There were many different Halloween and “horror-themed” shorts in the history of Warner Bros animation, but I thought I would post some brief reflections on three of my favorites.
First up are two great shorts from director Chuck Jones. The first is later period Jones, Transylvania 6-5000, which features Jones’ distinct redesign of the Warner Bros characters, as well as amazing backgrounds by Philip Degaurd. Maurice Noble is credited as “Co-director” however this short seems to have Nobles’ particular design aesthetic all over it as far as the backgrounds are concerned. The compositions, character blocking, writing, key poses are all wonderful and extremely thoughtful in this short.
Hare Rasing Hare doesn’t contain as much artistic refinement and that particular “Chuck Jones” look as Transylvania 6-5000, but it is equally as fun and funny and has some great lines. The scene in which Bugs poses as a manicurist and rambles on and on about monsters leading interesting lives is about the best thing next to eating a giant block of cheese in your underwear.
And this last short, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery by director Bob Clampett, although not specifically Halloween or horror-themed (although Daffy does dress up as Duck Twacy), does get kind of weird at the end with all of the Dick Tracy knock off villains pursuing Daffy, it seemed vaguely Halloween-esque, so I thought I would include it in this overview. Most of all, this has to be, hands down, the greatest Daffy Duck short (at least I think so). Daffy is at his most Daffy (before he became more of an asshole than a basket case) and Bob Clampett’s variety, and extreme nataure of many of the character poses rivals that of fellow Warner Bros director Tex Avery. The backgrounds are lush, with expert and thoughtful composition (again by Philip Degaurd) and the pacing, timing and dialogue throughout is spot-on.