Lionsgate // 1983 // 74 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ike Oden (Retired) // September 19th, 2010
"Face it, Wembley, I'm an expert in fear."
Fraggle Rock will now and forever be remembered as a perennial classic of Jim Henson's 1980s output. While not quite the pop cultural, merchandising phenomenon The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, or even Labyrinth have become; the Fraggle gang have cemented their place in the hearts of any Muppet fan old enough to remember them.
I have to admit that I'm barely a part of said demographic, having been two years old when the show finally went off the air. Sure, growing up I caught re-runs here and there or watched the handful of episodes my parents had taped from the original airing, but beyond a warm rush of hard-to-define nostalgia at the sight of the cave-dwelling Muppets, most of those memories have long since been erased from my mental hard drive.
After screening the disc under review, I'm reminded exactly what I was missing.
Courtesy of Lionsgate, Fraggle Rock: Scared Silly gives us three of the spookier episodes from the series to delight Fraggle fans old and new, just in time for Halloween:
* "Scared Silly"
The no-eyed, anti-social (as anti-social Fraggles get, anyway) Boober decides to try a tail flaring experiment by scaring his fellow Fraggles, using the cowardly Wembley as his key test subject. After countless frights, Wembley decided to exact some cold-blooded revenge (as cold-blooded as Fraggles get, anyway).
* "Terrible Tunnel"
When Wembley accidentally wanders into the fabled, titular haunted tunnel, none of his Fraggle co-horts believe him...until they experience it for themselves! Can Wimbley find the Fragtestinal fortitude to face down the monstrous corridor and save his friends?
* "The Dark and Stormy Night"
Bored with having mapped the bulk of Fraggle Rock, Gobo decided to sneak into the gigantic Gorge family castle while they're away for the weekend. Of course, Red, Boober, Mokey, and Wimbley inexplicably tag along, only to find Junior has been left alone for the weekend by his parents and is hopped up on hallucinogenic popcorn (I'm totally serious).
While the title episode distinguished itself as the most, shall we say, "Halloween-y," of the bunch, there isn't a weak episode here. There's a certain Wimbley-centric emphasis that takes the attention off the other Fraggles (Mokey is given little to do), but that's less the fault of the episodes in question and more the fault of Lionsgate for giving us a scant trio of episodes to work with. Yes, the entries are all scare oriented, but couldn't you throw us a few more episodes? Six would be acceptable, twelve would be preferable, but three is hardly a compilation (especially when the entire series is currently available on DVD).
Instead of more Fraggle Rock, we're given bonus episodes of Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series and Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky and Jake.
The animated series is a tolerable imitation of the real deal, carrying over the spirit and characters of the show while watering down the script and level of detail of Fraggle Rock. The episode featured is more or less a remake of "Terrible Tunnel" with a shadowy monster instead of a...well, terrible tunnel. It'll pass twenty minutes with your kids, if they're that crazy about the show.
Animal Show might be the most absolutely boring Jim Henson production I've ever seen. Like a bad synthesis of Wild Kingdom and Sesame Street, the show uses animal muppets (hosts Stinky and Jake are a skunk and polar bear, respectively) and nature documentary footage to educate kids about animals. The humor is condescending, the characters generic as any public television Muppet knockoff, and the animal footage is a chore to sit through. Also, the songs are godawful. Ever want to hear a Mole Muppet sing about his love of digging? Here's the show for you.
Perhaps these bonus programs wouldn't look so bad if they weren't trying to compliment the greatness that is Fraggle Rock. The songs are wonderful, the jokes are consistently funny, the characters are endearing -- Fraggle Rock is everything you could want in all-ages entertainment. I just wish there was more here to enjoy. As is, I can hardly recommend purchasing Scared Silly unless you're really hard up for some quality Halloween-entertainment to watch with the family. And heck, isn't that what Rob Zombie movies are for?
The fullscreen video quality is pretty good, considering the age of the source material -- a little fuzzy, especially in the intro, but then, so were the '80s. The stereo mix does its job, sounds clear and that's all we can ask of it. A bonus "Fraggle Rock" sing-along of "The Ballad of Sir Blunderbrain and the Terrible Tunnel" is included, if you and your kids are into awesome Fraggle folk music. I know mine are.
Guilty of being a weak compilation, but I've already danced my cares away, so, y'know, its cool.
Review content copyright © 2010 Ike Oden; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 74 Minutes
Release Year: 1983
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Bonus Episodes
* Official Site