I mentioned a couple posts back that I was going to try squeeze as much content as I could in between now and Christmas, and tonight, I’m vowing to do just that. THE BIG DAY is less than a week away, people. We’re in the home stretch. Don’t pretend that it didn’t sneak up on you too.
I’m waiting on one last present to show up in the mail (this year was a major online shopping one for me) and as soon as that’s here and under the tree, I will officially be done with all my shopping, which brings me to the topic of tonight’s discussion.
PRESENTS! Surprising no one, my penchant for the spooky started early. If there was a weird or creepier version of something, that was the one I always gravitated toward. Castle Greyskull? Sure, it’s cool, but Snake Mountain was where it was at. Judy Bloom? Try Goosebumps. The Monster Squad over Goonies (I still stand by that), and if I was a young girl now, you better believe I’d be all over those damn Monster High dolls.
So, when it came to some of my Christmas presents, my parents knew which way I swung and how to inject some horror into the holidays. Look, I’m not going to pretend that someone else doesn’t do this a lot better, but I’m giving it a shot anyway. Imitation and flattery and all that crap. So, here are some of MY FAVORITE SPOOKY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS.
Carnivac was part of Transformers’ Pretenders Line. Launching in 1988, later in the Generation 1 run, it was a time when Hasbro was willing to throw just about anything at the wall to see what would stick. The Pretenders were comprised of a tough outer shell that served to trick humans into believing that what they were looking at was a tall human in a space suit instead of a robot basically hiding inside of a giant metal overcoat. Next, they took things a step further and introduced the Pretender Beasts. One of those was Carnivac, a Decepticon that transformed from a robot mode to a wolf mode inside of ANOTHER WOLF MODE. Well, wolf shell, but you get my meaning.
Yeah, I could have asked for Wheeljack or Huff that year, but come on. It’s a double-wolf-robot killing machine. Keep in mind, the purpose was to blend in with the Earthlings, so of course it’s bigger than any wolf in existence, talks, and wears what appears to be a saddle with a giant damn gun mounted on it. Great job, fellas.
MY PET MONSTER
There isn’t much I can say here that hasn’t been expounded upon by better bloggers than me all over the internet. If there’s anything that will get your nostalgia boners going, it’s this little guy. He was technically meant to appeal to both boys and girls, and I guess he did, but I’ve always seen him as basically an acceptable reason for a boy to sleep with a stuffed animal, but be respectable about it. No one can accuse you of being a baby if the toy you’re sleeping with has fangs and breakaway handcuffs.
I have a specific memory attached to this guy and it involves me slightly cheating here. I’m going to fess up and say that even though this is a Christmas centric post, I actually got him on Easter. In fact, he’s solely responsible for me (quick, cover your kids’ ears) figuring out that there was no Easter Bunny. Every year, EB would leave me an Easter basket laying on the living room floor in front of the TV to find when I came downstairs. One day, I hit the jackpot and old Monsty was propped up inside of it. I LOST MY SHIT. You have no idea how long I’d been asking for one. EB had finally come through. I’ll admit, I was kind of playing along for that last year or so, waffling on whether or not I still believed in him (Santa had not quite been ruined for me yet), but this one restored some hope.
Until I found his box and receipt in the kitchen trash about 8 minutes later. Real smooth, Mom. Real Smooth. I’ve long since lost him (the handcuffs probably disappeared about 42 minutes after first picking him up), but he’ll always be one of my favorites, and probably one of yours.
MAD SCIENTIST DISSECT-AN-ALIEN
Oooooh, this is a good one, and a little more obscure. I can’t remember when I first found out about it or even asked for it. I only remember somehow being aware of it and dying to have one. The Mad Scientist line is fantastic and I never understood why it didn’t get more attention. It’s still kicking today and churning out some good stuff, mostly involving slime, but not quite with the charm of allowing me at the age of 8 to be a certified surgeon.
The premise was simple. You lay out a plastic mat full of loads of cool illustrations of body parts, pry open his chest, and remove plastic organs covered in slime for innards and blood. What is not to love about this? I have a very specific memory of sitting at the kitchen table and my mother threatening me with certain death if I got one drop of that crap on her table spread. It would have been absolutely worth it.