Famous Studios' cartoons are not for all tastes, but my opinion is that their early stuff and some of the early 50s output are good. While they were very formulaic they were always well animated and voiced with some funny parts, some poignancy and decent characters and their regular composer Winston Sharples could always be relied on to write a great and often outstanding score.
Admittedly though, by the mid-50s through to the late-60s Famous Studios' cartoons did get repetitive. While Sharples' music still shone and the voice actors did their best the animation suffered due to lower budgets and tighter deadlines, the humour became more tired and slow in timing than sharp and funny, the stories became increasingly predictable and rehashed and some characters started losing their initial spark, this is particularly true of most of the later Herman and Katnip cartoons.
This does look like a copying and pasting of some of my previous reviews for the Casper the Friendly cartoons, but this is largely due to that they mostly have the same strengths and the same faults. 'Frightday the 13th' is very nice and very decent, if not among the best Casper cartoons, do prefer the earlier efforts. It is also more cute than spooky, the spookiest it gets is the opening and even that's mild, which some will find disappointing.
Certainly nowhere near among the worst of Famous Studios' output, being closer to the quality of their early cartoons while showing a couple of signs of what would happen later. Story-wise, while very sweet and touching often, it is repetitive and very more of the same (the ghosts going off to scare while Casper finds a friend, people or animals being afraid and running away from him, making a friend and then saving them from a life or death situation), if you have seen any Casper cartoon it won't take long seeing more that you're watching basically the same story or structure but with variations. The dialogue also falls on the wrong side of twee and out of all the things when thinking about 'Frightday the 13th' it is the dialogue here that is the least memorable.
The animation on the whole was well done. Thankfully being closer to the very fluid and detailed animation style of the early output rather than the sparser and flatter style of the studio's later cartoons. The colours are vibrant and atmospheric, it mostly looks smooth and the backgrounds are meticulous in their detail. Winston Sharples' music score here is typically merry and whimsical, it's beautifully orchestrated, energetic and adds so much to the mood, his music has always been one of the best assets of the Famous Studios cartoons and it's not an exception here.
Writing is gentle and sweet if never that funny. The reactions towards Casper are nice and varied with some imaginative visuals, especially the robin's reaction. The friendship between Casper and the kitten is adorable and touching, and the voice acting strong. The climax also has a sense of urgency and intensity, even if you know what's going to happen.
Overall, more cute than spooky but a decent cartoon. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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