Spirit Halloween stores release a number of new animatronic characters each year, but it's always been rare that I found a whole lot of them article-worthy. For 2020, though, it seems they've come up with a few animated monsters just different enough for us to comment on.
Reviewing Spirit Halloween's Best 2020 Animatronics
I still can't believe how accurately I predicted the rise of plague doctors as Halloween mainstays, and I'm proud of them, I really am. I know people want to think they're overdone and trite by now, but come on, they're creepy quack doctors dressed like ridiculous bird people. If that's not every bit as timeless as our image of a vampire or a mummy, I don't know what is.
PLAGUE DOCTOR (VIDEO!)
I like that Spirit's first life-size animatronic version doesn't even say or do much but stand around and loudly, wetly breathe. That's genuinely the creepiest thing it ever needed to do. A+
This is an adorably silly one. What the heck IS a "Catacomb Creature?" It's got a skinny, stretched-out body and a big giant skull head, but it also has little skulls dangling off its fingers. Delightful!
CATACOMB CREATURE (VIDEO!)
Cuddles is just a clownified version of Catacomb Creature, but I think the proportions work even better for a clown monster. I just kind of wish the face was just a little goofier, as I often do when it comes to Horror clowns. Even the remake version of Pennywise knew that some goofier facial features could go a long way to making a killer clown even scarier.
CUDDLES THE CLOWN (VIDEO!)
A big giant animatronic rat isn't as common as you might expect, and SEWER VARMINT takes it even further by making it a two-headed mutant! The sound effects are a little more like a squealing pig than a rodent, but I guess I find that fairly believable for a scaled-up rat squeak.
SEWER VARMINT (VIDEO!)
I. Do not like this. I do not like a giant flasher clown named Mr. Salty having a tinier clown named Little Willie in his crotch. I hate that, actually. I detest it.
MR. SALTY AND LITTLE WILLIE (VIDEO!)
But the thing is...I'm supposed to. We're all supposed to. It's exactly as terrible and foul as they wanted it to be.
COOL effect! I've genuinely never seen this done before in a prop! The "victim" emits fog from their mouth that gets sucked straight into the second fan concealed within the monster's mouth, the green lighting effect really selling that the monster is devouring the victim's soul!
HARVESTER OF SOULS (VIDEO!)
The more I think about this one, the more impressed I am by this relatively "original" character. Most Halloween props are fairly generic by design, recycling common horror monster tropes or even ripping directly from famous characters. "Maestro" on the other hand has a fairly focused concept of his own that simply feels like it could have come from a classic monster movie or an Urban legend, a deranged and possessed father who pushed his daughter to become an entertainer, grew jealous of her fame, and finally turned her into a living marionette puppet. It's a creepy, symbolic twist on a real-life issue just obvious enough to work as a Halloween character.
THE MAESTRO AND LITTLE DAISY (VIDEO!)
We end on a much simpler one; just a long-limbed, long-faced ghoul hunched on all fours, but that's all you need sometimes, right? A classic! Your old pal! The thing that's already in your house!
NIGHT CRAWLER (VIDEO!)
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