Here on Fishing in the Discount Bin, I love that I seem to be posting stuff I wrote up a year ago. Halloween is still less than two months away, but here we've got a Halloween special, Garfield's Halloween Adventure. This is originally in my notes at November 2, 2014.
Let's toss of a short one, but it's a first on Fishing in the Discount Bin! I've reviewed VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu-Rays that I own, but it's time to do my first digital download!
Halloween was a couple of nights ago, and while laying around the house waiting for trick-or-treeters, I was browsing iTunes and came across Garfield's Halloween Adventure, aka the Garfield Halloween special. Since I had fond memories of it as a kid, I decided to spend the toonie to get it. And now it's mine forever, up there in the cloud!
What always struck me about the Garfield Halloween special is how it's one of the few Halloween specials that actually gets spooky. The last time I saw it was 5 years ago or so, when it was on YTV, and watching it, I was like, "Dude, this is actually getting kind of scary." That's good. Halloween has become so much about ensuring a safe experience if you're young, or a sexy experience if you're a young adult, that people are forgetting the scary stuff.
So it's Halloween and Garfield is eager to go out trick-or-treating and get a ton of candy. Garfield ropes Odie into coming along, figuring two people could get twice the haul. They settle on some pirate costumes and head out there. But, greedy Garfield wants more candy, so he and Odie try to take a rowboat across the river (instead of, you know, walking to a bridge) to get the other side of town. But the current's too strong for their little paws, and they get swept up and stranded on an island in the middle of the river.
Here's where the spooky comes in. On that island, is an old house. Garfield and Odie head inside, looking for help, where they find an old man. The old man tells them a tale. 100 years ago, pirates had their hideout on the island, and they buried a treasure. The pirates swore to return for the treasure on the first Halloween after 100 years, even if it meant returning from the grave. The old man then mysteriously vanishes (although Garfield and Odie see him making off in their rowboat), and before long, Garfield and Odie have to contend with some ghost pirates.
Seriously, when the ghost pirates appear, it goes into full on horror movie mode. It helps that the sound cuts out and we can't hear Garfield and Odie's screams. But the music, the staging, the design of the ghost pirates, it's creepy as hell. Garfield and Odie find a good hiding spot, but the ghost pirates soon discover them, and Garfield and Odie have to run for their lives. Seeing no other escape from the island, Garfield and Odie try to swim to shore. Garfield almost doesn't make it, but Odie saves him. On the shore, they find their rowboat, with their bags of candy still inside. In classic sitcom fashion, Garfield and Odie grab their candy and Garfield says, "Let's go home." And to show his gratitude for Odie saving his life, Garfield lets Odie keep his half of the candy.
Even though the special came along three years before the Saturday morning cartoon Garfield & Friends, it's also neat to see so many tropes of the series start to take shape in this special. We've got our first appearance of Binky the Clown. Odie's theme is already firmly established on the soundtrack. It was all working up towards the series!
But in the end, Garfield's Halloween Adventure is a fun little ghost story for a Halloween night.