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Western Animation / Frankelda's Book of Spooks

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She's just dying to tell you a story!
"You think we're alone here, that the night is ours. But there are some secrets in our deepest nightmares..."
"Invisible Ink", the show's main theme

Sustos Ocultos de Frankelda, otherwise known as Frankelda's Book of Spooks, is a Stop Motion horror/fantasy genre anthology series produced by the Mexico City-based studio Cinema Fantasma for Cartoon Network Latin America and HBO Max.

The series is hosted by the titular Frankelda, a literal ghostwriter who has spent the last one hundred and fifty years trapped in an otherworldly house along with her faithful companion, a cautious yet overly grumpy talking book named Herneval. The two of them have been alone in all that time, but now they finally have someone new to share their stories with: YOU!

Each episode brings a new tale narrated by Frankelda herself about children who encountering monsters known as 'Spooks' and often paying heavy consequences for their decisions. All the while something lurks within the house Frankelda is trapped in... something that she and Herneval are desperate to escape from.

The initial pilot was uploaded on the Cartoon Network LA YouTube page on November 11, 2019. The full series premiered on October 29, 2021 on HBO Max Latin America, arriving in the United States and Canadian feeds on October 12, 2023. A prequel film, Frankelda y el Príncipe de los Sustos (Frankelda and the Prince of Spooks) was announced at Pixelatl 2022, expanding further on Frankelda and Herneval's backstory.


  • And I Must Scream:
    • Nemo in the first story trades his name to a gnome in exchange for having to get out of his chores and homework, only for the monster to replace him in his own life and banish the kid into being a gnome himself. His only way out is to do the exact same thing to someone else.
    • Magali in the second story is coerced by three witches to "become something else" in a desperate bid to fit in on Halloween. While the witches become anthropomorphic versions of the creatures represented on the cauldron, Magali becomes a regular bat, only distinguished by her hair and glasses. While she barely avoids becoming part of their collection, Magali is cursed to remain a bat for the rest of her life, unable to speak or warn anyone of what happened to her.
    • Tere in the fourth story is fed up with being bullied for playing her unusual instrument and trades away her passion for music to a music-loving monster to stop caring about it, only to realize too late that she’s sold her passion for life itself in the process; she can only watch helplessly as the monster takes away a vital piece of her soul and leaves her feeling nothing at all, all while the fragment calls her out for abandoning it for such a petty reason.
  • Another Dimension: The realm of the Spooks, Topus Terrentus, which has a connection to human imagination.
  • Appearance Angst: Uli in "They'll Drown in Their Fears" conflict arises from the fact that he's afraid to swim without his shirt on because the water's reflection makes him think he's too fat. Interestingly, the illustration depicts Uli in an Old-Timey Bathing Suit.
  • Author Avatar: The four main children are all based on members of the production crew.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The children in Frankelda's tales always fall victim to the monsters within. Downplayed in that these stories are actually nightmares the children are having. Later, Procustes keeps the duo trapped in his head despite their attempt to break free.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: A reoccurring theme of Frankelda's tales.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: To the point where the viewer is just as much a character as anyone else. Herneval repeatedly tries to ward the viewer off from watching any further while Frankelda is eager to share her stories, as it is through listening to them that the two gradually regain their strength.
  • Camera Abuse: Frankelda briefly takes a hold of the camera in the season finale in her excitement of being able to tell her own story.
  • Changeling Tale: Gnomes operate this way and while they do appear as the children they replace to other people, outside of a story sketch shown in the credits, we and the victim child only see the gnome in a Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Downer Ending: All of Frankelda's stories have unhappy endings. Though the fifth episode’s reveal that the first four stories were merely nightmares that Frankelda specifically wrote for the children softens this, since they were never actually hurt and may even learn something from their tales.
    Herneval: Why do all of your stories end up being so sad?? Wouldn't it be nice to tell a story where the kid does everything right? So he can relax sometime??
    Frankelda: The best stories don't relax us, they challenge us!
    • Even when her own backstory ends on a positive note the Foregone Conclusion of the duo's state in the present hangs over it. Their escape attempt in the fifth episode fails too, once again trapping the two in the house.
  • Deal with the Devil: The first, second, and fourth stories fall into this.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: In the pilot, Frankelda kept her hair in a ponytail and had a slightly different dress while an illustration of Herneval's original form was a more traditional horned demon boy.
  • Emotion Eater: The Spooks are monsters whos existence depends on humans being afraid and existing physically through the power of nightmares written by a masterful writer, and Herneval’s constant failure to produce meaningful nightmares is what led him to seek out Francisca as a replacement.
  • Friendly Ghost: Despite not even trying to hide that she has ulterior motives for the viewer's cooperation in listening to her tales, she's nothing but happy and excited to share her stories with us and even begs the viewer to save themselves from Procustes while she goes back to save Herneval.
  • Funny Background Event: In the fourth story, the family from the first story can be seen in the audience and their son is still replaced by the gnome that took his place. The Gnome also appears at the costume party in the second story.
  • Gaia's Avenger: The Siren's daughter targets the children as offerings to her mother after she notices all the litter surrounding their camp.
  • Horror Host: Frankelda herself though her energy almost crosses over into Excited Kids' Show Host territory.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: After being rejected by a publisher because "Women shouldn't write such horrible things" Francisca in a fit of rage scribbles in her book, only to see she inadvertently scribbled a giant K in the middle of her first and last name.
    Francisca: If Francisca Imelda couldn't make it, FRANKELDA will! I'll be the most famous horror writer in the WORLD!
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The evil force within Frankelda's house will stay asleep so long as it's name is never spoken. Which is something Herneval fears regarding a certain story he begs Frankelda not to tell the viewer. She finishes the story without mentioning his name, but does it anyway afterwards
    Frankelda: What name, huh~? PROCUSTES??
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Frankelda is loosely based on Frankenstein author Mary Shelley.
  • Once an Episode: Every story has a musical number.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Procustes was once a spider centaur, eight legs each with feet resembling pen nibs.
  • Planimal: Ceimut in Frankelda and the Prince of Spooks, the chief of the Clan of the Primitive Spooks is a giant creature resembling a mixture of a ceiba tree and a mammoth skeleton.
  • Setting Update: Invoked in-universe with the book's illustrations in the first four episodes contrasting with the contemporary setting of the animated stories, particularly book 4 showing a girl playing a glass harp instead of the more modern theremin. This essentially illustrates how effective and adaptable Frankelda's nightmare scripts are over time.
    • Similarly, Book 3 depicts a child in an Old-Timey Bathing Suit bemoaning the reflection showing off his large gut, as opposed to how Uli merely keeps a large shirt over his own gut.
  • Shout-Out: Tere's theremin has a Black Hat sticker on it.
  • Spider People: The original form of Procustes before he was merged with the mansion. More or less a spider-centaur who's feet resemble pen nibs.
  • Take Away Their Name: Nemo in the first story trades his name to a gnome in exchange for getting out from under his chores and mountain of homework. It turns out that's how gnomes steal lives and insert themselves into the victims role, while the one who lost their name slowly turns into a gnome.
  • The Unseen: Some unknown horror sleeps within Frankelda's house, and the threat of it waking up always cuts the viewers' visit short and forces Frankelda to send us on our way.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: In They'll Drown In Their Fears Uli finally overcomes his self-esteem issues and takes his shirt off to swim down and save his friends from the clutches of the siren. Only for it to turn out that he too fell under the Siren's sway because he was too slow to act, and under her spell he lives a fantasy of being the hero while he and the rest of the children are doomed to be the Siren's slaves and drown. Good thing it was just a nightmare.
    • Frankelda and Herneval finally escape the house, but in attempting to put Procustes back to sleep Herneval gets eaten and Frankelda refuses to leave him behind so she willingly traps herself again and bids the viewer a sad farewell.

Alternative Title(s): Frankeldas Missing Spooks, Sustos Ocultos De Frankelda