Friday, October 15, 2010

Minor Monsters Tribute

I'll be honest with you folks, I haven't been feeling the Halloween Spirit™ this year (I'll go into specifics in a later entry), but yesterday my good friend Matt over at X-Entertainment posted a Halloween entry giving tribute to minor monsters, and dammit, it got my spark all lit up again!

"Minor monsters" in a sense are just ugly bad guys who get aren't usually the first things you think of when you think "Halloween Monsters." Everyone knows the Major Monsters, like Vampires, Werewolves, Mummies, Zombies, Ghosts, Frankenstein Monsters, Jason, Freddy, Chucky, and the occasional Leprechaun in space.

But what about...everyone else? The spooks and monsters that you love or scared the everloving crap outta you, but just don't get the invites to the mad monster party. They might be the stars of some forgotten movie, an awesome creature that got outshone by the main players, or just some creepy thing. These are the monsters that I want to focus on today. Since Matt's entry focused on six monsters, I'll do the same with this list.

NOTE: This list is in no order, nor does this list specify my favorite monsters ever. These are just six creepy beings that deserve their pedestal on the grand Monster Mash of life.

#1: Hedorah (Godzilla vs The Smog Monster)

Gotta give some love to one of the most obscure Toho monsters out there. Surprisingly, as a living pile of sludge, he isn't the STRANGEST monster in Godzilla's rogues gallery (Gigan, anyone?), but he's certainly one of the most fearsome. Yeah, just breathe your atomic fire breath on him, Godzilla, that won't cause him to explode and pollute the atmosphere much more fiercely than just letting him wobble along Japan.

Because it won't work, he's completely immune to it! Yeah, he's one of only two monsters that are unaffected by the Atomic Fire Breath (the other being Destroyah). He can also spit acid onto his enemies, shoot lasers from his eyes, Superior Japanese Military Weapons pass right through him and by the way, he can fly! While flying, he sprays sulfuric acid, so he's pretty much powered by farts. Godzilla's fire breath would STILL cause massive explosions.

Why I love him is because he seems to be the neglected Toho monster. EVERY other monster has a lovable fanbase. Yes, even Battra. But Hedorah's fans seem slim to least when it comes to his action figure. Hedorah was the literal garbage toy of the Godzilla action figure line, living a lonely life on the toy shelf in a Long Island CVS where no one would love him or buy him to take him home to fight their Godzilla or their iPhones or whatever kids have these days. No, he was doomed to live his life on the clearance shelf because he was the villain of a one-off Godzilla movie that promoted an environmental moral to the story without having one of the mecha versions of one of the other monsters in the mix somehow.

The fact that he looked like a walking vagina did not help his cause.

#2: That Violin Playing Girl from Courage The Cowardly Dog

(moment starts at the 3 minute point)

Kids who grew up in the 90's know what I'm talking about. In the episode "Big Stinkin' City," Courage has to stop a giant cockroach from killing his owner Muriel before she can play her sitar concert at Radio City Music Hall (don't ask). There was a sequence where he climbs up a building and looks through all the rooms to find someone to give him an important package, which of course hold all sorts of nightmare-inducing sights like a shark and King Ghidorah.

But then he opens one door to find a girl with her back turned to him playing the violin. Yeah, you think you're safe for once, but then she turns around...


In one fell swoop, she became the Large Marge of Generation Y.

#3: The Harlequin Demon

This little bugger is from The Nightmare Before Christmas, a bonafide favorite movie of mine. Out of all the monsters in the movie, his overall design is my absolute favorite. The torso scales, the teeth that wrap around his entire head, his hair being made from the sandworms from Beetlejuice. Basically, I just love any creature whose upper head half is completely separate from the lower half. I love watching such a complicated movement being animated, and I've had several sleepless nights pondering how such a head can function in real life. I love him for it.

Plus, he's voiced by Greg Proops of "Whose Line Is It Anyway" fame! A winning package if I may say so myself.

#4: Thog (The Muppet Show)

Ever watch the Muppet Show and wonder "what the hell is that huge blue thing called?" Well, fret no more! He has a name, and it is Thog! Specifically created for 1970's The Great Santa Claus Switch, he was partnered with a green lookalike named Thig, who disappeared into Muppet Obscurity long before Thog did.

While Thig never lasted past the one Christmas special, Thog would go on to serve as one of the Generic Giant Muppets whenever the show called for a huge monster that wasn't Sweetums to dance along with Alice Cooper. What I love about him is his size. At 9 1/2 feet tall, he was the biggest Muppet of his day, and no one dare screw with him. But thankfully, he's a gentle giant who only wants to hug the nearest girl he can find until they fall limp in his arms.

#5: Shellshock (Power Rangers)

If I were to name my favorite Power Rangers villain off the tip of my head, I would definitely say Lord Zedd from the original Mighty Morphin seasons. But if I were held at gunpoint to name my favorite Monster of The Week, I'd immediately go with Shellshock from the first season episode "The Trouble with Shellshock."

How can you not love a giant turtle with a traffic light embedded into its back that can make people speed up, freeze in place, or dance?! Answer: You can't. To this day, I'm quite sad that out of all of the awesome monsters from this show they could have made toys out of, they never made one out of this guy.

Sure, I could do what Baboo and Squat did in the episode: Attach a traffic light to a Ninja Turtle figure and magically bring it to life, but it wouldn't be the same!

#6: The Gremlin from Terror at 5 1/2 Feet (Treehouse of Horror IV)

It comes to no surprise that we end the list with a Simpsons reference. Created as a spoof of the gremlin from the famous "Terror at 5000 Feet" segment from the Twilight Zone, this thing slowly broke apart the school bus for no reason but its own amusement as Bart can only look on in horror.

Yeah, judging from that picture above, it's no surprise that it's the only Treehouse of Horror segment that legitimately scared the utter shit outta me as a kid. Oh man, not only seeing Ned Flanders' severed head, but also the exposed spinal cord? Add the fact that it was still able to talk? My seven year old mind turned to goo so quickly that I couldn't watch that again for a good ten years. It's one of the reasons why I love this show.

What are YOUR favorite Minor Monsters? Tell us in the comments! Difficulty: No More Than Six!

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