Scrapbook of Horrors I

   As some of you may know from my extensive Halloween section, I have been a collector of things since as long as I have been alive. Things, indeed, are my favorite objects to collect, and for every Halloween decoration to my name there are at least a hundred other items that are not Halloween decorations. Thus, being bored with life, I have decided to begin sharing some of my other, even more irrelevant belongings with whomever may wander across my site and not immediately flee.


   Ranging from vintage toys to literal garbage, you are not only going to see a lot of completely stupid things but you are going to hear all about them, too, and I know you're excited, so let's kick things off with some POGS...


  "Space Aliens" POGs  
     Okay, so they're not official POGs, but what the hell else do you call these things? Collectible imagery-discs? Whatever. These little cardboard circles were all the rage back when I was a kid, and were so cheap to make, there were probably more varieties to collect than cells in the human brain. I bought this particular set off ebay, only a couple of years ago, for $30. Why? Because I'm a lunatic, that's why. It also explains why I don't regret the purchase even though the above are the only aliens that were really worth showing, and the detailed descriptions on the back of each disc are in French.  



"Aaahhh! Real Monsters" Morphing eyeball and Squirt Toys

     These four creatures - and many more from the same line - may not have appeared in the Nickelodeon cartoon show, but damn if they've got to be some of the most original rubber monsters I've ever owned. From left to right, they are Kaluga, Poomps, Splug, and Snarfle. If I have to pick a favorite, it's probably Splug, since you can't go wrong with gruesome, cartoonified body parts, but they're all awesome one way or another. The latter three are "squirt" toys, but intended to merely ooze water.


   Kaluga, however, is one of two "reversible" monsters in the line. Flip him inside out, and he becomes a squid. Eyeball, Squid. Eyeball, Squid. It's like my entire subconscious condensed into a toy!


Bark from "Fern Gully" as a cardboard standup

   "Fern Gully, the Last Rainforest" was one of my favorite films as a kid. Never mind that it was preachy and biased as all-get-out (which I totally bought into at the time)...anything involving bats, lizards, bugs or frogs impressed the hell out of me back then, and three things about this movie continue to impress me to this very day: The singing leeches in the "Goanna Eat Somebody" musical number, Tim Curry as the Spirit of Disease, and Bark, the beetle-biker. There were four of these "Bikers" in the fairy kingdom, though they looked more like freakish goblins than the winged sprites they hung out with. Bark, the littlest biker, never spoke or really did much of anything in the film, but for concept alone, I immediately developed a soft spot for him.


   So yeah, these cardboard standups came in two sets, which I bought from a tiny local videostore called "Terri's" which has since been converted into a church. A church still attached to the consignment store, "Country Britches", which used to be the convenience store, "Hickory Mart". I have no point to this story.


Pervert Grimer TCG Card

   Can you guess why this Pokemon card had to be edited for its U.S. Release? I bought it in a bin for a nickel because, damn it, Grimer is the mack daddy of rad. I didn't even notice his bizarre interspecies lechery until I found it again several months later, and looked up the card's English version online to discover his pupils had been moved downwards. How was I able to turn this into such a long paragraph? I guess it's just the gift of gab.

Snooty Buglizards
  I rarely see these anymore, but when I was a kid they were an everyday staple of arcade prizes and vending machines, sold in a wide array of colors and materials. I got the one in the middle from a Chuck E. Cheese at a kid's birthday party only a few years back, and haven't seen them again ever since...except as freakish, toxic flapjacks:


   Useless and probably hazardous, this oddly disturbing toy can be found in vending machines full of miscellaneous "sticky", stretchy toys, even though this particular item is neither sticky nor stretchy...only greasy. Thick, tough, and greasy, with not one, but two intriguing mysteries to its name: for one thing, who decided that fusing a plastic aardvark to a slimy rubber pancake was a "toy?" And second, how exactly has it been dissolving the inside of its egg, which was in perfect condition when I originally found it? Perhaps man was never meant to know.
"Cutthroat Cuttlefish" and "Octillion Octopus"

   If you don't recognize these toys, don't worry. I lived through my childhood thinking "Battle Beasts" were a household name, but would later find out that they were considered a very obscure and short-lived cult-hit. I still have all my favorites, such as piratical Blitzkrieg Bat and the gas-masked Pew-trid Skunk, but the series' two cephalopods are easily my favorites, and it's hard to decide which one I like better. Fascinatingly enough, these little critters (less than three inches tall) were part of the Japanese "Transformers" universe, but given their own independent storyline for the western release.



"Liceplant" and "Slobber"


   Another favored duo from a long-forgotten toy line, this one called "The Trash Bag Bunch". These small, nonposeable figures were sold in plastic bags that disintegrated in hot water, keeping their contents a secret until purchased. A clever marketing scheme, for sure, but one that would leave me bitterly defeated for many years. Having seen him on a packaging back, I though Liceplant was the single most desirable thing ever cast in plastic, and talked my parents into spending a veritable fortune on stupid, fake garbage bags only to wind up with virtually every boring-ass human character and not a Liceplant in least until, years later, he jumped out at me from a box of lego blocks at my cousin's house. He had no problem letting me keep the stupid thing, and since then it remains a shining symbol of triumph over an unfair marketing ploy that is only pulled more than ever in today's world of toys-gone-strategy-game.


   As for Slobber, he just looks really neat and I wanted the photo to be horizontal.


Creepy Mutant Pencil Topper
   There's not much to say about this weirdass thing, except that, in my youthful ignorance, I thought he would look better with cyclopean symmetry and shaved off his other eye. Only now do I truly appreciate monsters with misaligned eyeballs, and sorely wish I could find another of these...not to mention the other varieties, which I can no longer remember beyond the fact that at least two more existed.

The original "Carrion Crawler"

   One of my first toys ever and all-time favorite monsters, this bendable worm is part of the 80's "Dungeons and Dragons" toy line, but I wouldn't know this until well into mid-childhood, when my grandmother would give me a used first-edition Monster Manual she picked up at a thrift store. Before this, I was calling it "Hobby Bug", because of the "TSR Hobbies" stamped into it.

"Gremlin Creatures" (made by "Marty Toy")
   I realize this page has become very egocentric, very fast, but I'm afraid I must go off into yet another tirade about a younger, simpler me. It was before even my kindergarten years when my mother would return one day from the grocery store with the second creature from the left, in a long-lost package displaying cool artwork of the entire line. Unable to read at the time, I was told they were called "Ugs", but I now know they were sold as "Gremlin Creatures", so I'm still not quite certain where the "Ug" came from. At the time, however, one thing was clear: Ug and the Hobby-bug were made for eachother. Blood brothers till the end of time. After all, their arms were kinda shaped alike.


   I have no idea where my original "Ug" went, but I snagged this complete set off of ebay for another thirty bucks. There are actually two versions of each, but most of the alternates are in a drab, navy blue motif.


Mysterious Pod-Man
   This guy came out of a 25-cent vending machine, but in an opaque, grey "pill" instead of the usual transparent egg. He's been permanently bent into near-fetal position by his former life inside the mysterious pill, his head is attached by a thread, and the massive tumor of excess plastic prevents him from standing. All in all, one of the coolest things I have ever paid 25 cents for.


Darth Vader "Parasail Kite"

   This "Star Wars" kite may seem completely uninteresting at first glance, until it sinks in that this is Darth Vader flying. Not only that, but he's flying in a proud standing position while the Death Star Battle rages behind him. Where is he going?!


Where are YOU going?


Come back! I have to tell you about excitingly colored flatware and giant, plastic lobsters!!! WHY ARE YOU RUNNING?!



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