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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It Takes A Universal Studios Monsters Halloween Village

I'll never forget when I was a little kid and someone at a shopping mall playground called me "fish face." It was such an odd name to get called. I should not have been upset. There's a very famous star of stage, screen and theme parks who could claim that nickname. It's the Creature From the Black Lagoon, and he is one of the Universal Studios Monsters.

Ever since Universal opened the Islands of Adventure theme park at their Universal Orlando Resort in 1999, rumors were swirling about an entire land devoted to the classic Universal Monsters.

Universal Orlando does host the popular Halloween Horror Nights, and the Classic Monsters Cafe serves up cold shivers with snacks.

In 2005, collectibles creator Hawthorne Village had a trick and a treat for fans of Dracula, the Mummy and other classic characters.

The Universal Studios Monsters Halloween Village set allowed theme park fans to create their own Island of Adventure not seen in Florida.

Look, there's lightning in the background. That is a good representation of Orlando. And, I guess, a Halloween Village.

It's easy to imagine trick-or-treating in a real version of the Universal Studios Monsters Halloween Village.

Dracula's Castle had also been sold by Department 56 back in 2003.

You could also get Dracula's neighbor, Scarlett (from "Gone With the Wind").

It's time to sink your teeth into something tasty.

Yes, Universal's CityWalk has a Burger King (with a Whopper Bar, so you can add garlic to your burger).

In 1997, Burger King had Universal Studios Monsters action toys.

Dracula likes to play with the ketchup dispenser when he visits Burger King.

There were four toys available, but I failed to get Frankenstein. Me disappointed.

The Wolf Man thinks you should add a jar of jalapeno peppers to your burger at CityWalk's Whopper Bar because it will grow hair on your chest.

The Wolf Man usually orders a Large Value Meal at Burger King. He can't finish the Large Value Meal at Burger King, but he likes to take home a doggy bag.

The Wolf Man was responsible for most of the North American sales of the Bacon Sundae that Burger King sold. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon! It's BACON!

You would think that the Creature From the Black Lagoon would love the BK Big Fish Sandwich at Burger King, but you'd be wrong.

The Creature From the Black Lagoon does not eat the BK Big Fish Sandwich because that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned upon by most societies.

The Burger King Creature From the Black Lagoon toy spits water. He's more of a prankster than a real threat.

When he is not working at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, the Creature From the Black Lagoon enjoys visits to Sea World.

At Universal Studios in Florida, many of the Universal Monsters have performed in Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue.

Beetlejuice is actually a Warner Brothers character, setting the groundwork for other licensed characters to appear at Universal parks.

The Universal Monsters love to visit the Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios. That's where they met Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie. Poochie suggested that the Monsters should try skateboarding.

Frankenstein is my favorite of these, and I was not able to find him.

The fun new versions of the Monsters were sculpted by Mat Falls.

Little Big Heads Monster Shredders were made by Sideshow Toys and sold in CVS Pharmacy locations in 1999.

I see you, Invisible Man.

"Look, I'm Invisible!"

The Creature From the Black Lagoon wants everyone to call him "Flying Fish."

Look at that expression. "Fish Face" IS more fitting.

For purists, Sideshow made a more traditional set of Little Big Heads Monsters, too (also sculpted by Mat Falls).

Here we see the Phantom of the Opera. It would have been fun to see him on a skateboard.

The Wolf Man is itching to star in a new werewolf movie.

The Wolf Man better watch his step, or he could fall into the trap of his new foe, which could be a villain called the Dawgcatcher.

After years of silence, the Universal Monsters have something to say.

When slammed down, the Frankenstein Monster Screamer says "Candy good!" and "Friend!" Gotta love Frankenstein.

The Wolf Man spent too much time howling, and lost his voice (this product was sold way back in 1999) so what he said must remain a mystery. I'm guessing he said "Don't neuter me, man!"

Remember the movie "Van Helsing" starring Hugh Jackman? Somehow I never saw that. It seems like the idea was for Van Helsing to re-launch the careers of different Universal Studios Monsters.

Legend has it that a "Van Helsing" attraction proposed for the Universal parks became the basis for "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Florida.

4 comments:

  1. Wow, I wish Universal had done a Universal Monsters Land at one of their parks. That's interesting that the Harry Potter area and attraction could have possibly had a Van Helsing theme. I hate to admit this....and I LOVED the new Harry Potter attraction.....but I think I would have rather rode through scenes that were themed to the Universal Monsters instead of Harry Potter. :-(

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  2. Hey TokyoMagic! Yeah, I guess if Van Helsing had done really well, things would have played out much differently at Universal. I don't know where the Van Helsing ride would have been located at the Universal Orlando Resort. I do think a reboot of Van Helsing could be in the works, so I maybe the Monsters could get their own land someday.

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  3. Hey Fish Face! ;) That's actually not a bad name if it puts you in company with the Creature from the Black Lagoon. My current obsession with Snow White is nothing to the one I had for Universal Monsters when I was a kid. My entire bedroom was covered with glow-in-the-dark models, dolls, masks, etc. I couldn't get enough of the movies on late-night weekend "Creature Feature" TV. My friends and I even made our own short super 8 films. We also created our own monster magazine that we "mass-produced" using a copying machine. We'd go around the neighborhood knocking on doors trying to sell them for 10 cents a piece.

    I would have gone nuts over the Halloween Village collection with "Real Swirling Fog"!!! And a whole land dedicated to the monsters, I would have had to move to Orlando for that! Thanks for the post Dan.

    As a side note, personally I prefer the original Van Helsing from the 1931 classic Dracula to the 2004 character incarnation. Guess it's just childhood nostalgia, but I thought Edward Van Sloan's screen time with Bela Lugosi was just stellar. Still could watch those scenes over and over.

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  4. Ha! Thanks, Snow White Archive! Very cool that the Universal Monsters inspired the start of your filmmaking career (and the magazines prepared you for your blogging career).

    I would love for the Universal Monsters get a big new attraction at the Universal Parks. A water ride with the Creature from the Black Lagoon is just begging to be made.

    Yes, the Halloween Village is awesome. The ad for that is from an issue of TV Guide. I wonder if they still make that set. If they don't, they should! If they sell enough, maybe they'll build the real thing in Florida.

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