31 Days of Monsters: #10, The game is a(severed)foot!


By Shawn Robare




Welcome to day 10 of 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 monster comes from one of my favorite episodes of the Real Ghostbusters, "Elementary My Dear Watson".  It features the odd appearance of Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson, as well as their evil arch enemy Moriarty (as well as his creepy hound.)  These characters are exactly ghosts, but physical manifestations based on the energy of a million of people’s collective subconsciouses.   The episode has a very Time After Time vibe to it (even though in that flick it’s H.G. Wells in the Holmes role, and Jack the Ripper as Moriarty)  I came across a couple of Moriarty cels, the first of which is a bit unrecognizable.

Of all monster imagery I tend to respond to three general archetypes, the lumbering Frankenstein’s monster, the various incarnations of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the utter simplicity of the reanimated skeleton.    I love the skeleton fights in the Harryhausen flicks, the cheap scare in the House on Haunted Hill, and the weird obsessive nature of the titular antique in the Peter Cushing Amicus vehicle the Skull.  The human skull in general has reached a point of iconography so common that it’s almost losing meaning as a form of shorthand.  Also, much like the nude form, it’s always more potent when loosely draped with something, be it sinew or muscle tissue, or in the least defined eyes instead of deep black pools of nothing.  This skeleton is the initial incarnation of the evil Moriarty, and though it’s not his final form, with its eerie halo of noxious ectoplasm, it makes for a very striking image.  It’s also the beginning of a very similar (thought vastly truncated) "coming together" sequence as seen in the first two Hellraiser films.








This is my first exposure to a cel that has any for of airbrushing instead of flat painting.  For some reason the airbrushed paint didn’t fare so well over time.  The separate layer with the green was basically flaking off the cel.  The paint is almost a fine powder that was being held in place by the skeleton cel on top of it…










Anyway, on to a more defined look for the master criminal.  Whereas the trio of monster/ghosts yesterday seemed to be of the Muppet variety, the character design on Moriarty and his Hound (of the Baskervilles persuasion I’m assuming) seem more in line with something you’d see on an episode of Scooby Doo







There’s something about a pale-skinned gaunt guy in a riding coat and top hat that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.  I think it’s because I equate this getup with the character design of the hitchhikers in Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride, which was one of the attractions that my parents tended to avoid whenever we’d hit up Disney World (my parents were creatures of habit and would avoid stuff like Splash Mountain, Tom Sawyer Island, and the Toontown Fair every trip…)  I think because I visited it the least, by the time I first rode the Haunted Mansion it pretty much blew my mind.  Mixed with my love of Halloween and all things horror, it’s probably my favorite ride at Disney, though I do so lament the long closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea…





There are still 21 monsters left to showcase, so 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…

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  • Kid Nicky

    Moiriarty’s steed looks like Angilas from Godzilla.

  • Todd

    Dig that skeleton cel and drawing! It makes me think of the cardboard green skeleton decorations that every elementary classroom used to decorate with every October.