Halloween PDF -- Part 1 -- The Cartoon Horror From The 1980s
I decide I can't make a horror cartoon series. So I'm decide to steal one from a PDF file that was bait for pre-buying "Cartoon Action Hour
: Season Two" before it come out. It's all about horror for a "Halloween Special". I let CCM (Cythina Celeste Miller) and BB (Bryan Beyer) to talk about — I just bold the topic headings.
Halloween is more than just another holiday. It’s a time of year in which ghouls and goblins roam freely amongst the newly fallen leaves of brown and orange. It’s a time of year in which many people seek thrills and chills by going to “spook houses” or by watching an insane amount of horror flicks. But during the 1980s, it was also a time in which the networks showcased numerous animated Halloween Specials that
kids of all ages could (and did) look forward to. In most cases, such specials were derived from a popular series of the time.
Along similar lines, it wasn’t unheard of for a series to have horror elements year-round rather than just a one-off special in October. Granted, the brand of horror demonstrated by these series was a far cry from that of the horror films.
This document seeks to bring horror to your games of Cartoon Action Hour, whether you want to run a Halloween Special for your existing series or create a new series laden with horror trappings.
The first section of the document deals evoking the appropriate style of horror into the game, offering hints,
tips and advice. The second section presents a new horror-themed series, Creature Busters.
Horror In CAH:S2
Let’s get one thing straight: cartoon horror isn’t really horror. It just has certain elements of the horror genre. But it’s not
really scary; it’s scary-ish… and maybe not even quite scaryish. You see, the cartoon companies had to cater to kids, but in such a way that wouldn’t tick the parents off. If they ticked the parents off by presenting truly horrific material to children, those parents aren’t going to give their kids money to purchase related merchandise. It was simply a matter of economics.
So, what good is cartoon horror, you ask?
Well, it was fun and it gave the shows an unusual feel. It provided the series with monsters, ghosts, vampires, wolfmen and other such nasties, which immediately adds a sense of awesomeness. Come on, what kid doesn’t get all wide-eyed and excited about these things?
What Cartoon Horror Doesn’t Have!
Before we can start discussing how to run horror-themed games of CAH:S2, we have to talk a bit about the things you just didn’t see in cartoon horror.
We may be delving into horror territory here, but death was still a no-no. The threat of death was fine or even the mentioning of someone’s passing was allowed (“My old Aunt passed away and left me this spooky old house.”), but characters didn’t die. In most horror RP Gs
, the threat of death is one of the aspects that keeps things frightening. Since this isn’t an option in CAH:S2, we have to find other ways of
keeping the spookiness alive. We’ll get into this later on.
The parent groups of the ‘80s would have had a conniption if true gore had ever been displayed in the retro-toons. Even a trickle of blood would have been enough to trigger a bunch of jibber-jabber to the networks from such groups. This is why blood was never shown, let alone decapitation, mutilation, or any other “tion” words that dealt with the macabre.
In an effort to avoid religious groups coming down on them, the cartoon studios kept religion largely out of the shows. Notice the use of the word “largely” there? I said that because sometimes, religion kind of crept into the mix from time to time, mostly by way of a demon here or a devil there. It wasn't common, but it did happen. Often, these beings weren't called demons or devils by name, but we all knew what the
heck they were.
The horror-based cartoons had exactly the same amount of suspense that the other cartoons had. That is, the suspense
came from a hero plummeting from a cliffside right before cutting to a commercial break rather than from a psycho
killer stalking the characters through dense woods with a machete.
Evoking A Sense of Horror
As discussed previously, cartoon horror wasn’t actually horror in the strictest sense. It was something akin to it though, which gives us stuff to work with. The idea is to have the themes of horror without being scary.
Appropriate Bad Guys
If you’re planning out a horror-themed series, you’ll need to assemble genre-appropriate adversaries for the P Cs
to have conflicts with. A horror game with regular baddies won’t do at all, unless you have something really wacky planned. Here are a few ideas for horror villains:
: Any time a villain can concoct something creepy from a beaker, you’re onto something good. This kind of villain is versatile, as he can spawn anything from robots and mutants to critters and Frankensteinian monsters.
: Werewolves are great cartoon adversaries. They’re tough and don’t violate any of the “rules” of cartoon horror.
Unlike other media though, cartoon wolfmen were often played for laughs in the retro-toons and frequently had exaggerated dog-like aspects (scratching fleas, barking, growling, etc.).
: Let’s get the obvious difference out of the way. Cartoon vampires never engaged in the act of sucking blood. Not a chance! Nor was it ever mentioned that they were actually dead. As far as the cartoons were concerned, vampires were essentially just pale people with fangs and some keenly cool powers. Most of them looked and acted like Bela Lugosi.
: Witches never had Wiccan connotations in the cartoons. They were basically green-skinned women with funny black hats that could cast spells. Did I mention that they almost invariably rode on broomsticks and cackled? Witches could be quite formidable foes for P Cs
though, so don’t just discount them due to their overt silliness.
: Close your eyes and think about what a cliché mummy from the old B-movies were like. Now, open your eyes and put it on paper, because that’s how mummies were in the retro-toons. They are slow, plodding and resilient to damage (except from fire, of course).
The cartoons often put creepy locales to good use in order to get across the horror vibe. Below, you’ll find a list of sites that could be inserted into your horror-themed games.
- Graveyard (Zombies and Vampire would be good for this location)
- Murky Swamp (Zombies are good for this location)
- Ancient Castle (Vampires are good for this location)
- Haunted House (Ghosts and Vampires are good for this location)
- Abandoned Farm (Ghosts are good for this location)
- Cavern (Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires are good fr this location)
- Musuem — After closing, naturally (Good for ghosts)
- Pyramid (Good for mummies)
- Closed-Down Factory (Good for Ghosts)
- Fog-Shrouded River Docks (Good for Ghosts)
- Uncharted Island (Good for Mad Scientists, Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies)
- Creaky Old Bridge (Good for Ghosts)
- Used-Up Mine (Good for Ghosts and Zombies)
- Junkyard (Good for Ghosts)
- Old Shack (Good for Ghosts)
- Dungeon (Good for Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, and Zombies)
- Ghost Ship (Good for Ghosts)
- Weird Dimension (Great for All Horror Creatures)
- Plantation (Great for Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves and Ghosts)
- Lost City." (Good for All Horror Creatures)
Next up is the series, "Creature Busters" — which is loosely based on "Filmation's Ghostbusters."