Going through Vincent Price Toy Commercials last week was a lot of fun, so let’s check out a trio of wild horror-inspired toy spots!
I have no memory of these Gruesome, Rude, Obnoxious, Silly Scarfers from Tiger, but this might be one of the most delightful ads I’ve seen in a long time. From the iconic kids at the mall to a toy that keeps topping itself, this one’s a ton of fun. I mean, you had me at “a gross puppet that makes sounds,” but then you add in the see-through stomach and this is an easy home run. If you had a G.R.O.S.S. puppet, please let me know in the comments!
It still shocks me that Troma’s Toxic Avenger made the jump to cartoons, toys and comics in the early 90s. It’s weird that Rambo had a cartoon given his big screen body count, but it’s mind-boggling to anyone who saw the classic Troma film that Toxie made the same transition! Because of this cartoon, I watched The Toxic Avenger WAY sooner than I should have and actually turned it off because I was so scandalized! I now own it on DVD and have this Toxie figure thanks to one magical flea market trip. I don’t have that rad slime-dripping mop thought, what a cool accessory!
Speaking of slime, it’s crazy how popular this stuff is right now. I’ve got two kids under 10 and they are all about making their own slime and even know of like 30 different types with different recipes and whatnot. I’m personally not a fan, but I do love a toy line like Oozers which really captures the gross-out nature of many an 80s toy line. I also really dig the line-up of characters, most of whom seem to take their cues from Universal Monsters and classic mythology, but check out the Jason Voorhees analog in there who’s rocking that tank top! These are very cool, but I wonder how well they’ve held up over the years what with all the squeezing and oozing and whatnot.
The Children was one of probably a hundred horror movies I added to my Netflix instant queue just because it’s a horror movie. This has lead to me watching the first 10 minutes of plenty of shitty movies. Luckily, The Children proved to be pretty good, even with the Troma logo on the DVD box. Don’t worry, this isn’t an actual Troma production but one of the movies they distributed. The plot revolves around a school bus full of children which passes through a cloud of radiative gas that turns them into skin-melting zomboids. But the filmmakers were pretty smart and didn’t just follow the kids as they wander around and kill/melt people. Instead, the bus shows up empty which gets the local law enforcement first trying to figure out what happened to the kids and then trying to figure out what to do with them once they realize what these kids are actually doing (usually killing their parents). I appreciate that the filmmakers didn’t try to go too far out of their depth given their clearly low budget. The filmstock itself definitely looks like that of a low budget 80s horror movie and the actors, while not pros, all seemed pretty believable to me. But, kind of like the shark in Jaws, the kids aren’t front and center until the end of the movie. Plus, the story isn’t a big, global story, but a very self contained one. This is just something happening in a small town and better yet, the kids don’t seem to be creating more of themselves like your traditional zombie. Plus, there’s a nice little tag shot at the end that might imply that things aren’t as cut and dried as they seem. Plus it takes place after a really cool montage of shots of the victims from the movie while a new mother sings to her baby. It’s very creepy and sort of reminded me of the opening of The Stepfather.
A few things of note. I’m sure some people might shy away from killer kid movies, especially ones where they end up getting killed, but the filmmakers handled it pretty well, with most of the explicit killer kid killing taking place offscreen. Do know that some of them get chopped up pretty good with a machete. Again, you see the chopping action, but not the knife hitting the actual kids. You do see some of the pieces in the ending montage I mentioned. Also, this is not the 2008 British movie also called The Children. At first I thought the later movie was a remake, but it’s not. I think this one would be prime for a remake in the vein of The Crazies, a movie I know I’ve seen but can’t remember much of. A big budget remake would probably shy away even more from the whole violence against (evil) kids theme, but even a smaller budget remake with a couple sick actors would be a nice improvement on an already pretty good movie.