With the release of The Real Ghostbusters TV show on Netflix, we look back at 10 more animated childhood horror favourites that you need to revisit.
And so, in no particular order …
10. Gravedale High (Hanna-Barbera, 1990)
I’m usually met with blank stares whenever I mention this old-school gem, so I’m hoping Horror Geek Life’s wonderful readers will be a little more receptive?
Set in a school for ghouls, the show positioned Rick Moranis’ Max Schneider – the only human on campus – at the head of the classroom from Hell. It was the brainchild of Hanna-Barbera, and had one of the all-time great theme tunes, but sadly Gravedale High ended up on the cancellation list after only 13 episodes.
9. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (BVS, 1990)
Gigantic, genetically enhanced, sentient tomatoes, with personalities, attempt to conquer the world, with the sinister Dr Gangreen leading the charge.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Killer Tomatoes movies, but how much cooler would they have been had they been more like the animated series?
8. Extreme Ghostbusters (Bohbot, 1997)
Before you get on your high horse, try being objective about the 1997 Ghostbusters TV reboot, and you’ll see that it wasn’t half bad. Compare it to The Real Ghostbusters though, and it falls flat on its face.
References to Child’s Play, Hellraiser inspired ghosts, and a Real Ghostbusters cross-over episode, were among the most memorable moments of the short-lived reboot.
7. Courage the Cowardly Dog (Cartoon Network, 1999)
By gum, when Cartoon Network wanted to, it could create some of the best TV shows in existence. Over the years we’ve had Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Dexter’s Lab, and of course Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Starting life as a one-off on an episode of Cartoon Network’s What a Cartoon series, Courage quickly took on a life of its own, expanding into 4 seasons of dark, disturbing, animated gold.
Set on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Courage the Cowardly Dog followed Courage the Dog’s attempts to protect the home of his odd couple owners, the sweet and loving Muriel, and the cantankerous Eustace, from the dark things that wanted to steal them away in the night. These included a chicken from outer space, a satanic cat, zombies and a mutated foot fungus. There was also Freaky Fred, but I’ve spent too many years trying to block him out of my mind to open that door!
A horror fueled CGI reboot is in the works.
6. Tales from the Cryptkeeper (Warner Bros. 1993)
Whenever I watched an episode of Tales from the Crypt, two things were always guaranteed: death and partial nudity. With that in mind, it was a massive surprise when an animated spin-off for kid’s TV rocked up in the early 1990’s. Take a moment to let that soak in. It would be like having a Walking Dead cartoon running on a Saturday morning.
Despite several wrangles with the censors, the show managed to run for 3 seasons, and maintained the aesthetic of the original comic book source material. Of course, the cartoon couldn’t ever compare to the live action series, but is still worth a look even today.
5. Aaahh!! Real Monsters (Klasky Csupo, 1994)
Hundreds of years ago, in an era known simply as “The Nineties”, Nickelodeon were the most innovative producers of children’s television in town. With their off-kilter, highly original Nicktoons, the network produced some of the most iconic shows of the era, many of which have influenced the animators of today. These shows included Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Doug and Aaahh!! Real Monsters.
Set in the putrid sewers beneath the city dump, which the show’s creator based on the dystopian landscapes of Blade Runner, Aaahh!! Real Monsters was Monsters Inc before there was a Monsters Inc. Our three protagonists – Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm – split their time between learning how to be scary at Scare School, and getting out of the predicaments they bring upon themselves through venturing to the surface.
The show won awards at the Houston Film Festival and Ottawa Film Festival, and was nominated for an Emmy. A movie was discussed but never came to pass, with Nickelodeon opting to go with Rugrats in Paris instead.
4. Beetlejuice (Geffen, 1989)
It’s looking less and less likely that we’ll ever get a sequel to Tim Burton’s classic Beetlejuice, so why not fill that Sandworm shaped hole in your heart by revisiting the 1989 animated series?
Unlike the film, the series focused on the platonic friendship between mopey teenager Lydia Deetz and the titular bio-exorcist. There are no Maitlands here though, however other movie favourites return in their place, primarily Harry the Hunter, who has been rechristened I.M Smallhead.
3. The Toxic Crusaders (Troma, 1990)
There’s a reason Troma don’t make kids TV shows. Even so, The Toxic Crusaders was an outstanding and unique series, and considering kids were going crazy for mutant turtles at the time, “radioactively ugly heroes” of “superhuman size and strength” were the next obvious choice for Saturday morning syndication.
2. The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Cartoon Network, 2003)
Remember in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey how the Grim Reaper loved to play games in exchange for souls? Well, that’s pretty much the premise of this underrated Cartoon Network ‘horror’ classic.
Based on a 1995 short, the show follows two misfit kids who defeat the Grim Reaper in a limbo contest and force him to be their new best chum/pet/slave.
1. Count Duckula (Cosgrove Hall, 1988)
“In the heart of Transylvania, in the Vampire Hall of Fang-yia, there’s not a Vampire zanier than Duckula.”
So went the lyrics to this off-beat British animated classic, and truer words could not have been spoken … or sung, in an eternally catchy them tune.
The veggie Vamp first appeared as an evil antagonist in Danger Mouse, but was eventually given his own spin-off in 1988, and changed from a vicious, blood sucking horror ghoul, into a lovable, broccoli munching hero. The change in character was explained in the show’s intro, where we learn that after being killed the Count was mistakenly resurrected with ketchup instead of blood. An easy mistake.