We’re headed back to the Stone Age again today, ghouls, for the final installment of Creepy Cartoons this Halloween season.
The episode is “A Haunted House Is Not a Home“, from The Flintstone’s fifth (and my personal favourite) season; episode 7. It premiered 55 years ago today, on October 29, 1964.
Fred receives an interesting letter in the mail — it’s from a lawyer. His uncle, J. Giggles Flintstone, has died, leaving Fred sole heir to his estate up on Nightmare Hill.
Annnnd it’s basically the mansion from Vincent Price’s “The House on Haunted Hill“. I’m living for this, guys.
Once inside, Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty gather around to hear the last will and testament of dear old Uncle Giggles. I don’t know if it’s a happy coincidence or what, but the chairs that Fred and the others are sitting in look just like gravestones!
“I, J. Giggles Flintstone, being of sound mind, etc. etc. etc., do hereby will and bequeath my entire estate to my nephew Fred Flintstone.” Oh, but there’s more. “Should anything happen to Fred Flintstone, then my estate is to be divided equally among my three faithful servants: Creepers, the butler; Hotrock, the cook; and Wormstone, the gardener.”
“Before taking possession, my heir, must spend one night in my mansion, [Hello future plot for Scooby Doo, “A Night of Fright is No Delight”] or this Will becomes null and void.”
There’s suddenly a loud banging which startles everyone. But it’s just the late Flintstone’s pet, Horace, returning from reading headstones in the cemetery.
Thoroughly terrified, Wilma and Betty bolt from the mansion, leaving Fred and Barney locked inside for the night.
Immediately, the servants get to work… with knives and cleavers and garden sheers and arrows… scaring the daylights out of Fred and Barney, and possibly trying to… er, well… “do away” with them.
(Seemingly) alone in the dining Hall, Fred and Barney notice the rather odd picture above the fireplace mantle. It’s a picture of J. Giggles Flintstone.
Fred is adamant that he saw the eyes move, but it was just a trick of his over-stimulated imagination. Right…..?
The boys are served alphabet soup for dinner. Barney explains to Fred that you’re supposed to swirl it around, and then sometimes the letters will make words. After questioning whether or not the soup might be poisoned, Fred’s soup spells out an ominous warning: “Beware”! :-o
All night long, our Bedrock boys are terrorized, not only by weapon-wielding servants, but also by a very creepy, inside-tingling, insanely maniacal laughter.
Every time the creepy laughing starts, Fred and Barney’s hair stands straight on end! An effect that I get such a kick out of every time.
In the morning, Wilma and Betty return to Uncle Giggle’s mansion, and find that Fred and Barney have survived the night: Fred, by hiding in plain sight masquerading as a stuffed and mounted animal head, and Barney, who holed up inside the cuckoo clock.
Fred and Barney describe what it was like spending the entire night trying to stay alive. “First, there was Potrocks with the cleaver. Swish! Swish! Swish! Then Wormstone with the crazy clippers: Snip! Snip! Snip! Snip! Snip! Snip! Snip! But the worst thing was that awful laugh! I wish I could describe it!” And on cue, there goes the laughing again!
The gang discover that the laugh seems to be coming from the picture of Uncle Giggles sitting on the mantelpiece. Fred flings a vase at it, and to everyone’s surprise, it’s not a picture at all — it’s really Uncle Giggles, alive and well, who jumps out of the frame!
See, Uncle Giggles was just testing Fred, to see whether or not he was worthy of inherting the estate… just not right now. He also wanted to see if Fred had a sense of humour, like his. (I mean, his name is Giggles after all.)
Fred: “You mean this was all a joke?”
Giggles: “That’s right, a great big joke! That’s me, a kook. But a RICH kook, don’t forget that!”
An unhealthy gleam comes into Fred’s eyes. He is absolutely not amused with Uncle Giggles’s joke.
Fred: “Well… I’m kind of a kook myself. Not rich… but still a kook. Aha, ha, ha, hhahahahahha, mwahahahahahha!”
Fred has completely flipped his wheels, but you can’t deny that Uncle Giggles and his servants deserve it. As Freddy boy chases them out of the mansion, giant cleaver in hand, Barney calls after him: “Good boy! Sic ’em, Fred! Sic ’em!” Even Betty chimes in with a, “Go get ’em, Fred!”
And finally, Wilma quips, “Well, back to the poor house!”
This is definitely one of my favourite Flintstones episodes, as well as one of the best creepy cartoons that you’ll find out there.
I can still remember the trailer for this episode’s special VHS release — this would probably be 1996 or 1997 — in the opening previews of my Scooby Doo “The Headless Horseman of Halloween” VHS tape, which I easily played more than 50 times as a kid.
In fact, those awesome previews were SO much fun that it’s worth letting you watch them for yourself! I love that there are people out there transferring old VHS content into digital so we can enjoy our childhoods all over again.
If you want to see the Flintstones “A Haunted House Is Not a Home” preview, skip ahead to the 1:30 mark. (There’s also previews for Christmas videos — only 56 more days!!!! — so I’d go ahead and watch the whole thing, if I were you. Just sayin’.) 😉
So, Halloween is only days away now, but let’s be honest: Creepy cartoons are good ANY time of the year. And I don’t care what anyone says, you’re never too old to enjoy a good cartoon. If you’re a fan of the Flintstones, I hope you’ll check this one out. And in the … ahem … spirit of fun previews, we’ll likely make another short visit to the town of Bedrock next Halloween, when I’ll introduce you to … the Gruesomes.
You can watch today’s full episode here: A Haunted House is Not a Home
Until next time, unpleasant dreams . . .