It is finally here! The final post of Halloween Countdown 2016!
The 1980s were a busy time for small creature movies. By small, I don’t mean small in budget (though many of these films didn’t cost much to make) I mean small in size. None of the creatures in these films were going to climb the side of a skyscraper and swat helicopters like flies, but they were still going to wreak destruction upon small town America. Gremlins and Critters were probably the most well known movies of this genre but there were loads of similar films like Ghoulies, The Gate, House II, Munchies and Hobgoblins. Though the creatures origins varied, the outcome was usually the same. With the vast amount of small creature films being released, it was surely going to influence toylines, and in 1987 Mattel released Boglins, which were puppets of different sizes which looked like they had been pulled straight from the screens of a small creature flick. The most impressive were the larger sized ones, and it’s one of these that I shall be looking at today.
This is Dwork. I haven’t owned him for very long and when he arrived I instantly regretted that our paths had not crossed years ago. Facially he reminds me of Hoggle from Labyrinth, but with a flatter nose and more of a condescending sneer across his face.
Dwork comes in a box that resembles a packing crate, with bars on the front so you can see him. There is a hole in the bottom so you can still use him without having to get him out of the box, which is an awesome idea. The fact he comes like this means he can often be found at a relatively good price with his box included unlike many other toys from the same era. The bars on the front can be raised easily so you can take him out, but with the hole in the bottom there isn’t really a great need to take him out often.
The side of the box states that Dworks diet is olive pits and that he bumps into things and is forgetful. I have decided that this is a load of horseshit, and that Dworks real food of preference is small pets, and like all ’80s creatures he is unwarrantedly destructive.
Dwork has a load of other features which really puts him head and shoulders above every other hand puppet I have ever seen before. His mouth obviously opens and closes, but he also has eyes that can be moved from side to side with a little lever, kind of like an Action man (UK version of G.I. Joe) that I had as a kid. He can also squint with two other levers by each eye, but I managed to break one unfortunately by trying to make him raise an eyebrow which he isn’t made to do. So Dwork can only squint with one eye now.
As he is nearly thirty years old and made of rubber, he has degraded somewhat unfortunately and this will probably get worse in time. But being rubber really makes it feel like the skin of an actual creature.
One of the more impressive features is that his eyes glow in the dark. And they are really luminous. The kind that would have made me call my parents to remove the toy from my bedroom as a kid had I ever seen those glowing eyes. Just look at this. Aren’t those the kind of eyes you dreaded peering out at you from the darkness beneath your bed?
I love Dwork, and really want to get more Boglins after realising just how fantastic they are. There were a few different ones including a very scarce Halloween one with a Jack ‘o Lantern face which would probably be easier for you to google that than for me try and explain. There were also slightly smaller Boglins, which I have no experience of whatsoever, and mini Boglins which were brightly coloured little rubber figures, very much like Monster in My Pocket. But the larger ones are definitely the best. It feels more like a pet than a child’s toy and automatically I feel like I have a duty of care towards it.
It is with a small amount of regret that this brings the Halloween Countdown to a close. I have enjoyed it for the most part, though it has been very time consuming having to post every day for nearly two weeks. And somewhat costly buying old toys of a Halloweenish nature! But it has been fun as well. Maybe next year I will try and go for a month long Halloween countdown.
But it’s a long way until then! For now, happy Halloween to all my readers! Put something seasonably horrific on the box and pour yourself a spooky cocktail. Or like me, have a beer in a cheap poundland Frankenstein monster beaker.