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Western Animation / Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids

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"You are welcomed to Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids, a series of cautionary tales for lovers of squeam!"

Based on a children's book series of the same name by Jamie Rix, Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids is a British Nightmare Fuelled Space Whale Aesop animated series, narrated by the host Nigel Planer (best known for starring in The Young Ones). The series began in 2000 and ended in 2006 but was later revived briefly in 2011 for two seasons. Think Tales from the Crypt for CITV.

Planer stars as Uncle Grizzly, the caretaker of a rundown cinema (the Squeam Screen) which serves insects for refreshments. He screens short movies into the theatre of stories about children that are punished for their behaviour. The kids in question are usually greedy, naughty, rude, obnoxious, and selfish, and are usually taught a "grizzly" lesson by the end of the tale — often ending with them being killed, mutilated, shape-shifting or, if they're lucky, learning the error of their ways and changing for the better.

In between these stories, Uncle Grizzly will talk to the children watching about the lessons that they'll learn from the movie he's about to broadcast, often with a pet spider called Spindleshanks, that he often enjoys pranking or abusing as the spider acts confused or acts accordingly. These segments later disappeared as the show progressed, most likely because the Art Shift from the stop-motion intros to the 2D animated movies were expensive and time-consuming to deal with.

When a new series returned after a four-year hiatus (retitled Grizzly Tales — Cautionary Tales for Lovers of Squeam), the introductions were relocated to the HotHell, a 3D CGI hotel that implied links to the underworld. Although Planer remained as the host, the storyteller was now Uncle Grizzly's half-brother, The Night Night Porter, and the stories were still 2D animated but in an updated art style. For some long-time viewers, this new update wasn't received well, which might have contributed to the show's abrupt end.note 


  • Abominable Auditorium: The Squeam Screen is run down and creepy as Hell especially with Uncle Grizzly running it.
  • Abusive Parents: Chico's parents in "The Stickmen" see no problem in punishing their son for the most minor indiscretions by starving him and beating him. They can't even be bothered to remember his name and actually attempted to trade him for a sandwich on the day he was born.
  • The Ace: Much of these characters are usually arrogant and are either the rival to the main character or the Villain Protagonist, who are never spared.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Ginger in "Knock Down Ginger" was described as a large, overweight boy with Charlie Brown Baldness red hair as pale as his skin; Eliza even says he looks like a vampire victim. The character model in the cartoon has none of these problems, showing that he's pretty athletic with thick, curly hair.
    • In "The Giant Who Grew Too Big For His Boots", Huge Hugh was originally written with a face covered in warts, but the cartoon changes this to remove his facial warts, only keeping his tongue warts.
    • Downplayed with Johnny Bullneck, who was a Fat Bastard that bullied other kids in "Fat Boy with a Trumpet", but in the cartoon, he looks more like an early bloomer, albeit an unfortunate-looking early bloomer.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Some episodes have different titles from the stories they were adapted from.
    • The short tale of "The Dumb Clucks" is renamed as "The Dumb Klutzes" in the cartoon.
    • "A Lesson in History" was renamed "The History Lesson".
    • "The Death Rattle" was renamed "The Spelling Bee".
    • "Fatal Attraction" was renamed "Nerves of Steel."
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • The P. E. kit in "Tag" belonged to A. Phantom in the original, instead of the cartoon's phantom judge Jim Spectre.
    • Nebuchadnezzar from "The Kingdom of Wax" was renamed Nathaniel.
    • invoked Tom and Jerry (no, not those guys, but possibly for this reason) from "The Nuclear Wart" were renamed Jim and Terry.
    • Mr Frankenstein from "Jack in a Box" is renamed Mr Twigtaylor.
  • Adaptational Karma: Interestingly, a lot of the examples are inverted versions.
    • Stinker getting shot in "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" is revealed in the cartoon to not be fatal, managing to escape with an injured leg. In the book, it's not so lucky.
    • In "The Upset Stomach", the stomach's revenge for its ill-treatment is the same, but in the book, Ethel gets a bit of redemption when the stomach explodes from eating too much, but the acid damages her taste buds and she could never eat plates upon plates of dinner because everything tastes the same. Meanwhile, there's no such Hope Spot in the cartoon.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Ollie's rival Anthony in "Athlete's Foot" is seen at home in the original story, furious that he's now got competition, but the episode cuts to the next year when the race is about to start. There's also the passages about Ollie helping his mentor with his dinner to repay for the mentor helping him, which is also cut and compressed.
    • In the original "Knock Down Ginger", Ginger's friend Milo had a younger sister called Eliza, who had a conspicuous lisp, giving her the nickname "Lizzy the Lizard".
    • Timothy in "The Spaghetti Man" gets revenge on his mother by turning on the bathwater to make the house flood. In the book, he did this too, as well as break lightbulbs and throw all the food in the house into a bin bag and stuffed it behind his parents' bed. Also, he tried to get rid of his toast by throwing it in the bin and trying to get it mailed away.
    • The story of "The Cat Burglar" in the original story went further into Fedora's greediness, including her antics at school, such as forcing girls to pay to use the toilets and using mirrors to cheat in exams. The episode in the animated series cuts out schooltime (most likely taking place during the school break) and only gives an example of her making money from people licking mints (the price differs from the original story, however).
    • We are told in "It's Only a Game, Sport!" that Bruce and Kitty's parents were once a popular athletic power couple in the Australian sporting world and hoped that their children could carry on their legacy, so if you only saw the cartoon version where this backstory isn't included, Bruce has a very understandable reason to be bad-tempered about sports!
    • The original version of "Death by Chocolate" began with a board meeting in a chocolate factory, in which the CEOs and their partners go from celebrating their sales to hunting a fly infiltrating their Easter chocolate floor. The TV series shows the chocolate factory but the fly lays eggs and sneaks away before anyone notices.
    • "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" features more characters in the original story: Ginger and Alice's mother, Sam's mother, Aunt Fanny (who is mentioned in passing in the show), her husband Uncle Herbert, Dick Stick and his mother (both appear in the episode but are footnotes in the story).
    • Several stories from the books (like "The Black Knight" and "The Matchstick Girl") were never adapted into episodes.
    • In the original version of "The Kingdom of Wax", Nathaniel (there named Nebuchadnezzar) has a little sister named Ruthie. In the TV adaptation, he's an only child.
    • The TV series version of "Doctor Moribundus" leaves Loralilee's treatment out of the story. This is most likely because her fate in the book would be too graphic and frightening for the cartoon's target audience.
  • Adults Are Useless: One reason that the kids need such an extreme and often deadly punishment, is because their parents don't even try to discipline them, and when they do, they make a very poor job of it. Special mention goes to Araminta's parents in "Superstitious Nonsense", as they blatantly fall for pretty much every fake superstition she tells them (even though she lies the way most kids her age would - very badly).
  • An Aesop: Too many to fit on this page.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: "Athlete's Foot" has Oliver given a pair of shoes by an old man who tells him they belong to a man named Tommy Knock. The old man later arranges for Oliver's rival to get the shoes because the shoes will also cause whoever wears them to die as Tommy Knock did, and after the race is finished and Oliver's rival is dead the old man reveals that he is Tommy Knock before disappearing.
  • All There in the Manual: Since the episodes are based on short stories from books, many stories are compressed or characters are pushed aside. Some unnamed characters that have bigger parts in the books are occasionally seen interacting with the main characters with no introduction.
  • Always Late: In "Tom Time", a boy named Tom is always late for everything like school and meal times. The reason why Tom is always late when he was a baby he accidentally sneezed his brain out into the sloth cage in the zoo. His mother mistaken a baby sloth for Tom's brain and puts it back in his head. One day a news report tells everybody that the world will explode and they have to go to a rocket ship by tomorrow with one catch, don't be late. Tom's parents had gotten themselves ready to evacuate but he overslept. He was forced to get ready while his parents went to the rocket. It was too late when Tom arrived at the shuttle station and was stranded on Earth as it explodes.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The fate of Thomas Ratchet in the episode "Sweets." He gets turned into a paper mache statue at the end of the episode. He can only move his eyes.
    • Even more suited to the fate of the ever-talkative Jack in "Jack In The Box", who — at the end of his tale — is turned by a magician/ventriloquist into a dummy ... with a zipped-shut mouth.
    • The Spaghetti Man kidnaps children who don't eat their dinner and turns them into spaghetti-based recipes, such as pasta, noodles, and lasagne.
  • Angry Item Tapping: In "The Barber of Civil", Peregrine and Tanya are sent to the headmaster's office. The headmaster starts intimidating the kids by tapping a cane in his hand. This scene is reused in the later episodes "Fat Boy with a Trumpet" and "It's Only a Game, Sport".
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Much of the kids are subjected to horrific fates that they deserve as punishment for their rotten behaviour.
    • In “The Stick Men“, Chico’s abusive parents die in a helicopter crash, which was drawn by the Stick Men.
    • There are aversions however for both the asshole and the victim part.
      • In "The Wooden Hill", a boy named Jack learns to overcome his childhood fears.
      • The Chipper Chums are by far the biggest aversion. Ironically, they get the darkest fate out of all the show's victims, just for stealing a few apples.
      • And some kids even learn their lesson. Terry the thief is covered in tags that cannot get taken off, but when he returns the stolen gym bag, the tags vanish and he never steals again.
  • Art Evolution
    • While the first 2 seasons often used gradient shading on the characters, Seasons 3 and later now very rarely uses shading on the characters.
    • The show began to rely on Flash Animation since the New year's Eve special "The Crystal Eye", making the characters move more like animatronic cutouts and often face only 2 directions (although The aforementioned Special uses a 3D-looking face turn effect and "The Bugaboo Bear" has front faced models for some shots). However, traditional animation is retained for some scenes.
    • However, in seasons 7 & 8, the show's art style got a more simplistic vector style and much brighter lighting, making the show look less gloomy, the creep factor has also been toned down due to this.
  • Art Shift
    • In "The Crystal Eye", the main family were given more geometric looks than many other characters of the show.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Benjamin in "The Top Hat" steals a magician's top hat, which can grant wishes, and he soon abuses its power to get everything he wants, but when he's cornered by the magician and his parents he wishes that he "wasn't here" ... so a hand pulls him into the hat, and he vanishes inside it (but is hinted to still be in there, somewhere).
    • "Kiss and Make Up" is about a girl who wants to look older so a fairy godmother gives her makeup but she doesn't know how to put it on, scaring people in the street. After being duped, she ends up with a face that looked worse than her makeup-covered one.
    • As in the book, "Simon Sulk" locks himself in his bedroom so that he can never move out of town with his parents, even if he has to die in there.
  • Big Brother Bully:
    • Monty in "Monty's Python", who buys a snake that he makes eat his sister's pets.
    • Serena in "The Chocolate Fly", especially when she blackmails her sister.
    • Dorothy May in "The Piranha Sisters", when it comes to her pranking.
    • Bruce in "It's Only a Game, Sport!" becomes this when he knows that his sister isn't powerful enough to beat him at sports.
  • Bittersweet Ending: "Little Fingers" ends with Daffyd returned home and his parents happy to have him back, the one downside being that the ransom wasn't paid until after Daffyd's kidnapper had lopped all of his fingers off.
  • Black Comedy: Although it gave kids nightmares, the presentation of the show is clearly to make the audience laugh at the ludicrous stories. Sometimes Nigel Planer's Large Ham delivery is so exaggerated, you can't help but be amused.
  • The Butcher: "The Butcher Boy". It turns out that the three generations are the same person!
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Uncle Grizzly, who was created for the show. Ironically, the Night-Night Porter existed in the books created after the first cartoon series began (most likely to emulate the format of the show so that it wouldn't alienate fans).
    • In the original version of "The Urban Fox", Lord and Lady Blunderbuss had been a couple and were the ones who chased Elvis the fox throughout the city, only to be hunted by the police for property damage. In the adaptation, they were Demoted to Extra and given two kids, Pierce and Tamara, who committed the crimes.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" makes it explicitly clear that the Chipper Chums are overall nice kids, but when they decide to steal a few apples, the farmer shoots their dog (we are led to believe he killed him, but the closing moments of the story show that the dog has just ended up lame as a result of a shot to the leg) and then crushes their bodies into his cider-making machine after they die from insecticide poisoning.
  • Caretaking is Feminine: In "The New Nanny", Twistrum and Candy were getting a new nanny while their old one, Mrs. Mac, was fired because of a lie they told to their parents. They each get a nanny every day and all are female. The kids mistreat their new nannies until they get an alligator one.
  • The Chew Toy: Uncle Grizzly's spider Spindleshanks would usually be abused and mistreated in the stop-motion segments.
  • Child Hater: "Frank Einstein's Monster" has the Night-Night Porter state that he despises children while comparing them to dogs.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Spindleshanks stopped appearing after the fifth series pared down the stop-motion segments to Uncle Grizzly starting the projector and occasionally ending the stories with stock footage of Uncle Grizzly laughing maniacally, while the seventh and eighth series completely discarded Uncle Grizzly and had the Night-Night Porter take his place to accommodate the retool changing its setting from the Squeam Screen theatre to the HotHell Darkness.
  • Couch Gag: Not necessarily a gag, though. The boy in the opening titles that goes to the Squeam Screen is given a popcorn bag, but each season changes the contents, usually filled with insects that the boy unsuspectingly bites into in a Gory Discretion Shot of his eyes widening in alarm at the wiggly creature he'd put in his mouth.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In "Tom Time", Tom wouldn't always be an hour late for everything if his mum hadn't accidentally replaced his brain with a baby sloth, after Tom accidentally sneezed his brain out at the zoo.
  • Dead All Along: The twist ending to both "Grandmother's Footsteps" and "Athlete's Foot" involve the protagonist discovering that the elderly person they interacted with was a ghost the whole time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Uncle Grizzly makes some snide remarks, particularly when commenting on the children's horrid behaviour.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In the original version of "The Upset Stomach", Ethel's stomach exploded after eating her, but because it left a bad smell in her nose, she's unable to enjoy the taste of food. The TV adaptation simply ends with the stomach eating Ethel.
    • In the original version of "The Kingdom of Wax", Nathaniel (there named Nebuchadnezzer) saved himself by using a fire to melt the sculptures before they reached him, but later got melted by the candles on his birthday cake on his fourteenth birthday. In the TV adaptation, he melted along with the sculptures and the museum.
    • "Goblin Mountain"'s twist ending was completely removed to use this trope.
  • Death by Gluttony:
    • "Jamie's School Dinner" has the title character done in by this, albeit an odd example. He is gluttonous yes, and refuses to eat anything that's even slightly good for him. However, it comes because he ate a transmitter that allowed a witch to control his body while asleep, who then had him walk to her lair where she force-feed him like a goose until he explodes.
    • "Death By Chocolate" is technically true: Serena, a greedy chocaholic, blackmails her sister into being her slave. Serena decides to eat the chocolate that was gifted to her sister, and even eats one with a maggot in it, ignoring her sister's squirms of disgust. Days later, Serena has turned into a chocolate fly and tries to intimidate her sister, but her sister kills her with a slap of the fly-swatter.
  • Death by Irony: A few of the horrible children meet their fate like this.
    • "It's Only a Game, Sport!" is about Bruce, a sore loser that throws tantrums when he doesn't get his own way. When his sister is beating him at Snakes and Ladders, he decides to change the rules: instead of climbing up ladders and sliding down snakes, they would now fall down ladders and crawl up snakes. When he eventually decides to cheat and storms off in a huff, he falls down the ladder of their house and is gobbled up by a snake.
    • Some of the fates are warned in an unintentional Cassandra Truth.
      • In an attempt to scare him into not being lazy anymore, Trueman's desperate parents in "The Clothes Pigs" tell him that hungry piglets will come after him. It doesn't work, and Trueman even debunks it, pointing out that pigs would be immediately spotted.
      • Garth's father in "Wolf Child" warns that if he keeps acting like a baby to get attention, the wolves will come for his sister.
    • "The Watermelon Babies" is about two sisters that enjoy wasting water during a nationwide drought. They tease their class during Show and Tell by showing off their freshly-grown watermelon and eat them gleefully in front of the crying children. The next day, they discovered that they'd turned into watermelons and are consequently sliced up and eaten by their thirsty classmates.
    • The best example is the fate of Dorothy May from "The Piranha Sisters", whose three pranks backfire horribly. Her first is pretending to be a statue (and then almost ends up getting stabbed by a falling one), her second is scaring a retirement home dressed as The Grim Reaper (and she is then visited by the real one!), and the third is pretending a swimming pool is full of piranhas (and piranhas end up in her bath). After the final outcome, her parents assume that she's pranking them again and throw her remains away.
    • In "Well'ard Willard", the titular character acted like a charlatan to prevent his classmates from seeing him as a nerd. He is roasted alive after he steals the Sun, although the irony is thicker in the original book.
  • Death of a Child: The series as a whole is infamous for explicitly featuring child characters dying on the most frequent basis and often in some of the most violent ways of perhaps any actual "children's" series in animation.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Uncle Grizzly is the presenter of the series and is shown to take delight in telling stories of unpleasant children being subjected to horrific fates, to say nothing of his tendency to abuse Spindleshanks the spider.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Occasionally, the character of the episode's story is subjected to a gruesome fate that they didn't really deserve. One example that stands out is "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping", where the titular characters get poisoned and ground into cider just for stealing a man's apples.
  • Double Entendre: One episode shows the cover of a magazine about camping holidays. The magazine is called "Got Wood".
  • Eaten Alive: The fate of various kids at the end of various episodes. Some such as Nobby in "Nobby's Nightmare" are clearly shown to be Swallowed Whole.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Gilbert in "The Butcher Boy" is first seen in the story pretending to be kidnapped so that his parents would pay him a large ransom. He did this because they refused to pay him more pocket money.
    • Sam in "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" can pick up a bail of hay that a tractor could carry and punched Dick Stick hard enough to knock him across the field to his house.
    • Dorothy May in "The Piranha Sisters" is visited by a skeleton spirit who warns her to stop her pranking. She doesn't believe it for a second, insults it, and throws a pillow at it. She's soon spooked out when the pillow goes straight through, but still doesn't believe its omen.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: "Nobby's Nightmare" has Nobby's crush and her family turn out to be naturist aliens.
  • Eye Scream
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Sort of interchangeable with Dorothy May and Petey in "The Piranha Sisters". Although Petey is gullible, she is the nicest and sensible one, whereas Dorothy May knows how to trick her sister but is too conceited to listen to anyone else. Not even ghostly skeleton spirits.
    • Monty to his little sister in "Monty's Python", once Monty spends too much time bullying his sister with his pet instead of feeding it.
  • Foreshadowing: Several episodes will tend to have a recurring shot, which lasts for only a second or so, which foreshadows the final fate of the kid in today's story.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The Stop Motion/CGI characters have these while the 2D animated humans often have Five Fingered hands.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: Spindleshanks is an amiable spider, which makes his abuse at Uncle Grizzly's hands much more harrowing.
  • Funny Background Event: There are a few moments (not included in the original stories) that either establish characters or make the audience laugh.
    • Alice in "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" stops to say Grace at the picnic, but everyone ignores her and starts eating; there's nothing left when she's done and even Stinker has taken the last bone that probably had a bit of meat left.
    • In "The Butcher Boy", Gilbert pushes the butcher's son out of the way as he rides down the street on a skateboard.
  • Fuzzball Spider:
    • The Narrator's pet spider Spindleshanks is a purple ball with six legs, two hands, and two eyes.
    • The New Nanny: The second nanny the Frightfully-Busyes had hired was a spider who looks like a furry ball with eight legs.
    • A Tangled Web: The episode depicts the spiders as styled complete with a ball-like body, eight legs, and two eyes.
  • The Gambling Addict: In "The Soul Stealer", an old lady is confirmed to have a gambling addiction since it's mentioned that she's going to counseling for it.
  • Ghibli Hills: One bit of Stock Footage is a pan through many hills, before a dissolve cut to the Establishing Shot or the main character.
  • Gender Flip: B.S. Brogen of "The Apostrophic Expositor" was male in the book, but female in the cartoon.
  • Ghostly Animals: The episode "An Elephant Never Forgets" ends with a shot of an elephant family. The baby elephant, (which had been the source of an elephant's foot utilised in the episode and had been briefly revived), is shown to be transparent, signifying that it is dead. Doubles as a Tearjerker.
    • Another episode ended with Spindleshanks (a spider) being killed and reappearing as a ghost, much to Uncle Grizzly's delight. Thankfully for the spider, he's OK by the next episode.
  • Hell Hotel: The HotHell Darkness, which was the Storyteller's setting in the later episodes.
  • Here We Go Again!: "Revenge of the Bogeyman" has Dee persuaded by the Bogeyman who lives in her nose to stop picking her nose and playing with her boogers, but at the end she switches to picking wax from her ears and is implied by Uncle Grizzly to soon be at the mercy of the Wax Woman who lives in her ears.
  • Homage: "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" is a dark parody of Enid Blyton's works. See Shout-Out for more details.
  • Horror Host: Uncle Grizzly serves as the narrator in this horror anthology, each episode presented as a story he tells in his theater while abusing Spindleshanks in the wraparound segments. During the final two series, he is replaced by the Night Night Porter, who runs the HotHell Darkness (a Hell Hotel implied to actually be Hell itself) and reads the horror stories from a book containing entries on the naughty children he is holding prisoner.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: "The City Fox" is about a rich family moving into a working-class suburb and discover that their neighbours have a fox as a pet. The son and daughter of the family decided to gather their old friends from the country together and hunt the fox, but the fox manages to outsmart them and the police are called. The gang of rich kids sneak into the sewers to wait out the police stick-up and are still down there to this day.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: A literal infant in Prince Noman; nothing bad happens to him at the end due to him not being the Anti-Role Model subject of the episode's ostensible moral at all, and in fact, the mutilation that ultimately does befall the story's decidedly adult Asshole Victims is what ends up curing Noman's ailment.
  • Jerkass: Most of the kids are very despicable brats who don't give a fig about the consequences of their deplorable actions or how they affect other people.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Uncle Grizzly. While he's an overall unpleasant person who constantly abuses his pet spider, in the end, his goal is to help kids be better people, even if his methods involve outlandish stories with ludicrous endings.
  • Karma Houdini: Adults who enact Disproportionate Retribution on kids tend to get away scot-free.
  • Karmic Transformation: Whether it's being turned into a fly for being greedy, being turned into a mannequin for being rude, or turning into a bug for being lazy, these kids deserve it.
  • Kids Are Cruel: It's justification for having them eaten by trolls, being trapped inside a photo or turning them into a gold statue, or even turning into a Chocolate-fly.
  • Large Ham: Uncle Grizzly isn't afraid to emphasise foreshadowing words or throw in an Evil Laugh at the end of scenes.
  • Living Shadow: The Spaghetti Man, who goes after children that refuse to eat their dinners.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Nigel Planer voices all of the characters. Even the women.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: "The Princess's Clothes" ends with a non-sexual variant where Felicity is forced to go to school with a bedsheet wrapped around her body because of Miss Shears' enchanted scissors destroying all her clothes.
  • Mood Whiplash: "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" was intended to be based on stories from the early 20th century about Freerange Children on vacation in the countryside, but once the children decide to look for some apples to snack on, they've messed with the wrong orchard.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In "Nobby's Nightmare", Nobby is embarrassed by his parents being naturists.
  • National Stereotypes:
    • Although set in Kent, "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" has Farmer Tregowan, a Cornish stereotype of a bloodthirsty farmer.
    • What we see of Wales in "The Giant Who Grew Too Big For His Boots" is villages and farmland, whereas England and other places are well-built cities.
    • Downplayed with Australia in "It's Only a Game, Sport!" Although there are no Awesome Aussie stereotypes, Bruce's family live in the middle of the outback surrounded by snakes, kangaroos, and other animals. His mother's named Sheila, too.
  • No Sympathy: Most of the kids are so full of themselves, they don't care about anyone else.
    • Trueman "Truffle" Snuffle from "The Clothes Pigs" is lazy and relies on his parents for everything. When his mother trips over his mess, falls down the stairs, breaking her leg, Truffle demands that she gets up and makes him dinner. His mother begs for him to call an ambulance, he ignores her and goes to the fish and chip shop to get his dinner there instead.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: "Doctor Moribundus;" whatever it was he did to Lorelei Lee to cure her of "No-School-itis."note 
    "Long into the night, Doctor Moribundus performed a surgical procedure so revolutionary, so secret, and so like eating a soft-boiled egg that I can't possibly tell you what it was..."
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: "Nobby's Nightmare" starts with Nobby dreaming he is naked in public and the girl he has a crush on turns out to be an alien before eating him. Every part of this dream comes true.
  • The Pigpen: Dirty Bertie, who's so dirty, he attracts a 900-year-old alien.
  • The Prankster: Many children are this, particularly prank callers.
    • Dorothy May is a darker version of this, a borderline gaslighter towards her little sister, ruining Petey's life so much, a spirit has to warn her about her behaviour.
  • Recursive Canon: Some episodes show Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids playing on television in-universe.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: The orchestral theme from the original series has a noticeable change once the claymation segments end. Every episode in the final season had a completely different theme from before; compare the opening from a season one episode to one from season six.
  • Reused Character Design: Every episode is guaranteed to have the same character models from another episode. This practice continued even during the HotHell Darkness retool.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: The point of the show is for the horrifying stories to deter children from bad behavior. Viewers were known to have nightmares after watching the series.
  • Scenery Censor: Nobby's naturist parents in "Nobby's Nightmare" always have something there to conveniently cover up their genitals.
  • Shout-Out: There is a considerable amount of Parental Bonus references.
    • The episode about a barber that knows how to deal with rude children is called "The Barber of Civil".
    • "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" is a Whole-Plot Reference of this, especially if one's familiar with Enid Blyton's work.
      • Stinker the dog = Scamper from The Secret Seven.
      • Sam is introduced as "the girl with a boy's name", which is a reference to George from The Famous Five, who was also a tomboy (Georgina) "with a boy's name". The two of them also hate whenever their gender is brought up as a negative. There's also Algae the adventure-seeker, who is clearly based on Dick from the same series, as well as Col having an Aunt Fanny (who doesn't appear) like the three siblings.
      • There is something telling about the names of two other characters mentioned: Col's aunt Fanny and Sam's bully Dick Stick. Dick and Fanny (although names of many characters in Blyton's works) were two notorious characters from The Faraway Tree whose names had to later be bowdlerised for later editions because of the modern sexual connotations. Only one of them appears (although mentioned in passing): Dick Stick, who Sam beats up for viciously teasing her.
      • The group dynamic of four children and a dog, which is subverted when Ginger's sister Alice wants to join them. Her insistence may also be a reference to The Secret Seven, which was a group of six children and a dog but one of the boys' little sister wanted to join in, much to her brother's embarrassment.
    • A boy named Monty buys a snake to bully his sister. The name of the episode? "Monty's Python".
    • A Stage Dad hopes to make his daughter the most famous person in the world, but "The Childhood Snatcher" delivers harsh consequences.
    • In "The Top Hat", one of Benjamin's birthday presents is a TIE Fighter toy.
    • In "The Recyclops" There is a blatent reference to The Young Ones with Mike and Vvyien appearing on a quiz show in a reference to the episode Bambi. It also crosses into Actor Allusion given the narrator, Nigel Planer was cast as one of the shows main characters.
  • Single Tear: After being turned into a doll in "The Bugaboo Bear", Emily sheds one tear after she realizes her new owner is treating her as horribly as she did her teddy bear.
  • Space Whale Aesop: All of the stories are this. Apparently, if you're mouthy in school, a hairdresser will cut your tongue; if you don't eat fruit, you'll turn into a bat; and if you pressure your child into the adult world prematurely, they'll turn into a pensioner.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In the original version of "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping", Stinker the dog is gunned down by Farmer Tregowan. In the adaptation, he's revealed to be still alive (but lame).
    • In the original version of "Frank Einstein's Monster", Frank's monster switches places with him and places him on the rocket. In the adaptation, someone catches on before Frank is put on the rocket, and he's set free.
  • Stock Footage: Frequently the show would repeat the same chunks of animation in a story, and other times whole backgrounds, settings, and character designs would be lifted from other episodes.
  • Stock Sound Effect: In the original intro, the death scream of the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (also recycled as Maleficent's death scream in Sleeping Beauty) can be heard.
  • Stop Motion: The introduction and ending segments featuring Uncle Grizzly are animated in stop-motion whereas the stories themselves are in 2D animation. In later episodes, the stop-motion segments were cut shorter before being scrapped altogether.
  • Toilet Humour: In "The Fruit Bat" The bat at the end poops on the students and on the screen.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Elizabeth in "The History Lesson" is a notable one, especially if she asked a ghost to help her with her exam. She's first seen trying to work out which monarchs have the same name as her.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The adaptation of "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping" removes any implication of the Chums' prejudice. Like most Enid Blyton children's stories, there is an aura of a conservative, British middle-class fantasy where the world is a Sugar Bowl and no one is suffering — specifically, Ginger and Alice's father was a navy captain who was out of the country arresting pirates, so they were most likely the wealthiest kids in the group.
    • Sam was implied to be the biggest offender. Amusingly, she looked past Farmer Tregowan's shotgun and threats, and thinks to herself that he looked like the "typical" thuggish criminal that the police were always arresting, as she eyed his working-class clothing, unattractive features and unshaven chin.
    • It's also pointed out at the very beginning that The Chums were not interested in the fact that Dick Stick came from a struggling family that sold ratskin, as long as "the ginger beer flowed like wine". Although he was deservedly beaten up by Sam for cruel namecalling, one wonders whether she and her friends would've invited him into their gang if he had been a little nicer...
  • Trapped at the Dinner Table: In "The Spaghetti Man", a boy named Timothy King is always throwing fits at the dinner table and refuses to eat his meals. One day Timothy's mother has finally enough of his bad behavior and refusing to eat his toast so she makes him stay at the dinner table until he has eaten it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Many of the kids and those are the ones who generally become Asshole Victims.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Johnny Bullneck in "Fat Kid with a Trumpet" willingly hits girls.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In "The Chipper Chums Go Scrumping", the titular characters are outright murdered by an angry farmer.
  • Workaholic: Many of the parents are. Often, when their children go missing or die, they don't notice.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: "Goblin Mountain" ends with the ordeal being All Just a Dream ... only for the boy to turn into a tree after all when he wakes up.


Video Example(s):


Uncle Grizzly

Uncle Grizzly serves as the horror host of Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids for the first six series, presenting them as films he plays from the projector at the Squeam Screen theatre.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / HorrorHost

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