The ’80s had a pretty substantial amount of cutesy characters that were designed to be made into toys. Care Bears and My little Pony are probably the most popular but there was a whole bunch of sweet scented, cuddly creatures. The intended market for these toys were girls, where as boys had toys that were ridiculously macho. He-man was a mass of muscle that looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger with a Jimmy Saville haircut, and G.I. Joe surprisingly came equipped with more guns than the average Texan.
WereBears were a different concept. They were soft plush toys that looked cute and cuddly but could be transformed into scary looking Werewolves, though were still good-hearted friendly characters. Just think Care Bears, but with teeth and claws. They were released in 1983 in the UK, and I don’t think they really made it internationally which is a shame because they really are awesome. The teeth and fangs made it acceptable to not have a vagina and still own a plush toy.
My grandmother bought a WereBear for me off a carboot sale when I was about five years old. It was quite expensive if I remember rightly, (for a second hand plush anyway) but after seeing it could ‘transform’, I knew I needed it in my life. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to it, but my girlfriend recently bought me another one, the same as the one I had all those years ago.
Just look at how damn cute he is. His name is apparently Howler, but I didn’t know that as a kid. There isn’t anything particularly scary about him at all, but by unfolding the pink parts of his paws reveals claws, and his cute face acts like a hood, which after being unfolded reveals a far more ferocious face.
Seriously, how cool is that!? I don’t know how they weren’t a bigger thing than they were, and why stuff like that still isn’t made. I had a few teddy bears as a kid, but it wasn’t cool to admit to friends that I did. This was different, this was entirely acceptable. I also remember thinking that no matter what scary things lurked in the dark when I closed my eyes, nothing would be as scary and ferocious as the teddy/wolf hybrid snuggled up next to me.
There were a few other toys in the line, but I have never come across any of the others. I do think I need the one with the little blue cap though.
According to Wikipedia, Universal Studios was at one point in talks with George Nicholas the creator of Werebears to make a film about them. Whether or not it would have been any good, I don’t know but it surely would have ensured their longevity somewhat.
Though these aren’t mega common, they aren’t hugely expensive on ebay. If you like plush toys and horror, these are definitely something you’re gonna appreciate.
Quite a short Halloween Countdown post today, but I’m tired. So that’s all folks!