Just in time for Halloween, Warner Archive has released the first MOD DVD volume collecting The Flintstones‘ Prime-Time Specials, which most prominently includes “The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone” (1980) Each of the two specials featured herein boast a running time of 50 minutes, making this well worth the $14.95 price tag, especially with the horror-themed “Rockula and Frankenstone” as part of the package. The similarly horror-themed “Flintstones’ New Neighbors” special (also from ’80) would have been a better pairing for “Rockula and Frankenstone” than “The Flintstones’ Little Big League” (1978), which is the second special here. However, splitting up the horror specials makes sense to me given that it ensures those die-hard horror but passing Flintstones fans such as myself add multiple volumes to their collection. (“The Flintstones’ New Neighbors” indeed serves as the centerpiece to Volume 2.) Sure, that’s an incredibly specific market to be appealing to, but take it where you can get it!
In “Rockula and Frankenstone,” Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty travel to Rocksylvania for a weekend of leisure and partying in Count Rockula’s castle, which has been converted into a tourist trap hotel. When Fred and Barney unwittingly stir Rockula and the Frankenstone monster from their 500-year slumber, the modern Stone Age couples must flee from the monstrous pair in a fast-paced, madcap flight for their lives. The second, and final, special here, “The Flintstones’ Little Big League,” finds Fred and Barney coaching opposing little league teams, a rivalry which pits the Flintstones and the Rubbles against each other much to chagrin of Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and their mothers.
While “Little Big League” is certainly more narratively complex, and perhaps more successful in that respect, than “Rockula and Frankenstone,” I vastly prefer the latter. The visual atmosphere of this special captures that of many horror films of the era with surprising accuracy, in no small part due to its color scheme. Moreover, there’s a bit where Barney dons a ridiculously large werewolf mask that just slays me! There’s something infectiously hilarious about the image. All he has to do is stand there and I lose it. There’s also a really random musical number about how winning isn’t everything in the climax of “Little Big League” that puts me off of the whole affair. After all, it sets the special up for something of a cop-out ending.
As for the release itself, it is predictably bereft of special features, being an MOD DVD. And whilst the elements sourced here indeed show some wear, the picture has actually held up incredibly well overall. You’ll no doubt be surprised by how incredibly vibrant the colors are throughout.