First off, this isn't to be considered a true compendium, in that there are far too many creepy, slimy, scary toys to catalog. I'm going to share toys I have collected over the years that are scary, oozy or just plain creepy. There are many, many toys that are also geared for Halloween, and we'll just mention a few. Jump on over to the message board and share pics and/or stories of creepy toys we need to know about.
I love slimy stuff. Probably comes from being a 7 year old boy once, and never truly out growing that period of my life. (Seriously, aren't fart jokes still freaking hilarious?) So what is this slimy thing on the right? That's a Hasbro Loogeez. Malcom McKruddy to be exact. Pretty much a booger action figure. They are about three inches tall and have a translucent plastic body. They come with a pretty sweet slime compound (a bit less runny than Slime Pit slime) that matches the color of the toy. Droop the slime on the Loogee and he'll start making burp and fart sound effects and light up. He'll also yell at you. Now here's an interesting concept gone awry. I like the exploration of a phlegm inspired toy, but he does yell at me. I, personally, find that funny, but apparently little kids did not. You can tug and twist his arms, and keep piling on the slime, but that's about it. You can play with him without the slime, but he has this slime sensor (that's pretty cool) so he pretty much is just grumpy until you put the slime on him. Also the price point was way off, I got this one for 50% clearance. $5 is a decent price, and makes it worth the money, but no way I would have spent $10. The slime is easy to clean up, and I actually dig the pearlesent beefiness of this slime compound just a tad more than the Slime Pit slime. Just a tad.
Best slime toy out in a long time was the Masters of the Universe Slime Pit. (That article has video clips too). It's great because it flings slime. Best slime toy of years past is the Mad Scientist Dissect an Alien. You fill this hollow 6-8 inch alien with plastic guts and slime, and then use various "mad scientist" tools to slice him up and pull out his gooey guts one by one. This could be seen as an educational tool to get kids interested in the field of medicine. Or prepare them for what will happen to their heart one day, when they confess their love to a short-haired girl, one that's not interested in "commitment" ... can't go down that road today... I was never allowed to have this one as a child, and one day, he will be mine.
Along the same lines as slimy, are the things that are gooey, but not truly slimy. I love toys like this because I get the joy of playing with slime without the mess. This thing on the right is called Velvet Slime. It looks like a mess of rubber slugs all glued together by the tail in a ball. The tendrils are hollow, so it's really squishy. My recommendation? Pick one of these up at Spencer Gifts, drop it in your candy bowl on Friday, when the kids go blindly grabbing for candy, they'll grab this slimy stuff and wet their Sponge Bob costume (Absorbant is he!). But the toy's not messy at all, just squishy rubber. That's pretty much its only practical use, but I dig it. It's also a great stress reliever type thing. Our friends at Play Visions made this and a ton of other cool squishy toys. Like this squishy goo-filled Troll doll with plastic springs for hair. Weird, but really, really squishy. But hey, check out our Play Visions coverage from Toy Fair 2005.
Oh, real quick, you really dig squishy stuff, check out our coverage of Talking Gooey Louie, the classic game of nose-picking skill.
I've had many gross balls over the years. [Ed note: A sprinkle of baby powder in the morning can fix that.] There is a trend of toys that consist of a tough transparent sack with an assortment of gross or whimsical things floating in a goo inside. You squeeze the sack and the weird things bulge out or they change colors. [Ed note: Must... resist....] This one has a gaggle (yup, looked that up) of bloody skulls.
Once I had one with veiny eyeballs. And just recently I got this one that consists of maggots in a small pool of blood. The maggot ball isn't filled with a blood fluid, it's filled with air, but blood sprinkles all over the maggots when you squeeze it. It's quite gross. (This wasn't your lunch time read was it? Whoops) Well for the tame set, there are goo balls filled with butterflies, smiley heads, or simply glitter. Also, if you close your eyes, and it's been a long time. They feel like wonderful breasts. (Not this maggot one, the water-filled one. Dude, you seriously need to get out more...
Moving on, I can't tell you where to get this thing, I love it, it was a Halloween store novelty. The squishy sack idea from earlier is inside a white rubbery skull. Squeeze the skull and the red sack pops out of his eye sockets and mouth. This was one of the best $4 I've spent in my life. I will touch here a minute about Gurglin Guts, squishy body parts in ball form (kind of like MadBalls) covered in the plastic pouch, with a fluid that ran all over the place when you squeezed it. They were slimy, and they made these great guttural noises. But they were cheap. I broke two brains in the span of six months. Here are some pics of the key chain versions (Offsite listing). 4Kids' customer service dept sucks at servicing customers.
Viscera Man This guy is called Squeaky Viscera Man. He's an anatomical plastic skeleton with a squeaky mound of guts you can remove. It's pretty gross, but it's oddly amusing how he squeaks like a dog toy when you squeeze his entrails. He used to have a little booklet full of facts about your own viscera. Yes, yours will squeak. But you have to be dead first. Kind of blows.
The Smoking Guy from Beetlejuice There is no more perfect time for Tim Burton than Halloween. This figure, strikingly representative of the "I'm trying to cut back" fellow from the Beetlejuice waiting room is made by new movie mastersNECA. They're currently dishing up sweet likenesses from Gremlins and A Christmas Story. This smoking guy doesn't stand up too well, but he has some creative articulation and looks just like the crispy guy. He was also $1.99 at Suncoast.
Black Lucifer from Dark Allianceand Johnny from House of the Dead I did these photos and a quick write-up for each, originally for Raving Toy Maniac. Shooting these is what got me interested in professional product photography. Click to see more of Lucifer and House of the Dead. These figures are pretty cool and came with the craziest accessories.
McFarlane's Frankenstein's Monster Playsets
I have to admit, this playset, is what really pulled me into a committed love affair with McFarlane toys. We've had our ups and downs, but lets look at this set. First off, I was immediately drawn to getting a fully detailed playset for a size and price of a regular action figure (they were on the pegs next to the toys of the day, not on the shelf below with vehicles and other playsets. And if I remember correctly, they were around $10). In the first set, you get small corner of a dungeon lab, there is a book shelf, an operating table with cool electrode thing and rubber straps. The table tilts from upright to all the way back. They even built in a tripod thing so the table could stand without plugging into the detailed base. If you think I loved the playset, wait till I tell you about the figures. Though a little smaller than your standard action figure, they had far more detail than I had ever encountered. The blood splats on Igor's coat were amazing. He came with bloody knifes and tongs that hooked on his belt, or in his hand, and he had this great creepy face. The monster had two heads, one of which has a removeable brain, and you could pull off his arms to simulate levels of surgery. The accessories were plentiful, and fit the set well. Whew. Then a short while later, a companion playset came out. This one works fine by itself or could plug into this set. You get a new monster (with two heads) and Dr. Frankenstein himself. He's got this kick ass power glove attached to his head, and a hand that can hold a hypodermic needle. The playset had a rising table on it (the pooling blood in the gutter is sweet), and loads of more accessories and places to put them. You plug these two together, and you've got a great set for playing with or displaying.
The Gremlin from the Twilight Zone episode Nightmare at 20,00 Feet creeps everyone out. Check it out. He's also in our Toy montage. But you're probably wondering about this creepy devil doll on the left. I found this little 2-3 inch baby doll thing (he used to have a bunny ear bonnet) while working at a Zany Brainy back in the day. I didn't have enough flair for my purple apron so I grabbed a Sharpie and gave him the goatee and eyebrows. I then pinned him to my apron. Didn't make any kids cry, but didn't earn any points with the cute high school girls I shared register detail with. The thing about this doll, is that he has eyes that burrow to the core of your mortal soul. He doesn't like what he sees.
Where Did I Get This?
I love this creepy eyeball monster. He's Eye Guy from Bandai's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line. (Thanks Spawn.com board members) I found him for a $1 at a flea market. Not only is every surface an eyeball, but if you press the knob in his back, the two large eyeballs in the pectoral region shoot out at you. That's right. This toy shoots its own boobs at you. That is sweet!. He is in our Toy montage.
This is a figure from Nickelodeon's Ahh! Real Monsters! line. Picked him up from a bargain bin some place. It's cool because he's hollow and has rooted hair. You can stick things in his mouth. (His jaws open kind of like a plastic change purse when you squeeze the sides). Also the anchor for the hair is a small mass of guts, attached to the roof of his mouth. Cool!
One of the first things that got me recognized on the Internet was my Blair Witch Project spoof action figures done with Playmobil. Blairmobil has two Shockwave animations and some still shots of the fake packaging.
R Hunter also likes customizing Playmobil toys and produced this article about How to Make Your Own Eaters of the Dead out of Playmobil.
Halloween Happy Meal Toys
Most years, the major fast food establishments feature premiums around Halloween that are in the Halloween spirit. My favorite Halloween Happy Meal set is McDonald's Stretch Screamers Happy Meal, which I will argue is one of the best Happy Meal promotions I've ever seen, much less a pretty cool $1 toy. You gotta check out that set, but also scope the Haunted Mansion toys too.
Burger King has also really set a high standard with their Universal Monsters collection a few years back, and their Halloween Simpsons line. The Simpsons Burger King line, however, strikes a sour note for me. In 2001, the rumor was that technically speaking, you could obtain the complete set of light-up Halloween figures if you travelled to enough Burger Kings. Each region had a different assortment of two or three from the line each week. So technically, if you stuck to one Burger King for the entire month, you'd get the whole line, but if you went far enough out of town, you could pick up different ones. The World of Springfield toys were in full force, and myself and a few coworkers were determined to collect the entire line. I had travelled to Pennsylvania for a weekend, and we stopped at a Burger King 200 miles away. Sure enough, I was able to pick up three new figures that weren't available back home. Then the axe fell and the company I was working for went Chapter 13 (or 11, who knows... the Sheriff's office was involved, and people skipped town). Regardless, being suddenly without funds, I needed to stop collecting right away. Because these were fast food promotions, it's been difficult for me to scrounge up the remaining toys. Not so much a Happy Meal now is it? Anyway the figures were really well done, and they had a Simpson-esque pun and a light up feature in the Halloween theme. Grounds Keeper Willy is on the right. Hold the switch and the gravestone flips around and illuminates the words Prepare to Meet Thy Broom. Classic. You guys wanted to see the other figures from this series. Sadly, this is as far as I got. When you twist Maggie, the jack-o-lantern spins and lights up. Grandpa reveals the sign that says Springfield Retirement Community: Blood Drive Today, and Dr. Hibbert's sign says The Doctor is In, flip it around and SANE! lights up.
Another classic, though not action figure related, is the McDonalds Halloween Happy Meal pails that look like a witch, ghost or pumpkin. Back in the day, I thought these were ingenious. Matt from X-Entertainment takes a detailed look at the pails and other cool Halloween Happy Meals.
Kang & Kodos
Now I get to the World of SpringfieldTreehouse of Horror playsets. These things were rife with controversy. The first set, featuring the ever elusive Flanders as Devil came and went quickly. But then their price went up very high, very quickly on eBay. Add the anticipation of the alien figures, when the second Toys R Us exclusive hit the following year, the secondary market prices quadrupled their original retail value. I got my set after many, many phone calls and a level of tenacity that is often reserved for TV remote wars with the girlfriend. I got this one fresh out of the carton off the truck for the original retail price tag. The 6" figures are incredibly accurate and well made (And they have a plastic bubble over their head.) The playset sculpt and paint is true to form, and the lines are well picked. All 10 of em. My only gripe about this set was that only Kang, Kodos, and Homer talked in this set. And they were a little limited in their offering. Not bad, but not quite the reason you buy this set. But you did get such classic lines as Aaaah! He's got a board, with a nail in it! and Don't eat me, I have a wife and kids... eat them! This year's Toys R Us Exclusive Treehouse of Horror playset features The Comic Book Shop Guy as The Collector, Clobber Girl Lisa, Stretch Dude Bart and Lucy Lawless. Though currently out of stock, here is its listing on ToysRUs.com.