It’s common enough to see spoofs of old school monsters like Dracula and the Wolf Man, but what about the newer creeps? Actually, modern horror icons see homages more often than you might think!
Below: Five times a modern monster was spoofed in a cartoon.
Based on: Freddy Krueger
Seen in: Tiny Toon Adventures
Freddy Krueger + an anthropomorphized cougar = Eddy Cougar, a one-and-done character from Tiny Toon Adventures. During a first season episode, Buster and Plucky are at the tail end of a sleepover, but Plucky refuses to say goodnight until he’s watched all of the 42,000 horror videos they’d rented.
Eddy Cougar starred in one of them, and if you could imagine a crossover between A Nightmare on Elm Street and Bambi, this was it. The plug is mercifully pulled before we see Eddy eviscerate a cartoon doe, but it isn’t long before he returns… in Plucky’s dreams, of course, much like the real Freddy Krueger would.
Eddy was a pretty on-the-nose reference, with a voice that even seemed to mimic Robert Englund’s. Interestingly, in what was probably a side tribute but could also be read as a faux pas, Eddy’s introductory shot was punctuated by the “ki ki ki ma ma ma” sound from Friday the 13th!
Based on: Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger
Seen in: Monster Mash
From the direct-to-everything movie, Monster Mash, here’s Freddie DeSpagetti, who combines Freddy Krueger with Jason Voorhees with motherfuckin’ PASTA.
It sounds goofy and it is, but it works amazingly well. Monster Mash is kinda cute and certainly worth more than its perpetual placement in $5 DVD bins suggests, but make no mistake, Freddie DeSpagetti is the definitive reason to see it.
The story is clever, with classic monsters like “Drac” and “Frank” (the good guys, here) being pushed aside for more modern manglers…. like Freddie DeSpagetti! He’s joined by iffy imitations of Chucky and a Xenomorph, which reads like a plot description but is really just my hard sell for Monster Mash.
Freddie’s meant to be humorous, but I can’t get over how cool he looks. The fork-and-spoon fingers and spaghetti strainer mask might be gags, but goddamn, it’s a great look!
Best of all, his body is composed of what appears to be extra thick spaghetti, but is eventually revealed as an endless army of hideous alien snake things. Freddy DeSpagetti is a total showstopper.
Based on: The Cenobites
Seen in: Extreme Ghostbusters
I’m far from an Extreme Ghostbusters expert, but if the rest of the series is anything like this episode, I want to eat it like cake.
There’s an unmistakable Hellraiser flavor in Deadliners, a first season episode about a trio of ungodly spirits — the Vathek — who seem pretty obviously inspired by Pinhead and the Cenobites. (And now that I see how much “Pinhead and the Cenobites” makes them sound like a band, I understand why so few people who’ve written about Hellraiser chose the same wording.)
The creatures are led by Crainiac, who’s clearly the Pinhead of the crew. (Even if he more closely resembles Butterball.) Speaking with the same eerie softness as real Cenobites, the three endeavor to turn human flesh into works of macabre art.
It’s rough stuff for a kiddy cartoon, even if this particular kiddy cartoon was a little aged-up. I mean, the episode opens with the monsters threatening bullshit surgery on a forcibly restrained pizza delivery boy. Best/worst of all, THEY ACTUALLY DO IT.
In what I took as another nod to Hellraiser, any person these monsters frick with ends up as one of them, with grotesquely inhuman features and a certain bloodlust. In short, Tom and Jerry this ain’t.
Funny-to-me thing: Around 25 years later, Pinhead would again be spoofed, this time with Fornicus from The Cabin in the Woods. Weird that both Crainiac and Fornicus saw Pinhead’s face-nails and thought, “I got it, CIRCULAR SAW BLADES! The obvious substitute!”
Based on: Ghostface
Seen in: The Simpsons
The Simpsons has spoofed more horror icons than I can remember, largely thanks to its Treehouse of Horror specials. Since I’m limiting myself to one Simpsons pick, I may as well make it doubly hard by avoiding the Halloween episodes altogether.
Let’s go with Ghostface. A reasonable facsimile appeared in Home Away from Homer, a 2005 episode from the show’s sixteenth season. The appearance barely qualifies as a cameo (he’s briefly onscreen during Homer’s pitch to just let the television babysit Maggie), but since Ghostface references are comparatively scarce, we must take what we’re given and be grateful.
Thanks, Homer, for being a jerky father at the precise moment when a suitable stand-in for Scream was playing on your TV set.
Based on: Xenomorphs
Seen in: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
We all loved the Ninja Turtles, but I’m not sure that everyone remembers just how good the original cartoon series really was. When all cylinders were firing, the show was truly episodic, with stark differences marking the seasons.
The Case of the Killer Pizzas came out during my very favorite stretch of episodes. This was during the second season, when Shredder only had Baxter Stockman (still in human form) to help him on Earth, while Krang made do with Bebop and Rocksteady back in Dimension X. It sounds like a minor swap, but the flavor of those episodes was totally distinct from the rest of the series.
So, Krang sends Shredder magic meatballs that are actually alien eggs, and yes I’m being serious. Shredder slaps them on a pizza and ships ‘em to the Ninja Turtles. That’s the CliffsNotes version, anyway.
The meatball eggs hatch into little red demons, and as if those aren’t trouble enough, we later learn that they grow into 15′ monsters that look remarkably like Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise.
The resemblance is too close to call it anything but an outright homage. In fact, NECA recently hinted that they’ll be making action figures of a TMNT pizza monster… using a mold from one of their existing Aliens figures!