lydia for supernatural hijinks in the Neitherworld or the real-world. Usually expect to see the ghost with most trying to fleece his fellow Neitherworld residents.
It made Tim Burton’s gothic world a little bit more friendly for the kids. At the time of writing, the show is not readily available to watch or import. Maybe we just need to say Beetlejuice 3 times to make it happen.
The Real Ghostbusters
Just like Beetlejuice, it didn’t take long for an animated version of Peter, Ray, Egon and Winston to arrive on the small screens as studios were eager to cash in on the box office success of the Ghostbusters franchise.
As you’d expect, it continued the ghostbusting exploits of our heroes with new ghastly ghouls terrorising New York – complete with that theme song as well. Throw in a good voice cast in place for Bill Murray and co, this is perhaps one of the most faithful animated spin-offs from the movies.
Funnily enough, a legal dispute regarding the name Ghostbusters with animation studio Filmation forced the production to add the words “The Real” into the title so it wouldn’t get confused with Filmation’s very own Ghost Busters franchise.
The Real Ghostbusters series ran from 1986 to 1991. The animated franchise would return to TV in 1997 for Extreme Ghostbusters where a younger group of busters lead by Egon took on ghouls. It’s a theme that looks like it will be revisited in next year’s Ghostbusters Afterlife film.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
The classic Nickelodeon show from 1994 followed the adventures of Ickis, Oblina and Krumm, three young monsters learning how to scare humans in New York.
Most episodes saw the group attempt to perform scares in order to get a passing grade from the intimidating teacher – Gromble.
Ickis would be the lazy member of the trio – looking to cut corners to earn his grades, Oblina tried to toe the line and Krumm couldn’t keep a hold of his eyeballs. With 52 episodes over 4 seasons, the show only lasted 3 years.
It was one of many shows in Nickelodeon’s golden run of cartoons like Rugrats, Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug and Hey Arnold! It’s not often easily remembered but it holds a special place in Nickeoloden’s canon of toons.
If you’d like to revisit the series, it’s available on Amazon Prime Video to enjoy!
Tales From The Cryptkeeper
What’s this? Another adult franchise that becomes a popular cartoon. You couldn’t make this up if you tried!
This was an animated spin-off from the cult HBO TV series of the same name and focused on telling a variety of spooky tales just for the kids minus the blood and gore. Each episode would start with the titular Cryptkeeper sharing a horrific story with a moral to be learned.
The show initially ran for two seasons between 1993-1994 before cancellation. The show briefly returned for one more season in 1999 dubbed “New Tales from the Cryptkeeper”- which was more than less the same show with new stories.
If you’re familiar with its live-action counterpart and want to see the type of stories the Cryptkeeper told kids, you can re-watch the series on Amazon Prime.
That’s our list for now. What ghoulishly spooky cartoons do you remember? Let us know your thoughts and share cartoons we may have missed this time around!
Until next time, stomp on monsters of culture, stomp on!