In honor of Mother's Day being around the corner, we've decided to review Dissect an Alien from Mattel's Mad Scientist line. This particular toy is my personal, number one, holy grail of toys. I just recently got this off of eBay, and I'm happier than Ralphie at the end of A Christmas Story. In 1986, when this toy came out, I was nine years old, and this was the toy I wanted. I remember many, many times in Toys R Us, finding it on the shelf, picking it up and just staring at the box, thinking how cool the slimy gross contents were inside. That's as far as I got. My mother would not buy me, nor allow me to have Dissect an Alien. Begging and pleading got me no where, and then I learned the harshest lesson in life. I painfully saved up the $14.99 (???) and when trying to buy it, learned from my father that I was not allowed to. Alas, I learned that just because I can afford something, it does not mean I can purchase it. Defeat. I would be Alienless. I have been sniped on several eBay auctions, but I finally won this one, for $15 no less, last week. Here it is, my grail, and it's as beautiful as I imagined. So now I say, in honor of mother's day, ha-ha Mom.
So when I first got the thing I poured over the box... remember this is as close as I had gotten before. I love the photography. I love the font. In fact Gill Sans Ultra is one of my favorites. [Ed note:Nerd!] I would even venture to say that this box kick-started my love affair with industrial design, for designing toy packaging is one of my dreams. [Ed note:Big-time nerd!] Anyway, I was lucky in that this auction the box was in decent shape. There is a little bit of staining from the original owner's slime leaking through, but it's not that bad.
So I opened it up and poured out all the pieces. The alien stands about 5" tall, and he has 12 internal organs. He originally came with a vat of glow in the dark slime, but that has long since dried out. I luckily had the MOTU Slime Pit handy with plenty of slime. There is also a scalpel/spreader, stitches and a mat to put everything on. Ooh, there's also the comic book/instruction book! And this was in fairly decent condition. A little bent up from being folded into the box, but not seriously creased or destroyed. Enough about my toy and more about the toy of toys.
The alien has a hard plastic head, arms and legs. His torso is a soft rubber with a big gash going down the front. In theory, you lay out the plastic mat to keep everything clean. (I love the illustration on here) Then you lay the alien on his back, use the notches in the spreader/scalpel, to keep him open, and start inserting the guts. You can follow the directions in the book, or try to figure it out like a puzzle. The important note here is that as you're supposed to add little heaping gobs of slime as you're doing this. This was pretty fun, the pieces don't lock together, but they fit together like they're meant to be together.
I love the sculpts on the guts pieces. Each one has enough nooks and crannies to give the slime something to cling to, but they're easily wiped off. Also, they're clearly inspired by human organs, but still have a playful, cartoony influence. And they're gross. I don't know why, but those shriveled green-pepper things look nasty. These things feel nasty too when you're fishing them out of slime. Maybe it's my aversion to vegetables. This toy has got me thinking like a nine year old again... well, not really, I never flipped that switch and learned to "enjoy" vegetables anyway.
Once you have the whole thing assembled and sandwiched with slime, you can seal the guy up with the "stitches." I don't know how long this is supposed to last. You spend 15 minutes loading up a rubber sack with slimy guts and you're supposed to wait some amount of time before ripping them out? Let's be realistic here. So lay the alien down on the mat, call in Jonathan Frakes, and whip out the scalpel. It kind of looks cool running your scalpel down the gash to "open" him up.
Now all you do is start fishing out the guts. If you applied the slime right, you really have to dig in there and start ripping these things out. This is gross, a fun gross. This is the boogers and fart jokes gross I miss from being under the age of 12. Back then, this was the grossest thing I could think of, even grosser than girls, yuck. Now I tell you, 18 years later, and living with a girl... I was way off, girls are much grosser.
So back to Mom. You should get your mother something... especially if you're reading this from her basement. Take her out to dinner, pick up some flowers. Something. And Mom, (my mom) if you're reading this; I didn't mean to kick this off with a "Ha-ha Mom," I know it's not polite to sass your momma. So I end with saying Thank you, thank you for never letting me get this toy, for never letting me run the risk of parlaying this fascination into a becoming a doctor, but writing about toys instead. Happy Mothers' Day.
If you're up for some more retro fun, check out our look at Spinjas.