Animation studio, Klasky Csupo, was founded by the then-husband and wife team of Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó. They got their first big break on "The Tracey Ullman Show" and the early cartoon shorts featuring future pop culture icons, the Simpsons. Klasky Csupo went on to animate the first three seasons of "The Simpsons" show before Film Roman took over. This might have been a big blow to anyone else, but the company had just created a hit series for Nickelodeon called "Rugrats." Klasky Csupo went on to create two more animated shows for the cable network, "The Wild Thornberrys" and "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters," as well as the adult-oriented "Duckman" for the USA Network.
"Aaahh!!! Real Monsters" follows the misadventures of three monsters as terrorize unsuspecting humans while attempting to keep their existence a secret. The lead characters are Ickis, a purple critter resembling a demented bunny rabbit; Oblina, who looks like a black and white striped candy cane with thick, red lips; and Krumm, a pink creature who carries his detached eyeballs in his hands and frightens others with his overwhelming body odor. The trio attends monster school and dwell with their fellow creatures deep within a landfill in New York City. Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm work hard to please their stern taskmaster, the Gromble, who threatens his students with unspeakable tortures should they fail in their lessons. Another antagonist is Simon, the self-professed monster hunter, who will stop at nothing to capture a monster and prove to the world that they exist.
The concept of "Real Monsters" sounds a bit like "Monsters, Inc.," but the show predates it by seven years. Also, Pixar's hit film is a lot more cute and cuddly than "Real Monsters." While not as bizarre or gross as "Ren & Stimpy," "Real Monsters" has an oddball look and feel similar to "Rocko's Modern Life."
Many veteran voice actors lent their talents to the series. Ickis was voiced by Charles Adler, who played Buster Bunny on "Tiny Toons" as well as succeeding the late-Chris Latta as Starscream and Cobra Commander on the modern versions of "G.I. Joe" and "Transformers." Christine Cavanaugh, who voiced Babe the talking pig in "Babe," Chuckie on "Rugrats," and Dexter in "Dexter's Laboratory," plays Oblina. The Gromble is voiced by Gregg Berger, whose resume includes Grimlock on "Transformers" and Odie on "Garfield and Friends." James Belushi provides the voice of Simon and Tim Curry has a recurring role as Zimbo, one of the Gromble's henchmen. Other guest voices this season include Michael Dorn, Xander Berkeley, Henry Gibson, Jonathan Winters, Nancy Travis, and Micky Dolenz from the Monkees.
Shout Factory has released the first season of "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters" in a 2-disc set. The episodes included are:
- "The Switching Hour" – Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina sneak away for Halloween, but are dismayed when they are mistaken for children in costumes.
- "Monsters, Get Real/Snorched If You Do, Snorched If You Don't" – Krumm and Oblina must help Ickis retrieve his monster manual before the Gromble sends him to the Snorch.
- "Curse of the Krumm/Krumm Goes Hollywood" – Krumm has a crisis when he loses his potent stentch. Next, he gets the chance to star in a new horror film.
- "Monstrous Make-Over/A Wing and a Scare" – Ickis tries to change his looks when too many humans think he's cute. The trio winds up on board an airplane during an assignment gone wrong.
- "Krumm's Pimple/Monster Hunter" – Krumm gets an unsightly pimple that has a mind of its own. Oblina tries to warn her friends about a monster hunter lurking around the dump.
- "Monsters Don't Dance/Gone Shopp'n" – Ickis, Krumm and Oblina try to teach mascot Murray the Monster to be scarier, not realizing he's just a guy in a suit. The monster friends get stuck in a shopping mall where they become fascinated with a lava lamp.
- "Old Monster/Mother, May I?" – Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina meet an old mentor of the Gromble, who teaches them a few lessons in scaring. Then, they meet the Gromble's mother, who winds up being captured by the zoo.
- "Don't Just Do It/Joined at the Hip" – Ickis is forced to accompany a bully for a scare, then gets combined into one body with Krumm.
- "Smile and Say Oblina/The Great Wave" – Oblina is forced to wear braces when her teeth come out straight. Krumm and Ickis compete against each other during the Great Wave when all the toilets in the city are flushed during Super Bowl halftime.
- "Cold Hard Toenails/Attack of the Blobs" – Ickis lets newfound wealth go to his head when he finds a pile of human toenails. Oblina's babysitting job turns out to be a tough one when the little blob tries to eat everything and everyone.
- "Chip Off the Old Beast/The War's Over" – Ickis doesn't get the chance to spend time with his dad, Slickis. The trio tries to scare the occupants of a haunted house, but wind up getting scared themselves.
- "Where Have All the Monsters Gone?" – More and more humans are getting less and less scared causing the Pool, where all monsters come from, to dwindle. This leads to the monsters disappearing piece by piece.
- "Simon Strikes Back/The Ickis Box" – Simon finally gets the chance to prove that monsters are real when he captures several of them. Ickis tries to convince everyone that television isn't as bad as the Gromble says by building one of his own.
The video is presented in its original fullscreen aspect ratio. The transfer is a bit soft with minor specks and some muted colors.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono with an alternate track dubbed in Spanish. Sound is flat, but serviceable with dialogue coming in clearly.
You'll get nothing and like it.
I grew up on Nickelodeon programs like "Pinwheel," "You Can't Do That on Television," and "Ren & Stimpy." I never got into later shows such as "Doug" or "Hey Arnold." This is my first exposure to "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters" and it is easy to see why it's considered a childhood staple. The animation and story content are unique and don't feel like they came from the same mold as so many cookie cutter cartoons.