The 90’s were an amazing time to be a kid. That decade gave us Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Fox Kids and the golden age of Disney. Not to mention some of the most memorable and iconic games, movies and TV shows.
Horror-wise there weren’t any overly-spectacular movies, since CGI was still pretty bad and buckets of blood and gore are only scary in the first 5-10 movies. TV scenes had much better luck in these genres with the X-Files, Twin Peaks, Goosebumps, Tales from the Crypt and the like. This also includes some of the boldest cartoons of that era.
Stone statues coming to life after the sun goes down was the idea that scared me quite a bit as a kid. Even vampires weren’t as creepy, as realizing that the statue behind your back can grab you and you’re done. ‘Gargoyles’ was and still is an incredibly solid piece of Disney entertainment that has been cancelled too soon. After only 3 seasons ‘Gargoyles’ delivered some of the most iconic characters on par with Power Rangers, X-Men and even Spider-Man. It’s a super-fun series about adventures, honor and betrayal, wrapped up in a nice gothic-themed action-packed animation bundle. The series had a few animated features and even got its own comic title. 11/10 I highly recommend picking it up for your kids (or yourself).
Godzilla: The Series (1998-2000)
Who is the King of Monsters? You got it – Godzilla! While the 1998 Godzilla movie was pretty much just a big flop, the cartoon, following up the events of the said movie, was a real gem. Basically, the scientist dude tames a 60 ft-tall baby Godzilla and they travel the world destroying freaky giant monsters with atomic breath, massive lizard jaws and science! It does not get any better than this. Definitely one of my favorite teen memories.
The Real Ghostbusters (1986-1991)
Ghostbusters is a franchise that you simply can’t mess up. The movies were amazing, the comic books are oh-so-good, and the mostly-80’s cartoon is also a hit. I’ve caught most of the episodes long after it ended but it was still in the 90’s. Ghosts, spirits, boogeymen, phantoms, elder gods, and, of course, Slimer. Best mascot character ever!
The Addams Family (1992-1993)
You still can hear the theme song playing in your head, don’t you? It’s, like, I have no idea where I left my keys this morning, but hey, here’s that 20-year-old song from a cartoon you have not seen in years! Brains, how do they work? Speaking of unexplained mysteries, how come a family of psychotic BDSM characters can afford that huge house without pawning all of their freaky items and monsters? Oh well, common sense and cartoons don’t usually go hand in hand. If the Addams Family movie was a bit too creepy for you back in the day, the animated show was much more lighthearted and a bit more colorful, while still maintaining that dark brand of humor. Too bad it only lasted 1 season.
Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! … It never works.
Here’s another spin-off that turned out to be really great, despite a few differences between the cartoon and the movie. We got to explore the “Neitherworld” a bit more, and get a chance to see all the weird creatures living there. The cartoon was a lot more kid-friendly than the movie, but just as gross. After all, you can’t have Beetlejuice without actual “beetle juice”, right?
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (1994-1997)
Back in the 90’s Nickelodeon was a whole lot different than now. The shows were much wackier, edgier, and, generally, more fun, IMHO. Remember the Rugrats, Hey Arnold or the mind-altering Rocko’s Modern Life? Yeah, those were the good old days. Way before Pixar did their Monsters Inc., we had “Aaaaah! Real Monsters”, showing us the shenanigans of 3 young nail-eating monsters, learning how to scare people. It’s creepy, it’s gross, it develops imagination, and those character designs, oh my god!
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1990-1991)
To conclude my list, here’s probably one of the oddest choices for a cartoon (at least in my opinion). This animated series is a spin-off of the “horror” monster movies from the early 80’s and it’s exactly what you’d think it is – killer tomatoes murdering people on the streets. As if kids needed any more reasons to hate veggies! Naturally, nobody’s getting killed, since it’s a cartoon, but at least they attack! It is bizarre, at times you’ll be questioning your sanity and the mental state of the creators, but all in all, it’s worth checking out, even if it’s just for the morbid curiosity.