in Shocktober

The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone

Airdate: October 30, 1979

Look, I don’t need to pretend that I put a lot of thought into picking this Flintstones special to review, since this year was more about having fun with Shocktober. I basically just chose The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone because of its silly title. So it should come as no surprise that I more or less got what I was asking for here. It’s a special that feels a little lazy and a little too removed from The Flintstones early ’60s heyday, but it’s still a little amusing to watch these characters get into some by-the-numbers Halloween hijinks. To quote many a prehistoric bird, it’s a living.

This special starts off with a very Flintstone-esque reminder that Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty live in the stoneage, but also a weird version of the ’50s. Or in this case, the ’70s, judging from occasional generic funk music you hear on the soundtrack. You see, they all get dressed up for Halloween and head to a TV show taping of “Let’s Make A Deal or Don’t”. Despite getting teased by both Barney and the show’s host for his chicken costume, Fred ends up winning the grand prize. It’s a trip to Rocksylvania, which doesn’t feel like the most inspired Stoneage pun, but as I’ve already mentioned, I don’t know if anyone (other than maybe the voice cast) was trying all that hard on this one.

The vacation is supposed to be at this castle that once belonged to Count Rockula but has now been turned into a tourist resort. Hmmm… wonder if that’s an idea that could one day be expanded on. Anyways, after a bit of partying at the hotel, Fred and Barney stumble into Rockula’s secret lab in the lower levels of the castle where a dormant Frankenstone appears to be hibernating. A bolt of lightning then strikes the castle and Frankenstone comes to life before also awakening Rockula from his 500-year slumber.

In what I suppose makes sense for a Dracula-type character, Rockula’s aim is make Wilma his bride. Fred and Wilma obviously aren’t too keen on that, so from there, there’s mostly a bunch of running around the castle being chased by Rockula and Frankenstone before the Flintstones and Rubbles escape. Rockula then follows them by flying back to Bedrock (as a bat), but Wilma is able to make him regret his courtship after nagging him about all the different chores he’d have to do as her husband. Marriage, am I right?

Really the biggest question I have in terms of this special is… why The Flintstones? This special feels like it really could have plopped any popular cartoon characters into this spooky castle setting and would have been basically just as enjoyable. There’s nothing all that specific to living in the stone age here, other than the occasional rock pun. Though I suppose it is a little unique for a cartoon to explore the fact that the two married couples starring in it have this kind of dynamic where they keep having to bail each other out for getting in trouble. Also, it is fun how much everyone pokes fun at Fred for being a schmuck.

What feels even less inspired is Rockula and Frankenstone. There’s literally nothing that separates these guys from any other riff on Dracula or Frankenstone other than their dumb names. Which to be fair, they got a lot of mileage out of if it was enough to convince a grown man to watch this 40-year-old cartoon special. I wouldn’t say I’ve seen a ton of The Flintstones TV show, and certainly haven’t seen any of it recently to compare it to this special. Though either way, I have to imagine this wasn’t anything more than a cashgrab considering how long it came out after the original series run, though it seems like the Flintstones property did stay relevant for a surprisingly long time. However, considering there haven’t been any successful reboots in recent years, it might be at the point where it’s been banished to the stone age.