Written by Jonathan Wojcik

Five Things From Big Lots

   You know times are tough when we're in the second week of September before I have any interesting seasonal items to talk about, though I'll admit, I found most of this Big Lots stuff mid-way through August. It just wasn't until now that a sudden new addition pushed it over the edge into article material, though we still have a rather meager selection to review. At least there are a couple real treasures in here; enjoy the first traditional Bogleech Halloween Crap post of the year!

Dancing Zombies

   I trust that I don't need to show you a video of these in action, because all they basically do is wave their arms while "The Monster Mash" plays and I'm pretty sure you're all familiar enough with the sweet sounds of that heavenly ballad. What's a lot more interesting is the design of these guys; I've seen other "dancing zombie" novelties which typically had fairly boring, "realistic" zombie heads on them. These toon zombies are just comical and unpleasant enough to capture my interest, especially the one completely glazed-over eyeball. I'm really glad zombies have so saturated the market that we're getting more and more "kid-friendly" and "comical" undead, because frankly, those are almost always cooler and creepier.

Skeleton Cats

   These sort of signpost-like, metal decorations frequently offer some great choices, and what makes these skeleton cats noteworthy is the fact that they're not fully skeletal. Sure, skull-head cats would look a lot cooler, but the completely normal, healthy heads on these bony felines are arguably much scarier. Imagine an adorable, fuzzy kitty head peeking around the corner, or maybe spying on you through the window, and you don't even know that it's a skeleton from the neck on down. That might have already happened, and you never even found out.

"Turn Bac Know" Skulls

   I always love a good skull with eyeballs in its sockets, and I also love cheerful, smiling Halloween items with ominous messages on them. It's so much more threatening when something appears delighted to tell you you're in mortal danger. The distribution of letters across the sectors of these ties pretty much forces my brain to read "Turn Bac Know," but that's okay. It's impressive enough that dead bones could write anything even legible on their own bow ties, especially just huge skulls without any bodies.

Dancing Solar Monsters

   These are a more recent holiday trend, as I've covered in the past, and these particular offerings are both larger and slightly more expensive than they usually come. It's clearly worth it, though, when you can have a mummy in both a top hat and a bow tie, just like the Turn Bac Know skulls. The pumpkin guy is also a little more interesting than most of his ilk, since his body gets to be an entire second Jack O' Lantern, even more amused than the head. The head is just kind of obliviously cheerful, while the body looks more like it's laughing at somebody's suffering.

New "Pocket Screamers"

   The Pocket Screamer is a category of small, rubbery Halloween toy which both screeches and lights up when squeezed, still almost entirely unique to the spooktastic season. Many varieties have been released over the years, including a pretty colorful Party City set last year, which was probably my favorite until these guys showed up. Once again we've got a charmingly goofy zombie, this one oddly dressed up as an old-timey sheriff. There's also a pleasantly filthy, large-headed mummy with blood red eyes, and finally, one of the only Halloween toys I've ever found of an undead nurse, which is interesting, considering it's such a staple of horror everywhere else and I'm also doing a whole medical horror cartoon adventure this year. She's definitely the real prize of this set, and easily the coolest thing you'll find at Big Lots for 2014.

Overall, these guys look amazingly like something out of a Japanese video game, maybe even a little like Akira Toriyama's design style - especially the nurse's face. There was actually one more screamer in this line, but surprisingly, an extremely generic witch in a wholly different, forgettably more realistic style.

Anyway...that's about it for anything noteworthy out of Big Lots, but some plenty entertaining spooks and specters.

Halloween 2014 Archive: