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David Detiege
Bugs Bunny
Writing Credits:
- unknown -

The wascally wabbit encounters dimwitted witches and vacant vampires in this merry romp.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
French Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $14.97
Release Date: 9/7/2010

• Interactive Puzzle
• “Hare Raising Hare” Bonus Episode
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

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Bugs Bunny's Howl-Oween Special (1978)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 3, 2010)

Originally broadcast in 1978, this 2010 release marks the DVD debut of Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween Special. While he trick-or-treats, Bugs encounters Witch Hazel. She performs magic and mischief on Bugs and other pals such as Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzalez. Additional characters like Sylvester, Tweety and Porky Pig also appear.

Rather than create something new for viewers in 1978, Warner Bros. simply recycled bits and pieces of old shorts. Some new animation appears in an attempt to frame and connect the cartoons, but those moments don’t work well. The animation looks crummier, and even though Mel Blanc does the voices for all the old and “new” material, he doesn’t accurately replicate his earlier vocals; even without looking at the screen, Blanc’s delivery makes it abundantly obvious when we hit the “new” footage.

The “story” to Howl-Oween makes virtually no sense. First Hazel thinks Bugs is another witch, but then she realizes he isn’t… and the program becomes nothing more than a fairly random conglomeration of clips. Sure, it tries to link them and create a narrative, but it fails miserably. The show always feels like what it is: a loose compilation of cartoon snippets.

Perhaps Looney Tunes fans will hope that they can get some fun from those clips. Unfortunately, the editing renders any potential enjoyment moot. I’m sure that Howl-Oween boasts shorts that would amuse when seen in their entirety, but when butchered into little bits and pieces, they lose their power. Laughs are few and far between across the show’s 25 minutes.

Who thought this release of Howl-Oween was a good idea? Was there some pressure from Looney Tunes fans to get a decades-old piece of TV filler out on DVD? Maybe, but I can’t imagine there’s pent-up demand for this cheap piece of product. A compilation of horror/Halloween-themed shorts would be worthwhile, but a 25-minute butcher job is a waste of time.

The DVD Grades: Picture D/ Audio C-/ Bonus D+

Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween Special appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD. Due to those dimensions, the image has NOT been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a consistently ugly presentation.

Sharpness was adequate but no better. The show offered acceptable definition but lacked much real clarity. This was affected by noticeable edge haloes and all sorts of digital artifacts; mosquito noise was a particular problem. Jagged edges and shimmering weren’t an issue, but source flaws abounded. The program displayed frequent examples of specks, nicks, scratches, marks and lines.

Colors were mediocre at best. They tended to be too heavy and runny, so they lacked the vivacity and range I'd expect. Blacks were too dark, and shadows seemed lackluster. I doubt that WB put any work into this transfer; it looked like it simply got slapped onto a DVD without any attempts to make it attractive.

Similar issues affected the lifeless monaural soundtrack. The audio was clear but utterly without range. Speech probably fared best of all, as at least the lines were intelligible and without noticeable edginess.

Everything else was iffy. Effects lacked distortion but also failed to display any vivacity and seemed bland and thin. Music came across the same way, as the score was feeble and flat. While I didn’t expect sonic fireworks, I thought I’d get something more impressive than this.

Only a handful of extras appear here. An Interactive Puzzle requires you to put together DVD-based jigsaws. These are exceedingly simple and not much fun. If you complete them, you get to see clips from the show you’ve already watched. Whee!

We also get a bonus short. In Hair-Raising Hare (7:40), an evil scientist tries to lure Bugs to his lair so his horrible monster can eat the rabbit. Naturally, Bugs prefers to avoid this fate. This is the definition of a classic cartoon and one of the all-time greats.

The disc opens with ads for Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes and the Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Swamp videogame. The DVD also throws in a promo for KidsWB.com.

When it first aired 32 years ago, Bugs Bunny’s Howl-Oween Special was cheap filler, and it hasn’t improved with age. The program simply packages a lot of cartoon snippets into a show that’s less than the sum of its parts. The DVD provides poor picture quality, drab audio and minor supplements. Even with a bargain list price, Howl-Oween doesn’t deserve your money.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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