Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
Aaahh Real Monsters Logo.svg
GenreComedy horror
Created by
Voices of
ComposerDrew Neumann
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes52 (102 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Sherry Gunther (Season 1)
  • Geraldine Clarke (Season 3)
  • Cella Nichols Duffy (Season 4)
  • Mark Steen (Season 4)
Running time22–24 minutes
Production companies
DistributorMTV Networks
Release
Original networkNickelodeon
Picture formatNTSC
Audio format
Original releaseOctober 29, 1994 (1994-10-29) –
December 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an American animated television series developed by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon.[1] The show focuses on three young monsters—Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm—who attend a school for monsters under a city dump and learn to frighten humans. Many of the episodes revolve around them making it to the surface in order to perform "scares" as class assignments.[2]

The series premiered on October 29, 1994, on Nickelodeon.[2] Running a total of 52 episodes over 4 seasons, the final episode aired December 6, 1997.

Plot

The episodes follow the adventures of Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, three young monster friends attending a monster school whose headmaster is The Gromble.

The show is set in New York City, demonstrated throughout the series by the presences of the Empire State Building and the IND Subway System, and in the episode "Monster Make-Over" when Ickis refers to himself as "the ugliest, slimiest, razor fanged, sharp clawed, monster menace this side of Newark!" The dump the monsters inhabit is implied to be Fresh Kills Landfill, but never explicitly named in the series. The monster community includes a working economic system using toenails as currency.

Episodes

Main article: List of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
PilotUnaired
113October 29, 1994 (1994-10-29)January 21, 1995 (1995-01-21)
213September 9, 1995 (1995-09-09)December 2, 1995 (1995-12-02)
313September 7, 1996 (1996-09-07)November 30, 1996 (1996-11-30)
413September 13, 1997 (1997-09-13)December 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)

Characters

The four main characters in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
The four main characters in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters

Main

Recurring

Production

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was created by Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney,[4] and was the third animated series produced by Csupó's company Klasky Csupo, which also created the animated shows Rugrats and Duckman on USA Network.[5][6] Before the final title was chosen, which took over 5 years, the series had the working titles Monsters and Real Monsters.[7][8][9] The show was conceived after Csupó and his wife and creative partner Arlene Klasky were approached by the network Nickelodeon to create a follow-up series to Rugrats. Csupó was inspired to write a show about monsters because his own young children loved them.[10] He also said he knew Nickelodeon would not want a series about human characters because everybody else was pitching shows about animals. Csupó drew some sketches of possible monsters on a piece of paper and successfully pitched the idea to the network: "I wanted them silly and not too skillful – and the idea worked."[11]

Nickelodeon programming director Herb Scannell said the character design in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was partially inspired by Yellow Submarine, a 1968 animated film that was, in turn, inspired by The Beatles.[12][13] The character Gromble, in particular, bears a close resemblance to the Blue Meanie characters from that film.[14] Director of the series Igor Kovalyov said the style was inspired by his earlier Soviet film Investigation Held by Kolobki which he and Gábor Csupó showed to the producers who then gave Kovalyov's team a lot of creative freedom with the art direction and storyboarding.[15] Csupó said some elements of the show have a look similar to the film noir genre, and called the city dump where the monster characters reside reminiscent of the visual style from the films Blade Runner (1982) and Brazil (1985).[12] The characters guest-starred in the 1999 Rugrats episode "Ghost Story". Before that, David Eccles, the voice of Krumm, provided the monster voice coming from under Chuckie's bed.

Reception

Reviews

Reviews for Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were very positive. Josef Adalian of The Washington Times praised the show's animation and sense of humor, although it was not as "hip and witty" as The Ren & Stimpy Show or The Simpsons. Although he felt the show would appeal to children over nine as well as adults, he said it may not appeal to those who "react negatively to semi-scary sights and gags about body odor, physical punishment or abusive older siblings".[16] USA Today writer Matt Roush called it "garish and blissfully silly" and praised the show's "outrageous characters have just enough Ren & Stimpy grodiness, but tempered with exceptional sweetness".[14] Ginny Holbert of the Chicago Sun-Times called it a "cute and clever" series with "wit and inventive creatures", and compared the animation to the work of artist Peter Max.[17] Gannett News Service writer Mike Hughes called it a "terrific cartoon series",[18] and said the show's "wildly perverse humor" had a "distinctly European style" that reflected Gábor Csupó's Hungarian background.[19]

The Plain Dealer writer Tom Feran called the show "good fun" and favorably compared the series' premise to that of the animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas.[13] Boston Herald writer Frances Katz wrote, "If there was ever a great title for a cartoon, it has to be Nickelodeon's Aaahh!!! Real Monsters'."[20] Not all reviews were positive. The November 1994 issue of Parenting magazine listed Aaahh!!! Real Monsters as #1 in its top ten list of the worst new shows of the television season, describing it as "Graphic and scatological; it's just plain gross."[21] Some media outlets pointed out similarities between Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Brothers Grunt, an MTV animated television series created by Danny Antonucci about a group of grotesque humanoid characters. Gábor Csupó rejected these comparisons and claims his show was more story- and character-driven with a different visual style, while Antonucci's show was idea-driven.[12] Csupó did not want Aaahh!!! Real Monsters to be lumped together with The Brothers Grunt, especially since that show received low ratings and negative reviews, lasting for 8 months, and that Danny Antonucci called it "MTV's dirty little secret".

Awards

The pilot episode of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters won first prize for film animation producer for television at both the Houston Film Festival and Ottawa Film Festival.[12] The series was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Animation in 1995 alongside Rugrats, Animaniacs, Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? and 2 Stupid Dogs.[22] The award ultimately went to Rugrats.[23]

Comparisons to Monsters, Inc.

The show was also compared to other monster-related pieces of media; more notably, Disney and Pixar's 2001 film Monsters, Inc., and both of which share the similar concept of monsters learning how to scare humans. But the monsters had different motivations for scaring humans in each property. In Monsters, Inc., the monsters derived energy from human screams, as well as living in a parallel dimension, and travel through wormholes to only scare children, while in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, they scare humans to maintain a balance between the monster world, and the human world; as well as living in the human world, and coming through their toilets to scare humans of any age.

Merchandising

Mattel produced a series of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters action figures in 1995. They each stand approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall and include an action feature. Other products based on the cartoon include Fleer trading cards, books, plush toys, pens, hats, backpacks, notepads, cups, gum, and videos. At one point, General Mills also included small promotional flip books of Ickis, Krumm, Oblina, and The Gromble in its Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal.[24]

Home media releases

In 1995, selected episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were released on VHS by Sony Wonder. Paramount Home Video re-released the tapes in 1997. The complete first and second seasons were released for PlayStation Network for viewing on the PlayStation 3 and PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems.[citation needed]

Nickelodeon and Amazon.com teamed up to release Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and other Nick shows on manufactured-on-demand DVD-R discs available exclusively through Amazon.com's CreateSpace arm.

CreateSpace Releases Release Date Discs Episodes
Season 1 August 10, 2010 3 13
Season 2 December 1, 2010 3 13
Season 3 December 1, 2010 3 13
Season 4 December 1, 2010 3 13

Aaahh!!! Real Monsters sets, among others, were discontinued when Nick began releasing traditional DVDs of many of their series in association with Shout! Factory.

On March 22, 2011, it was announced that Shout! Factory had acquired the home video rights to the series from Nickelodeon.[25] They have subsequently released the first three seasons on DVD. The fourth and final season was released on June 10, 2014, as a Shout! Select title.

On October 8, 2013, Shout! Factory released the complete series set in Region 1.

Shout Factory Releases Release Date Discs Episodes
Season 1 October 5, 2011[26] 2 13
Season 2 May 15, 2012[27] 2 13
Season 3 September 11, 2012[28] 2 13
Season 4♦ June 10, 2014[29] 2 13
Complete Series October 8, 2013[30] 8 52

♦ – Shout! Factory select title, sold exclusively through Shout's online store.

In the United Kingdom, 4 volumes are available as exclusive releases in Poundland stores. Volume 1 contains the first 9 episodes (5 half-hours) from Season 1. Volume 2 contains the first 8 episodes (4 half-hours) from Season 2, while the remaining 2 volumes make up the first 16 episodes from Season 3.

Video games

Main article: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters (video game)

A video game based on the TV series was released for the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis developed by Realtime Associates and published by Viacom New Media in 1995. Ickis also appeared in Nicktoons Racing for the PlayStation, PC, and Game Boy Advance yet was missing from the Game Boy Color version. Oblina also has a cameo in all the versions of Nicktoons Racing, except the Game Boy Color version.

The characters were also created in full 3D for Microsoft's Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker.[citation needed]

Krumm appears as a Master Model in the Wii, PlayStation 2, and Game Boy Advance versions of Nicktoons: Attack of the Toybots, while The Gromble was a Master Model in the Nintendo DS version.

Oblina and Krumm make a cameo appearance in the video game Nicktoons MLB.

Oblina is a playable character in the 2021 fighting video game Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, voiced by Alex Cazares.

Appearances in popular culture

A screenshot of Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, all from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, along with the other monsters, taken from the Rugrats episode "Ghost Story".
A screenshot of Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm, all from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, along with the other monsters, taken from the Rugrats episode "Ghost Story".

In 1995, National Amusements released an animated policy trailer featuring characters from the series.[31]

Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm have all made their final major appearance in the Rugrats episode "Ghost Story", becoming the first time a Nicktoon crossover would be produced.

They also appeared in the Robot Chicken episode "Ants on a Hamburger", where the cast of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters have a meeting about the best ways to scare people with the scary little girl from The Ring. Also, in another Robot Chicken episode "Blackout Window Heatstroke", Ickis gets rejected from Monsters University.

Ickis' ear appears as a cameo in Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.

Krumm also appears in Cartoon Network's Mad in the segment "How I Met Your Mummy", where he's seen at the restaurant.

References

  1. ^ Byrnes, Nanette (16 October 1995). "The Rugrats' Real Mom and Dad". Bloomberg. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b Mendoza, N.F. (October 30, 1994). "Shows for Youngsters and Their Parents Too: Monster Wanna-bes Make Their Debut on Cable's Nickelodeon ... 'Aaahh!!!'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  3. ^ Moore, Scott (July 21, 1996). "Out of the Mouth of Babe". The Washington Post. p. Y6.
  4. ^ Beck, Jerry; Nickelodeon Brand Group (2007). Not Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!. New York: Melcher Media. ISBN 978-1-59591-043-1. OCLC 154685607.
  5. ^ Prescott, Jean (October 28, 1994). "Check in on Celebs on 'Naked Cafe'". Sun Herald. p. 14.
  6. ^ Mendoza, N.F. (September 2, 1994). "Kids' TV Heavy on Super-Heroes Keep – Keep an Eye Out This Fall for 'Little Lulu,' 'Felix the Cat' and 'Alex Mack'". Portland Press Herald. p. 4C.
  7. ^ Warner, Fara (January 31, 1995). "Nick Rock(o)s licensing boat". Brandweek. Adweek. 35 (5): 3. ISSN 1064-4318.
  8. ^ "News & Notes – MTV Networks Plan Animation Sensation". Los Angeles Daily News. January 31, 1994. p. L20.
  9. ^ "NBC Special Examines Menedez Trials". St. Petersburg Times. February 1, 1994. p. 6B.
  10. ^ Graham, Jefferson (February 7, 1995). "Animators' Own Little Angels Inspire 'Monsters'". USA Today. p. 3D.
  11. ^ Sokolsky, Bob (November 21, 1994). "Davies Gets into Flow of Vampire Role". The Press-Enterprise. p. A09.
  12. ^ a b c d Mendoza, N.R. (October 30, 1994). "Nickelodeon Offers Monsters in Training". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  13. ^ a b Feran, Tom (October 29, 1994). "Fake Meteor Barrage Is in 'War of Worlds' Style". The Plain Dealer. p. 8E.
  14. ^ a b Roush, Matt (October 28, 1994). "PBS' 'Dead' Is a Goner; 'Monsters' Makes a Splash – Anne Rice Bio 'Vampire' Goes Right for the Jugular". USA Today. p. 3D.
  15. ^ Kovalyov, Igor (2002). "Серия 2: Игорь Ковалёв". YouTube (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2021-11-17.
  16. ^ Adalian, Josef (October 28, 1994). "C Metropolitan Times – Arts & Entertainment – Channel Surfer". The Washington Times. p. C18.
  17. ^ Holbert, Ginny (October 24, 1994). "Big News for Little Viewers – Nick Jr. Improves Kids' TV Picture". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 35.
  18. ^ Hughes, Mike (October 28, 1994). "For a Change, Good Viewing on Sunday". USA Today.
  19. ^ Hughes, Mike (December 27, 1994). "To Some Jaded Souls, This Is the Ghost of Glories Past". USA Today.
  20. ^ Katz, Frances (October 30, 1994). "Just for Kids – Monster Mania". Boston Herald. p. 011.
  21. ^ "On Television – Parenting Picks 10 Best and Worst". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. November 1, 1994. p. E10.
  22. ^ "CBS Leads Daytime Emmy Nods with 59". Daily Breeze. March 30, 1995. p. E3.
  23. ^ "Dad, Daughter Give Out Day Emmys at Night – The Anistons, John and Jennifer, Appear Together on TV for First Time in 1995 Daytime Emmy Awards". Akron Beacon Journal. May 20, 1995. p. D4.
  24. ^ "Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Real Monsters". www.mrbreakfast.com. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  25. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Press Release for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-16.
  26. ^ "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season One: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV". Amazon.
  27. ^ "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Two: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV". Amazon.
  28. ^ Amazon.com: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Three: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV
  29. ^ "The 4th and 'Final Season' Gets an Individual Release from Shout!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-13.
  30. ^ "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series". Amazon.com.
  31. ^ "National Amusements (Showcase) - Real Monsters Policy Trailer". YouTube.