Thursday, December 22, 2005

All The Beast To You And Yours

Stink! Stank! Stunk!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... the combination of Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones and Boris Karloff is pure magic, and the original animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas is an indisputable monsterpiece. Why on earth anyone would debase and defile it with a live action cover version is beyond me. Long live the book and the cartoon!

Christmas Chills

The Victorians strongly felt that this time of year was perfect for ghost stories 'round the fire. Though Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol remains as popular as ever, many other Christmas ghost stories are long lost and forgotten. Might Monsterama recommend the aforementioned Dickens' last Christmas story from 1848, called The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain? Mr. Redlaw is a chemistry professor tormented by painful memories. He is visited on Christmas Eve by a phantom, a double of himself, who bestows the gift of forgetting these painful memories. The catch is that others who come into contact with the professor also lose remembrance of past hurts and sorrows.
You can see more of John Tenniel's illustrations for the story here. Happy Christmas you naughty children.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Little Green

... and Red and White. No, I'm not talking Christmas, I'm talking Jon Kelly Green and his cute creeps! Enjoy the shrunken heads, fiends, there's a whole lot of 'em.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Don't Open The Box!

I mean... open the box! This Box Of Monsters, I mean. The Bits & Bites section has some downloadable goodies for you creepheads, like recreated vintage monster iron-ons... Monsterama's present to you. What? So I'm cheap. What did you get me?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

That Old Black Cat

Here's a detail from the Felix The Cat poster I did to drum up interest in a direct-to-video movie tentatively titled "Felix The Cat's Spooky Spectacular". I also worked up some character designs for Felix The Cat Productions, Inc. on this project. Very fun!

Monday, December 12, 2005


I was initiated into the Krampus tradition by my Hungarian, Transylvanian, and Czech in-laws many years ago. Right up my alley, you might say! From

On Dec. 5, the eve of the feast day of St. Nick, Austrians celebrate Krampus by running across the city in grotesque masks and generally scaring children. This is an extension of the good-cop, bad-cop theory. St. Nick makes his rounds on Dec. 6 rewarding all the good little children, a task which is made easy since Krampus has been out the night before, punishing pretty much the same children with a good switching. more...

The hideous Krampus is a shaggy monster with horns, covered with bells and dragging chains. In Bavaria, St. Nikolaus is followed by a similar horned creature, called Klaubauf; in Styria this attendant is named Bartel. Krampus carries the presents for the good and a birch stick or lumps of coal for the naughty ones. It is rumored that naughty children might get put in the sack and taken along to hell.
In the Salzburg area there are Krampus runs on and around December 5th, preceding the festival of St. Nikolaus. The tradition in the National Park region is that St. Nikolaus drags along not just a single Krampus, but a group of up to ten of these frightening freaks. The Krampus masks are known as Larven. A proper Krampus Larve must of course have large horns, and the carver usually uses the horns of a goat, Ibex or Chamois.There are two ways to get a good look at St. Nikolaus and his Krampuses in the Salzburg region. The easiest way is having children... then you can invite Jolly old St.Nick into your home, and the Krampus will come with him to help your little ones wet their pants. The second way is to visit one of the street runs or parades.
In Hungary, there are the same two key Christmas figures... Mikulás (St. Nick) and Krampusz. St. Nick is a nice-ish tall thin guy who dresses in either red or white and gives out candies or presents. Krampusz punishes bad children by beating them or taking them away. Clearly Europeans are still into hitting and threatening their kids in a public way. Scary! Clay Rizen has a nice personal write up of his Krampus experience here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Monstruos Diabolicos

The mysterious 'R' has promised me he will be posting many more Monster Stickers from his childhood on a regular basis. 'Monstruos Diabolicos' includes many familiar fiends like Universals' Phantom of the Opera and King Kong alongside such historical figures as Rasputin and local abnormalities like the looker at left and the Gato Unicorno. Wonderful weirdness! I know I'll be back every week.

He's A Phantom

There really aren't that many cartoons that my kids and I can watch with equal enthusiasm, but Danny Phantom is pretty cool. Created by the prolific Butch Hartman, the show has a nifty horror/hero vibe not unlike Frankenstein Jr. or the Ghostbusters. Danny really doesn't need any 'press' from Monsterama... the show is popular enough as it is. Still, with Danny "going ghost" and attending 'Casper High', it would be a shame to skim over such a cute creep just because he wasn't a lost cult classic.Let it be known that we at Monsterama do not discriminate against brand new monsters. Or phantoms. Or half- phantoms.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Creatures From The Back Pages

Head on over here for a little dose of rare monster art, culled from the ad pages and mail-in's of classic monster mags.

Mummy, Can I Play?

As announced awhile back on my website and elsewhere, the new Tutenstein mobile phone games by Sandager Small Games are now available.From the press release:

Tutenstein is an award winning Cartoon series that is running on major TV Networks in Europe. SSG has acquired the mobile rights to Tutenstein and is happy to launch a great pack of Tutenstein content including games:

* 2 Premium Tutenstein Games * 3 Arcade Tutenstein Games

Happy Mummy’s Birthday
Happy Mummys Birthday is probably the best mobile game we ever developed. It is a huge educational game with many challenges. To complete the game you need to go through 3 worlds and play as each of the 3 characters. This Premium game offers excellent graphics and original music.

Tutenstein Reviving
Tutenstein Reviving is a great Premium game in isometric view. You task is to help Tut through the museum with our being caught. A huge game with many challenges.

Tutenstein – Escape from the Underworld
Escape from the Underworld is a high quality Arcade game with Tut in the front. This is a bomberman type game and you have to act fast and keep your head cold in this challenging game.

Tutenstein’s Amulets
Tutenstein’s Amulets is an arcade-/brain game. Swap the amulets to collect 3 or more of the same sort. Very entertaining – and and almost addictive to effect to get the highscore beaten!

The Tutenstein Chase
The Tutenstein Chase is a fast game! See if you can follow the speed of an ancient mummy? We offer 6 levels packed with challenges.

All the Tutenstein games are optimized for:
* Nokia
* Motorola
* SonyEricsson
* Siemens
* Samsung

Monday, December 05, 2005


Another stunner of a kids variety show (that I only recently unearthed-- shame on me!) is Los Angeles' own Shrimpenstein!... perhaps the only program weirder and wackier than my beloved Hilarious House Of Frightenstein. Everything I know about the show is covered here at TV Party, which has, as far as I know, the only clips available anywhere (any freaks out there with bootlegs of this monsterpiece?). Shrimpy was on KHJ channel 9 in LA from 1966 to 1968, hosted by the borderline lunatic Gene Moss (Dr. Von Schtick) and Jim Thurman (other voices), both of whom had just come off of writing and doing voices for the wonderful Roger Ramjet cartoon. Shrimpenstein was a miniature Frankenstein monster (a ventriloquist dummy, operated by Moss, who wasn't a ventriloquist... the voice was provided offscreen by Thurman) who was "created" when jellybeans were thrown into the Monster Machine. No kidding. This kookfest has to be seen to be believed! The puppet was actually made by special effects maestro Wah Ming Chang, best known for his legendary Star Trek work on such famous monsters as the Tribbles, the Gorn, Balock, and (pictured here) the Salt Vampire. An amazing pedigree for such a irreverent and, well, shrimpy little show.

Brucie Lives!

If you're not already familiar with the cult TV series The Hilarious House Of Frightenstein, produced over here in Hamilton Ontario in the '70's, there's nothing I can say more thouroughly or enthusiastically than my comrades over at Castle Frightenstein and The Frightenstein Fiend Club already have. Please head over "where the sun won't shine" before limping back here to Monsterama... you won't be disappointed. Now. Frightenstein is one of my very favourite shows-- as any kids tv series featuring Vincent Price, a dancing Wolfman, and a bumbling Count trying to perpetually revive a Karloffian monster called 'Brucie' is bound to be-- and I was thrilled beyond belief to discover that a few episodes (previously only available as low res bootlegs) were being released on DVD by Empire Pictures. The quality is great, and it was a real trip, man, watching these kooks come alive again... nearly all played by the incomparable Billy Van. Unfortunately, this is a release of the American version of the show, cut down from an hour-long into a half-hour format, and missing some far-out stuff. No Proffessor, I'm afraid, and no Mosquito. Very little Oracle, as well. But there's still a strong enough dose of Grizelda, Count Frightenstein, Igor, and the Wolfman (including those unforgettably trippy dance numbers) to put a tear into an old creeps eye. Monsterama highly recommends.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Which Witch Hazel, Hey?

The incomparable John Stanley introduced his 'Witch Hazel' in 1952... the same year as Disney's short (making it unlikely that Disney swiped Stanley the same way Warner Brothers swiped Disney... see below). Stanley's Little Lulu comics are still considered to be some of the best ever written, and were extremely popular at the time Witch Hazel (and Little Itch) were introduced as characters created by Lulu to entertain the rather difficult neighbor kid, Alvin. Fred Hembeck fondly recalls John Stanley and the Little Lulu Halloween specials at his excellent site. Scoll down for a nicely scanned comic, too. Here's a little peek at the other Witch Hazel from one of those Halloweem comics...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Hey, Which Hazel?

Walt Disney's Donald Duck short 'Trick Or Treat' came out at the end of 1952, predating the WB shorts by a couple of years. The Hallowe'en story featured a kindly (to everyone but Donald, that is) Witch Hazel who helps Donald's nephews Huey, Duey and Louie teach the tight old duck how to be generous with the candy. The comic samples are from Walt Disney's Donald Duck #26, which debuted at the same time as the cartoon (Fall of '52)... click to enlarge. Hazel's voice characterization was done by the legendary June Foray, and the distinctive witches cackle was a big hit with filmgoers. Chuck Jones loved the voice of Hazel, too, and asked June Foray to come over and do it just the same for his own Witch Hazel at rival animation studio, Warner Bros. You see, Chuck knew that he could get away with it because Disney didn't own the rights to a Witch called Hazel... there was already one of those in the comic books...

Witch Hazel's Which?

When I write "Witch Hazel", what character comes to mind for you? Maybe you're a TV-scorning hippie and immediately thought of the plant, but it's more than likely that you're picturing Bugs Bunny's green-skinned nemesis from the classic Warner Brothers cartoons. I mean, I did put her picture right here, so it's more than likely. But seriously... those original shorts,'Bewitched Bunny'(1954), 'Broom-Stick Bunny'(1956), and 'A Witches' Tangled Hare'(1959) by Chuck Jones (whom I've praised here before) are still seen often enough on TV and DVD, making this Hazel a likely candidate for 'most popular'. But she isn't the first popular Witch Hazel. In fact, she's not even the first, famous animated Witch Hazel. That would be the Disney version.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Dracky

These Minimonsters dolls (click to enlarge) are just weird. Perfect for any five year old girl, right? I particularly like the 'attacking vampire' motif on Vampy's dress...

Monday, November 21, 2005

All Hail Tutenstein

My little dead kid is all set to make his second appearance on a float in the Macy*s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, running from 9am-12 noon on November the 24th. Drop by and see the Pharaoh if you're in Manhattan, or watch the parade from the comfort of your own home on NBC. Want to see a little 'making of' the Tutenstein float? We can do that.

Franky Jr.

Steal the premise of a translated Japanese anime show (Gigantor) that premiered a mere nine months earlier, give your main character the voice of the Addams Family's Lurch (Ted Cassidy), name him after a famous Universal Monster, and you've got me as a fan for life. I'm pretty easy that way. Hanna Barbera's Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles ran from 1966-67, and featured segments about a boy (Buzz Conroy), his Dad, and their giant robot, Frankenstein Jr. Check out the nifty model sheets at Animation Meat... Hanna-Barbera at their finest. Though 'Franky Jr.' (as Buzz likes to call him) isn't made of dead flesh, and, in fact, likes to rescue people and save lives, the tone of the show was still creepy enough to qualify as a Monsterama subject, mostly due to the bizarre Rogues' Gallery of sinster spooks. You can see what I mean here... lots of screencaps from a couple of episodes called 'The Living Images' and 'The Shocking Electrical Monster'. (My favourite weirdos to go up against Franky Jr. were 'The Spooktaculars', but I couldn't find any images to post just yet). Writer Eddie Brandt (The Spike Jones Show, Beany and Cecil) kept the scripts pretty basic, but they're still quite fun to watch. More to come on Frankenstein Jr. later...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

You'll Die Laughing

As I might have mentioned in my previous post on Topps, Monsterama digs ye olde Monster Trading Cards. Monster Wax pegs the 'golden age' of these as a ten year period beginning in 1959, starting with the highly prized Funny Monsters series. Drawn by the legendary EC/Mad artist, Jack Davis, these slabs of cardboard are the creme de la creep for collectors, who refer to the series by the tag line on the cards-- "You'll Die Laughing". Click for a taste...


I sure do like a good, old-fashioned Darkride. Ever since I was a 7-year-old riding DisneyWorld's Haunted Mansion for the sixth time, I've been enamoured with the idea of goofy ghost houses. Phantasmagraphics has some elaborate insights into the makings of a Darkride, and there are some great photos at The Imaginary World. There's a sad little photo essay on abandoned Darkride stuff at Funchase, and more info at Laff In The Dark... but the best resource is Darkride And Funhouse Enthusiasts, a place you'll definately want to peek around a few corners in. I had a blast this past summer taking my 7-year-old daughter on her first Darkride in the old 'Haunted Barrelworks' on Centre Island.