31 Days of Monsters: #13, Sewer Rats Redux!

By Shawn Robare

Welcome back to my 31 Days of Monsters Halloween countdown!   In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ghostbusters franchise, not to mention my love of 80s animation, I’m counting down 31 of my favorite monsters from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.  These animation cels are culled from my personal collection, and my wife and I tried our best to put them in a not-so-scary to really-freaking-creepy kind of order with the creepiest falling on All Hallows Eve.

Today’s set of sewer rat monsters is sort of a repeat from last year’s countdown.   These were actually the cels that got me excited enough to try and compile a whole month’s worth of Real Ghostbusters monsters for this years countdown, so I figured they deserved to be on the list.  Also, I didn’t have a whole lot to say last year…

Looking back at these, I have to wonder if huge sharp teeth were the writer/character designer’s ace in the hole in terms of bringing really creepy imagery into the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.   In preparation for this month’s countdown I watched a bunch of episodes and quickly scanned through the rest to try and get an overview of what the various monsters, ghosts, and creepazoids looked like as I hadn’t sat down and watched this show in years. 

The more I watched the more I realized that even though there are a lot of scary aspects to the show, a lot of the imagery was more on the tame side of things. I mean it is a cartoon aimed at kids after all, but there are some interesting ghostly concepts that were in the movies that didn’t make it into the show.  Take for instance the initial library ghost.   Whereas her spectral visage was pretty intimidating in and of itself, her transformation into a wailing banshee with sunken eyes and whipping hair was terrifying for the few seconds it appeared on screen.  This sort of thing probably didn’t work for the network censors.

But time and again, while scanning through the episodes, I kept noticing that on the creatures that the writers really wanted to come across as terrifying there would almost always be a mouthful of gnarly sharp teeth.  I mean, I’m assuming that as long as these teeth weren’t used to actually visually render a background character limb from limb, then it was probably kosher to stick them on a creature.  Teeth in an of themselves aren’t really weapons per-se, we’ve all got ’em (to one extent or another.)  Anyway, these overgrown subway/sewer rats use this idea in spades…

Here’s a bit I wrote last year about the pencils…

"As for interesting aspects to this first cel, I really dig the pencil under drawing that I scored with it.  I’m not sure if the under drawing is hinting at the next drawing (which I suspect), or referencing the previous drawing and cel, but I love the alternate view of the creatures with their sharp-toothed mouths all agape.  The creatures sure seem a heck of a lot more fierce that way to boot."

Again, I love getting a glimpse into the process like this.

Hope you’re all enjoying these monsters, I know I’m enjoying posting about them.  If you do, make sure to come back tomorrow for another installment of the 31 Days of Monsters here at Branded in the 80s.  Also, you can head on over to the Countdown to Halloween and check out lists of a bunch of other sites participating in this year’s Halloween blogging event.   If you’re so inclined, you can also dig into my Halloween Blogging archives and read through the last few All Hallows Eve seasons…

  • John Rozum

    Shawn, I’m really digging your countdown. What a great collection of cells you have. I’ll cycle through here again and a few days to catch up. I had no idea my October would end up being so busy. I don’t think I’ve visited all of the participating blogs yet. Thanks for all your hard work too to keeping the Countdown to Halloween blog up to date.

  • Patrick

    The rats in that second cell are really creepy. I could totally see them giving me the jeebies as a kid. If they only made to halfway through the month, the rest must be really scary!