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: 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!

Universal Monsters Hawthorne Village Collection Guide

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

In the mid-2000s, the Bradford Exchange acquired the license to the Universal Studios Monsters and began to produce highly detailed collectibles based upon these timeless characters and their respective films.  The company created a train set (featuring images of the Monsters), as well as miniature figurines, and, of course, a haunted holiday village comprised of several famous buildings and structures from the Universal Monster movies.

The collection, part of the Hawthorne Village, could be obtained by purchasing a subscription, where a new 7″ building and scale figurine would be shipped every month.  With the help of our Internet friends who own the collection, The Big Scare has compiled the following collector’s guide.  Special thanks to Ms. Mapes for sharing photos of her collection with The Big Scare, and for allowing us to snap some of her very spooky scenes during our visit.

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THE BUILDINGS

The following list is the sum total of the buildings issued in the Universal Monster Collection.  They are listed in order of their release:

Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab with Frankenstein Monster figure
Dracula’s Castle with Count Dracula figure
The Mummy’s Tomb with Kharis figure
The Creature’s Black Lagoon with Gill Man figure
The Wolf Man’s Lair with Wolf Man figure
Frankenstein’s Burning Windmill with Monster and Henry Frankenstein figure
The Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle with Bride of Frankenstein figure
The Phantom’s Paris Opera House with Phantom figure
The Invisible Man’s Inn with Invisible Man figure
Transylvania Train Station with Train Conductor figure
The Mummy’s Museum with Imhotep figure
Frankenstein’s Cottage with Frankenstein and Maria figure
Burial Site  (Frankenstein) with Fritz figure
Gothic Cathedral  with Lurking Dracula figure
Fortune Tellar Campsite with Bela the Gypsy figure
The Creature’s Haunted Rita with Dr. Reed figure
House Of Dracula with Dr. Edelman figure
Castle Frankenstein with Monster on rock figure
Ritual Chamber  with Boiling Pot figure
The Invisible Man’s Demise with Policeman figure
The Creature’s Excavation Site with Excavation figure
The Wolf Man’s Mansion with mustached Talbot figure
 

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

The first house in the collection is Frankenstein’s Laboratory.  Like all the buildings, it measures about 7″ in height.  The design is partially inspired by the lab as seen in the 1931 classic, but it takes influences from other famous movie structures as well.  Bats and torches adorn the walls.  And Fritz, Frankenstein’s mad assistant, can be seen peeking out from the window.

The second piece in the series is Dracula’s Castle.  This one is almost completely inspired by the castle seen in the 1931 movie.  It is very detailed.  There are evil trees surrounding the property, vines climbing the walls, and dozens of bats – including some encircling the topmost tower.

The next building in the collection is The Mummy’s Tomb.  This one is very neat, because it has a whole area where you can display figures on the actual piece.  You can position characters just outside the entrance to the tomb and all along the walkway.  Of course, that makes for great scenes, especially when Kharis is involved!  This one even has torches that light up!

As you can tell by the photos, the Hawthorne Village pieces are very detailed, most of that detail comes from the delicate sculpting.  Every shingle has texture.  Every stone in the wall has depth.  This is what sets these pieces apart from similar villages from the likes of Department 56 and Lemax.  The paint schemes, however, fall somewhere between those of  the detail-oriented Department 56 villages and the mass-produced application of Lemax.  But they aren’t really anything to complain about, considering that these buildings are actually smaller than your average Lemax or Department 56 piece.  Taking that into consideration, they are actually fairly good.  The pieces don’t give off too much light, but that is where exterior ambiance lighting comes into play.  And the Universal Monsters buildings lend themselves wonderfully to that!

The Wolf Man’s Lair is the fifth structure in the collection.  This one takes a lot of liberties, but it is one of the most desired of the collection nonetheless.  It comes complete with its own full moon and an interior courtyard that is perfect for making little scenes with the monster accessories.

The seventh piece in the series is the Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle.  This one lends itself well to the Gothic theme of the village.  With its series of chimneys and vine-covered walls, it manages to combine the classy with the creepy, just like the Bride herself!  This piece comes along with its own Bride of Frankenstein figure, striking a very familiar pose.

The eighth structure in the collection is the very forbidding Phantom’s Paris Opera House.  This building has the most unique design of all and is very detailed.  It has a ton of windows, but the “stone” figures which adorn the roof are probably the most eye-catching decorations on this one!

Issue number nine is The Invisible Man’s Inn.  It is probably one of the most-detailed in the collection.  The accessory that comes along with it, the Invisible Man himself, is also one of the best accessories in this village collection.  He’s not all there – you can see through his hand!

The final piece we will be showcasing comes from later on in the collection.  It is called the “Haunted Rita,” based on the boat of the same name in Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Coming in at issue number sixteen, it is probably one of the most popular pieces – if only because it is one of the most iconic images from any Universal Monster film.  Can you spot the Gill Man’s claw coming from out of the water?

VILLAGE ACCESSORY SETS

While the buildings themselves each came with a “free” accessory, the Bradford Exchange offered a separate line filled with additional figures and scene-setters.  There were thirteen sets of figures released in total.  Each set included two to four figures.  The following list details the contents of each set.

1.  It’s Alive! – Dr. Frankenstein, Fritz, and the Monster rising from his slab
2.    Dracula Rises – Dracula and victim, Dracula rising from his coffin, Dracula hiding in the garden
3.    Mummy’s Curse – Imhotep, Mummy in Sarcophagus, Ankh-es-en-amon and Imhotep
4.    Black Lagoon – Captain Lucas, Dr. Reed, Creature in the water, and Kay on the rocks
5.    Beware the Full Moon – Maleva in the wagon and the Wolf Man trapped in the forest
6.    Frankenstein’s Town Mob – Man with dogs, Villagers with torches, and the Monster
7.    Bride of Frankenstein – Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius, and the Bride in bandages
8.    Phantom of the Opera – Phantom Fleeing, Phantom and Christine in boat, and Christine at tomb
9.    Invisible Man – Invisible Man in lab, Invisible Man outside, Villagers
10.  Uncovering Artifacts – Various Archaeologists, “tools,” and “maps”
11.  Dracula’s Vampires – Count Dracula in the catacombs and his three brides
12.  Grave Robbers – Fritz with cart, Elizabeth, Dr. Waldman, and Priest
13.  Searching for the Creature – Archaeologists and “Creature Claw Rock”

The figures are only a few inches tall, but they are jam-packed with detail. Take a look for yourself.

Universal Studios Monsters Village Frankenstein Scene

Thank you, Ms. Mapes for sharing your collection with all of us!

If you enjoyed this page, check out the other sections of the site for more articles about haunted villages, decorations, and, of course, the world famous Universal Studios Monsters!

Welcome to the 2012 Halloween Season!

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The following is for information purposes only.   We are in no way affiliated with the creators of any product nor do we recommend you purchase any product described herein.  Any opinions expressed in the following article do not constitute an endorsement of any product.

Welcome, old friends and new, to The Big Scare, the site that prepares you for all of the tricks and treats in store this upcoming season.  We have a variety of terrifying topics to cover, so let’s waste no time.

First of all, let’s discuss the posting schedule.  Throughout August, we will be sharing updates every Wednesday, the day upon which Halloween falls this year.   Beginning September 3, we will be posting each weekday, providing you with decorating ideas,  haunted histories, as well as links to some of the most interesting (and eerie) items available to purchase this season in our Spook Spotter.  But why wait ’til then?  There’s already a number of finds that Spook the Cat is waiting to dig his claws into…

Let’s start with the biggies.  Many of you enjoy collecting life-sized animatronic figures and displaying them around your haunted homes and personal cemeteries.  This year, we have heard about some interesting ones, including an officially licensed Wicked Witch of the West and a limb-ripping werewolf.  Both will be available at Spirit Halloween Superstores.

For those of you who enjoy the more quaint – and smaller – Halloween fare, we suggest you take a look at the new figures and buildings available from Lemax.  Michael’s Arts and Crafts stores already are displaying their Spooky Town items.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the display in your local retailer, you can check out the offerings here.

Now let’s give you some updates on past Spook Spotter items.  We previously announced the release of a Bride of Frankenstein model from Moebius Models.  That item is now available, and you can order it here.   Secondly, we mentioned another series of  Dark Shadows action figures.  Those have been delayed until 2013, but it looks as if they are still being produced.  We will keep you updated.  In addition, all of the Universal Monster items from Diamond Select and Mezco are on schedule, and many of them will be released this fall.  We will let you know when they hit shelves.

Finally, you have probably noticed some changes around here, aesthetically speaking.  We are pleased to announce that we have a whole new cast of characters who will be helping dismember… disseminate, rather… all of the Haunted Headlines.  You’ve already met Spook the Cat.  Look forward to hearing from his friends Luna the Wolf, Eek the Owl, Swoop the Bat and a whole slew of others who are just dying to meet you!

Well, that does it for this week.  Check back next week when we share some insight on tracking down great Halloween items at low prices!