Review: The Smurfs - Halloween Special / Cert: U / Director: Various / Screenplay: Various / Starring: Various / Release Date: October 1st
A collection of Halloween themed Smurfs episodes, because Smurfs aren't terrifying enough already. In the Judgement on Gotham Batman/Judge Dredd crossover, there's a scene in which Scarecrow gives Judge Death a blast of his fear gas. In this moment, Judge Death recoils at a vision of cuddly teddy bears and cute cartoon figures. Death's reaction to this, I suspect, will echo that of the few adults unfortunate enough to watch The Smurfs: Halloween Special.
Most television episodes take the Halloween special as an excuse to do something uncharacteristically scary (or in the case of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, actually watchable) and the world of the Smurfs is no different. At first it seems like the most traumatic thing to happen to anyone is the loss of Snappy's beloved bear, Huggy. Not so. Soon after, Gargamel arrives in Smurftown and begins trashing the place. Just as he threatens to eat (really) one of the young Smurfs, his teddy bear comes to life and chases the evil wizard away. The scene is frankly horrifying, and in a purely accidental way. As are the rest of the episodes. The Smurfs: Halloween Special is terrifying, and that's before anything scary even starts happening.
I blame pornography. No, really. One of the most traumatic experiences of my life was being forced into watching a Smurfs porn parody in which two Smurfs, while doing rude things to one another, are interrupted by Gargamel, who then proceeds to... join in. This experience left me with an abiding wariness of Smurfs and evil wizards that this collection of episodes does nothing to dissipate. At least Gargamel keeps it in his pants though.
There are six nightmarish episodes in this collection, each with a scary theme. Most are as colourful and cheery (which is scary enough in itself) as every other Smurfs episode ever made, with names such as Poltersmurf (you see what they did there), Scary Smurfs and Things That go Smurf in the Night. Across these episodes, the Smurfs turn into monsters, torment one another with Poltersmurfs, meet a skeleton that sounds like Clint Eastwood and find themselves turned red, like in that comic book when The Hulk is turned red.
The Smurfs: Halloween Special is colourful but harmless (aside from the nightmares) fun. As with previous collections of cartoons, six episodes proves far too much saccharine. But Halloween is the season for overindulgence. If you're not too old to watch Smurfs cartoons then you're definitely not too old to eat the necessary amount of sugar and chocolate to make six of them bearable.