A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pac's Scary Halloween is a 2016 short feature in which Pac and his friends have a frightening Halloween night in the castle of Count Packenstein. There's some potty humor involving flatulence, belching, and a character named "Dr. Buttocks." There's some demonic imagery of ghosts. Sensitive younger kids may find the tale too scary; older kids are likely to find the plot too simplistic. The entire production is cliched and bland, right down to Pac Man now sounding like a "cool" college kid.
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What's the story?
In PAC'S SCARY HALLOWEEN, Pac and his friends Spiral and Cyli go to a Halloween dinner in the castle of Count Pacenstein. While they assume this to be a friendly affair, they soon discover that Pacenstein has ulterior motives. After a bountiful feast, Spiral and Cyli awaken to find themselves locked in a jail cell, and Pac is tied down in a laboratory, where Pacenstein is intending to put his brain into Pac's body and leave Pac's brain floating in a jar of formaldehyde. When the switch proves successful, Pacenstein begins to wreak havoc at other Halloween parties, and Pacenstein inspires so much loathing that even the ghosts who usually chase Pac, as well as Count Pacula, team up with Spiral and Cyli to stop Pacenstein once and for all, and give Pac his brain once again.
Is it any good?
For Halloween fare, this movie brings nothing new. It's a layering of bland cliches -- even the voices of Pac and his "cool" college friends have been done for decades in one form or another -- as well as potty humor and a holiday storyline as unoriginal as they come. What had potential to be something entertaining and even funny for the whole family just feels lazy and shoddy, right down to the various Pac-themed renaming of familiar scary characters, Count Pacula and Dr Pacenstein, for instance.
While older kids will be put off by the obvious attempts to appeal to a younger audience, the humor as well as the demonic looks of some of the ghosts might be oft-putting to younger kids. It's not even that Pac's Scary Halloween is bad so much as it's boring and formulaic. Nothing out of the ordinary really happens. With all this taken into consideration, perhaps it's best to just keep Pac Man where he's most at home -- on video game screens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Halloween cartoons. How is Pac's Scary Halloween similar to and different from other Halloween specials?
Did the jokes concerning bodily functions seem necessary to the story, or were they put in as an attempt to get easy laughs, especially from younger kids?
Pac Man has been around for decades. Why do you think this character is still popular?
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