Scary Shorties: Mickey’s Mechanical Man (1933)

Before Richard Matheson brought a robot into the ring and Toho had one rough up an ape, Disney gave us both of those wonderful things in 1933’s Mickey’s Mechanical Man, a knockabout cartoon caper that pits machine against beast. The short is about Mickey Mouse training a robot to fight an ape in a boxing match and… do I need to say anything else!? I mean, that’s pure monster movie magic as it is! Disney has produced more sophisticated shorts, but who needs sophistication when you have beastly brutes monster-mashing each other in glorious black-and-white?!

Mickey’s Mechanical Man is a fairly one-note short, but it plays that note so magnificently! There are gags aplenty and enough machine-on-monster action to satisfy  all you creature-craving crazies out there. Mickey and Minnie are always welcome, and the ape is as perfectly monstrous as one could hope for. As for the animation, it’s fluid, lively, and… well, Disney!
While there’s much to love about this ‘toon, the highlight is the tit-ular Mechanical Man. I’m a sucker for vintage/retro robots, and this affable automaton certainly fits the bill. Every bit of animation for the ro-boxer is brilliantly herky-jerky. The spasmodic, robotic pugilist moves like a wind-up toy with very little use for physics. It’s this kind of character and animation that make these cartoons such a blast to watch! Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto!

Check out the Battle of the Century below:


Scary Shorties: Minnie the Moocher (1932)

Hi-de-hi-de-hi, Cartoon Creeps! Today’s Terror Toon is a real swingin’ wake from the cats at Fleischer Studios and the Hi-De-Ho Man himself, Mr. Cab Calloway! The short is Minnie the Moocher and it’s a trip! And when I say “trip,” I sure-as-heck mean it!
Released in 1932 by the aforementioned Fleischer Studios, MInnie the Moocher represents everything Fleischer was and everything Disney wasn’t, Disney made (for the most part) safe, friendly cartoons for good little boys and girls. However, Fleischer’s toons were aimed at rowdy adults with a taste for the weird. Fleischer Studios was basically a dollop of Dali for animation admirers.
Minnie the Moocher is the quintessential example of that Fleischer surrealism. A rotoscoped Cab Calloway ghost walrus(!) leads the ever-popular Betty Boop and Bimbo through a nightmare world inhabited by inebriated skeletons, death row inmates in spectral form, and grotesqueries with little use for logic and physics.  It seems like a drug-fueled nightmare, and it very well could be! You see, Minnie the Moocher is named for the Calloway song that plays throughout the short… and it is unquestionably about drugs! The word “cokey” in the song means exactly what you think it does and “kicking the gong around” here refers to smoking opium, although it was later applied to smoking marijuana.

This short was one of three shorts Fleischer Studios made with Cab Calloway. While the other two (Snow White and The Old Man of the Mountain) are fantastic in their own right, they don’t have the same whacked-out magic of Minnie the Moocher. There really is no other cartoon of the era that is a masterfully wackadoo as this grand work of weird. Even as a ghost walrus, Cab Calloway is just the coolest cat around. Cab’s radness and the exquisite insanity of the whole thing make this one of the true clas-sicks of animation. 🙂

For a bit o’ Hi-De-Ho-rror delivered the Fleischer way, check out the short below:

Scary Shorties: The Devil and Daniel Mouse

Ready for some FAUST and furious cartoon madness? Something with a little soul? Well, we’ve got a Hell of cartoon for you splendid sinners!

1978’s The Devil and Daniel Mouse is a rather strange take on the Faust legend. It concerns a struggling mouse singer who sells her soul for rock ‘n’ roll.  Personally, I’m a sucker for a good Faustian tale, so this one had my soul from the very start. The fact that it bares more than a few similarities to 1974’s Phantom of the Paradise just sweetens the deal. If you’re a ghoul like me, you’ll no doubt dig the sheer volume of creepy on display here. Satanic bargains, contracts signed in blood, and a truly devilish Devil… These are a few of my favorite things! This special is a proud product of the Satanic Seventies, complete with leisure suits, ‘fros, and KISS make-up. John Sebastian of The Lovin’ Spoonful wrote the songs and lended his voice, and making this spooky ’70s time capsule all the more boss.

Go ahead… watch the cartoon All you need to do is sign upon the dotted line… a drop of yours, a drop of mine… For the price of your soul, you can experience this creepy classic…

…Or you could just click on the box below:

If you’re in the mood for another deal, check out this behind-the-scenes video below:

Scary Shorties: The Jester (2016)

(Submitted by Dr. Anton Phibes…Thank you, Sinister Sir! 🙂 xoxo)

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Greetings, boils and ghouls! We here at Kinky Horror like to shine a blood red spotlight on some glorious grotesquies that you may have missed. Today’s hidden gem is a shocking short from MakeDo Entertainment simply titled The Jester.

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The Jester tells the tale of the titular ghoul, a petrifying prestidigitator who punishes those who lack the Halloween spirit. With a spider-like grace and a silent charisma, he stalks the night to search for an audience for his macabre magic. At only ten minutes, The Jester creates a wonderful monster that could easily support a full-length feature. Heck, this mad magician has the potential to become a franchise figure! While there are some conceptual similarities to Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, The Jester stands on his own as a guardian of Halloween. For those looking for an early Halloween treat, check out The Jester below!