If you thought the Vintage Vending series was taking a break during the Countdown, you have no future as a psychic. Some of those old prizes absolutely scream “Halloween,” and if you think I’m reaching, just take a look at this one: A macabre mix of Madballs and Ghoulies!
Meet the Wacky Goulies, a collection of “gross, ghoulish weirdos” with enough charm to magically transform all who view them into giant scented happy face erasers.
While the title and logo steal a page from the Ghoulies playbook, the toys are obviously inspired by Madballs. Consisting of rubber, semi-flat monster heads with suction cups on the backs, each Wacky Goulie can stick to glass for nearly seven whole seconds.
Look up “perfect” in the dictionary, and you’ll see a picture of a Delfa Roll. But if Delfa Rolls never existed, you’d see Wacky Goulies.
Every last one is a Madballs ripoff, and blatantly so. See the one-eyed gargoyle? The one that comes in purple AND green? That’s Hornhead.
And that weirdly small Wacky Goulie on the upper left, who looks like a melting man? Skull Face!
The teaser card dates them as a 1986 release. Suffice to say, had I found them at that time, my shit would’ve spent the last 25 years in a perennial state of flip.
240 words never won anyone a Pulitzer. Let’s see if we can get this to 500.
Here’s a more direct comparison between a Wacky Goulie and a Madball. This one was based on the Madball named Crack Head. (Later renamed “Bash Brain,” because no less than the president of the universe phoned AmToy to politely request that the things they sell to eight-year-olds not be named after drug addicts.)
Same exposed skull. Same giant eye. Same big mouth, which despite its bloody rawness still reminds me of an adorable peanut. This Wacky Goulie is definitely Crack Head!
Then, there’s this. Even if you disagree that “Wacky Goulies” is a Ghoulies ripoff in title alone, you can’t deny the similarities between these two images.
I’m much more into the Ghoulies sequels than the original, but it was always the first one that affected me most. As I’ve written before, the Ghoulies videocassette box cast a haunting pall over my entire childhood. I didn’t watch horror movies as a kid, or at least, I very rarely elected to. Still, every time we went to the local video store, I had to stare at that Ghoulies box.
A creature popping out of a toilet, wearing suspenders. It was a false assumption, but I grew up believing that there really was a film consisting of nothing but monsters eating people whenever the call of nature struck.
It wrecked me, but that wreckage came with a few butterflies. It was somehow exciting.
Okay, now look at the Wacky Goulies teaser card. Notice how the white text balloon looks a bit like a toilet? How this foreign creature, despite being flesh-toned and with hair, still has the green Ghoulie’s lips and eagle talons? I’m not making this stuff up.
It’s as perfect as a vending machine prize assortment could ever be, right down to the tagline: “Faces even a mother can’t love.” Grammatical, and yet it still makes it so apparent English was the copywriter’s sixteenth language.
And they even put the “25 cent” thing within the classic vending machine rainbow diamond! I love that!
Hey look, it’s Screamin’ Meemie. Meemie was the Madball who looked like a baseball. In the Wacky Goulies universe, baseballs are grape flavored. Perhaps that was how they lured children through their inter-dimensional portal. I too would leap at a floating spiral on the promise of grape baseballs. Of course, once we get there, the Wacky Goulies kill us and stew our meat.
And they really do stick to glass surfaces, even extremely filthy ones.
Word Count: 654.
That Pulitzer was obviously based on Oculus Orbus.