A major staple of childhood is cartoons, and growing up in the 90s meant a vast selection of quality cartoons available. It was a decade where anything and everything received an animated series, from boy bands to popular toy lines. There were numerous cartoons for any and every interest and fandom, but especially for the budding horror fan. Popular HBO horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt reeled in a younger demographic with Tales from the Cryptkeeper. Disney went gothic with beloved series Gargoyles. Toy lines My Pet Monster and Mighty Max cleverly crafted cartoons that amounted to 30-minute long commercials. But for all the well known and loved cartoons, there’s a lot more equally great horror cartoons that have since been forgotten. These 5 horror-themed cartoons were gone too soon and are worth reviving:
Following the environmental trend made popular by the likes of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, this kid cartoon came from one of the most unlikely sources: Troma’s Toxic Avenger films. Obviously, the R-rated content Troma is known for, was scrubbed for a more age appropriate cartoon, though that didn’t stop them from sneaking in some adult jokes. This version of Toxie was a big-hearted law-abiding citizen of Tromaville, who battled other mutants and their polluting ways. This cartoon only ran for 13 episodes, but it was popular enough to produce a line of merchandise that included action figures, trading cards, a board game, and more. I still have fond memories of my Toxic Crusaders coloring book.
Long before Universal sought to recreate Marvel’s cinematic universe with their own Dark Universe, there was Monster Force. The 13-episode series was created by Universal Cartoon Studios and Lacewood Productions, and saw a group of teens and college students facing off against Universal Monsters in the year 2020. Led by Dr. Reed Crawley, the group used high tech weapons to fight on behalf of humanity, but their own grudges against the monsters as well. Dracula, the Creature of the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, and more actually side with the good guys in their quest. It didn’t catch on with viewers though and ended too soon.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Based on the movies Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Return of the Killer Tomatoes, this Fox cartoon owes its creation to an episode of Muppet Babies cartoon, where poor Baby Fozzie imagined an attack of the silly tomatoes seeking revenge on comedians. The popularity of the episode prompted the sequel Return of the Killer Tomatoes, which in turn lead to the animated series. Airing for two seasons, it picks up years after the Great Tomato War and follows little boy Chad as he befriends the failed experiments of Dr. Putrid T. Gangreen as they team up to thwart Gangreen’s nefarious plans.
A Canadian anthology cartoon that was a lot like Twilight Zone but for kids. Each episode featured urban legends with different narrators and animation style, but they all began and ended with the line, “This is a true story, and it happened to a friend of a friend of mine.” The show was hosted by animatronic puppets of a cockroach and his maggot sidekick, who bookended each episode with their conversations in a diner where the storytelling takes place. The series ran for 3 seasons.
Also known as Rick Moranis in Gravedale High, this 13-episode cartoon features, you guessed it, Rick Moranis. The series centered on the adventures of a human teacher in a school for monsters. As the only human in school (and voiced by Rick Moranis), he teaches a group of teen monsters that are versions of the classic Universal monsters. The teens are unruly, disruptive, and uninterested, and only the unassuming human Max Schneider would take the job. Being a kid cartoon, it was a light take on the monsters, and had an after-school special type slant with real world problems wrapped in a monster package. Mattel might have created a cartoon to sell their Monster High dolls over a decade later, but Gravedale High was the original.