Horrors In A Halfshell: Day 4 (Menace Maestro, Please)

Welcome ghost & ghouls to Horrors In A Halfshell! In this 13-part Halloween series, I'll be opening the cartoon crypt, revisiting the best and most bodacious blood-curdling episodes from the original TMNT show. Each spooky story will be dissected with the following categories:

SCARY SYNOPSIS: What is the plot of this eerie episode?
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Any iconic Halloween imagery?
MONSTERS & MUTANTS: Crazy creatures?
SPOOKIEST SCENE: A moment that gives me the heebie jeebies.
BOO! CHEESIEST MOMENT: An eye-rolling moment that makes me giggle.

13 days. 13 episodes. 13 more reasons to love Halloween.

Get out your sheet music for Day 4 with Menace Maestro, Please from Season 4!

An enormous pipe organ is discovered during the renovation of the old abandoned Floxy Theatre. Shredder learns the mysterious instrument produces extensive amounts of energy when being played, enough to power the Technodrome and send it back to Earth. The commotion inside the theatre brings a mysterious Phantom out of hiding. The Turtles befriend the theatre-lurking dude, joining forces to stop Shredder's evil plan. But with a few props, the chrome domed villain disguises himself as the Phantom, adding more confusion in this ludicrous story.

Even though the episode is clearly borrowing from Phantom of the Opera, it's the sight and sound of the illustrious pipe organ that are the big Halloween sell in Menace Maestro, Please. Both the Phantom and Shredder take turns dancing their fingers against its alluring keys. Shredder especially enjoys his time, playing the organ like a musical god. Such dedication and intensity for an evil villain! Forget chasing the Turtles, this is his true calling.

You don't have to be a kid to wear a costume on Halloween, and Shredder can vouch for that. He grabs a hat, cape & cane to impersonate the Phantom for some tricks and treats. He gives it his all and even disguises his voice in a sad attempt to sound like him as well.

When the real Phantom and Shredder's costumed Phantom collide, it's the ultimate Halloween party. Sadly, they don't dance the Monster Mash.

Michelangelo sifts through the costumes of the Floxy Theatre and discovers a wall of Phantom masks. Something about the visual struck a creepy cord with me. It's a look behind the curtain, seeing what this iconic horror character does in the shadows. We always see Halloween monsters in the spotlight, and have become accustomed to their agenda of scaring people and causing mayhem. But, we rarely see their organized closet.

When we hit the climax of the episode, the Phantom's true identity is revealed - a shape-shifting alien named Irk. STUPID. And the grand pipe organ is actually his alien spaceship. EVEN MORE STUPID.

Menace Maestro, Please set itself up for Halloween success by building a story around the classic Phantom of the Opera tale and up'd the ante with a costumed Shredder. But, it's a wasted effort. The reveal of Irk the alien is so cringe-worthy it strips the episode of any merit. That's a real shame because the show packs such a spooky punch until this moment. Trick or treat? We've been tricked!

Check back tomorrow for Day 5 of Horrors In A Halfshell!


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