Madballs, Weird Balls, Super Bouncing Weird Balls, Monster Balls, Blurp Balls, Krazy Balls, Freakballs, Squirt Devils and other nameless imitations.

Monday, July 26, 2010

80's Mash-up!!!

We've got some sweet sweet Madball art from a friend I met on Little Rubber Guys, named Chris Tupa. He totally went the extra mile and did four(!) 80's cartoon characters as zombie monster balls. Let's have a look!
First off, Deady Ruxpin (Chris didn't provide names so hopefully I'll do them justice)! I barely remember this dude except that his electronic bear mouth could actually hurt you if you put your finger in there. Chris's watercolors are great and add a level of dirtiness and grit.
Jane Retchson (best put I could come up with for Jane Jetson, sorry). Love the skull and cockroaches!
Hmmmm....blood vomiting's about, Vomchhichi? I like it! (thanks Jeanne!) This thing looks like she went to town eating someone's guts. Blood is something you don't see to often in monster faced balls but I like it! Come to think of it, there aren't many female monster faced balls (girls like gross stuff too!).
Rigor Mortis Smurf. Done! I think that may be my best pun this week. Frankensmurf or Smurfenstein were also considered. This one's my favorite of the bunch. He looks really sinister and gross. The standard big/small eye are present and I really like the crappy grin he has! This also reminds me of that sweet Unicef commerical!

These are great and Chris has them for sale on his website, so go get 'em!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

His Face Sucks

"No Comment"

Remember the wonderous world of vending machine toys? When you had to suffer through a trip to the grocery store (even though riding in the cart was really fun) with your mom or dad, you most likely got some small compensation in the form of a 25¢ piece of plastic. I'm discovering, a surprising abundance of quarter machine knock offs were Madball related.. Maybe it's not so surprising. The Super Bouncing Bad Bad Balls were just the right size, as were plenty of those other mini balls and the Euro mini Madballs are a modern take on that (but $1 instead of a 25¢). What we have today is a weirder monster.

These dudes are floppy rubber suction cup backed replicas of Madball faces. There's no attempt at all at creativity or expanding on the concept, these are straight stolen. I'm assuming so. There are no markings whatsoever on any of these guys. No, TCFC, no date, no Amtoy...nothin'. However, the molds and likenesses are really good! Definitely a step above the Foul Balls, and Super Bouncing Weird Balls of the time.
The paint jobs are awful, but that adds to the grotesqueness of them. Slobulus is gross enough green, but that pale white rubber with garish splashes of red for his mouth and hair make me queazy. Horn Head's white puckery eye isn't a treat to look at either. Actually, this rendition of Oculus Orbus may be one of the most truly disgusting monter face balls I've ever encountered. The texture and coloring conjures up images of Schwarzenegger plucking his eye out in Terminator, or a real sheeps eye. Ugh...
The one downside of these is that they don't retain their original shape very well and considering they've been crammed in quarter machine "eggs" for decades, it's no shock to see some are a bit lopsided.
In conclusion, these are cool! They're available cheap from some dude on Ebay (which I can't find right now, but these were still for sale a little while ago), and well worth it if you're into Madballs or quarter machine toys.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blood On the Ice

"Obnoxious and Gross!"

I've never used my Madballs for sport. As a kid they would get thrown AT someone but never to them, or they played the part of giant spherical monsters that Cobra employed to constantly harass G.I. Joes with barf and boogers. As an adult, my Madballs (and rip offs...don't ever forget the rip offs) sit majestically on shelves as an homage to children's gross out culture of the 1980's (one nickel will get you into the Bukowski Madball Museum). Point being, they never got tossed around in a game of catch or baseball, they were usually used mischevously. TCFC designed a toy that would be perfect for misbehaving little boys and girls. We all knew instinctively to peg little Jimmy in the back of the head with Oculus Orbus or try to get the bolt on Touchdown Terror's nose (the hardest part) to hit your sister directly in the spine. Well, this hockey stick made in conjunction with the 2007 Madball line is a testament to the spirit of misbehavior.
That's right. A padded hockey stick (and puck) with monster faces printed on it! You could use it to pretend you're on the ice in your parents living room, but most likely you'll be thwapping someone in the back of the knees with this bad boy!
Sal got me this at a Marshall's (of all places!) as a surprise. I was super pumped because this harkens back to the days of Madball merchandising mania (folders, lunchboxes, cups, mugs, sleeping bags) where their ugly likenesses were plastered on anything and everything. The more I thought of it, though, the more disappointed I am that this wasn't more like the Gruesome Creatures wiffle bats. Those were molded plastic with HUGE monster faces on them. Kinda like Madballs but in bat form. It would be really cool if TCFC broke the baseball/football mold and started making pucks, basketball hoops, etc with sculpted monster faces. Oh well.
This set is fun and I'm sure any nerdy kid would love it. It's not the sturdiest thing in the world (which is good for whoever's on the receiving end of it) but it's cool because it's basically a vehicle for the sweet Madball design art. Repvile takes center stage, with his ugly mug occupying boths sides of the puck, and the stick is graced with the revamped versions of Slobulus, Skull Face, and Screamin' Meemie !
Upon closer inspection, it looks like this set was made this year and by Kellytoy who make nothing else I want. It is encouraging to see that Madball merch is still being made. Maybe that Series 3 really will come out....sigh.

In conclusion, pretty fun. Mostly for the absurdity of what it is and where it was found. I really do wish it was sculpted though. Thanks Sal!!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Journey Into the Unknown Part 2: This Time It's Personal

"No Comment...Again"

In the A Journey Into the Unknown post from a month ago, I showed you a bunch of iconic fake Madballs. Rip offs that are almost as ubiquitous as their predecessors. Today, we go into the dark bowers of Madballs domain, the slimy underbelly of Orb. These are rip offs that aren't part of any series, have no morals, usually no manufacturing markings and can even be knock offs of knock offs. Welcome to the dark side of Madball collecting.
First up is one of my favorite fakes ever! Let's call him Dracenstein (that's right I'll be naming these anonymous creeps!). He's made from Sadball inflatable rubber and painted in only 3 colors, but he's sculpted really well! I also like the Frankenstein/Dracula combo. Fangs and stitches go together really well...who woulda thought!? He's also got some cool touches like the one bug eye and the volcano-esque warts under his chin. Dracenstein is simple enough that he's not a mess to look at (Slobulus) with lovingly crafted details to make him interesting.

Ohhhhh man. Here we go. This guy is a jerk. He's a rip off of a rip off (a combo of Weird Balls Wart Hog and Worm Skull), and he's made out of a really crappy material. Not Madball foam and not Sadball rubber, Wart-worm is made of a hollow, semi-rigid plastic that makes him really unfun to play with...not that I play with these..oh whatever. Like you can't throw him at your brother's head or step on him at all without causing permanent dents or chipping. The paint comes right off this dude. Like Slobulus, he's got too much goin on. The elements they stole from both Weird Balls are cool on their own but its hard for me to tell what I'm looking at now that they're all crammed onto one tiny football.
Up next we have two MORE imitations of imitations. We'll name them Allergic Reaction and Ghost Mummy.
Allergic Reaction is most definitely a poor attempt at a Shrink Head Weird Ball but molded in the same semi-rigid plastic as Wart-worm. He's really bad. Just poorly designed, no flourishes and an odd choice of colors. I prefer Shrink Head, but when Josh finds this guy for you in a flea market bin for a dollar you can't go wrong!
Ghost Mummy is where things get weird. The dude on the left is Fantasma from the La Pelota Del Terror Argentinian line. Ghost Mummy is the same exact sculpt but inflated more, made from a different rubber and painted better. He's pretty neat, but I prefer the crappier Argentinian dude. He's funnier.
Now what really makes things weird is Purple People Eater. Though he's barely painted (and what's there is sloppy) he's a really cool mold! However....
These dudes look kinda similar. Which is making me question which dudes came first. The Pelota Del Terror guys or this unknown purple freak. He's rendered better and with more care but painted poorly and, as far as I can tell, not part of a series. They both have the same mouth, nose and eyebrows! Yeah they don't look too similar in the above pic but the paint and color of the rubber may be throwing you off. Check this out..
Broncudo has a weird worm on his head in the same spot that Purple People Eater has that hitchhiking gecko. They also have those "worms" breaking out of their skulls right in front of their ears. The stitches are in different places but they're there. It almost looks like someone got hold of Purple People Eater and imitated him in a rush OR someone got a hold of Broncudo and saw his glorious gross potential and took the time to make him better. Either way I'm confused.
Get ready for really bizarre now. John McEnblow is pretty gross with his pink skin, huge irregular teeth and bulging eye. What really puts him over the top is the disgusting bundle of bloody tendons falling out of his eye socket! Ew! They're all red and shiny. It grosses me out. He gets his name cus I think he's supposed to be some sort of athlete. The headband is giving me that impression. Yeah, he's got a headband, that's cool. But it's not as cool as this...
BAM! Just give ol' Johnny a squeeze and out pops his balloon tongue! What?! Yeah it's odd. He's a little smaller than a Madball so maybe the manufacturers thought they had to jazz him up a bit...with a balloon tongue. Again, no markings so I guess I'll just have to dream of more of these, cus this guy rules.
Haha! I always forget about this guy cus he's the Eeyore of Sadballs. Just a goofy nerd that's put together poorly and everyone ignores. We'll call him Winnie the Puke. He's some sort of lizard with fangs and the standard Madball asymmetrical bug eyes. But he's also got a weird exposed skull with veins on it? Or it's a white brain? Or it's just poorly made? Yep! That's it. I do like this guy despite his faults. Mostly because of that lackadaisical look. I'd pet him.
Last but not least are two dudes from an unknown series. I scored these idiots over at Monster Collectibles. Unlike the rest of this motley crew they actually have names! On the left is Vampire Vinny and on the right is Freaky Fred. I personally think they got the names mixed cus the dude on the right totally looks like a nosferatu!

Both these guys are really cool, filled with gross details and painted really well with lots of colors. Vampire Vinny's puffy eyes really disturb me as does Freaky Fred's big warty nose. While Freaky Fred looks like a gross old Dracula, Vampire Vinny doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before. Maybe a mutant human/insect hybrid? Look at those jacked teeth!
Both of them have their names and "Emson" stamped on their hinders but Google searches have yielded little information about the makers. It makes me sad because they seem to be part of team whose other members I want to own and put on a shelf!

In conclusion, cool and suck but overall cool. There's a lot of these mystery monsters out there and some are poorly made while others have the love and horror of an actual Madball put into them but all are great examples of the 80's gross out phenomena. Even the really really bad ones tend to be funny. So, happy hunting, and let me know if you have any info on these dorks or spy any others!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Frankenstein's Monster(ball)

"Famous Monsters From Your Favorite Horror Movies"

Hahahahahheheheheheeee! I'll never stop laughing at that name...Monster Balls (not to be confused with Monster Ball)! Ahem. Like I mentioned in the Ghost Ball post, there aren't too many monster faced balls made of licensed characters but these are my favorites.
Made by Illco in the late 80's (from what I can glean off the internet, because the only dates on the package are the copy right renewals) these four gruesome dudes are taken right from Universal's classic monster movies and crafted into ball form. I can't find much info on Illco but they did make a bunch of Muppets and Disney toys.
They're sculpted with super high detail (made of Sadball rubber rather than Madball foam) and in a cool 50's style fitting for these creeps. While Madballs went for gross-out, these seem to go for nostalgia and class. That's right, classy Monster Balls.

The package has a TON of slogans for a four toy line. "Famous Monsters From Your Favorite Horror Movies", "Monstrous Fun For All", "Collect Them All" and of course my favorites, "Throw", "Catch", "Bounce", and "Hit". I know Madball packaging was crammed full of stuff but there were 18 (if you count Super Madballs) of those and various merchandising offshoots. This is just four toys! Not to mention one of the "slogans" is encouraging you to whip Dracula in your friends face. I mean, I would've done that regardless but it's strange to see a printed instruction. Anyway, let's get to it.
First up is Roxy's favorite, good ol' Dracula! He's pretty cool. They did a really good job of getting the essence (Eau De Drac) of the Lugosi Dracula without being tied down to his likeness. I like his scary red eyes and bloody mouth! His smug expression is a bit weird though. He looks like you just walked in on him biting your fiance and he's like "What? I'm Dracula. What are you gonna do about it?" Oops sorry, it's more like this "Vat? I em Drac-u-la. Vat are you going to do a-bout eet?". That's better. The fine detail of the hair is pretty amazing and the added touch of the collar to his cape make me squeel with delight! We're off to a good start Illco!
So Frankenstein's Monster (I will continue to refer to him as Frankenstein's Monster to bother Jeanne), must have been designed by someone else. The hair is flat and the paint job not as good but he's also designed in a way that makes it work. He looks like a toy you would get in the 50's. The pale green color and the garish red and purple add to the vintage feel. He kinda looks like Karloff but not really, which, again, I don't mind. However, he does look like Bugs Bunny just did his makeup. The scars/stitches are cool and all but everything else looks like he's Frankenstein's Prostitute, not Monster. The purple eye shadow, the red lipstick, that one side even has some dark green blush. The red around his eyes even looks like ghoulish mascara! Perhaps Frank's Monster was just looking for someone else to practice makeup on, and that's why he had the doctor create The Bride.
Up next is Karloff again! This time as a resurrected dead guy...wait. Well, this dead guy is desiccated and African, that's different. There's some weird stuff goin on with the Mummy. I'm not really sure what those blue-green lines on his nose are supposed to be or why his one eyelid is longer than the other, but he's still pretty neat. the detail of the wrinkled skin is incredible! The back of his head even has hints of bandages on it. For some reason The Mummy's eyes are closed like Frankenstein's Monster. Maybe Karloff was so busy the only time they could get to see him for reference was when he was asleep (despite the fact that he was already way dead when they made these). This one does look more like Karloff despite being bizarre and droopy.
Last but not least is the Wolfman! This guys got tons of hairy details, and look just like the Jack Pierce makeup (thank god it didn't have to look like Lon Chaney Jr.'s ugly mug). The hair on this dude is top notch. It goes from straight and form highlighting to curly and messy in the back. Wolfman bed-head. He looks more stylized than the Mummy or Dracula but a bit more realistic than Frank's Monster.

In conclusion, awesome!! Illco did a great job using limited paint colors, the vintage look, and getting into minutia. My only complaint is that I wish there was a Creature! He and The Invisible Man (I wish they made him too, all covered in bandages with sunglasses!) are my favorite Universal monsters. If you can find these guys on Ebay pick em up, if not, there's one at The Pop Top Shop or contact me cus' I have two extra!