Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Freaky Fun For Everyone!"

If you're like me, your love of the macabre started early. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I turned to the dark side, but one thing certainly brought the ghastly home: Madballs.

Oh, do get your mind out of the gutter. I'm talking about these:

Little More than a fad in the 80s, Madballs were foam rubber baseball-sized toys that tried to ride the cash flow started by other gross-out properties popular at the time. Each one had a name and a simple back story, but they weren't used for much besides playing catch and freaking out your sister. There were two series in the original line, as well as three "Super" Madballs resembling a football, a soccer ball, and a basketball. The basketball had worms coming out of its left eye. It also had eyes.

The Madballs eventually got their own animated series, which honestly was not very good. Two videos were produced for the home market. These videos are now very difficult to find and quite pricey when you do, but they're still not very good. Besides, the first one is on Youtube if you're curious. Beyond that, there was a limited run comic book and a video game. Fire up that Commodore 64!

Luckily for horror toy enthusiasts, the line has been enjoying a revival of sorts. Three new series have been produced with a mix of old and new characters, and there are plans to reinvent the "Super" soccer ball into a Godzilla-like creature. A video game was recently created and made available on XBOX Live. Only a couple of the in-game characters are actually Madballs, but hey, why quibble? There's even an iPhone app game nowadays. Not bad for an obscure gross-out toy from 1985.

I still own a few of the original series myself. Madballs were and are a great introduction to horror concepts for kids and a great toy line for collectors, and hopefully the new series will sell. Wanna have a catch?

As a bonus, here's a commercial chock-full of 80s goodness:

1 comment:

  1. I saw some Madballs stickers at a nearby dollar store a week or two ago and was oddly tempted to buy them..