Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Real Monsters title card.jpg
Title card
Also known as Real Monsters
Monsters
Genre Comedy horror
Format Animated series
Created by Gábor Csupó
Peter Gaffney
Voices of Charlie Adler
Christine Cavanaugh
David Eccles
Gregg Berger
Tim Curry
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 52 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Klasky Csupo
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Broadcast
Original channel Nickelodeon
Audio format Stereo (Season 1)
Dolby Surround (Season 2-4)
Original run October 30, 1994 (1994-10-30) – December 7, 1997 (1997-12-07)

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an American animated television series about adolescent monsters in training, developed by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon.[1] The show ran from October 30, 1994 to December 7, 1997 on Nickelodeon's main United States cable channel. The series is currently being released on DVD.

The show focuses on three young monsters — Ickis, Oblina and Krumm — who attend an institute for monsters under a city dump and learn to frighten humans. Many of the episodes revolve around them making it to the surface in order to perform "scares" as class assignments.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

The episodes follow the adventures of Ickis, Oblina and Krumm, three young monsters attending a monster school whose headmaster is The Gromble.

The show is set in New York City, demonstrated throughout the series by the presences of the Empire State Building and an Independent Subway System. The dump the monsters inhabit is implied to be Fresh Kills Landfill, but never explicitly named in the series.

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Ickis (voiced by Charlie Adler) - Ickis is a small red monster who, due to his large ears, is often confused with a rabbit. He is the son of Slickis, a famous scarer. He seems the most skiddish of the monsters but is also a capable leader. Ickis looms (growing in size) to scare and comes from a long line of loomers.
  • Oblina (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) - Oblina comes from a wealthy monster family, and is considered by The Gromble to be his best student. She is shaped like a black-and-white, upside-down candy cane, resembling a banded sea krait. One of her favorite methods of scaring humans is reaching within herself and pulling out her internal organs, and she has considerable talent for shapeshifting into various terrifying forms. She also has a talent for inducing nightmares in humans, by sticking her finger in their ear and tickling their brains while they sleep. When voicing Oblina, Christine Cavanaugh attempted to make the voice sound like a British version of the actress Agnes Moorehead.[3]
  • Krumm (voiced by David Eccles) - Like the rest of his family, his eyeballs are not attached to his body, and are usually seen carried in his hands; if he requires the use of both hands, he can carry them in his mouth. His most valuable tool in scaring is his overwhelming armpit stench as well as using his eyeballs.
  • The Gromble (voiced by Gregg Berger) - The Gromble is a tall, green-blue monster with two tufts of hair, a beard and a tail. He wears a belt around his waist and a red pump on each of his four feet. Along with Ickis, he is one of the few monsters who can hear the Pool of Elders — the source of monster existence that is made of the very substance of fears. The Gromble uses the Viewfinder which his students sit in so that he can view their scaring activities.
  • The Snorch (voiced by David Eccles) - The torturer/disciplinarian of the Monster Academy who works for The Gromble and is often seen with Zimbo. Though the Snorch just makes vocal effects, he once wore a voicebox translator (with the voice of it being provided by Brock Peters) in one episode.
  • Zimbo (voiced by Tim Curry) - Zimbo is a monster who resembles a bee with one mammal-like leg and a humanoid face with green hair. He is the Gromble's assistant in his class and is always seen on the head of The Snorch.
  • Simon the Monster Hunter (voiced by Jim Belushi) - The recurring antagonist of the series. Simon is a human who is determined to prove that monsters exist. He wears a thick-collared jacket and glasses.

Recurring characters[edit]

  • Slickis (voiced by Billy Vera) – Ickis' father and was one of The Gromble's favorite student.
  • Mama Gromble (voiced by Andrea Martin) – The Gromble's mother.
  • Nicky (voiced by Steven Hartman) – The monsters' only human friend. He is a 10-year-old boy who befriended Ickis.
  • Dizzle (voiced by Cynthia Mann) – A female monster student who likes Ickis.

Production[edit]

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was created by Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney,[4] and was produced by Csupó's company Klasky Csupo, which also created the animated shows Rugrats and Duckman.[5][6] Before the final title was chosen, which took over 5 years, the series had the working titles Monsters and Real Monsters.[7][8][9] The show was conceived after Csupó and his wife and creative partner Arlene Klasky were approached by the network Nickelodeon to create a follow-up series to Rugrats. Csupó was inspired to write a show about monsters because his own young children loved them.[10] He also said he knew Nickelodeon would not want a series about human characters because everybody else was pitching shows about animals. Csupó drew some sketches of possible monsters on a piece of paper and successfully pitched the idea to the network: "I wanted them silly and not too skillful – and the idea worked."[11]

Nickelodeon programming director Herb Scannell said the character design in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was partially inspired by Yellow Submarine, a 1968 animated film inspired by The Beatles.[12][13] The character Gromble, in particular, bore a close resemblance to the Blue Meanie characters from that film.[14] Csupó said some elements of the show have a look similar to the film noir genre, and called the city dump where the monster characters reside reminiscent of the visual style from the films Blade Runner (1982) and Brazil (1985).[12]

The characters guest-starred in the 1999 Rugrats episode #106 "Ghost Story". Before that, David Eccles, the voice of Krumm, provided the monster voice coming from under Chuckie's bed.

Home media releases[edit]

From 1997, select episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were released on VHS by Paramount Home Video.[citation needed] The complete first and second seasons were released for PlayStation Network for view on the (PlayStation 3) and PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems.[citation needed]

On March 22, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the home video rights to the series from Nickelodeon.[15] They have subsequently released the first three seasons on DVD.[16][17][18] The fourth and final season was released on June 10, 2014 as a Shout! Select title.[19]

On October 8, 2013, Shout! Factory released Aaahh!!! Real Monsters- The Complete Series on DVD.[20]

Shout Factory Releases Release Date Discs Episodes
Season 1 October 5, 2011 2 13
Season 2 May 15, 2012 2 13
Season 3 September 11, 2012 2 13
Season 4 June 10, 2014 2 13
Complete Series October 8, 2013 8 52

In the United Kingdom, 4 volumes are available as exclusive releases in Poundland stores. Volume 1 contains the 1st 9 episode (5 half-hours) from Season 1. Volume 2 contains the 1st 8 episodes (4 half-hours) from Season 2, while the remaining 2 volumes make up the 1st 16 episodes from Season 3.

Broadcast[edit]

First-run episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters aired on Nickelodeon from 1994-1997, and the series continued to air reruns until approximately 2004.[citation needed] From 2002-2006 the series aired on Nicktoons TV (now Nicktoons). In 2006, the series was shown occasionally on Sundays on Nickelodeon's "Nick Rewind." It often appears on Nick.com's Turbo Nick, an online programming broadcast. In July 2011, TeenNick debuted The '90s Are All That, a block of classic Nickelodeon programming from the 1990s, which included episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.

Reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Josef Adalian of The Washington Times praised the show's animation and sense of humor, although it was not as "hip and witty" as The Ren & Stimpy Show or The Simpsons. Although he felt the show would appeal to children over 9 as well as adults, he said it may not appeal to those who "react negatively to semi-scary sights and gags about body odor, physical punishment or abusive older siblings".[21] USA Today writer Matt Roush called it "garish and blissfully silly" and praised the show's "outrageous characters have just enough Ren & Stimpy grodiness, but tempered with exceptional sweetness".[14] Ginny Holbert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it a "cute and clever" series with "wit and inventive creatures", and compared the animation to the work of artist Peter Max.[22] Gannett News Service writer Mike Hughes called it a "terrific cartoon series",[23] and said the show's "wildly perverse humor" had a "distinctly European style" that reflected Gábor Csupó's Hungarian background.[24]

The Plain Dealer writer Tom Feran called the show "good fun" and favorably compared the series' premise to that of the animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas.[13] Boston Herald writer Frances Katz wrote, "If there was ever a great title for a cartoon, it has to be Nickelodeon's Aaahh!!! Real Monsters'."[25] Not all reviews were positive. The November 1994 issue of Parenting magazine listed Aaahh!!! Real Monsters as #1 in its top ten list of the worst new shows of the television season, describing it as "Graphic and scatological; it's just plain gross."[26] Some media outlets pointed out similarities between Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Brothers Grunt, an MTV animated television series about a group of grotesque humanoid characters. Gábor Csupó rejected these comparisons and claims his show was more story- and character-driven with a different visual style.[12]

Awards[edit]

The pilot episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters won first prize for film animation producer for television at both the Houston Film Festival and Ottawa Film Festival.[12] The series was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation in 1995 alongside Rugrats, Animaniacs, Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? and 2 Stupid Dogs.[27] The award ultimately went to Rugrats.[28]

Merchandising[edit]

Mattel produced a series of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters action figures in 1995. They each stand approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall and include an action feature. Other products based on the cartoon include Fleer trading cards, books, plush toys, pens, hats, backpacks, notepads, cups, gum, and videos. At one point, General Mills also included small promotional flip books of Ickis, Krumm, Oblina, and the Gromble in its Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal.[citation needed]

Video games[edit]

A video game based on the TV series was released for the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis by Majesco in 1995. Ickis also appeared in Nicktoons Racing for the PlayStation, PC, and Game Boy Advance yet was missing from the Game Boy Color version.

The characters were also created in full 3D for Microsoft's Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker.[citation needed]

Oblina and Krumm make a cameo appearance in the video game Nicktoons MLB.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Rugrats' Real Mom and Dad". Business Week. Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  2. ^ Mendoza, N.F. (October 30, 1994). "Shows for Youngsters and their Parents Too: Monster wanna-bes make their debut on cable's Nickelodeon ... 'Aaahh!!!'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  3. ^ Moore, Scott (July 21, 1996). "Out of the mouth of Babe". The Washington Post. p. Y6. 
  4. ^ Beck, Jerry; Nickelodeon Brand Group (2007). Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!. New York: Melcher Media. ISBN 978-1-59591-043-1. OCLC 154685607. 
  5. ^ Prescott, Jean (October 28, 1994). "Check in on celebs on 'Naked Cafe'". Sun Herald. p. 14. 
  6. ^ Mendoza, N.F. (September 2, 1994). "Kids' TV heavy on super-heroes keep – Keep an eye out this fall for 'Little Lulu,' 'Felix the Cat' and 'Alex Mack'". Portland Press Herald. p. 4C. 
  7. ^ Warner, Fara (January 31, 1995). "Nick Rock(o)s licensing boat". Brandweek (Adweek) 35 (5): 3. ISSN 1064-4318. 
  8. ^ "News & Notes – MTV Networks Plan Animation Sensation". Los Angeles Daily News. January 31, 1994. p. L20. 
  9. ^ "NBC special examines Menedez trials". St. Petersburg Times. February 1, 1994. p. 6B. 
  10. ^ Graham, Jefferson (February 7, 1995). "Animators' own little angels inspire 'Monsters'". USA Today. p. 3D. 
  11. ^ Sokolsky, Bob (November 21, 1994). "Davies gets into flow of vampire role". The Press-Enterprise. p. A09. 
  12. ^ a b c d Mendoza, N.R. (October 30, 1994). "Nickelodeon offers monsters in training". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Feran, Tom (October 29, 1994). "Fake meteor barrage is in 'War of Worlds' style". The Plain Dealer. p. 8E. 
  14. ^ a b Roush, Matt (October 28, 1994). "PBS' 'Dead' is a goner; 'Monsters' makes a splash – Anne Rice bio 'Vampire' goes right for the jugular". USA Today. p. 3D. 
  15. ^ The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Press Release for The Wild Thornberrys - Season 1 | TVShowsOnDVD.com
  16. ^ Amazon.com: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season One: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV
  17. ^ Amazon.com: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Two: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV
  18. ^ Amazon.com: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Three: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV
  19. ^ The 4th and 'Final Season' Gets an Individual Release from Shout!
  20. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Aaahh-Real-Monsters-Charles-Adler/dp/B00DOZNH58
  21. ^ Adalian, Josef (October 28, 1994). "C Metropolitan times – Arts & entertainment – Channel surfer". The Washington Times. p. C18. 
  22. ^ Holbert, Ginny (October 24, 1994). "Big news for little viewers – Nick Jr. improves kids' TV picture". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 35. 
  23. ^ Hughes, Mike (October 28, 1994). "For a change, good viewing on Sunday". USA Today. 
  24. ^ Hughes, Mike (December 27, 1994). "To some jaded souls, this is the Ghost of Glories Past". USA Today. 
  25. ^ Katz, Frances (October 30, 1994). "Just for kids – Monster mania". Boston Herald. p. 011. 
  26. ^ "On television – Parenting picks 10 best and worst". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 1, 1994. p. E10. 
  27. ^ "CBS leads Daytime Emmy nods with 59". Daily Breeze. March 30, 1995. p. E3. 
  28. ^ "Dad, daughter give out day Emmys at night – The Anistons, John and Jennifer, appear together on TV for first time in 1995 Daytime Emmy Awards". Akron Beacon Journal. May 20, 1995. p. D4. 

External links[edit]