Monsterville: Target’s Universal Monsters Line

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For those of you who don’t know, Monsterville is Target’s new line of officially licensed Monster Movie merchandise featuring the Universal Monsters.

I have managed to get mostly every piece I can find, and I can’t tell you how awesome they are. These are the best Halloween decorations I have found in a big box store in years! Not only do they have movie-accurate likenesses, but they play dialog from the films and trailers… Plus the stuff is just genuinely well-designed. Here’s what I have found so far.

First up is the Boris Karloff Mummy Head, probably the best piece. It moves side to side, the eyes light up, and it plays phrases from the movie and trailer when you walk by..

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Mummy Talking Head

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Mummy Talking Head

 

Next are the Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein Cloches (globes) The burning windmill is one of the best Halloween decorations I’ve ever owned. Such amazing detail! And the sound effects are great. The LEDs in these are super bright. They light up the whole room!

 

The Frankenstein, Mummy, and Creature Screamers are really awesome and a great steal at 5 bucks each! They each play about three movie phrases, lasting about 10 seconds each. The Mummy and Creature are my favorites. Really awesome little shelf-sitters! Again, these are crazy bright!

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Frankenstein Mummy Creature from the Black Lagoon Screamers

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Frankenstein Mummy Creature from the Black Lagoon Screamers

 

The Frankenstein Door Greeter moves its eyes and mouth, says spooky phrases, and lights up as it greets Trick-or-Treaters at the door!

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Frankenstein Door Greeter

Target Monsterville Universal Monsters Frankenstein Door Greeter

 

Finally is another great piece, the Frankenstein Head in Dome. This is a really beautiful piece. Fantastic sound and lights, but an even better Karloff Monster sculpt. Sooooo cool! I cannot recommend these enough!

Feel free to post your finds here!

 

 

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Spook Spotter: Grave Surprises, Franken-Families and More!

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Big Scare spook spotter

Ghastly Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!   We’re baaaaaaaaaaaack with some of the best products available for purchase this Halloween season.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

Grave Solution

Hands down, the best tabletop animated Halloween prop available this year can be found at The Home Depot.  (A similar prop is also available at CVS).  Behold, the rising Grim Reaper and tombstone!

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Rising Grim Reaper Tabletop Animation

This beautiful, animated table-top piece is reminiscent of the old Telco Motion-ettes and the 1990s Gemmy line of animated figures.  It features a Grim Reaper that pops up from inside a gravestone.  When you push the button or make a loud sound, the Reaper will rise from the grave and utter eerie phrases of doom, accompanied by a soundtrack of haunting music and crashing thunder.  Not only do the Reaper’s eyes illuminate, the tombstone also puts on a fairly elaborate light show, probably intended to be lightning to go with all of that scary thunder.

There are also some other great items out there that we feel you have to know about, including a set of Wilton candy cake decorations featuring Frankenstein, the Bride, and their family.  These can be purchased at Target.  Another must-mention item is the Halloween party plate and napkin set that is available for purchase at Rite Aid.  Check ’em out!

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And let us know what cool products you have found this year by leaving a message in the creepy Comments section below!

Spook Spotter: Masks and Vintage Decorations

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Big Scare spook spotter

Halloween 2015 is brimming with creepy creations in all sections of the retail market.  From kooky candy to dastardly decorations, there is a lot to track down.  That’s why we’re here: to make the whole process scarily simple.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

Monstrous Masks

Over the past few years, Trick or Treat Studios has gone from a relatively unknown mask maker to Halloween royalty.  They have been able to secure deals with major property-holders, unleashing latex creations beyond imagination.  From Bela Lugosi’s Dracula to Michael Myers to King Kong, Trick or Treat has captured a significant corner of the Halloween market.  Three of the most exciting masks they are offering up are the Halloween III masks, pictured below.  As you can see, the Pumpkin, Witch, and Skull look nearly identical to the Don Post counterparts as they appeared in the original film.  Check out the complete 2015 catalog of creeps on the Trick or Treat website.

Halloween III Masks from Trick or Treat Studios

Halloween III Masks from Trick or Treat Studios

Beastly Beistle

Another giant of the Halloween season, Beistle, is finding new life in its century-old library of Halloween art.  It is re-releasing several of its old Halloween cutout and die-cut decorations.  From honeycombs to cardboard wall-art, Beistle hasseveral vintage reproduction decorations on its website.  You may want to check it out, especially if you are planning a vintage-themed Halloween happening.

Beistle Reproduction

Beistle Reproduction

Spook Spotter: The Best Halloween Decorations of 2015 II

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Big Scare spook spotter

Welcome, foolish mortals, to The Big Scare’s 2015 Countdown to Halloween.  Every other day, from now through October 31, we will be posting preposterously posthumous ponderings of the Halloween season.  We begin October with another installment of the Spook Spotter.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

World of Gods and Monsters

Last year, Cost Plus World Market debuted a line of officially licensed Universal Monsters dinnerware featuring The Frankenstein Monster and his Bride.  This year, they are expanding the line with all new platters, ceramic plates, and mugs.  World Market also carries vintage soda bottles featuring the creature and his mate, lollipops with The Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon, as well as Bride of Frankenstein tote bags.  What’s really creepily cool is the fact that the ceramic plate of Frankenstein’s monster features an image of Glenn Strange in the role as opposed to Boris Karloff.  Glenn Strange as Frankenstein is more iconic and recognizable to Monster kids, as it was Strange, not Karloff, who was featured on the Monster Craze merchandise of the 1960s.  Hopefully we will see more Universal Monsters at World Market next year.  Perhaps they can cut a deal with Bela Lugosi, Jr. next year and do a Dracula line of dinnerware.  “I never drink…” wine glasses, anyone?

Bride of Frankenstein Plate (World Market)

Bride of Frankenstein Plate (World Market)

More of the Night He Came Home

HomeGoods (A TJX Company) has come through again this year with some amazingly haunting display pieces for your home of horrors.  Take a look at this skull pumpkin, very reminiscent of the jack-o’-lantern featured in the opening sequence of John Carpenter’s Halloween II.  This terrifying display piece features a dramatic display of color-changing illumination.  Perfect for any fan of Halloween or Halloween.  Other pieces for sale at the TJX stores include spooky busts, haunted miniature hearses, snow globes, and glass pumpkin candle holders (pictured in the gallery at the end of our post).

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Mind-Blowing Blow Molds

The final item featured in our Spook Spotter today is a mind-blowing find – a vintage blow mold cat and jack-o’-lantern being carried at…  Wait for it…  Walmart.

The king of big box stores is carrying mass-produced reproduction vintage blow molds.  The first of these is the famous Hobo Jack-O’-Lantern.  The next is the cat with the jack-o’-lantern on its back (pictured here).

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Vintage Reproduction Blow Mold (Walmart)

These blow molds have not been seen in dime stores in years, but now they are back.  Granted, they aren’t 10 cents anymore, but they are better than 99% of the other Halloween decorations out there and definitely worth the $9.00 price tag.

Now, check out other great finds from this season in our ghastly gallery…

Spook Spotter: The Best Halloween Decorations of 2015

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Big Scare spook spotter

Ghastly Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  The Big Scare is, once again, preparing for the Halloween season.  As such, we want to give you a creepy heads-up on all of the menacing merchandise on sale at retailers this year.  Here are some of the best products available for purchase this season and where to find them.

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

Creepy Clings

We begin our first 2015 Spook Spotter post with not only one of the most affordable products out there this season, but also one of the best looking.  Behold, these wonderfully wicked window clings available for purchase at Winco Foods.  These beautifully illustrated clings appear to use hand-drawn artwork, something that has become impossible to find in this age of digitally-designed decorations.  Nearly all of the Halloween cutouts and window clings available in stores today have been created by someone behind a computer.  These clings harken back to the days when blood, sweat, and ink went into the creation of Halloween decorations.  Seeing these in the store should bring back a lot of memories for Halloween fans who grew up in the 20th century.  The clings are available for purchase for $0.98 and are produced by a company named Mello-Smello.

Illustrated Window Clings (Winco)

Illustrated Window Clings (Winco)

Scary Scarecrow

The next item featured in the Spook Spotter is a creepy, lighted scarecrow available for purchase at Ross Dress for Less stores.  This scarecrow is a large, almost life-sized hanging decoration.  When you first see it, it looks like a traditional scarecrow with straw hands and a tattered cap, but upon closer inspection, it is far more forbidding.  Beneath the cloth covering, you can see the scarecrow’s head is that of a skull.  What’s even more alarming is the fact that the skull illuminates!  The scary scarecrow has multiple lighting settings.  It can change colors, flash different colors, or remain a single color.  This prop is extremely effective and would make a great addition to any haunt.  It retails for $19.99 at Ross.

Creepy Lighted Scarecrow (Ross Dress for Less)

Creepy Lighted Scarecrow (Ross Dress for Less)

Raucous Ravens

Raven Candleholder (Michael's)

Raven Candleholder (Michael’s)

The final item featured in our first Spook Spotter post of 2015 is an elaborately sculpted candle holder from Michael’s Arts and Crafts.

This beautiful black raven candle holder has an incredibly lifelike sculpt.  It is part of a new line of Halloween merchandise targeted at home haunters named Ravenshead Manor.  All of the products in the line are indoor pieces that can be used to build frighteningly fashionable interior displays.

This beautiful piece is highly-detailed and can hold either a taper candle or a pillar candle.  Michael’s is selling Halloween-themed LED taper candles this year that could probably be used with this product.  The raven candle holder is one of the most elegant and affordable pieces anywhere this season, coming in at $14.99.

Be sure to check out the gallery below for more photographs of all of the monstrous merchandise featured in today’s post, including a high-resolution image of this Ravenshead Manor piece.

We will be back October 1 with another installment of the Spook Spotter, followed by regularly scheduled postings every other day through October 31.  In the meantime, let us know what cool products you have found this year by leaving a message in the creepy Comments section below!

Halloween 2013 | Spook Spotter

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Hallmark

The following does not constitute an endorsement of any product or retailer.   It is for information purposes only.

To get the hearse wheels spinning, we’ll share with you one of the coolest indoor decorations we’ve seen: The Hallmark Haunted House Shadowcaster.  Part tabletop display, part light show, this Hallmark creation is one-of-a-kind.  The display looks great during the day, but really comes to life at night.  Each window features a spooky silhouette that only appears when the display is activated.  An evil enchantress cooks up a crazy concoction in the doorway, while jack-o’-lanterns stand guard on the porch.  Cats, spiders, and skeleton-men haunt the windows, and a ghost hangs out in the rafters.  Each characters appears with the help of a flickering LED light strategically placed behind the facade.

However, the real treat is what’s behind the mansion:  a flock of frightening fanged-beasts!  Through the magic of modern technology, dozens of bats, of all shapes and sizes, are projected onto whatever is directly behind the house.  Illuminated in orange and purple, the light show shifts between two basic positions (plus a third transitioning scene) and lasts anywhere from half-a-minute in “try-me” mode to an hour when the button is held down for several seconds.

Although the house itself doesn’t seem too sturdy and the plastic it is molded in could be thicker, this is still a great little decoration that really captures the essence of Halloween and the magic of the season.  It can be purchased for $19.99 at participating Hallmark retailers.

TJ Maxx

This Halloween season is not unusual in the fact that the best products are not found in the traditional retail stores, but at the discounters.  The TJX group (T.J.MAXX, Home Goods, and Marshall’s) has some of the most interesting offerings.  In addition to the traditional devilish dinnerware and lethal linen, they are offering up both vintage-inspired designs and classic Gothic elegance.

The most unique pieces at HomeGoods and Marshall’s, though T.J.Maxx does end up with some of the overstock.  If you love to keep things dim and grim, you may be interested in some of the faux-stone busts and statues.  Or perhaps creepy candelabras are more your thing.  They have plenty to choose from, including this one that comes complete with LED candles.  Battery-operated, it retails at $24.99.  The light is that harsh, cold, traditional (almost blue) LED style, but it’s ghostly in its own undead way.

The next offerings come from Christopher Radko.  HomeGoods usually carries his vintage-reproduction line of ornaments named after the famous “Shiny Brite” Christmas ornament company.  This year, they serve up some Halloween-themed bulbs that would be perfect for any vintage display or Halloween tree.  In addition, they also have several wooden tabletop and wall pieces with artwork taken right off of early 20th century postcards, like this lovely little witch pictured above.

Tuesday Morning

The main rivals of the TJX group, Ross and Tuesday Morning, have fewer options for the season of the witch, but — every now and then — a spooktacular find materializes.

Such is the case with Tuesday Morning’s Original WoWindow Posters.  Usually only found at the big name Halloween stores, Tuesday Morning is offering up two discontinued designs.  The creepiest of which is the “Vince the Vampire” two-poster set.  When they put “Wow” in the name, they aren’t kidding.  One of the posters in this set could almost cover an entire door.  Now imagine two of them at that size!  These massive decorations really fill out and (fill up) any window, wall, or door.  The first poster features the vampire’s giant face.  The second is a continuation of his body, with his hand taking up the majority of the second display.

Vampire Window Scene Setter

What is most notable about this poster is that it is not made with the same cheap plastic you used to find in this type of decoration.  This is made of a thicker, heavier film, which makes it great for use year-after-year.  The best thing about it is also the biggest drawback: the size.  Unless you have giant windows, it will be hard to place this set.  Fortunately, you can put up the one poster with the vampire’s face and get a decent effect.  At $4.99, it’s hard to pass up.

99 Cents Or Less

99 cent Haunted House display

While the regular retail offerings have been rather lackluster this year with Target, Walmart, and Spirit all failing to deliver on any noteworthy level (not to mention their tardiness in actually putting anything up in their brick and mortar stores), the dollar spots have not disappointed.  Usually, Dollar Tree has some of the greatest “cheap” decorations.  While they do have a few really awesome things that we will be highlighting in two days, 99 Cents Only is this year’s ultimate creep spot.  From outdoors to indoors, they provide wall-to-wall creeps and plenty of hot-and-cold running chills.

Dollar Tree used to be the king of cardboard tabletop decorations.  Now, 99 Cents Only has taken that honor and added some ghoulish delights that are certain to bring death to the liveliest of tables.

The most notable table centerpiece is the one you see pictured above.  Bats, black cats, and ravens surround a classically-designed haunted house.  Unlike some of the Dollar Tree decorations and the previous 99 Cents Only decorations, this piece solves the problem of folding edges and unaligned pieces by having a multitude of supports.  There are basically three layers to this piece, all adding to the spookiness of it, but also supporting the thin cardboard structure — an ingenious evolution of the dollar centerpiece.  It retails at 49 cents, but prices may vary by location.

Dollar Halloween Yard Signs99 Cents only also has some cool outdoor decorations, from window posters to door-covers to these Halloween yard stakes.  They are fairly sturdy — especially for a buck — but they won’t last in the ground if you live in a blustery area.  They are large enough, however, to make good wall signs.  Made of a coated plastic that is more weather-resistant than some of the other outdoor signs around, these are pretty nifty.  They come in four designs: vampire, witch, devil, skeleton; and they retail at 99 cents each.

These Frankenstein decorations are now available at 99 Cents Only.  One is a jointed tabletop figure that is being sold at closeout.  The other is a plastic wall poster that retails for 99 cents.  We’d say more, but we think we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree has a wide variety of window clings, plastic toys, and cardboard characters, as well as some interesting 3-D decorations made out of wire and tinsel.  They have felt cutouts, plastic skulls, and foam tombstones — basically all of the usual suspects.  So what are the standout items at the one-dollar-retailer this Halloween?

Surprisingly, napkins.  Napkins and paper plates.  For years, it seems, Dollar Tree has been pitching the same basic pumpkin party plates.  This year, that has all changed.  They not only have these great ’80s-inspired Haunted House napkins (pictured below), they also have a full set of paper tablewear (featuring a raven and a rat) that is far superior to any party goods in the big box stores.

Dollar Napkins

In addition, Dollar Tree is offering up massive window posters, much like the ones from Tuesday Morning, only less durable and… busier.  In the case of the Bates Mansion poster, however, busy is somewhat acceptable,  Wait…  Yes…  You heard correctly: BATES MANSION window poster.

Dollar Wall Banner

No, it’s not licensed, but the house pictured on the poster is clearly inspired by the one Norman and Mother call home, or maybe even Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris.  While the house is the centerpiece, it is surrounded by giant tarantulas, jack-o’-lanterns, candelabras, and lightning — virtually every spooky thing they could fit  So, no.  It’s not going to win any art awards, but it has a creepy haunted house on it!  How can you beat that for a buck?  More than anything, it’s reminiscent of a somewhat garish store display for soda, chips, or some other Halloween-themed party treat… and this is really why we love it.  Also, did we mention how massive this thing is?  It’s huge.  Turned on it’s side, it could easily fill a doorway.  If you do pick one up, good luck placing it!

Telco Halloween Motion-ettes FAQ

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Editor’s Note:  Below are some of the most common questions we have received about the Halloween Motion-ettes.  This article is a sub-article of The Motion-ettes of Halloween Collector’s Guide.  Please review the Guide before reading the FAQ.
 

The Big Scare BG_alt Q: What’s the big deal about Telco?  Why not create a guide for Topstone or early Gemmy Halloween figures?

A: The Big Scare has plans to produce, at least, one article focusing on the other brands of tabletop animation.  The reason we started with Telco is because, as a company, its offerings were extremely expansive, yet incredibly underdocumented. Twenty-five years later, there is a lot of confusion about the line and very little information.  This has led to misunderstandings in the worlds of collectors and Halloween enthusiasts alike.  While the folks behind The Big Scare own relatively few Motion-ettes, we love their charms and the fact that they represent a simpler time in the world of Halloween.  We have spent the past decade gathering information, comparing photos, and assembling a cohesive history of the line.  To us, it was an endeavor worth the while.

Q: My Telco Halloween Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986).  That’s all I need to know about the year oskeleton glowf its release, right?

A: Unfortunately, no.  Simply because your Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986) doesn’t mean it is from that year.  Telco was notorious for stamping misleading dates on Motion-ette heads, hands, and boxes.  1986 refers to the creation of the Halloween line, while 1987 simply refers to the (true) national launch of the Halloween figures and the introduction of a particular body type.  All Motion-ettes of Halloween are somehow tied to 1986 or 1987.  If your figure has a 1986 or 1987 date, it most likely isn’t from that year… especially if it’s a bug-eyed Devil or a Green Werewolf (Beastman).  Neither was released until years later.  But that’s why we created the Motion-ettes guide!

Q:  I found a Motion-ette that has a very different costume from the ones I see pictured on this site.  Did I stumble upon a rare figure?

A: All  images in our guide are photographs of archival catalog and stock images, intended to educate Halloween enthusiasts on what the actual original products looked like.  So, chances are, if your figure has a different costume from what is outlined in the guide, you probably stumbled upon an imposter, at least a partial imposter.  Motion-ettes were released at a time when crafting was still at its height. Crafters and hobbyists found Motion-ettes to be quite enchanting — not for their factory-born charms, but for the possibilities of modification and re-sale.  Many times, Motion-ette figures were given new costumes, new accessories, or additional lighting features after they were purchased.  They were then re-sold at craft fairs for higher prices.  So, yes, your Motion-ette find is indeed rare.  It’s one of a kind!  But don’t go thinking that makes it better than an original Motion-ette.  In fact, that probably would appeal less to most collectors.  But the only thing that really matters is that you like it!  Many of the Motion-ettes altered by hobbyists are very well done.

Q: I have a figure that has a nearly identical color scheme to the Motion-ettes in the guide, but the face is sculpted a bit differently, and the accessory is one I didn’t see pictured or mentioned in the collector’s guide.  Is it a Telco?

A: Probably n1987 skullot.  It could very well be an EPI animated figure.  In fact, we here at The Big Scare are still trying to pinpoint the make of certain lookalikes, especially the ones that really look like they could be Telco Motion-ettes but don’t have any of the standard accessories.  The accessories make for one of the best ways to determine the brand of your animated monster.  If your figure has the regular skull, the rectangular lantern, or this blow mold pumpkin, it’s probably a Telco, although the pumpkin was also used by lookalike companies.  The cobra, crazy bat, and threatening cat blow mold accessories are also extremely indicative that yours is indeed a Telco Motion-ette.

 Q:  I see a lot of these Motion-ettes listed for high prices on [a popular online auction site].  These prices seem a bit excessive to me.  Is there a conclusive list of fair market values for the Halloween Motion-ettes?

A:  No official guide has ever been created, but, during our ten years of research, we kept a log of final selling prices for various figures in the Telco line.  We created a range using our recorded statistics.  You can find the average price ranges for popular figures in our Telco Halloween Motion-ettes Price Guide.  Please note that these prices are based on our collected data and should only be used as one resource when determining a fair price for a particular animated figure.

Have a question?  Ask it in the comments section, and it could appear above in our official (and ever-growing) Q&A.