It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of eighties toy lines, and while it's hard to pick a favorite, The Real Ghostbusters by Kenner featured what were easily some of the most creative toy designs. The Ghostbusters themselves were fantastic, as they came with proton packs that included spinning neutrona rays. Their Fire House Headquarters playset allows you to pour Ecto-Plazm through the roof and watch it slowly seep through every floor. Seriously, what's not to love?
And then there were the ghosts. Green Ghost (aka: Slimer) had several variations, one featuring more Ecto-Plazm, and another including a half-eaten watermelon slice, a pork-chop, and a pizza. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow man also had a wonderful figure, and while it wasn't to scale (it'd be bigger than the Fire House if it was), it still remains one of the best action figures ever made of the character.
But honestly? While those two ghosts are great, many of the other ghosts in The Real Ghostbusters toy line were ever better. I can't imagine being one of the lucky toy designers on this series, because it just seems like they were given free rein to turn all of their wildest ideas into reality - in the form of ghost action figures.
So that's what I want to focus on today: some of the best examples of other amazing ghosts from The Real Ghostbusters toy line. For the record, I absolutely love Slimer and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, but we've all seen those two a bajillion times, so I'm not including them in this article. This article is for all of the other wonderful ghost toys that never get as much attention as they truly deserve.
Easily one of my favorite toys in the series, Bug-Eye Ghost instantly struck a chord with me. I mean, how could it not, what with that huge, protruding eyeball staring straight at me? Plus, it looks like a purple creature from the Boglins toy line who had its forehead caved in by an eyeball meteorite. Best of all? If you squeeze or smash its back, the eyeball will pop out like a ghoulish ocular projectile hell-bent on destroying all Ghostbusters figures who dare to stand in its path.
I always had a soft spot for these. Each of the Ghostbusters toys came with a small accessory ghost for them to catch. Sure, they weren't articulated or anything, but the sculpts themselves were pretty great, and everybody loves toys that come with miniature companion figures. I mean, just look at them. How can you hate any of these lil' beauties? Plus, they had great names. Jail Jaw, Gulper Ghost, Soar Throat Ghost, Monster Mouth, and even a translucent red hot dog ghost named Meanie Weenie? You can't tell me that's not awesome.
Granny Gross Ghost!
Here's an example of where the designers started getting really creative. The idea? Take a harmless looking old lady and have her turn into a horrifying ghost! Granny Gross certainly looks innocent enough, although she does have a stare behind those glasses of hers that makes you feel a bit uneasy. Sure enough, the figure opens up into a true monstrosity. Her blouse turns out to be a long, razor-toothed jawline, complete with a wagging tongue; her eyes bulge out through her glasses; last but not least, a large third eye emerges from her cranium and pushes her hat right off of her head! I guess I just love the idea of ghosts walking around, posing as normal humans, waiting to scare the bejesus out of us. If nothing else, it'd make for a fantastic Candid Camera style TV show.
A nice little H20 pun, H2 Ghost has always been one of my favorite ghosts from The Real Ghostbusters, since it's really two toys in one. As you can see above, it starts off as a stubby little mutant ghost with two sets of upper teeth, and what appear to be finger-like tentacles growing out of the side of its head. Combine that with its blue skin and flared nostrils, and we have a clear winner here. That's already great, but it gets even better...
It splits into two separate pieces, revealing an extra compact cyclops ghost hidden underneath! And man, look just how excited it is to be able to look around at something other than the inside of the top head component. Personally, if I were the bottom half cyclops ghost, I would run around like crazy to ensure that the top head portion could never land on top of me again. Oh, and regarding that H20 pun? Both pieces can spit out water too. And yes, they can cross the streams.
I've always had a soft spot for this ghost, simply because when most people see it, they think it's missing some pieces. But no, Bad-to-the-Bone Ghost is a simple skeleton without much of a lower torso. The real idea behind the ghost is that its a floating skeleton that catches Ghostbusters in its rib cage and carries them off! If you remember the classic Inhumanoids toys, you may recall the D'Compose monster who also caged its victims behind its ribs. So, perhaps Bad-to-the-Bone ghost was actually the offspring of D'Compose? Oh the Internet rumors and fan fiction tales that this theory will surely start!
Brain Matter & Stomach Stuff Mini Goopers Ghosts!
Made of solid, translucent plastic, Brain Matter & Stomach Stuff are two of the Mini Goopers. While they don't have much in terms of moving parts and articulation, you can remove the top portion of their heads and then fill their bodies with some of the Ecto-Plazm that was included with these figures. They don't spew it out or anything, but why keep your Ecto-Plazm in a can, when you can store it in a super vibrant, semitransparent ghost! And even if you don't wanna fill them with toy slime, they still display beautifully, what with their bright blue & green bodies. Seriously love these guys.
Boo-Zooka & Boo-Lets Mini Shooter Ghosts!
Drawing inspiration from its larger Bug-Eye Ghost counterpart, Boo-Zooka is a small specter who also can fire off projectiles when its body is smashed. But rather than fire off a third eye, this spooky lil' slug spits out bullets... I mean... Boo-Lets! A wonderfully cheesy pun and a ghost that barfs up additional ghosts? What's not to love here?
Squisher Gooper Ghost!
You saw the Mini Goopers, now it's time to move up to the big leagues. The standard size Gooper Ghosts are all large, and Squisher was always my favorite of the bunch. For starters, it's bright orange, so it fits in nicely with the rest of my Halloween decor. Also, it can essentially dislocate its jaw like a python and extend its mouth upwards. Any why does it do this? Because, you can fill Squisher with Ecto-Plazm, and then when you push down on its head, the slime will spew out of its nose and mouth onto whichever poor Ghostbuster is trapped in its grasp. Actually, Egon probably enjoys being covered in the ghostly goop (he did sleep with slime, after all), so I guess there are no losers here.
Fearsome Flush Toilet Ghost!
Aside from Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, I dare say that Fearsome Flush is the third most popular ghost from Kenner's classic Real Ghostbusters toy line. And with good reason! At first glance, it's a perfectly normal looking toilet, except for the Ghostbusters' "No-Ghost" logo appearing on top of the lid. But rather than containing bodily waste, this toilet jumps out at unsuspecting victims in their most vulnerable moments, just like the Ghoulies would. As you push the toilet on the ground, the wheels underneath it activate the internal gears which make the toilet lid and the upper tank lid pop open to reveal a set of bloodshot monster eyes, a set of yellow teeth, and a big tongue. Fantastic, isn't it? The only question that remains is, after a toilet eats and digests you, where does it go to poop you out? Forget about figuring out how we can solve world hunger, these are the kind of questions that have truly plagued mankind for generations.
Brain Blaster Ghost!
Yes, I saved the best for last. While many people prefer Fearsome Flush, if I had to pick a favorite ghost, it would have to be Brain Blaster. Just look at it. Gorgeous, bright, nearly neon pink and green colors, and a huge toothy grin. Honestly, I always thought its head would make for a great tiki style drinking mug. Why? Well, as the name suggests, Brain Blaster's brain bits can indeed shoot out from inside its noggin!
Even better, while hidden in Brain Blaster's head, they just look like normal brain bits, but after you shoot them out, each bright pink brain quadrant turns out to be a different ghost! Some of them have claws, others have fangs, but they all seem like they could be stacked like some kind of phantasmic totem pole. Gotta how the toy keeps these "Mini-Lobe" ghosts hidden from your sight until after they've been fired off. What can I say, as far as my tastes go, they got everything absolutely right with Brain Blaster.
That's all the Kenner Real Ghostbusters ghosts figures for now, but there are still lots of other great ones roaming out there. Terror Trash, Pull Speed Ahead, Tombstone Tackle, and more are still on my list to cover at some point in the future. Huge thanks to Rich Fragola for providing me with many of the aforementioned Ghostbusters toys for this article.
Now it's your turn to talk terror. Which of the ghosts I discussed today are your favorites, and which ghost toys would you like to see in future installments? Drop a comment below and lemme know, because, like you... I ain't afraid of no ghost!
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