You may remember our 'ole Uncle Eerie from a few months back when we dropped by the clubhouse to shill out some of his trademark sinister sideshow mystique... and a bag of "authentic" shrunken heads. Well, that cool ghoul is back again and this time he's brought a boatload of his favorite friends with him for a special Halloween Shiver Show that aired this past October.
Equal parts Ren & Stimpy and Boris Karloff (by way of Groucho Marx), Eerie's unique brand of humor shines with a faux-commercial for candy-coated razor blades— the perfect treat for that little brat in your life. Segueing the typical Halloween horror movie special, Eerie gives us a showcase of classic cartoons, vintage toy commercials and an assortment of trailers. Things get started with Wot a Night, an oldie featuring the original Tom and Jerry as two cab drivers who find themselves trapped in a castle that offers more scares than cab fares. It was definitely my favorite of the bunch, though the "blackface" skeletons near the end was sort of a buzzkill.
As I mentioned before, there are trailers interspersed throughout the show and though it felt at times as though they should have been more evenly dispersed throughout the show there were quite a few standouts such as Blacula, Dr. Phibes (the original Jigsaw) and my personal favorite takeaway: The Worm Eaters (see above)! As for the toy commercials, I loved how freaking bizarre they were even for their time. One toy in particular, the Swing Wing, makes me think that at one time parents had to have been feeding their kids brownies with an extra dose of LSD. The Witchdoctor's Head Shrinker's Kit toy set was also pretty cool, allowing you to actually create a small head complete with hair and shrink it... wonder if that would still fly today, quick someone call Mattel.
By far the best segments were those actually produced by the Shiver Show crew such as the intro sequence and Eerie's "Lil' Eerie" (played by Jonah Linchenberg) flashback in which he relives his first trick or treating experience. I also cannot express just how awesome the costume and set design is for the show courtesy of Shashonna Knecht, Jessica Wasilenko, Pam Wager and Joseph Dufrense (Uncle Eerie himself)! You definitely get the feeling that these characters are in some backwoods shack packed to the brim with all sorts of spooky stuff from portraits of Eerie's horror hosts heroes to posters of Critters and Xtro.
Looking back, the Shiver Show could have benefited from a few more oddities such as the midget musical interlude which blends seamlessly with Eerie's twisted sense of humor. Aside from that (and some minor slow pacing issues), this is one of the best Halloween Specials I've seen in recent memory. It's certainly up there with Transylvania TV as one of the best indie productions on the web and the Shiver Show crew definitely deserve some recognition and support for the work they've done. If you'd like to see the entire Howling Halloween special, be sure to check out Uncle Eerie and the gang over at YouTube or pay them a visit at their online haunt, www.ShiverShow.com.