I have never been a fan of scary movies. “Scary” movies that are silly and predictable are one thing – they aren’t a big deal and are more like watching The Three Stooges, if the Stooges were “evil.” I still don’t watch them, though. Just not my thing, apparently never has been.
Garfield, of comic strip fame, was pretty big in the 1980s, and I remember starting a short-lived Garfield comic strip book collection and of course, Garfield and friends used to come on every Saturday morning. My brother also had a stuffed Garfield. He was no stranger at our house. I had just turned four years old when, in 1985, Garfield’s Halloween Adventure came on TV.
The cartoon, I’m sure, was aired on a main channel, and at prime-time so kids could watch. So we did. Lest you see where this is headed and think oh-for-shame, why did my parents let me watch this, keep in mind- it’s a cartoon. I was kept from watching plenty of crap I shouldn’t have watched when I was a kid. Plenty. This was just a little 30-minute (not even, because there were commercials) deal. And for the first 10 minutes or so, it was a typical Garfield cartoon. The last however many minutes, however….sheer. terror.
The plot: Garfield hoodwinks Odie into dressing up for Halloween and going out together so he could get twice the candy. They visit every house in the neighborhood, but Garfield, spotting some houses across a river, decides they need to go over there. They get on a boat, but Odie puts the oars overboard, so they ride the current until they bump into a dock at a seemingly abandoned mansion. Someone has a light on inside, though, and has lit a fire, so they approach the house. Warming up by the fire they don’t notice what’s in the armchair behind them, and neither do you until they turn around and see:
I’m sure I probably needed a change of underpants. Are you kidding me (thought my 4-year-old self)? This is GARFIELD, for crying out loud! There’s no scary stuff in GARFIELD!! But there was, and it was about to get worse!
The cartoon continues, as the creepy old man tells the pirate-costumed cat and dog a ghost story. One hundred years ago on Halloween night, pirates, pursued by soldiers, buried their treasure in the floor of the mansion and signed a blood oath to return 100 years later, at midnight, even if it meant rising from the grave.
And of course, it’s almost midnight.
Creepy McCreepster then tells them that the pirates had a 10-year-old cabin boy, and that he was that boy. He never took the treasure for fear that the pirates would’ve tracked him down.
Garfield and Odie decide that it might be a good time to exit, and as they turn to ask Mr. Creepy is he wants to come with them (?!) he’s gone. He steals their boat and leaves them alone in the old house.
The clock strikes midnight with Garfield and Odie hiding in a cupboard. Pirate ghosts – super, super creepy pirate ghosts – emerge from the water at the dock and come into the house to reclaim their buried treasure. Stupid Odie sneezes and the pirates come after them. They jump into the river and of course, Garfield can’t swim…
OH the DRAMA!
And though we own it for nostalgia’s sake, do you know, I cannot watch this stupid cartoon to this day without getting tied in knots?! I can’t believe 28 years later this cartoon still gives me the heebie jeebies – I’ve seen much scarier, much more realistic-seeming stuff than this. It’s ridiculous.
So, while most of my posts have been full of warm recollections from childhood and thoughts of what I want to share with our kids in the future, this little gem….well, they can see it when they’re 25. Maybe.
While “researching” for information and photos for this post, I ran across numerous sites that are in agreement with me – all of them (far as I can tell) fully-fledged grown ups, many of them who enjoy scary stuff. So it’s not just me. But, if you’re still not convinced, or you would like to reacquaint yourself, someone has summarized the cartoon into a 2-minute clip, set to the theme song from John Carpenter’s Halloween (or so they say – that’s another one I’m not watchin’, and you can’t make me.)
Image credits: Garfield book cover: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1435108.Garfield_s_Halloween_Adventure ; Creepy old man: http://www.thespookyvegan.com/2010/10/31-days-of-halloween-halloween-movies.html; Pirate ghost at window: http://www.zombiepumpkins.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10621