Hmm. A horror cartoon is a first for me. I’m not a huge horror fan, though one of the homages in this series so far is to The Shining, one of my favorite movies, so I think I’m at least marginally equipped to write about this. Snowy the Frostman, an original series from online animation hub aniBoom, is a well-crafted, well-paced, fun and sometimes sick little cartoon from the mind of Samuel T. Nelson.
Nelson is the writer, animator, and does most of the voices for the series. He is also the designer and developer of the cartoon website, Ebolaworld. Now, if that site doesn’t give you an indication of the kind of humor that Nelson seems to gravitate toward, I don’t know what will.
Snowy the Frostman is the bizarro version of Frosty the Snowman. Snowy is a coldblooded killer (no pun intended), eating his way through main character Laurie’s friends in episode one, then stabbing her mom in the face in episode two and so on, until just about everyone in Laurie’s life is either maimed or dead.
I have to say that after the first episode, I was not in love with this show. It just felt dark and uncomfortable for me, Snowy is an anti-semite, he eats kids, and Laurie it seems at the end is kidnapped by a possible pedophile, Snowy’s version of the Jimmy Durante character from the Frosty the Snowman of yore. Okay, it sounds funny here, I admit, but watching it, it doesn’t work. What’s interesting is that originally Nelson saw episode one as a one-off on Christmas 2004. But the following year, as a lark, he did a second episode and basically began, according to him, one of his “most successful, awarding and profitable cartoons ever.”
So episode 2 “Snowy is Back” comes along and we meet Laurie’s disbelieving parents, then Dr. Lupus, a mysterious doctor who seems to know more than he should, and then, finally, the sheriff. And things somehow get funnier. The sheriff is just a complete retard with three teeth whose vocabulary consists of, ‘Dahhhh’, Laurie’s parents are blissfully ignorant and Dr. Lupus carries a nine-millimeter like it’s a stethoscope.
The other thing that happens here is that the premise of the show becomes clearer. And Nelson’s explanation that the first episode was at first a one-off now makes sense. Where in the first episode Snowy is eating people somewhat willy-nilly, the second episode gives us the doctor, that horror staple, the character who has inside info on the killer. And then the dumb sheriff shows up and I realize, “Oh, I’m in a horror movie here.” And finally the doc’s self-referential lines, “We should all discuss this matter…and leave your daughter all by herself and unattended,” nails it. This is a horror parody and at this point, though I haven’t noticed any references to any other movies, Nelson tells me he based the original premise on the Halloween movies.
And then by episode 5 “The Revenge of Snowy,” there are full-blown tips to The Empire Strikes Back (okay, not horror, but makes it parody nonetheless) and at least, Nightmare on Elm Street, right down to Freddy’s sweater on Snowy’s back. In fact, episode 6 and episode 7 “Blood Bath Parts 1 & 2” are so totally The Shining that Laurie’s new caretakers are named Aunt Shelley and Uncle Jack (Duvall and Nicholson for those of you not in-the-know).
The other interesting thing that happens here is that because of the nature of the premise, each episode leads into the next one and I found myself wanting to know what the hell was going to happen to these poor people. Even though it’s a parody, and as one character puts it in episode five, “There are like way too many plot holes here,” you can’t help but wonder will Laurie eventually destroy Snowy or vice versa? And you actually worry about her.
The animation is simple and clean, totally reminiscent of Frosty, the voices are spot-on and the writing is exactly what it should be, funny, well-structured and a good parody. I also have to say, the pacing is good and at about three and a half minutes an episode, there are no lulls. As an FYI, Nelson has a plan for just three more episodes. The next one comes out this Christmas. I am so scared.
If you’re a horror fan with a sick sense of humor, run don’t walk to this one. And if you’re an admirer of quality web work, animated or not, check it out, it’s well done. But if you’re like me, it may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it sucks. It just means maybe we’re too stupid to know what’s good for us. I say that so Snowy doesn’t butcher me in my sleep tonight.