Mickey, Popeye and more get spooked in 15 classic creepy cartoons

Contributed by
Dec 17, 2012

We love zombie makeup and buckets of corn-syrup blood as much as the next gaggle of horror fans, but sometimes all it takes to give us a little dose of creepiness is a cool old cartoon. So for the 14th installment in our 31 Days of Halloween series, we present a few of our favorites.

The Skeleton Dance (1929)

Directed by Walt Disney and animated by his Mickey Mouse co-creator Ub Iwerks, this creepy short is the very first in Disney's long-running Silly Symphonies series.

The Devil's Ball (1933)

Terry Gilliam called this stop-motion freakshow by the legendary Vladislav Starevich one of the greatest animated films ever made. You can see why.

Shiver Me Timbers (1934)

Spinach or no spinach, even Popeye gets creeped out when he stumbles upon this rather ghostly shipwreck.

The Mad Doctor (1933)

When a mad scientist kidnaps Pluto, it's up to Mickey to venture into the doctor's creepy castle to get him back. Apparently this one was a bit too scary for a Mickey cartoon, so some theaters refused to show it to kids.

Haunted House (1929)

Mickey takes shelter from a storm in a creepy old house, and winds up forced to play along with the frolicking of a gaggle of ghosts.

The Tell-Tale Heart (1953)

Highlighted by remarkably atmospheric animation and James Mason's extra-spooky narration, this might just be the scariest Edgar Allan Poe adaptation ever put on film.

Hell's Bells (1929)

Disney was really into the creepy stuff in the early years. "The Skeleton Dance" (listed above) was the first Silly Symphony, and this one, released in the same year, was the fourth.

Magic Mummy (1933)

Before that cat-and-mouse duo ever existed, Tom and Jerry were a couple of regular Joes appearing in short cartoons from the Van Beuren Studios. Here they investigated the theft of a mummy, and got way more than they bargained for.

Wot a Night (1931)

Two years earlier, the same Tom and Jerry (in their very first adventure) were cab drivers who found themselves in the middle of an adventure that proves (to us at least) that people in the late '20s and early '30s just really couldn't get enough dancing skeletons in their cartoons.

Night on Bald Mountain (From Fantasia, 1940)

Though it's not a short film, but rather a segment of a feature-length anthology, "Night on Bald Mountain" is for many the gold standard of scary cartoons. It's got everything: demons, ghosts, shadows, fire and booming music by the great Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky.

Scrappy's Ghost Story (1935)

Here's one that should remind us all how effective a simple white-sheeted ghost can be.

Betty Boop's Hallowe'en Party (1933)

Betty just wants to have a fun Halloween bash, but of course a monster has to crash the party.

Felix the Ghost Breaker (1923)

In the oldest film on our list, and the first Felix the Cat short of 1923, silent-era Felix has some spooky spirits to drive off.

Ko-Ko's Haunted House (1928)

In this classic installment from Max Fleischer's Out of the Inkwell series of animated shorts, Ko-Ko the Clown must navigate a haunted house so terrifying it literally makes him jump out of his skin.

Spooks (1931)

After a falling-out with Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse co-creator Ub Iwerks moved to Celebrity Pictures, where he introduced Flip the Frog. Here's Flip navigating a haunted house that includes, among other things, a very bony dog. And yes, more dancing skeletons.

And here's a complete list of all 31 Days of Halloween features:

9 zombie-killing ladies we want on our side during the apocalypse

11 custom coffins perfect for any sci-fi fan's final collectible

12 movie and TV haunted houses we wouldn't mind moving into

10 unsettlingly scary movies in which everyone dies at the end

8 undead animals prove reanimation ain't always such a good idea

14 timeless literary classics mashed up into creepy horror tales

Nosferatu + 13 more classic silent horror films you can watch NOW

Gruesome Halloween costume ideas from 25 terrifying cosplayers

12 deadly TV psychos we should hate (but secretly love)

11 weird zombie-killing weapons that'll destroy the undead with style

15 Lovecraftian stories to read once you've read all of Lovecraft

Watch 9 over-the-top horror movie performances by Star Trek stars

11 zombies it hurt to kill because we loved them so much

Mickey, Popeye and more get spooked in 15 classic creepy cartoons

20 horrifying, hilarious Halloween T-shirts better than costumes

11 great, gory vampire kills from horror movies and TV

Dracula's Dog + 8 more WTF movies about the Prince of Darkness

15 awesomely horrific Game of Thrones deaths (+ a bonus LOL one)

Batman, Iron Man + 22 more superhero-carved Halloween pumpkins

8 horror movies inspired by Native American myths and legends

Beetlejuice, Slimer + 9 more goofy ghosts from horror films and TV

12 most annoyingly useless horror movie authority figures

13 horrific Kickstarter projects you can help fund before Halloween

12 gruesome horror scenes where someone loses a head

Chomp down on 23 awesomely revolting zombie comic book covers

9 spooky body mods that'll put your Halloween costume to shame

14 annoying horror movie victims we were actually glad to see die

9 over-the-top horror films so disgusting they got banned

Check out 13 scary move trailers that still freak us out

25 creepy cosplayers who should be horrific but are sexy instead

See Harrison Ford + 18 more sci-fi celebs in Halloween costumes

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