A few years back, there was a decent little cartoon show called House of Mouse, featuring Mickey Mouse and company running a nightclub where the customers were all characters from Disney cartoons and movies both past and present. While not as good as the classic Disney shorts, it wasn’t bad, and it spawned two direct-to-DVD movies: Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in a the House of Mouse, and the Halloween-themed Mickey’s House of Villains. Let’s take a look at the latter, shall we?
In House of Villains, Mickey and the gang are preparing for a great Halloween bash at the House of Mouse, unaware that the likes of Jafar, Hades, and Ursula are planning their own takeover of the club. Why exactly a group of fantasy supervillains would concern themselves with taking over a nightclub isn’t exactly clear, but what the heck, it’s Halloween.
Like both the TV show and the Christmas movie, the format of this film follows the A-plot (the villain takeover) wrapped around a series of cartoon shorts, both new and old. The new shorts aren’t bad – ones with Goofy learning how to haunt a house and the ducks trick-or-treating are particularly good. What really makes me a fan of this flick, though, are the classic shorts included here. Lonesome Ghosts – featuring Mickey, Donald and Goofy as the original Ghostbusters. Trick or Treat, in which the nephews team up with Witch Hazel to get their Uncle Donald (Hazel, of course, being voiced by the immortal June Foray). Donald and the Gorilla, an underappreciated classic starring the ducks in battle with a crazed escapee from the zoo. I’ve loved these shorts ever since the old Disney’s Halloween Treat special they used to show on the Disney Channel in the early 80s. Does anyone remember that cartoon? Can anyone find a copy?
Anyway, people who get this movie to see antics of Captain Hook, Jafar and company will be a little disappointed. Although the villain takeover plot is what gets the cover art of the disc, it’s really only a small part of the film. They mention it briefly at the beginning, then after showing several shorts they actually do it, then our heroes beat ‘em. Even the much-advertised new musical number, “It’s Our House Now,“ isn’t really much to write home about.
But the oldies more than make up for the deficiencies. Until Disney’s Halloween Treat is made available on DVD (are you reading this Disney? I swear, the market is there) this is the best place to get some really awesome old-school Disney cartoons that are just perfect for the Halloween season.