Before we begin, I would just like to announce that, for the first time in Point Horror’s history, this article has been brought to you by SCREAM-O-VISION.

A byproduct of Holland’s vast tulip industry, Scream-O-Vision heightens your reading pleasure by informing you when to scream. Example:

SCREAM
SCREAM

As some of you might’ve figured by now I enjoy making lists, and I’m especially fond of looking up Top 10 lists of favorite episodes or favorite characters. While I normally do this for Halloween Extravaganza, I figured global and national circumstances called for a change of pace.

We all know once in a while, TV shows and cartoons might do a scary episode (not counting Halloween specials). They might be a paranormal episode such as exploring the local haunted house, a camping episode where the characters get freaked out by an urban legend, a miscommunication episode where one character assumes the other’s a monster or serial killer, or one where the child characters get scared by a horror movie and assume the bad guy’s real.

Below I’ll be listing off and discussing the scary episodes of 90s TV shows I grew up watching as a kid and teenager. Specifically, these are episodes that either aired during the 90s or aired as part of TV shows that first began during the 90s. Halloween episodes I’ll save for a separate occasion. And this isn’t me saying what are and aren’t the definitively best scary episodes of all time, just ones I’m particularly fond of.

Now, I’ve realized I should try to do this as a regular thing because I’m gonna suddenly remember some episode I didn’t think to add or couldn’t find any images or screencaps. After this first one, let’s see how many more I can work on.

[JC: I’m about a decade older than Jude, so we experienced the 90s very differently. The majority of the animated series in this list weren’t on my radar during their original runs. Is that going to stop me from commenting? LOL NAH]

[Wing: I was a teenager for a solid chunk of the 90s.]

3rd Rock from the Sun: Alien Hunter

Despite being a sitcom about four aliens exploring life as humans on Earth, 3rd Rock was strictly a comedy. That said, there was at least one episode that fell under the horror banner and it featured none other than Kathy Bates. [Wing: I was vaguely aware of the show, but did not know they did a horror episode with Kathy Bates! A++ choice there, showrunners.]

3rd Rock was a show about a quartet of aliens taking the guise of the Solomon Family in the town of Rutherford, Ohio. Led by High Commander Dick, there was also Sally the Security Officer, Tommy the Information Officer, and Harry the Transmitter. [JC: Tom, Dick, and Harry; get it?! Also, this was one of only a handful of episode titles that weren’t basically a Dick joke. I mean, there is literally an episode titled “Dick Jokes.”] [Jude: Ha! They actually pointed that out in this episode!] [Wing: Okay, I clearly missed out on something fun here. I’ll add the show to my too watch list, because anything where most of the episode titles are dick jokes is something I need to watch!] The humor was based largely on the Solomons adapting to life on Earth and experiencing things such as love, lies, sarcasm, for the first time. Thankfully, the show also demonstrated their human compatriots such as Dick’s eventual girlfriend Mary Albright and their landlady Mrs. Dubcek could be just as strange and obnoxious so it wasn’t technically a one-note affair.

3rd Rock from the Sun - Alien Hunter
3rd Rock from the Sun – Alien Hunter

When Dick decides his birthday’s coming up and demands he be thrown a surprise party (and not be told of it), he later encounters an adult woman named Charlotte auditing his physics class at Pendleton University. Charlotte quickly endears herself to Dick (considering the size of his ego, she didn’t have to work hard) by stating she read one of his papers in a magazine and was impressed by his supposed greatness. Quickly Charlotte begins helping Sally, Tommy and Harry plan Dick’s surprise party who are grateful for the help…

When Dick arrives home for the party, Charlotte chloroforms him while she’s got the rest of the supporting cast tied up in the basement. As you can guess, Charlotte’s the titular alien hunter and correctly deduced from Dick’s article he’s an alien. [JC: She won’t even consider the possibility that he’s just eccentric . . . or Dutch!] In a moment of self-sacrifice, Dick tries to protect Sally and the others by insisting he’s the only alien, even as Charlotte plans to cut his head open to examine his brain. We later find out she’s already murdered several other innocent people she incorrectly thought were aliens. [Wing: WELL GODDAMN.]

SCREAM
SCREAM

This is the only time an episode of 3rd Rock ever got especially dark, and never before had the Solomon Family’s secret been under such danger. That doesn’t mean the episode was without humor, especially as Charlotte tries to justify cutting Dick open.

Charlotte: I’m well aware of what your kind does! Harvesting eggs for your slave race! Sucking the life from the innocent! Probing the butt of the poor American farmer!

Dick: We never do any of that! …well, there was this one farmer near Akron. But he was asking for it!

In case you needed proof they were hinting something was up with Charlotte, Dick previously refers to her as “My number one fan” as a rather blatant Misery reference.

The only two downsides to this episode are Charlotte never made a repeat appearance (despite the presence of several other aliens appearing) and the jokes about her adult son/henchman possibly being mentally disabled. Dimwitted Harry says for once he’s actually smarter than someone.

[Wing: I did not expect them to go to her being a serial killer! It’s made me want to watch the show even more, though I can already tell I’ll be disappointed when she never returns. Maybe alien hunter will be the new big AU for fic writing.]

The Angry Beavers

Nickelodeon’s series about two beaver brothers making it on their own frequently did horror-themed episodes, and to me they were probably the best of the bunch. It helps that Norbert and Daggett are B-movie buffs and big fans of the legendary… OXNARD MONTALLLLLVO!

Oxnard Montalvo
Oxnard Montalvo

[Wing: I fucking loved Angry Beavers! I haven’t seen more episodes than I have, I think, but what I saw I loved the hell out of.]

In order of release, the episodes go as follows:

Food of the Clods
Food of the Clods

FOOD OF THE CLODS: Norb develops a habit of binging on junk food while staying up for late-night horror flicks. [JC: Relatable.] [Wing: My life in cartoon right there.] The combination leads to him sleepwalking and acting out whichever movie’s on. Dag grows increasingly frustrated at Norb’s somnambulistic antics, until Norb goes on a rampage emulating “Viking Women from Venus” and Dag decides to fight fire with fire.

Swamp Witch and Gator Man
Swamp Witch and Gator Man

OPEN WIDE FOR ZOMBIES: A heavy storm floods the dam and sends the Beaver brothers down river into a sinister swamp. If that weren’t bad enough, Norb and Dag end up in the clutches of Edgar the Swamp Witch, her assistant Gator Man, and their zombie slaves. The Swamp Witch plans to remove Norb and Dag’s teeth for her “ultimate voodoo potion” leading to a high-speed aquatic chase through the swamp. [Wing: Terrible treatment of “voodoo” I’m sure, but also this sounds exactly like a Scooby Doo episode. Who wrote that crossover? Surely someone.]

Howler Leeches
Howler Leeches

THE OMEGA BEAVER: Dag gets suckered into following a line of conspiracy-themed comics proclaiming Earth will be invaded by “The Howler Leeches.” The comics purport the Howler Leeches will bring forth a new Ice Age, invade the Earth in their atomic blood-powered UFOs, and then devour humanity before digesting their victims over a period of 35 years. [JC: Still not the weirdest religion I’ve ever heard of.] [Wing: I welcome our leech devourers.] While Dag spends more money on “survival equipment,” Norb decides to pull a trick on him.

SPOOKY SPOOTS: More comedic than scary, in this episode we open with the dam already in the middle of being haunted by a bunch of ghosts. However, the ghosts are incredibly friendly and cater to Norb and Dag’s every whim while allowing them to move around the dam in portals. [Wing: I WANT USEFUL GHOSTS!] Unfortunately, two dim witted government scientists show up to exorcise the ghosts anyway. Norb and Dag team up with their new friends to teach the scientist stooges a lesson.

Things That Go Hook In The Night
Things That Go Hook In The Night

THINGS THAT GO HOOK IN THE NIGHT: While camping (like six feet from their dam), Norb tries to scare Dag by telling him a ghost story about a “crazed ma-nai-ack” with a hook hand. [JC: Man Door Hand Hook Car Door!] However, Dag completely derails Norb’s story by asking a bunch of hook-related questions to the point Norb ends up freaking out. While Dag ponders all the intricacies of having a hook, Norb’s left thoroughly terrified and thinks there might really be a hook guy in the woods.

Each episode has a different way of exploring the horror genre so they aren’t simple rehashes of one another. “Food of the Clods” is based on B-movies, “Open Wide for Zombies” involves magic and one of the few genuinely evil antagonists, “Omega Beaver” is about aliens, “Spooky Spoots” has ghosts, and “Things That Go Hook” is about urban legends.

Out of the five episodes, my favorites are the zombie episode and the hook episode, the former because of the tense and utterly amazing finale and the latter for Dag’s “hook” persona and the obligatory twist ending befitting the Hook urban legend. But really, all the episodes are great. The b-movie episode has some utterly ridiculous flicks with especially bad acting. The alien episode has Dag’s obsession with “Konspiracy Kevin” and the design for the Howler Leeches. And the ghost episode features one of the few times where Norb and Dag manage to completely humiliate the antagonists

Boy Meets World: And Then There Was Shawn

ABC’s family dramedy about the feats and foibles of Corey Matthews, played by Ben Savage’s brother Fred, got its own parody episode of the 90s postmodern horror genre in 1998. Oh this also happened to be the first episode of the show I ever watched in elementary school. [JC: Whereas I was in my late teens at this point, and had probably quit watching BMW by the time this episode aired.] [Wing: I still loved this show in the late 90s, and I loved both the postmodern horror genre and the parodies of it, so this was a delight.]

One of the show’s longest running plot points was about the relationship between Corey and his friend Topanga Lawrence, who would eventually become his girlfriend and later wife by the show’s final seasons. [JC: Topanga was adorable. And her dad was played by Peter Tork of The Monkees in two episodes! Which isn’t a thing I realized until much, much later.] In this episode, Corey and Topanga are briefly split up and the one taking it the worst is Corey’s best friend, Shawn Hunter. When classmate Kenny asks to borrow Topanga’s pencil, Shawn jumps all over Kenny and soon Corey, Topanga, Shawn, Kenny, and Topanga’s friend Angela have afterschool detention courtesy of Mr. Feeny (FEE-NEH!).

Things take a dark turn when the kids are locked in the classroom and discover “NO ONE GETS OUT ALIVE” scrawled in blood on the chalkboard. [Wing: LOCKED ROOM MURDER MYSTERIES ARE THE BEST MYSTERIES. God, I love them so much.] After being joined by Corey’s brother Eric and Shawn’s brother Jack, the lights go out and next thing you know, Kenny’s got that pencil shoved through his head. [JC: South Park was huge around this time, also, so cue the “They killed Kenny!” jokes here. Complete with being interrupted right before “You bastards!” because this was a family show, after all.] [Wing: I can hear it in their voices in my head, still.]

R.I.P. Kenny – He Was That Tall

As a send-up of films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Shawn tries to act as the meta guy and explain the rules for survival once everyone learns they’ve been trapped in the building. Angela, on the other hand, takes on the role of the Designated Screamer and isn’t pleased when someone tries to horn in on her turf.

SCREAM
SCREAM

More people start to die and the group repeatedly misses sight of the skull-masked killer running in the background. Is the killer everyone’s favorite sage teacher Mr. Feeny, Freddie the incredibly creepy janitor, Jennifer Love Hewitt in her incredibly gratuitous guest appearance as Jennifer Love Fefferman (which apparently happened because she was dating Eric’s actor Will Friedle at the time), or someone else?

This episode is everything you’d expect of late 90s horror.

[Wing: Which is to say, delightful, at least in my opinion!

Unfortunately, behind-the-scenes life wasn’t so wonderful. Earlier this year Trina McGee who played Angela (one of the best characters in the entire damn show), talked about how she dealt with a lot of racism from the main cast (all but Rider Strong, apparently). This article talks about it and Will Friedle’s response (an apology); here’s a Twitter thread about it from her.]

Daria as Jessica Fletcher
Daria as Jessica Fletcher

Daria: Murder, She Snored

Daria wasn’t a show I watched as a kid when it first aired on MTV but I did watch it during high school. If I hadn’t learned the finer art of sarcasm from this cartoon I’m certain I wouldn’t have survived four years at Salesian. [JC: Ah, Daria. I did watch Daria when it first aired. I watched fucking marathons of Daria. “Sick, Sad World” seemed so edgy at the time, and now it’s just . . . the internet.] [Wing: I haven’t not seen a single episode of Daria. I know, I know, I have really let down my peers.]

“Murder, She Snored” opens with perpetually enraged Mr. DeMartino threatening to fail the entire history class unless Kevin Thompson and the rest of the football team (sans Mack McKenzie, who got a respectable B) confess to cheating on the latest exam. How does he know they cheated? I mean, aside from how someone broke into his filing cabinet.

And also aside from how Kevin is unable to properly answer one of the questions he supposedly got right on the test.

Because despite the fact that Kevin and nearly the rest of the team are fucking morons, they all got perfect scores. Even Kevin’s girlfriend Brittany, who isn’t that much smarter than him, can tell there’s no way Kevin could’ve gotten a 100.

Brittany: Kevvy, what’s that A doing on your paper?

Mr. DeMartino: Why Brittany, that’s the most INTELLIGENT QUESTION you’ve asked all year!

Brittany: Thanks!

So just about everyone in the class is pissed off Kevin won’t admit he or his teammates stole the answers.

That night, Daria goes home, falls asleep in front of the TV, and we’re treated a lengthy dream parody of mystery shows like Murder, She Wrote, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, and Magnum P.I.. Daria returns to school and opens her now conveniently oversized locker where out plops Kevin’s dead body, clutching a poisoned sandwich with an arrow sticking out of his chest and a decent welt on his head from a golf club. [JC: . . . I think it would be easier to name the people who didn’t kill Kevin. Real Murder on the Orient Express shit we got going on here.] Since Kevin was in Daria’s locker, school principal Ms. Li names Daria the number one suspect in Kevin’s murder.

The Death of Kevin Thompson
The Death of Kevin Thompson

While we can tell right away from the title and Daria falling asleep this episode takes place in a dream, besides the numerous references we get a decent look at how Daria subconsciously views everyone around her. Kevin’s so annoying multiple people gladly wanted him dead and his funeral consists of nothing but insults and backhanded compliments. Her sister Quinn (part of a Charlie’s Angels parody alongside the rest of the Fashion Club) tries to distance herself from Daria saying she’s “Our family’s cabana girl’s ADOPTED cousin.” And ultimately, Daria gets sent to the electric chair even after proving beyond a doubt she didn’t murder Kevin.

I’d mainly recommend this to fans of prime time mystery shows, although sadly the versions released on DVD and YouTube had to remove the musical cues lifted from the respective shows due to copyrights. [Wing: Not having the right licensing for music has screwed over so many show releases. It’s just not the same!]

Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain
Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain

Darkwing Duck: The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain

One of the greatest shows of the Disney Saturday Afternoon programming block, Darkwing Duck was a loose spin-off from DuckTales about the Terror That Flaps In The Night. [Wing: DARKWING DUCK! Still one of my favourite Batman portrayals.]

“The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain” serves as none other than a 30-minute homage/parody to Stephen King’s It, wherein our villain is a twisted, clown-like demon that goes by the name Paddywhack. [JC: . . . clowns. Always with the fucking clowns.] [Wing: Does this clown also turn into a giant spider? Because IT has A LOT to answer for there.]

Paddywhack
Paddywhack

Oh and he’s also voiced by the late, lamented Phil Hartman so you know he’s amazing.

The episode’s framed as Darkwing and his daughter Gosalyn looking back on one of their weirder cases, much to the horror of D.W.’s sidekick Launchpad who’d rather forget the whole thing. Seems Paddywhack was kept trapped inside a chained-up jack-in-the-box at a toy museum, but Gosalyn’s pranks woke the monster up. See, Paddywhack feeds off misery and unhappiness created from jokes and pranks. Things go from bad to worse when criminal clown Quackerjack tries to rob the museum, and Paddywhack possesses one of the villain’s dolls until he’s regained full strength. [JC: . . . clowns and possessed dolls?! You really don’t want me to sleep tonight, do you.]

Paddywhack’s such an awesome one-shot villain, but unfortunately the show was cancelled before they could finish working on a follow-up episode “Pranks for the Memories.” And unfortunately, Phil Hartman died in 1998 after his wife shot him in his sleep. At the very least, he was brought back as one of the major arc villains in the comic continuation published by Boom Studios.

And to demonstrate how much of a mark he left on the audience, Paddywhack was granted a voiceless cameo in the 2017 DuckTales reboot.

That Candle Guy
That Candle Guy

Freakazoid: Candlej@ck and The Cloud

Freakazoid is an underrated classic from Warner Bros’ late 90s cartoons, a beautiful parody of the superhero genre featuring our title character whose only real power is driving his enemies bonkers. When Freakazoid’s not foiling the devious plans of the Lobe, Cave Guy, Cobra Queen, or that jerk Jeepers and his obsession with turning beavers into gold, he’s going on fun day trips with his best friend, the gruff and lovable Sgt. Mike Cosgrove (voiced by Ed Asner).

To put it simpler, Freakazoid’s like if Deadpool was Rated PG. [JC: I was doubtful until I watched this episode, but yup. Freakazoid is family-friendly Deadpool, and I think I love him.] [Wing: WAIT WHAT?! Okay, I am off to watch this immediately, because YES MORE DEADPOOL.]

Sadly, the show wasn’t that appreciated in its time so we only got two seasons. Even though it had shit like Tim Curry guest starring as Dr. Mystico [JC: I feel like the presence of Tim Fucking Curry should have brought this show onto my radar, but sadly . . . no.] and the series finale featured famed carpenter Norm Abram being treated like he’s bigger than Jesus (to the point one woman has a hysterical breakdown when Norm’s abducted JUST as it was her turn to get an autograph).

Two of the episode segments that best come to mind for me when talking about spooky stuff are C@ndlejack and The Cloud.

[Wing: I mean, your weird little spellings are cute, Jude, but Candlejack is such a great name! Why wouldn’t you just call him th]

CAND!EJACK: A bunch of campers being looked after by Freakazoid’s gal pal Steff share a ghost story about a boogeyman called Candlej&ck, who likes to kidnap people and take them far, far away simply because he’s a nut. But don’t worry, he can only capture you if you say his name… and because all these kids AND Steff are fucking stupid, EVERYONE says his name. Freakazoid does it too, but only because he wanted to invoke a scene transition like he once saw on an episode of F Troop. [JC: All right, Cand1ejack is fucking adorable and I also now love him.]

(As an aside, I got Larry Storch to autograph my DVD set of Freakazoid Season One specifically because of that clip)

THE CLOUD: Based off the 1958 horror movie The Crawling Eye, and featuring a guest appearance of Weena Mercator as the Hopping Woman, Freakazoid’s contacted by his old friend Professor Heiney to help solve a perplexing mystery. A strange cloud has appeared in the mountain region near Heiney’s laboratory, and it’s turning people into… CLOWNS! Even worse, Freakazoid’s just learned Disneyland no longer has those cool motor boats! [JC: No, Jude, even worse are the FUCKING CLOWNS.] [Jude: BUT THE BOATS ARE GONE, JC! GONE!]

“The Cloud” is on here mainly because of the motorboat joke and also because of the reveal behind what was turning everyone into clowns, but “C&andlejack” is a fucking LEGEND. It inspired an entire meme that’s still going strong over 20 years later.

[Wing: You’ll be glad to know that C@ndlej@ck is a fan of our recaps and let me return to keep commenting.]

The Golden Girls: The Case of the Libertine Belle

Thank God I stumbled upon The Golden Girls one night in high school. It was almost as influential as Daria during my formative years. [Wing: Speaking of Deadpool! 

Deadpool and I both love Golden Girls!]

For those who don’t know, The Golden Girls was a sitcom about four older women living together in Miami, Florida. The show talked about their daily lives, their families, careers, and love lives, which was practically unheard of since most of the cast were in their late 50s/early 60s. You had Dorothy Zbornak, a substitute English teacher and one of the most sarcastic individuals on the planet Earth. Rose Nylund, a grief counselor and later consumer advocate who means well but comes from St. Olaf, a bizarre town that can only be considered the cradle of stupidity. Blanche Deveraux, a museum worker living a fantasy she’s in her 40s while also being the most sexually active of the four women (and proud of it). Finally, there’s Sophia Petrillo, Dorothy’s 80-something acerbic mother who comes to live with the girls after her nursing home burns down. [JC: Fun fact: The theme song is where I first learned what the word “confidante” meant. Fun fact number two: I wasn’t allowed to watch Golden Girls when I was young because my mother considered it too immoral and anti-Christian. So imagine Kid & Tween JC, feeling super rebellious and badass watching this show about old ladies when my mom wasn’t around.]

[Wing: Note that Rose Nylund is the inimitable Betty Fucking White, long may she live.]

“The Case of the Libertine Belle” is one of my all-time favorite episodes, a final season affair that’s one of its best. As part of a museum function, Blanche organizes a weekend at a bed and breakfast hosting a murder mystery event. [Wing: I’ve always wanted to do a murder mystery event. Escape rooms, haunted houses, haunted farms, haunted pumpkin patches, ghost hunting, exploring abandoned places, all of that I’ve done. Murder mystery event? Alas, no.] She asks the girls to attend to help her get the discounted group rate.

Sophia: I thought hotels always gave you the group rate?

Rose: Yes sweetheart, but this is for the whole night.

Dorothy’s excited to attend being a mystery novel buff (which is the first we’ve ever heard of, but whatever) and she manages to astound everyone when she solves the mystery the first night there. Then things take a frightening turn when Kendall Nesbitt, Blanche’s superior at the museum, is found dead with a steak knife shoved through his chest in Blanche’s room!

A lot of you can probably see the twist coming a mile away [JC: It was Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick, duh!], but it doesn’t deter from the humor of the episode. The girls are in top form and deliver some of the best jokes in the entire series, up to Dorothy using Sophia as an unwilling demonstrator on how to slit someone’s throat as payback for Sophia’s wisecracking, Blanche’s desperate attempt to flirt with the police detective before she’s arrested, and a running gag where the fake detective and hotel security chief BOTH accurately guess Rose is a St. Olaf native, down to her neighborhood of origin.

One of my favorite lines involves Dorothy finally snapping at Sophia during her summation:

I still can’t believe this show never did a crossover with Murder, She Wrote. [JC: They were definitely giving Dorothy some Jessica Fletcher vibes here. The only question in this crossover is who Blanche would be trying to bang – Sheriff Metzger or Seth? . . . or . . . Grady . . . ?]

[Jude: Oh I think Blanche would’ve gone with Dennis Stanton if the episode’s murder focused on a connection to her job at the museum. She’d never date Metzger or Grady since they were married. I think Seth would get along better with Dorothy. Picture it, the two of them snarking off against one another and the girls realize they’ve found Dorothy’s male counterpart.]

Wheezin Ed
Wheezin Ed

Hey Arnold!: Wheezin’ Ed

Nick’s Hey Arnold regularly did episodes about urban legends and ghost stories that may or may not have been true, but my favorite out of all of them and the one I’m most keen to discuss was “Wheezin’ Ed.” An early season affair, it featured Arnold and his friends investigating claims of treasure being hidden in a cave on nearby Elk Island. The very same cave said to be haunted by a murderous gangster.

Told by Arnold’s best friend Gerald, the story of Wheezin’ Ed follows that he was a gangster who had a habit of ringing the throats of his victims. No one was sure what caused the wheezing sound he made, if he suffered from chronic head colds or if he had a chicken bone lodged in his throat. Many have tried to find the treasure Wheezin’ Ed buried somewhere in the caves of Elk Island. Most have failed, and some of them have, well, you don’t want to know.

SCREAM
SCREAM

Aside from the legitimate creepiness of Gerald’s storytelling and the artwork during the sequence, the episode itself ends on a rather ominous note. After discovering a couple of crooks were using the caves as their hideout to make counterfeit pennies (of all things), most of the kids assume there was never a treasure at all. Arnold’s not so sure…

And the final shot of the episode is of the entrance to the island cave, while a sinister, wheezing laugh can be heard deep inside.

Swat Kats: Ci-Kat-A Hive
Swat Kats: Ci-Kat-A Hive

Swat Kats: The Ci-Kat-A

Swat Kats was never one of my diehard faves as a kid, but I’d watch it if the show was on during its original run on Cartoon Network. I paid more direct attention to it when Boomerang aired reruns in the 2000s. Wing, you might particularly like to hear this, but an unmade episode from this show eventually evolved into Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. So if not for Swat Kats we wouldn’t have all those Scooby-Doo movies. [Wing: REALLY? Scooby Doo on Zombie Island is my favourite of them, too! I’ve even written a fic for it, which now that I think about it, I may have mentioned before, but here it is again anyway: Haunting Things (Real and Fake) about unrequited love and tempting monsters in the moonlight and how when you go home it’s never the same.]

Despite the cartoon’s EXTREME appearance, its creators genuinely tried to work on smart storytelling instead of mindless action sequences. One of the cartoon’s best elements is its strong and endearing female characters.

The premise of the show was about a planet inhabited by anthropomorphic cats. The titular Swat Kats, Razor and T-Bone (a.k.a. Jake and Chance), were two pilots previously employed by Megakat City’s Enforcers (their police equivalent). The two were kicked off the force after they were blamed for massive property damage by their boss, Commander Feral (despite that most of it happened because of him). Being forced to work off their debt in a junkyard, Jake and Chance decided to fight crime on their own and to make Feral look like an idiot. The Swat Kats’ most loyal ally is Deputy Mayor Callico “Callie” Briggs, the woman who’s pretty much running Megakat City by herself since the actual mayor’s too busy playing golf.

SCREAM
SCREAM

Despite my fair weather interest in the show’s original run, there was always one episode that stuck with me because of how terrifying it was.

Ci-Kat-A and Harley Street
Ci-Kat-A and Harley Street

“The Ci-Kat-A” was about an alien bug that hitched a ride back to Megakat City on an exploratory space probe. Astronomer Harley Street discovers some weird slime on the outer shell of the probe, at which point the bug emerges and bites him. Almost immediately Harley becomes a slave to the bug, his eyes turning insectoid as he helps infect the guards at the MASA base. If it hadn’t been for reporter Ann Gora discovering what was going on, Harley could’ve potentially helped the alien infect the populace at large.

Swat Kats: Callie Briggs and the Ci-Kat-As
Swat Kats: Callie Briggs and the Ci-Kat-As

The creepiest element about this episode is the way in which people slowly transform into giant bugs like the Ci-Kat-A (a name given to it by Chance). One bite is all it takes for a person to become its slave, and there’s no hope of being turned back. The eyes changing shape isn’t the end of the transformation.

Harley Street gradually becomes more buglike throughout the episode until he’s some horrible cat/insect amalgamation. His arms become spindly and his mouth turns into a set of pincers.

To make matters worse, NONE of the infectees are shown surviving the episode. Granted they’re just a bunch of nameless guards and pilots acting as cannon fodder, but it’s largely implied they get killed or destroyed offscreen. A potential sequel episode proved there’s no hope for them anyway. The creators wanted to bring Harley Street back for an episode where he teams up with Dr. Viper, one of the show’s reoccurring bad guys. This would’ve been well after the queen Ci-Kat-A was destroyed, but Harley’s STILL in her thrall and would’ve been trying to restore the Ci-Kat-As. Viper was gonna turn on him and mutate Harley further into a giant, scarab-like monstrosity.

Even when the queen bug gets destroyed, the infection doesn’t go away. You’re stuck like that, mindlessly devoted to a creature that’s long since died, FOREVER.

Knowing just a single bite was enough to destroy a person’s body and mind always made me uncomfortable, so the episode’s incredibly tense. [JC: Yeah, the thought of “Ope, there’s no cure, don’t get bit or you’ll turn into . . . something not you,” freaks me out as well. But on the cicada (or Ci-kat-a) front, as a midwesterner it amuses the hell out of me when I hear stories from people from other parts of the country (or world) who have just heard the unholy screeching of cicadas for the first time. For those unfamiliar, imagine the sound of a million panicked crickets fucking an ambulance siren while someone runs a rusty lawnmower in the background. Then imagine what the hellbeast that makes this cacophony must look like. Then watch this episode and imagine a world dominated by these things. Sleep tight!]

[Wing: I don’t mind cicadas, though I am not a fan of finding their shed exoskeletons (YUP, people unfamiliar, that is a thing they do), but they are so ubiquitous around here that them dominating the world is almost as terrifying as spiders.

That being said, while the one bite changes you forever thing is super tense and sometimes horrifying, it is also the inciting incident for a lot of werewolf stories, so I also love it. Of course, one of the things I love about werewolf stories is the body horror aspect that comes after the bite.]

So that’s it for the first time, and before anything else I guess I should try it.

C

Candlejack.

There, I typed it without replacing any of the letters and nothing happe

[JC: . . . jude?

JUDE?!

. . .

. . .

. . .

fuck.]

SCREAM
SCREAM

[Wing: Damn it, Candlejack, you said you’d let us keep writ]

1 thought on “Jude’s Favorite Scary TV Episodes of the 90s – Presented by Scream-O-Vision

  1. BMW was my favorite show in the 90s (other than The Simpsons.) Love that episode and how they truly captured a creepy vibe. Shawn and Angela were my favorite, the really romance of the show (Corey and Topanga were a given) so I was sad to hear Trina’s comments a few weeks back. I did watch the GMW revival and I have forsaken Shawn and Angela’s storylines as not canon lol.

    Darkwing Duck was so good. I just started rewatching it on Disney+ only to find a one-off villain who probably created my aversion to potato eyes. I watched the new Duck Tales first and Jim Cumming’s voice had such a strong sense of recognition – as did the Paddywack cameo – that I immediately went to DW after.

    I did not watch any of the other shows, mostly due to not having cable during the 90s.

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