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DreamWorks Spooky Stories includes: Shrek: The Pig Who Cried Wolf, Monsters vs Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots, Shrek: The Ghost of Lord Farquaad, Scared Shrekless, Monsters vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins and Shrek's Thrilling Tales.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 77 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 8/28/2012

• “Night of the Living Carrots” Pop-Ups
• “World of DreamWorks Animation”
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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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DreamWorks Spooky Stories [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 22, 2012)

Aimed at the Halloween crowd, DreamWorks Spooky Stories takes some of the studio’s animated characters and casts them in scary tales. We get six shorts in this compilation:

Thriller: Donkey (voiced by Dean Edwards) leads Shrek (Michael Gough) and the gang on their version of the Michael Jackson classic. Almost 30 years after its release, “Thriller” may be the most parodied music video of all-time. Does Shrek bring anything fresh to it? Not really. It’s cute to see the Shrek crew do the “Thriller” shtick but the short lacks real inspiration.

Scared Shrekless: Shrek (here voiced by Mike Myers), Donkey and the others tell scary stories to win the title of “King of Halloween”. After the lackluster “Thriller”, the package rebounds with “Shrekless”. All three of its mini-sequences offer entertainment, though Gingy’s tale of romantic woe works best. Shrek’s Exorcist parody comes a close second and helps make this a fun trilogy.

The Pig Who Cried Werewolf: Heimlich the Pig (Sean Bishop) gets a reputation as an alarmist, so no one believes him when he claims that the new wolf next door (Aron Warner) is up to no good. While it uses “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” as obvious inspiration, the short also works in Rear Window to good effect. Nothing here seems quite as amusing as the tales of “Shrekless”, but it gives us a decent Hitchcock parody.

Monsters Vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space: Aliens invade Modesto and infiltrate the town with free pumpkins; the heroic team of monsters needs to save the day. I wasn’t wild about MvA as a film, and this short reminds me why. While it has some entertainment value, it never quite lives up to the promise of its clever premise. Still, it’s reasonably enjoyable.

Night of the Living Carrots: A sequel to “Pumpkins”, this one takes us back to Modesto as we see the monsters battle mutant zombie carrots. “Night” comes with the same strengths and weaknesses as “Pumpkins”, though it’s probably a little more fun, largely because it’s faster paced. Like its predecessor, it comes with some laughs but isn’t a great piece.

The Ghost of Lord Farquaad: Minions kidnap Fiona (Cameron Diaz), which leads Shrek (Myers again) and Donkey (here voiced by Eddie Murphy) on a chase – and a confrontation with a phantom Farquaad (John Lithgow). Originally created for the “Shrek 4D” theme park attraction, “Ghost” doesn’t work quite as well outside of that setting, especially given the absence of 3D; the short opts for so many “in your face” effects that it tends to look a bit goofy without 3D. It does have bring us some minor comedy, and it’s nice to have on home video as an archival piece; it doesn’t replace the original attraction but it’s cool in its own way.

While the quality of the Spooky Stories can be hit or miss, this is still a generally fun compilation. At worst, the shorts remain enjoyable, and some are quite good. This seems like a fine Halloween option.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus D

DreamWorks Spooky Stories appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. (“The Ghost of Lord Farquaad” is 2.35:1, however.) From start to finish, this was a stellar presentation.

Sharpness appeared terrific. No matter how wide the shots became, they always seemed crisp and detailed. I witnessed no examples of jaggies or shimmering, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. As expected, source flaws also remained absent in this clean transfer.

To fit the Halloween motif, Spooky offered a palette that favored oranges and greens. The colors were consistently well-represented and looked solid. Black levels also appeared dense and deep, and shadow detail was solid. I felt totally pleased with this terrific presentation.

While not quite as strong as the picture, the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Spooky Stories also seemed positive. . The mix presented an involving soundstage in which the front three channels were especially active, with solid spatial orientation and smooth panning between speakers. The rear speakers got a nice workout, especially in the many scare sequences; those used the various channels in a lively fashion.

Audio quality appeared strong. Dialogue remained distinct and natural and suffered from no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. The score was warm and rich, as the music showed fine dimensionality and dynamics. The effects also came across as concise and accurate. They presented clean highs and some terrific lows; bass response was consistently tight and powerful without any distortion. All in all, the audio of Spooky seemed impressive.

Only a few extras fill out the set. Alongside the “Night of the Living Carrots” short (12:30), you can view it with Pop-Ups. That means trivia blurbs that we view alongside the cartoon. These notes combine little jokes and little factoids about zombie movies and related topics. The jokes dominate and make this a cute but semi-pointless feature.

Under World of DreamWorks Animation, we get elements related to other movies. We get a mix of music videos and advertisements in this forgettable collection.

The Blu-ray opens with ads for Rise of the Guardians and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. These also appear under Previews.

On a second disc, we get a DVD Copy of Spooky Stories. This delivers a retail version with some of the Blu-ray’s extras.

While it probably won’t become a Halloween classic, DreamWorks Spooky Stories offers some good entertainment. The shorts vary in quality but are always at least moderately enjoyable. The Blu-ray provides excellent visuals and solid audio but skimps on supplements. That means the disc’s nearly $27 list price seems a little steep for what you get, but if you think you’ll want to watch it every October, it’s worth the money.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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