Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an American animated television series developed by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. 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.
|Aaahh!!! Real Monsters|
|Also known as||Real Monsters|
|Created by||Gábor Csupó|
|Directed by||Greeny Hillburg|
|Voices of||Charlie Adler|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Arlene Klasky|
|Producer(s)||Sherry Gunther (Season 1)|
Geraldine Clarke (Season 3)
Cella Nichols Duffy (Season 4)
Mark Steen (Season 4)
Cella Nichols Duffy (Seasons 2–3)
Mark Steen (Seasons 2–3)
Paul Demeyer (Season 4)
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Klasky Csupo |
Nickelodeon Animation Studios
|Picture format||480i (4:3 SDTV)|
|Audio format||Stereo (Season 1)|
Dolby Surround (Season 2–4)
|Original release||October 29, 1994 –|
December 6, 1997
The series premiered October 29, 1994, at 11 am on Nickelodeon. Running a total of 52 episodes over 4 seasons, the final episode aired December 6, 1997.
The episodes follow the adventures of Ickis, Oblina and Krumm, three young monsters 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 an Independent Subway System. 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.
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- Ickis (voiced by Charlie Adler) – Ickis is a small red monster who, due to his large ears, is often confused with a rabbit, recalling that his voice actor voiced Buster Bunny in Tiny Toon Adventures. He is the son of Slickis, a famous scarer. He seems the most skittish of the monsters, but is also a capable leader. Ickis looms (grows in size) to scare, and comes from a long line of loomers. Ickis' constant goofing off and blatant disregard for rules are usually the focal point and source of his group's troubles in most episodes. Another running gag recurrent in the series is that Ickis nearly exposes the Monster World to humans accidentally, which spells certain doom for monsterkind. Charlie Adler, the voice of Ickis, also voiced Ed Bighead in Rocko's Modern Life. As another inside joke, Ickis sometimes says Ed Bighead's catchphrase: "I hate my life".
- Oblina (voiced by Christine Cavanaugh) – Oblina comes from a wealthy monster family, and is considered by The Gromble to be his best student. She is the daughter of an overbearing mother named Sublima who she refers to as "mumsy dearest". She is shaped like a black and white, upside-down candy cane, resembling a banded sea krait. One of her favorite methods of scaring humans is reaching within herself and pulling out her internal organs, and she has considerable talent for shape-shifting into various terrifying forms. She also has a talent for inducing nightmares in humans, by sticking her finger in their ears and tickling their brains while they sleep. She also has big red lips and temporarily lost them to a coy young human girl who wanted to be a model. When voicing Oblina, Christine Cavanaugh attempted to make the voice sound like a British version of the actress Agnes Moorehead.
- Krumm (voiced by David Eccles) – Like the rest of his family, his eyeballs are not attached to his body, and are usually carried in his hands; if he requires the use of both hands, he can carry them in his mouth. His most valuable tool in scaring is his overwhelming armpit stench, as well as using his eyeballs. A running gag in the series is that Krumm sometimes loses his eyeballs and has to get them back, once going so far as to make a fake head to keep from losing them. His dad is a mold farmer.
- The Gromble (voiced by Gregg Berger) – The Gromble is a teal monster with two blue-green tufts of hair, a beard and a tail. He wears a belt around his waist and a red pump on each of his four feet. He is known for his quick temper, harsh punishments and keen awareness of the misbehavior of his students, in particular the main characters. He speaks with a seemingly calm, falsetto voice until whomever he is speaking with feels safe only to yell at the top of his lungs when angered. While serving as the leader and principal of the dump, The Gromble teaches young monsters and evaluates them using the Viewfinder, a chair like projection device used to replay the scaring activities of students. Along with Ickis, he is one of the few monsters who can hear the Pool of Elders—the source of monster existence that is made of the very substance of fears. Gregg Berger, the voice of the Gromble, also lend his voice at the time to another 1994 Klasky Csupo production: Cornfed the Pig from Duckman.
- The Snorch (voiced by David Eccles) – The disciplinarian of the Monster Academy who works for The Gromble and is often seen with Zimbo. Though the Snorch just makes vocal effects, he once wore a voicebox translator (with the voice of it being provided by Brock Peters) in one episode. He operates three chambers labeled "Something Bad" (a hissing boiler like room), "Something Really Bad" (a mechanical cyclops with sharp teeth) and "You don't want to know" (a cheerful pink house with colorful flora) which is a running gag in the series where anything "nice" or "cute" is terrifying or disgusting to monsters. His main form of torture, aside from the chambers, is to sing opera, which he is quite bad at (hence the punishment).
- Zimbo (voiced by Tim Curry) – Zimbo is a monster who resembles a bee with one mammal-like leg and a humanoid face with green hair. He is the Gromble's assistant in his class and is always seen on the head of The Snorch. Zimbo appears to be petty and jealous of anyone becoming friends with The Snorch, although he too has been punished by him for misbehavior.
- Simon the Monster Hunter (voiced by Jim Belushi) – The main and recurring antagonist of the series. Simon is a human who is determined to prove that monsters exist and wants to exterminate them. He wears a thick-collared jacket and glasses. Before becoming a monster hunter, he tried to capture Bigfoot and built a giant robot. Simon once had to save Ickis from three other hunters when attempted to take sole credit for exposing monsters to the human world, though he warned Ickis that he would go right back to trying to expose them. Belushi ad-libbed much of Simon's dialogue.
- Bradley (voiced by Brett Alexander) – A human friend of the monsters. He first appears in the second episode where he encounters Ickis and befriends him, appearing again in an episode with Simon the Monster Hunter. He goes on TV with Simon and two other monster victims and everybody laughs at him, not believing that monsters exist. Later, Bradley frees Ickis and the rest of the monsters when Ickis gains his sympathy, undermining Simon and protecting the secret that monsters are real. In a later episode, Bradley is worried about being picked on while camping in the woods until he agrees to help Ickis with a scare. After this he becomes very popular with his peers.
- Slickis (voiced by Billy Vera) – Ickis' father and one of The Gromble's favorite former students. It's because of this that Ickis has a rough relationship with his father Slickis in one episode.
- Horvak (voiced by David Eccles) – Krumm's father. He lost one of his eyes at the Battle of Concord and wears a black glove over that respective hand, similar to wearing an eyepatch. He was considered to be one of The Gromble's worst students and now works as a mold farmer because he lost his stench as a kid.
- Sal (voiced by Peter Bonerz) – A parasite who makes monsters hungry.
- Mama Gromble (voiced by Andrea Martin) – The Gromble's mother.
- Sublima (voiced by Charlie Adler) – Oblina's mother. Sublima comes from a rich family and strongly disapproves of Oblina scaring. She almost made her daughter quit school and come back home. Sublima even made fun of mold farmers (A hobby that Horvak now has.).
- Skeetch (voiced by Marvin Kaplan) – Oblina's father. Unlike her mother, Skeetch loves the fact that Oblina wants to be a scarer and supports her all the way. Skeetch refers to Oblina as "Stripes". Eventually Skeetch gets rid of his and Sublima's toenail fortune.
- Nicky (voiced by Steven Hartman) – one of the monster's human friends. He is a 10-year-old boy who befriended Ickis.
- The Shroink (voiced by Michael Prince) – An elderly monster Who was the Gromble's mentor when he was younger.
- Dizzle (voiced by Cynthia Mann) – A female monster student who likes Ickis.
- Doc (voiced by Charlie Adler) – The monster doctor.
- Borl (voiced by Michael Dorn)
- Kriggle (voiced by Dorian Harewood)
- Exposia Vertov (voiced by Lisa Raggio)
- Snav (voiced by Xander Berkeley)
- Zooeuh (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson)
- Phuepal (voiced by Victor Wilson)
- Marty (voiced by Thomas F. Wilson)
- Deitrich Dunlap (voiced by Bronson Pinchot)
- Don – A human traumatized by the monsters. He was perfectly normal until Oblina frightened him. His catchphrase is, "I really like rice." He also appeared on a talk show with Simon and two other characters. This character was scrapped after season 1.
- Murray The Monster- Murray is a human dressed as a monster who once had his own TV show. When Ickis, Oblina and Krumm saw him they thought he was a real monster betraying them. Tired of making them a laughing stock, Oblina caused him to have a nightmare. She, Krumm and Ickis threatened him but he woke up. That's when they scared him for real during a stage show. Murray then retired and started working at a toy store. He also appeared on a talk show in another episode with Simon the monster hunter and two other characters and everyone laughed at him. This character was scrapped after season 1.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was created by Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney, 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. Before the final title was chosen, which took over 5 years, the series had the working titles Monsters and Real Monsters. 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. 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."
Nickelodeon programming director Herb Scannell said the character design in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was partially inspired by Yellow Submarine, a 1968 animated film inspired by The Beatles. The character Gromble, in particular, bears a close resemblance to the Blue Meanie characters from that film. 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. 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). The characters guest-starred in the 1999 Rugrats episode #106 "Ghost Story". Before that, David Eccles, the voice of Krumm, provided the monster voice coming from under Chuckie's bed.
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". 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". 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. Gannett News Service writer Mike Hughes called it a "terrific cartoon series", and said the show's "wildly perverse humor" had a "distinctly European style" that reflected Gábor Csupó's Hungarian background.
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. 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'." 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." Some media outlets pointed out similarities between Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and The Brothers Grunt, an MTV animated television series 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 Danny Antonucci's show was idea-driven. Gábor Csupó didn't want Aaahh!!! Real Monsters to be lumped together with the Brothers Grunt, especially since that show received low ratings and terrible reviews, lasting for 8 months. Danny Antonucci, who created the Brothers Grunt, and later Ed, Edd n Eddy for Cartoon Network, called it MTV's "dirty little secret".
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. 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. The award ultimately went to Rugrats.
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.
Home media releasesEdit
In 1995, selected episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were released on VHS by Sony Wonder. Paramount Home Entertainment 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.
|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. 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||2||13|
|Season 2||May 15, 2012||2||13|
|Season 3||September 11, 2012||2||13|
|Season 4♦||June 10, 2014||2||13|
|Complete Series||October 8, 2013||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.
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 Gameboy Color version.
Oblina and Krumm make a cameo appearance in the video game Nicktoons MLB.
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- Feran, Tom (October 29, 1994). "Fake meteor barrage is in 'War of Worlds' style". The Plain Dealer. p. 8E.
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- Igor Kovalyov documentary by Eduard Nazarov, 2002 (in Russian)
- Adalian, Josef (October 28, 1994). "C Metropolitan times – Arts & entertainment – Channel surfer". The Washington Times. p. C18.
- Holbert, Ginny (October 24, 1994). "Big news for little viewers – Nick Jr. improves kids' TV picture". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 35.
- Hughes, Mike (October 28, 1994). "For a change, good viewing on Sunday". USA Today.
- Hughes, Mike (December 27, 1994). "To some jaded souls, this is the Ghost of Glories Past". USA Today.
- Katz, Frances (October 30, 1994). "Just for kids – Monster mania". Boston Herald. p. 011.
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- "CBS leads Daytime Emmy nods with 59". Daily Breeze. March 30, 1995. p. E3.
- "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.
- "The Wild Thornberrys DVD news: Press Release for The Wild Thornberrys – Season 1". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2011-09-16.
- "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season One: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV". Amazon.com.
- "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Two: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV". Amazon.com.
- Amazon.com: Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season Three: Charles Adler, Christine Cavanaugh, David Eccles, Jim Duffy: Movies & TV
- "The 4th and 'Final Season' Gets an Individual Release from Shout!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-13.
- "Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series". Amazon.com.
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