After last week’s rush getting out the Halloween Rarities disc, I thought I’d be tired of looking at Halloween cartoons. Not so much. Perhaps the reason there’s so man skeletons and haunted houses in cartoons is that they’re fun as a subject matter, and endless is possibilities and direction in some ways.
The Flip the Frog set is progressing amazingly well, so I thought I’d share one of the films on the new set. This particular film isn’t cleaned up as of yet, but, honestly, it was in such beautiful shape that it doesn’t need much.
In many ways, Spooks (1932) shares a kinship to many old haunted house stories. In this case, it’s a little closer to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in it’s theatre of the bizarre direction, with poor Flip having to deal with a complete break from reality, and in the end, even his horse is lost to the bizarre skeleton world!
A favorite scene of mine in the film is the skeleton man greedily sizing up Flip to fit in with his display of various other skeletons! Clearly this isn’t his first late night visitor!
Grim Natwick seems to carry a lot of the animation on this short, and his well-drawn poses on the skeleton man are some of my favorites in this cartoon.
Although early in the history of sound cartoons, Spooks is a beautifully posed and timed short for it’s time, with a great score, and funny too!
This transfer is MGM’s master positive, struck on Fine Grain stock in 1931. We’ve pulled the camera neg as well on this short (not in as good of shape at all!) and are debating what to use on the final set- since this one is so clean chances are we’ll stick with it. The soundtrack isn’t from the master positive; we pulled that, on a separate reel, but it seems to have been mixed up with the track from ‘The Milkman’. We used the track from a DVD version for now but will be pulling other tracks to see if we can find the master positive on this one.
Have a good week and a Happy Halloween everyone!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jerry Beck here. I’m borrowing the bottom of today’s post to plug my annual Halloween “Spook-tacular” screening and party in Los Angeles next week – on Halloween.
Yes, that’s right. While everyone else is “trick-or-treating” all over town, I’ll be screening Halloween cartoons on the big screen – with rare film prints (from studios and collectors) AND digital restorations (thanks to Steve Stanchfield). I cannot reveal what I’m showing for various legal reasons – but if you are all partied out, filled with candy and just need to “chill”…