It’s no secret that I harbor a lot of love for spooky colourful toys from the ’90s, especially Monster in my Pocket, Boglins and Pocket Shockers, but there are apparently toylines from that era that completely past me by, probably because I quickly succumbed to a heavy Pokemon addiction in 1998.
I had never heard of ‘Thingz that go Bump in the Night’ a toyline released in 1997, until searching on eBay recently for cool looking Halloween-y things and found a carry case full of figures.
As you can see, it resembles a railway station, with what looks like a Thomas the Tank Engine character who’s made some poor life choices protruding out of it. It’s an unusual choice of design for a carry case considering there isn’t anything really railway and train related with any of the figures, but whatever.
Inside the case are little sections for your figures on the one side, and on the other is storage for trading cards (at least mine was filled with cards as well as a book) which originally came with the figures.
The figures themselves are a bit odd. Every figure is themed around something like a household item, but with a strange and monstrous twist on it.
Although this isn’t a full set of the figures, there are enough here to really show what I mean. All of the creatures are all called stuff like ‘The Thing In My Boots” or “The Toilet Roll Thing”. I’m not sure that I really needed a figure based on a haunted version of something I wipe my ass with, but I have one now.
The figures really remind of the type of toys that are still sold in shops today like ‘The Grossey Gang’ and ‘Shopkins’. There are some weird choices, like the creature that looks like a coathanger, but for the most part the figures look quite interesting. Here are five of my favourite.
The Rotten Thing
Looking a lot like Dizzy the Egg if he went on a week long meth binge, ‘The Rotten Thing’ is pretty terrifying and is brandishing a knife and fork and looks like he would happily bury both in your face.
The Slimey Thing
I think this is one of my favourite in the line just because it isn’t trying to be a weird take on a household item. It’s just a good old-fashioned slime monster, not trying to be anything fancy. And I do love a good old-fashioned slime monster.
The Thing Under The Bed
There was nothing scarier as a kid than the idea of an unseen horror lurking beneath the bed, waiting to pounce as soon as you closed your eyes. I often wondered if hands would reach out and grab my feet if I should dare to get up and venture to the bathroom at any point during the night, so I think this figure sums up a significant childhood fear of mine in plastic form pretty nicely.
The Smelly Cheese Thing
This figure looks like a very drunk Spongebob who has somehow lost his clothes and his staggering through the street after a very heavy session. This is the only reason that this is a favourite of mine, but in my mind, it’s a good enough reason.
The Thing In The Fridge
This figure reminds me of a Goosebumps book I had as a kid called ‘The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena’, in which some kids end up in possession of a Yeti which I think they keep in a freezer, if memory serves me. I dunno, it’s been a long time since I read that book. Regardless, this figure is of a Yeti filling his face with the contents of a fridge. This figure originally came with a story book about the toy. It’s not the most compelling story, but it’s still a neat little read. A few of the figures were only available with books, and I like that they were trying to get kids to read whilst collecting the figures. I really don’t think that would work today. Could you really imagine a kid having to buy a book to get an exclusive Shopkin?
As it is, perhaps kids were put off by having to buy literature along with their toys as the line didn’t do well enough to get a second series, which is a bit of a shame, but as a kid who had no idea of the existence of these toys, I’m probably a reason why they didn’t get a second series. But with Pokemon appearing not long after the release of these toys, there was no hope of them ever appearing on my radar.
Although they’re definitely not in the same league as Monster in my Pocket or Mini Boglins, Thingz are a cool little figure line. I don’t feel overly compelled to try and complete the set as my attention is still significantly taken up by Pokemon to really appreciate them for more than a few minutes, but they’re decent enough, especially if you feel like you’ve lost out by never owning a toy based on the abominable snowman living in a fridge. I certainly didn’t realise it until now, but I’m not sure how I ever coped without one.
And for the second post in a row, I don’t really know how to wrap this up so here’s a video, this time of an advert showing off the toyline.
Oh and if you want to visit a much better and more professional seeming website with information about this toyline, you can do so here. But please come back. Please. I’ll miss you.
More spooky things soon!