Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Back in the mid to late 80's I was completely terrified of the movie Gremlins. I remember watching it (somewhat) at my grandparent's house as a young child, not being able to make it through the film after the mogwai had completed their evil metmorphases, resorting to hiding behind the couch. 

Now as an adult, Gremlins has become one of my favorite films. Childhood memories of fear have been replaced with fun and nostalgia. However, I can understand how my younger self reacted in such a frightened manner after viewing the film. It is a fucking creepy movie. When you are only five years old, you simply do not grasp the idea that grown men with puppets and cameras are able to achieve such horrifyingly awesome magic. To you it is real. As real as anything else, and it's immensely fucked up.

I suppose as time goes on, you learn to appreciate films that once horrified you. Certainly that was the case with Gremlins. But how can a movie I was barely able to make it through as a kid, account for so much nostalgia?

The answer may reside within the realm of vintage Gremlins toy lines.

As a child of the 80's, I had fond memories of fuzzy creatures like My Pet Monster, the Ewoks, and of course, Gizmo the Mogwai. Unlike the foul and freaky Gremlin monsters, Gizmo had a much larger resonance with a younger demographic, including myself. It was only natural that young children, even those who had not really even seen the film, would gravitate toward the cute cuddly creature. 

So of course many Gizmo toys and dolls were produced under the official Gremlins licence. I fondly remember carrying around a plush Gizmo doll as a young boy. Unfortunately an ex-girlfriend in high school threw it into a fireplace after I broke up with her...

Strangely, I have no memory of the extremely terrifying Gremlins toys that were lurking around toy shelves back in 1984. Possibly the memories have all been wiped or blocked as a consequence of sheer trauma. 

Just take a look at LJN's large scale Posable Stripe Figure...

... imagine being 5 years old and getting that for Christmas. Jesus Christ.

Oh yeah and speaking of being terrified as a child, also try to imagine seeing one of your favorite Saturday morning TV show hosts dressed up like Satan, acting as if he's on more drugs than usual (although a couple of years before Pee-wee's Playhouse first aired on TV), whilst presenting his extensive Gremlins collection to David Letterman... HOLY SHIT!!

Still, as batshit insane as that video clip was, at least he wasn't wearing this. . .

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Monday, January 2, 2017


2016 is finally over (thank Christ) and it's time to look forward to a brand new series of unfortunate events. But fortunately, addictions to beer and toy collecting will help drown out a lot of the negative noise... 

So I've got that going for me. Hooray!!

To kick off 2017, year of the "fire rooster", I'd like to share my first toy score of the year... not to brag or be a dick, but because fire rooster reminded me of Godzilla (fuck you Rodan). Plus it also gives me an opportunity to share some brief history on a couple of my favorite Godzilla soft vinyl (sofubi) toys. 

So without further ado, I present the limited edition Butanohana Vinyl Wars Godzilla.

Sculpted by Butanohana, a newcomer to the soft vinyl scene, who's name means "pig nose", in Japan. The particular variant pictured above was released exclusively in the USA by MEDICOM via Newbury Comics in 2014, and was limited to only 100 pieces.

However, the sculpt was originally released in 2005, featuring various other color formats, marking Butanohana's first attempt at a Godzilla vinyl figure, standing at approx 6" tall. 

In the photo below you can see their interpretation of "burning Godzilla".

MEDICOM's "Vinyl Wars" series consisted of dozens of reissues from Japan's top sofubi toy producers. The 2014 reissue of Butanohana's Godzilla was painted to resemble Bullmark's classic 13" Giant Godzilla, which was released between 1968 and 1970 (below). 

Isn't it fucking awesome?!?! Too bad I'd have to sell a few organs to own one.

I'm a total sucker for vintage style Godzilla toys, especially reissues or variant sofubi with classic paint schemes. Oddly enough, my last toy score of 2016 was B-Club's first reissue of Bullmark's Giant Godzilla, which was released in 2001. However it featured a more cinematic version of Godzilla's colors, being a dark green vinyl coated in charcoal black paint and silver spine fins. He is still a welcome addition to my Godzilla vinyl family, especially since I'll probably never be able to afford a vintage version in the original colors :(

Now if only I could manage to snag one of these badass 13" Giant Glow in the Dark Hyper Hobby exclusives... 

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Special thanks to Mike Johnson at Club Tokyo for some of the info and photos!