I love cartoons. I always have. I’m like a big kid sometimes. My son and I love to snuggle together to watch cartoons. He likes a lot of the same kinds of shows that I do. But then there are those cartoons that just aren’t made for kids, despite the fact that they’re animated. Some of them are so bloody, so violent, and sometimes they even have nudity and foul language. I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t mean that I want my kid to watch a demon crawling it’s way out of hell to eat a naked girl. Not at 4 years old, hehe. Those kinds of cartoons are definitely made for adults. Some cartoons have jokes aimed at adults (like Shrek), but on the whole, the movie is still very kid friendly, and generally aimed at them. The cartoons in this list, however, were never intended for children at all. You’ll notice that there’s only one anime on this list, despite the fact that I could fill 10 lists, or more, with animes, since they’re often very violent. But I’ve never really been a fan of anime, I’ve only seen a handful of them, and even if the story is interesting, I just can’t seem to stay interested long enough to finish it. But anyways, I’m veering away from the topic at hand here. Let’s get this list going.
10 – Heavy Metal
(1981) Richard Romanus, Jackie Burroughs, John Candy, Don Francks, Eugene Levy, Susan Roman, Harold Ramis, Rodger Bumpass and Marilyn Lightstone
This film came out the year I was born, so obviously I didn’t see it right when It came out. I saw it sometime in my teens, I think, and only once, so I don’t remember much of it. But I do remember enjoying it, even if I don’t remember the details, and really, I can’t have a list of cartoons for adults without this one. It’s the one most people think of first when they hear “cartoons for adults”, so even if I’d never seen it, I’d still have to put it in, hehe.
9 – Rocko’s Modern Life
(1993-1996) Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Charles Adler, Mr Lawrence and Linda Wallem
Rocko’s Modern Life is a crazy cartoon that was on YTV when I was a kid. The show wasn’t technically aimed at adults, but it’s so weird and a lot of the jokes are adult themed, so, even though I watched it as a kid, I may not want my own kid to watch it until he’s well into his teens. Re-watching it as an adult, I understood the “nudge nudge wink wink” of the Chokey Chicken, which, at 12 or 13 years old, flew right over my head. It’s kind of in the same vein as cartoons such as Ren & Stimpy and Beavis and Butthead, except that this one is actually funny and entertaining, and not just stupid and gross.
8 – Hellsing
(2001) Crispin Freeman, KT Gray, Victoria Harwood, Steven Brand, Ralph Lister, Michael Parker and JB Blanc
As one of the very few animes I’ve even seen, never mind liked, it’s unsurprising that it’s about vampires. In fact, all the animes I like best are about vampires, or at least demons. I saw this when it first came out, so I don’t actually remember a whole lot of what was going on, but I do remember that it was bloody, violent and awesome. And that’s all I need to know :-p
7 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
(1993) Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page, Ed Ivory, Susan McBride and Danny Elfman
When I first saw this film as a kid, I’ve got to admit that I was less than impressed. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t quite like it either. But when I saw it again years later, I realized that, as an adult now, I was enjoying it much more then when I’d seen it when I was 12. So either my tastes changed over the years, or it really was an animated film aimed at a slightly older audience, hehe. It’s still not one of my absolute favourites, but quite enjoyable all the same.
6 – Invader Zim
(2001 – 2006) Richard Steven Horvitz, Andy Berman, Rosearik Rikki Simons, Melissa Fahn, Rodger Bumpass, Lucille Bliss, Mo Collins and Jhonen Vasquez
From the incredibly twisted mind of Jhonen Vasquez (who also brought us such gems as Squee and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac), this insanely funny cartoon can only be described as exactly that: crazy. I saw it for the first time at a friend’s house party. We were all pretty wasted by the time the host decided to put this cartoon on, and I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in my life. And re-watching it again when I was sober proved that it really is good, and not just something to laugh at while drunk. Gir has to be one of the cutest and most hilarious little cartoons to ever hit the screen. He’s not stupid, he’s advanced!
5 – Cool World
(1992) Kim Basinger, Brad Pitt, Gabriel Byrne, Michele Abrams, Deirdre O’Connell, Charlie Adler, Carrie Hamilton and Maurice LaMarche
Until a few years ago, I was sure that this film was one of those classics that everyone loved, in the same vein as Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and other zany films. But over time of seeing it talked about online, I’ve come realize that there are a heck of a lot more people who hate this film than those that like it. And I don’t really understand why. I think it’s awesome! No, it’s not a “perfect” film, but I had lots of fun watching it, and that’s the whole point, right?
4 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
(1988) Bob Hoskins, Charles Fleischer, Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner, Joanna Cassidy, Stubby Kaye, Alan Tilvern, Lou Hirsch, Mae Questel and Mel Blanc
And speak of the devil… This film wasn’t necessarily made for adults, and I’m sure many kids have seen it. But I remember being traumatized as a kid by Judge Doom’s final scene, and a few others, so I’m not entirely sure I’d allow my kid to see it till he’s a little older then I was at the time of my first viewing, which was probably about 8 or 9 years old. One thing I’ve always wondered about this film (always being after the internet was available in homes, lol) is why Kathleen Turner’s performance as Jessica Rabbit is uncredited. It’s not like it’s a cameo or bit part, she’s one of the main characters. I find that so weird.
3 – Twice Upon a Time
(1983) Lorenzo Music, Marshall Efron, Julie Payne, James Cranna, Hamilton Camp, Judith Kahan and Paul Frees
Strange little film that just showed up in my house one day, and I have no idea where it came from. We were 12 people living at home at the time, so it really could have come from anywhere. I was almost the only one in the bunch who enjoyed it, though. It’s admittedly very strange, but so awesome at the same time. The drawings are “badly done” (I’m sure the animators of the film would call the style “creative” or “modern” or “avant garde” or some such nonsense, hehe), and there are a few instances of the action taking place in our world, when our heroes need something from our world to stop the bad guy from making the entire world one giant nightmare. If you haven’t seen it, and like things that are slightly strange, then I definitely reccomend this film. Plus, the lead character is voiced by Garfield (Lorenzo Music). Can’t get much cooler than that!
2 – Wizards
(1977) Bob Holt, Mark Hamill, Richard Romanus, Jesse Wells, Steve Gravers, David Proval, James R Connell and Susan Tyrell
Wow, I had no idea this film was so old. I saw it in my early teens, which was in the mid-90’s, so when my mom bought it, I guess I assumed it was more recent then that. It’s a really great (if sometimes brutal) little film that spreads the truth about war, and about how those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. In a post-apocalyptic world filled with mutants (some of which have gained magic), logic would dictate that they would no longer wage chemical and nuclear warfare, and yet…
1 – Rock & Rule
(1983) Don Francks, Susan Roman, Paul LeMat, Catherine O’Hara, Catherine Gallant, Chris Wiggins, Martin Lavut, Samantha Langevin, Dan Hennessey, Greg Duffell and Iggy Pop
And finally, my favourite cartoon for adults is the greatly under-rated Rock & Rule. Another post-apocalyptic film, this one sees humans extinct, but the animals have mutated into human-like beings. So think Goofy and Mickey Mouse, just… sexy :-p . It’s a musical extravaganza that has an aging rock star kidnap a beautiful young singer when he finds out that her voice is the key to opening a portal and releasing malevolent demons. The music is great, too, performed by some of rock’s greatest bands: Blondie’s Deborah Harry, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Earth Wind and Fire, and Cheap Trick. If you haven’t seen it yet, I reccomend it very much!
And so, that’s my list. Liked it? Agree? Disagree? Did I forget something? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for more!! 🙂