No Halloween is complete without watching this one-off special. That is, if you make a holiday out of Halloween, which is really just part of one day - All Hallows Eve - rather than the whole thing. Besides, what's being celebrated? The dead rising from the grave? Didn't you see the damage they did in Night Of The Living Dead? The hint's in the title. If you do celebrate Halloween, then include this television movie, feature-length episode or whatever moniker you want to give the damn thing in the night's proceedings. If you don't celebrate Halloween, well, watch this movie anyway to see Fred Flintstone dress up as a chicken. It's your choice. But choose wisely. For whilst the true grail will bring you...I'm sorry, I'll stop now. I'm just getting excited because whilst writing this drivel I've also typed out (type like a secretary, Gringo! Faster! Faster!) a review of a certain movie involving grails which tend to be on the holy side. Included in that review will be a picture of another famous person dressing up as poultry. Oh, the anticipation! It is like a party in my head! A party with many gatecrashers who are collectively destroying the place!
Anyway! I was writing something about a Flintstones special? Could have been! As you can probably guess from the title, this particular adventure concerns everyone's favourite prehistoric family, The Flintstones, engaging in a "gay old time" which has disastrous consequences. The story follows Bedrock's stupidest residents - and their friends the Rubbles, kind of the Beverly Hillbillies to the Flintstones' hipper Brady Bunch (what the hell?) - meeting characters similar to Dracula and Frankenstein in a place that sounds a lot like Transylvania. For that reason - and I'm telling the truth (talk the truth! Just like the McCarthy era!) - I thought the television special-movie-thing would be good to review for October 31st. I'm going to call it a movie from now on, because I can't be bothered to type 'television special' anymore. The movie opens with Fred and his adoring, if constantly nagging, wife Wilma dressed up as poultry. Next door, Barney and his nondescript wife Betty are having hijinx-aplenty in their respective flower and bee costumes.
Sure, it seems bizarre that they're doing this. I thought it might be a precursor to some cheap smut, but no. Seems all four of them are headed to a recording of Bedrock's biggest game show 'Make A Deal Or Don't'. Hosted by the ever-smiling Monty Marble (okay, the whole rock-related surname thing was funny to start with...but does everyone in town have to suffer from it?).The format of the show is simple: make a deal. Or don't. The Flintstones and the Rubbles manage - via the magic of the movies - to be the only two families picked. First up is Barney. Fred is hit pretty hard by Monty's rejection of his chicken costume ("I'm not a chicken plucker...but I am a nature lover") and starts moaning about how stupid Barney is. Mr. Rubble's moment - dressed as a flower - in the spotlight goes something like this: Monty gives him $1000. He is offered the chance to gamble for whatever the star prize might be. Betty tells him not to. End of moment.
So Fred bitches about this choice too. Monty cracks under the pressure and invites Fred down to join in. He does, being the clown that he is, and - finally - here is where the story kicks off. The star prize is a romantic trip to Rocksylvania, staying at the castle of Count Rockula, which has been turned into a hotel. Bear with me. Barney and his wife then swap their $1000 to go on the trip. That's right. They swap five thousand dollars to go to the middle of nowhere and stay in a converted castle. Fred was right. Barney is stupid. The result? Our intrepid heroes are on their way to Rockysylvania, for the grand opening of the converted hotel. Legend has it that the Count has not been seen for 500 years (probably counting. Ah ha ho ha! So funny!). Legend also has it that he owned a secret lab, where he had built a Frankenstone monster to scare away werewolves. No, I have no idea where the writers got this from. Why would Rockula call a monster Frankenstone with no obvious links to any Frank-related names at all in the plot? Why would he be working in a secret laboratory? Why, oh why, oh why? Questions, questions!
Things move forward as they tend to do in life, and the four friends check in, get dressed into yet more fancy dress costumes (this time more Halloween-themed with Fred, for example, dressed as Rockula). And so they head down to the hotels' gala opening fun-time Monster Bash. This isn't a big room full of monsters about to be bashed in the face with various objects. Oh, no! The hotel won't stand for that sort of amusement. Instead, it involves a lot of cartoon dancing. By cartoon dancing I mean there's a lot of repeated background drawings, and the characters tend to dance by moving one arm in the air, then one leg, then lowering the arm, then moving the leg for what seems like an eternity. But it isn't! Fred and his three cohorts go to bed (not all together, you dirty-minded fiend!) leaving the other anonymous partygoers to drink too much, get sick, break furniture, get high and frantically try and clean up before their parents get home. Mercifully, this dance-dance-party is broken up by...Count Rockula! He screams and shouts a lot. All leave except those two. Whilst we're on the subject of Rockula and his monster sidekick, please note the strange connection between Arnold 'John Kimble' Schwarzenegger and the Frankenstone monster. Thank you.
Wondering how Rockula and Frankenstone found out about the bitching party going down at their house (please forgive me for typing that sentence)? I'll tell you. I should really have explained this earlier, but that would require planning this reviews in advance and I'm too lazy for that. Earlier in the show, Rockula was fast asleep in his crypt, and the Frankenstone monster was still a unanimated slab of flesh. However, some comedy capering (...with hilarious results!) by Fred and Barney led to them discovering Rockula's secret lab. For no real reason they exit the lab via a window. Bad move. Lightning crashes (boom!) through the window, animating Frankenstone, who in turn wakes up Rockula. With the gruesome twosome back together again, they head upstairs to disrupt the party and wrestle back ownership of the castle. There you have it. As you already know, they succeed in scaring everyone off except the Flintstones and Rubbles; who are all asleep. But not for much longer!
Inevitably (the title including the words 'Meet Rockula & Frankenstone', the Flintstones and Rubbles wake up and meet the freaky duo. Except they don't so much meet them, more scream at the top of their stupid, stupid cartoon lungs before running away. Yes, they run in that bizarre method all cartoon characters run - their legs turn into spinning wheels. If only that could happen in real life. Rockula sleazes over Wilma a lot, and reveals his desperate plan to kill Fred and make Wilma his new bride. This becomes the thrust of the story and from here on in there's a lot of chase scenes and...not much else. Eventually the four prehistoric pranksters find their way out of the castle and back to the safety of Bedrock. Little do they know that Rockula is flying after them. Yes, flying. He turns into a vampire bat to chase after Wilma. I couldn't understand this part of the movie. I feel quite sorry for Rockula that he went to such extreme efforts to try and get laid. And with a married woman! Has he no shame?
The ending is a real kick-in-the-face for sexism. Rockula flies all the way to Bedrock (as the aforementioned - big word! - vampire bat, of course) and tries to persuade Wilma one last time to be his bride. Man here is depicted as a tired, sexist species - Rockula even uses the "I just flew in from Rocksyvlania, and boy, are my arms tired" joke. Woman by contrast is embodied in the feisty Wilma - she agrees to be his bride but only if he agrees to do a lengthy list of chores. This role reversal is too much for the vampire bat one, and he flies home to sleep for another 500 years. Of course, the whole rant about Rockula taking on his fair share of household work is said whilst Wilma is in the kitchen making food for everyone, so the anti-sexism message is somewhat lost. Then again, I could be reading far too much into this cartoon movie. Or television special. Whatever you want to call it. It's not that bad, and it's passable entertainment. Besides, The Flinstones was a usually watchable cartoon series. Even if the writers did go off on one with having a pasty-faced vampire and Arnold-lookalike monster running after four Bedrock residents. The lesson to learn from this? Don't ever - ever! - dress up as a chicken.
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