Normally, Gravity Falls is a fairly spooky show. However, now that Disney has started Monstober season, they have to kick it up a notch. For the show’s creepy contribution, we are given “Little Gift Shop of Horrors,” where Grunkle Stan gives an unsuspecting customer “Tales Designed To Sell My Merchandise!” Yes, Stan tells three spooky stories that revolve around various items he has for sale in his store.
The first story is “Hands Off.” Stan and the kids go to a swap meet to find more stuff. Even though most of the stuff is junk, Stan comes across a watch that he really likes. He tries to barter with the witchy saleswoman but she refuses to sell anything to him. Of course, that means Stan has to steal the watch. Dipper is convinced that the witch cursed Stan for stealing the gold watch. When Stan wakes up in the morning, both of his hands are gone. He tries to live without hands but eventually gives into Dipper’s suggestion to return the watch to the witch and apologize. Once Stan and the kid reach the witch’s cave, they quickly find out that the only reason she collects hands is because she is lonely. She doesn’t know any other way to keep men from leaving. Mabel, Dipper, Stan, and the disembodied hands redecorate her cave and she returns Stan’s hands. As the trio heads back down the mountain, a lost climber comes upon the cave and asks the witch if he can spend the night.
“Abaconings” is the funniest of the three stories. Dipper is trying to solve a puzzle game. With his failures frustrating him, he turns to a potion made of percepshrooms. He crushes the shrooms into a paste that he is supposed to leave on his forehead overnight. Unfortunately for him, Waddles wakes up in the middle of the night and eats all of the paste, both the portion he left in the bowl and the stuff on his head. When the twins awake, they find that Waddles is now a genius. He communicates through a computer (voiced by Neil deGrasse Tyson) and, along with Dipper, invents a number of contraptions to help the various citizens of Gravity Falls. Poor Mabel is crushed by the fact that Waddles no longer wants to have fun with her. When she points out how much fun they had together, Waddles reverses his intelligence, transforming back into a regular pig.
Finally, “Clay Day” introduces us to Mabel’s fear of stop-motion animation. Stan goes to show the kids an old timey movie, Mabel freaks out once she sees the claymation. In order to alleviate her fear, Stan, Dipper, and Soos take her to the home of Harry Claymore, the man that created the movie. Once inside the mansion, they find out that Harry did not actually use stop-motion animation. He used black magic to bring his clay figures to life instead. The life-sized clay figures, upset at the end of the claymation era, are now holding Harry, Stan, Dipper, and Soos hostage. Mabel, who had run away from the clay creatures the minute she saw them, realized that she can re-sculpt the clay figures into anything she wants. She creates a huge star-shaped creature out of the cyclops and uses it to save everyone from a fate worse than clay.
I really enjoyed this episode. It had the feeling of the summer shorts but still had a little bit of characterization. We learned how Stan comes across some of the memorabilia in the Shack and we learned a little more about Mabel and Dipper. I even loved the little nods to other movies and shows like “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Clash of the Titans.” There are even a few references to past events in the series, like Mabel’s favorite boy band. See how many you can find!