10 Things I Would Have In A Monster Squad Style Tree House Horror Hangout

I'd assume every horror-obsessed kid of the 80's has seen The Monster Squad at least once.  With that initial viewing there were likely a few things that suck with you throughout your childhood.  Maybe it was the idea that the Wolfman did in fact have nards or possibly Tom Noonan's portrayal of such a friendly monster.  For John Squires over at Freddy In Space it was the tree house set.  I'd recommend anyone reading this to check out that post.  He lists ten items he would have in his own Monster Squad inspired tree house, he was also nice enough to inquire about other blogger's thoughts concerning this.

The gang's tree house was littered with all kinds of posters, models, and trinkets.  The kind of stuff that any young horror fan would yearn for.  As a kid I always wanted a tree house but growing up in an apartment kind of hampers that idea.  While two chairs and a blanket were a somewhat adequate escape from the world, I'd always imagine what it must be like having a tree house all to yourself...Making this pretty easy task to complete.

So here it goes...

1.) Scary Stories to tell in the Dark
These books were an integral part of my childhood.  It was seriously hard deciding between this series and Goosebumps.  Goosebumps were fun and all, but these books had artwork by Stephen Gammell...We're talking truly demented drawings.  The stories were all great too but man...The pictures took things to a whole new level.  This series of books has since been reprinted for a new generation of children sans the original grim drawings...I pity today's youth.


2.) Night of the Living Dead VHS
I've hard this very VHS since 1993.  It went everywhere with me, I've taken it to school, on family vacations, hell it's even mangaged to survive numerous moves, a feat not many of my childhood items can brag about.  There's no way it wouldn't have found it's way in the tree house at some point..


3.) Gigantic Frankenstein's Monster
A few decades back the coolest hobby store in Oklahoma City was located at Crossroads Mall.  The mall is now a shell of it's former self harboring gang members and a few shitty shoe stores, but in the 90's this was the place to go if you wanted music, movies, or toys.  The hobby store was a real site to see, it had a life size  Metaluna Mutant, a Bill & Ted style phone booth, and a whole wall dedicated to monster model kits.  The coolest thing I ever remember seeing there was this old picture of a gigantic Frankenstein's monster model.  It wasn't until years later when the model was reissued by Moebius that I'd discover it's actual origin.  It was produced by Aurora for an extremely limited time in 1964.  It was commonly known as "Big Frankie" and you'd have to have a nice stash of cash set aside if you wanted an original.  I think this gigantic monster would be the perfect door guard.

4.) Hellboy comics
Hellboy is a monster that fights other monsters!  He's world's most unusual paranormal investigator.  How can anyone not dig these books?  When I was a kid I loved the X-men and Spider-man cartoons, but truth be told I did not care much for their comic incarnations...I liked unusual stuff like some of the books produced by Dark Horse and Image.  Safe to say you can expect a big stack of Hellboy books when visiting the tree house.

5.) Spawn Alley
To say Spawn was a big part of my childhood is putting it pretty lightly.  I collected every comic, trading card, pog, toy, and knick-knack I could get my hands on.  Spawn Alley was an excellent playset, much like the Turtle's Sewer there was so much too it.  An opening garage, break away walls, hiding spots, missile-firing guns, the list goes on and on.  The best part was it was generic enough to where it didn't just have to be used for Spawn.  I can't tell you how many zombie apocalypse scenarios took place inside that little plastic fortress.  I was like an evil doctor back then, turning numerous human figures into grey Romero-ized ghouls using nothing but some acrylic paint and my imagination.  I really wish I would have held onto this playset.

6.) A black light
My first experience with one of these came from an old spy-tech kit.  It came with a 6 inch light that would illuminate this finger print powder inlcuded, but I doubt the powder got too much use once I discovered that anything lucky enough to bask in it's hypnotizing glow would instantly light up.  Soon I'd discover Spencer's Gifts and it's wide array lighting options.  Speaking of Spencer's, remember how much cool stuff they had in the 90's?  We'll save that for a later post, moving on...

7.) McFarlane's Monsters
In the back of every issue of Spawn there would be a section dedicated to upcoming McFarlane Toys.  That's when I first set eyes on some of the coolest looking monster toys the 90's had to offer.  McFarlane was taking the idea of the old Aurora model kits and translating them into original figures and playsets.  Months later they were out and I still remember the day I found them at Planet Comics...It was like Christmas in July.  Each set included two figures and a playset full of different action features.  My favorite was the Wolfman set...Partially because I've always loved that monster...Secondly because the hunter action figure included could be completely dismembered.  The first two series of playsets happen to be high on the ol' 'rebuy' list.  Yes, there would be a whole shoddily made shelf dedicated to that first series inside the tree stronghold.


8.) Goosebumps Terror in the Graveyard
This was probably my favorite game growing up.  My love for Goosebumps was almost overshadowed by my love for gimmicky board games so this was right up my alley.  The game had little tombs your characters could fall into, 3D cardboard elements, small skulls, the main ghost would even get ejected from the board when you would win.  Yeah, this made for a damn good time.

9.) The Crypt Keeper mask.
One Halloween season in the early 90's Walmart carried this mask.  I bought it along with a hood robe and counted down the days until I could go door to door and scare the elderly neighbors half to death.  Halloween came and went but I still found myself wearing the mask quite often.  Sometimes I'd throw an old GI Joe helmet into the mix and pretend I was Big Ben from House.  The above picture is me holding up two  Spawn toys.  Yeah, I was a weird kid.

10.)  Ooze
I'm not referring to the cheap quarter machine crap that would turn a gross brown color after a few weeks, but the high quality shit playmates put out.  There was no better slime on the market.  It was a nice shade of clear green, one that has sadly not been reproduced.  To top everything off in the middle of the toxic sludge there was a glow in the dark turtle.  Suck it current TMNT toys, you can't top that!

So that about does it for my list.  Mr. Squire, your post made me realize just how awesome it was being a kid during the 80's and 90's.  Thank you for that.

2 comments:

  1. Great post. Yeah, we really did grow up in an amazing era for kids. From Garbage Pail Kids, He-Man, M.U.S.C.L.E.S., Madballs, the heyday of slasher films & cheesy SciFi flicks (long live applicable special FX!!), the cartoons were so badass back then too, video games, Fangoria magazine, cheap comics (Conan & Heavy Metal for me) amazing skateboards & BMX bikes, great professional wrestling & all topped off with the last great era in rock n' roll (thank you Nirvana). Anyway, rant over. We were lucky.

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    1. I guess we are a bit biased, we've got some awesome companies making very detailed products for horror fans, but I think companies in the 90's were more willing to take risks because the market was definitely flourishing during that period. I was talking with a guy about wresting toys recently, they might be superior in size and sculpt now, but in the 90's they were making wrestlers that would sweat or had clip on accessories to turn them into robots and monsters...You just don't see shit like that anymore. I was also extremely disappointed with Jakks cancelling the SlUGS zombie line. Okay, I need to quit ranting.

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