Monday, 31 October 2011

Toons of Terror (Part 5: Dem Bones)

Yesterday’s blog was a little heavy, so let’s lighten things up with the happiest place on earth during the scariest time of year. It’s time for Disney’s take on Halloween! Today we look at two old school, black and white Disney shorts. Both featuring dancing skeletons! HORRAY!!
One being the Silly Symphony, Skeleton Dance (1929) and the other being a Mickey Mouse cartoon Haunted House (also 1929.) What are the chances of two Disney shorts involvine dancing skeletons coming out in the same year? Probably pretty good, actually. I’m not sure which came first, but there is some borrowed animation between the two, so there definitely was some collaborative brainstorming going on at Disney. Probably someone said, “dancing skeletons! Let’s do a short about that” And someone else said, “are you kidding?! There’s waaay to much material with a concept like that! We gotta do two!” As least that’s how I like to think it went down…
I’m grouping these two together, because they’re both very similar. One just happens to involve a very popular mouse. The imagery in both is actually pretty creepy for Disney. Being an older cartoon, they were able to actually get away with a little more artistically, I find. But even though the art is chilling, being Disney, these shorts never loose their sense of fun. It’s a kind of “playful scary” vibe that Disney later used in full force on their Haunted Manson ride. 
They’re both excellent cartoons. Skeleton Dance may be the more classic of the two, but I personally love the Mickey one a tad more. There’s something great about seeing this character so terrified that I always loved. And it’s also great that these ghouls just scared the hell out of him so that he would play the organ for them (probably cause skeletons don’t have any organs! Ba-dum tish!)
Ok enough of that. Just check out these shorts, they’re not very long, and even though they look old, the quality of the animation and storytelling hasn’t aged a day. 
- Moo