You should steal that image and put it on a t-shirt. Then, when you’re out in public, pretend that walking really hurts.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for us to talk about MONSTER BALLS. I’d wanted to write about these for over ten years, but the eBay prices were always too dissuasive. A few months ago, I finally found one that I could afford.
I finally got a MONSTER BALL.
The package doesn’t list a year, but it’s safe to assume that they’re from the late ‘80s. MONSTER BALLS were pretty obviously meant to steal some glow from AmToy’s Madballs.
It takes a certain familiarity with goofy ‘80s toys to understand why MONSTER BALLS are incredible, so for those without that certain familiarity, I’ll do my best to explain.
Madballs, those lovably gross rubber monster balls, took certain demographics by storm when they debuted in 1987. Almost immediately, other toy companies stole the concept, whether to make straight-up bootlegs, or — as was the case with MONSTER BALLS — new creations were still direct pitches to existing Madballs fans.
So what appears to just be some obscure rubber Dracula head is actually a whole lot more. My MONSTER BALL is a relic from one of the weirdest and most wonderful fads of the ‘80s!
There were four different MONSTER BALLS available. Each came in the same package — the one with the helpful suggestions on what a person could do with their MONSTER BALL. (“Throw,” “catch,” “bounce” and “hit.” I’d add “squeeze,” and maybe “tuck under your shirt to give the illusion of a misplaced breast.”)
The interesting thing about MONSTER BALLS is that they’re… not really balls. These types of toys usually malform their chosen characters for a more truly spherical shape, but I guess Illco didn’t want to waste their expensive licenses on Dracula heads that looked way fatter than the real Dracula.
Because of that, MONSTER BALLS are surprisingly well-detailed. All of Dracula’s features are part of the mold, right down to his bushy eyebrows and crow’s feet. His nose is pointy enough to double as a weapon, which is a neat distinction when you’re dealing with toys that kids threw at each other as fast as they could.
Even Dracula’s hair was sculpted, and thank God for that, because I’ll never again have the opportunity to compare vampire hair to a minke whale’s baleen plates.
Rounding out the MONSTER BALL quartet was the Mummy, the Wolfman and Frankenstein. Of the three, only Frank was arguably cooler than Dracula. Notice his purply blood and apparent penchant for eyeshadow. I wish I’d bought the Frankenstein ball instead.
I’m aware that MONSTER BALLS don’t mean much to most of you, and that’s fine. I’m still super happy that finally I got to carelessly blast through 500 words about the things.
As mentioned, since starting the Halloween Countdown in 2003, I’ve spied on countless MONSTER BALL eBay auctions, wondering if the right moment to bid would ever come. In the back of my head, I knew I’d never be done writing about old spooky toys until I crossed MONSTER BALLS off of the list.
And now I have.
If I get eviscerated by wild dogs tomorrow, I’ll have one less regret in the afterlife.
Two less regrets.