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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Terror From The Toybox- My Pet Monster

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Horror has never been just regulated to Movies and TV, toys have often been a large part of the formula as well. The first terror from the toybox I am going to look at is one I remember fondly from my own childhood, My Pet Monster.

My Pet Monster is a plush doll first produced by American Greetings in 1986. As one of the few plush dolls marketed to boys at the time, My Pet Monster would prove popular throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. The doll has blue fur, horns, and a fanged smile and is recognizable by its orange handcuffs. Several versions of the doll have been released ranging in size and other attributes. Other characters were also created with brightly colored fur and unorthodox names like Gwonk, Wogster, and Rark. Their popularity allowed a wealth of merchandise including coloring books, Golden Look-Look books, frame-tray puzzles, and various other items.

The popularity of the toys spawned a cartoon that ran for roughly one season. The show followed Monster who lives with a boy named Max. When Monster wears his handcuffs, they turn him into a stuffed animal. Max often does this as a way to maintain the secret of Monster’s existence from others. Max's sister, Jill, and his friend, Chuckie, are the only ones that know this secret. The two main adversaries in the show are Mr. Hinkle, a neighbor who always thinks Max is up to something, but isn’t quite sure what, and Beastur, a large monster who hates light and wants to bring Monster back to Monster Land. The cartoon only lasted one season mostly from low ratings stemming from the fact that parents didn't think their children should watch a cartoon about a "good" monster.

A live action direct to video film was also released in 1986 and was a very popular rental for video stores at the time. I must have rented the movie at least 20 times when I was little, however, watching it as an adult is a painful experience. Everything about the movie is awful, which is probably the reason we will never see a dvd release. If you feel like torturing yourself with it, the vhs version is readily available on Ebay or Amazon but can carry a hefty price tag.

My Pet Monster had a small resurgence into the mainstream not too many years ago with a new stuffed toy being released as well as the original cartoon making it's way onto dvd. I think I will always have a soft spot in my heart for My Pet Monster and wander how many of our readers feel the same way. Was My Pet Monster part of your toybox?