Artists have been trying to capture the essence of a psychedelic journey in many forms, but possibly the best form is animation. With nothing but their imagination to guide them, animators have the freedom to create anything they can dream up. Since the beginning of the form, animators have been primarily employed to create cartoons for children, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to create something trippy and groundbreaking. Here are some of the best psychedelic scenes from kids cartoons.
Dumbo: Pink Elephants on Parade
From 1941, this nightmare scene from Dumbo shows Disney’s unparalleled dominance in the early animation scene. The segment was directed by Norman Fergusonwho would later go on to be animation director for Alice in Wonderland. The scene begins when Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse drink water spiked with champagne and become black-out drunk. What follows is a two minute kaleidoscope of pink elephant hallucinations inserted into what is essentially a very sentimental children’s movie about an elephant who can fly.
Disney Honorable Mentions: Winnie the Pooh Blustery Day: Heffalumps and Woozles SongFantasia, and Alice in Wonderland.
“Climb Inside My World” Song: The Ren & Stimpy Show
From the demented mind of Canadian animator John Kricfalusi came the height of surreal cartoon nonsense, The Ren & Stimpy Show. Stimpy’s classic psychedelic trip comes from the 11th episode of the 3rd season and first aired in April of 1994. In a plot involving Jerry the Bellybutton Elf, Stimpy rolls up into his own belly button and takes a 1960s style psychedelic journey through the mind.
The Simpsons: El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)
The Simpsons has never shied away from covering psychedelic topics, but there have only be a few full blown psychedelic trips. Airing in January of 1997, season 8 episode 9 of the The Simpsons when Homer is tempted at a chili cook-off and eats the The Merciless Pepper of Quetzalacatenango, also known as the starts Guatemalan Insanity Pepper. What follows is a psychedelic descent into madness.
Simpsons Honorable Mentions: I am the Lizard King/Drink The Water
Rick and Morty: Goodbye Moonmen
Perhaps the most psychedelic cartoon ever created, rick and morty usually wedges mind bending topics into its hectic plots, but very rarely takes the time to go deep inside a hallucinatory journey. From the 2018 episode entitled “Mortynight Run”, Goodbye Moonmen is a mind altering trip sung by a sentient Fart (Jemaine Clement) that sends Morty reeling through psychedelic space.
Metalocalypse: We’re Gonna Die on Yopo
“Dethcarraldo” is the 9th episode of the 2nd season of Metalocalypse. It aired on June 1, 2008 on Adult Swim. While not necessarily a show for kids, the guys from the band Dethklok are often involved in scenarios of ultra-violence and death-metal black comedy. Nevertheless, it is very rare to see a cartoon where the main characters get forced to take a Yopo vision quest with a group of Amazonian natives. The results are typically metal.
Beavis and Butthead do America: Beavis’ Peyote Trip
From a Reddit post by u/Celestial_Inferno: “In Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) the Peyote scene was inspired by drawings from Rob Zombie while his band White Zombie provided the soundtrack. Chris Pryonski directed & animated the sequence. His studio, Titmouse, Inc., later worked on Metalocolypse, Superjail!, and the Guitar Hero games.” Released December 20, 1996, the peyote scene is wedged into the end of act two and sets the bar for all animated psychedelic trips. If you trip harder than Beavis then you are truly hardcore.
Do you have a favorite animated psychedelic trip from a kids cartoon that is not listed here? Leave a note in our comments!