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If you thought being a monster is easy, Aaahh!!! will prove you wrong. Monsters have to go through training to be as scary as we think of them.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters came out on October 29, 1994. Nickelodeon viewers that night were treated to a thrilling experience with the Aaahh!!! Series premiere. The whole series shows three monsters-in-training, Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm (but there are other monsters too). These monsters have to learn the art of scaring humans. To master the art, Gromble, the headmaster, has to help the students get better. With his underground Monster Academy, Gromble pushes the monsters to bring their monstrous side out.
If you watched the show in the ’90s as a kid, you understand the beauty of watching monsters as a kid. I remember how big the series was, and every kid was talking about Ickis in my neighborhood. We acted the roles, and I remember always acting the Snorch, who was the disciplinarian. This was not the role I wanted, but bigger kids always took the leading roles.
Acting the series was more interesting after watching it. Even with better graphics and animations that mimic real situations today, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters will still interest most kids.
Aaahh!!! Came After the Success of Rugrats
They had a deal to animate The Simpsons for three seasons. This placed the couple in the limelight. Before breaking the association, the couple worked on Rugrats together with Paul Germain for Nickelodeon. After the success of Rugrats, Nickelodeon asked Klasky Csupo Inc. to create another kids' show, and that is how Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was born.
How did the power couple create Aaahh!!!? It was out of their kids' love for monsters.
Here's What You Need to Know About Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
If you missed the series in the 90s, I will take you through everything you need to know. The show follows the adventures of three monsters training to be better monsters. These monsters are Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm. They join a monster school headed by the Gromble. There are many other characters in the school to make the plot complete. Being a monster, as Aaahh!!! reveals, requires hard work.
The three monsters go through different phases of training where they meet new challenges. The plot is set in New York, which makes it even more interesting. From the show, you can see IND Subway System and the Empire State Building. There is also an episode (Monster Make-Over) where Ickis says he is the ugliest and slimiest monster in Newark.
You can also see that the monsters' habitat looks like the Fresh Kills Landfill, but the animation doesn't name the damp. To make the show interesting, Klasky Csupo Inc. created a real monsters community complete with toenails as currency.
With the setting bringing the show closer home and the monster community looking so real, Aaahh!!! left us all stuck on the TV.
The storyline was based on the love of monsters by kids in a way that doesn't scare by builds interest. Kids loved acting monsters before they discovered superheroes. But even today, there is still love for monsters as they are the reason superheroes exist. So, you can turn off the superhero movies for a while and let your kids enjoy the monsters we enjoyed as kids.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Characters
You can mistake Ickis for a rabbit as he has enormous ears. The reddish-violet monster is small, but that doesn't stop him from leading the other two monsters. His father, Slickis, is a well-known monster who has scared people for a long time. To scare humans, Ickis grows in size. This looming or growing trait is common in his family.
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In almost all episodes, Ickis puts his group in trouble as he is always disregarding one rule or the other. The group of three monsters is always in trouble, all thanks to the Ickis. In most episodes, Ickis does something that almost exposes the monsters' hideout to humans. This gets the view on the edge of their seat as the monster world almost comes to an end. But humans never discover the hideout.
The comical and confused side of Ickis comes out in every episode. As you wait for the next episode, you will always be like, "what will Ickis do next?"
Oblina is the best student in the class according to the Gromble, their trainer. She hails from a long line of wealthy monsters, but he still maintains his discipline and excels in class. She is a monster who almost looks "sweet" thanks to her upside-down candy cane look. Her mother, Sublima, is always on her case and follows every step of her training. That doesn't stop Oblina from calling the mom "mumsy dearest."
She is exceptionally talented at scaring humans. At one time, she might be pulling out her organs one by one. Another time, she might be shapeshifting into scary forms away from her black and white candy cane look. She also induces nightmares in humans by sticking her finger inside their ears and petting their brains. When she is not scaring humans, Oblina wears his big red lips and looks like a model. She once lost those lips to a human girl who thought she could use them as a model.
Oblina's voice sounds British, which adds the sexiness that makes her appealing as a monster and a young girl.
Krumm carries his eyeballs in his hands. If he has to use his hands, he holds the eyeballs in his big mouth. At night, he places the eyeballs in a glass of water next to his bed and sleeps without them.
He is perhaps the scariest of the three from his looks and also the biggest. He has a short stout body and a busy armpit that seems to smell worse than rotten eggs. His eyeballs also look scary – I mean, who holds their eyeballs in their mouth and still sees?
Throughout the episodes, Krumm loses his eyeballs several times and has to look for them everywhere. There are also episodes where he tries making a fake head to try and secure the eyeballs.
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The Gromble is the whip cracker, the scariest of all monsters that he even gets a chance to teach others how to be monsters. He sports two tufts of hair with a bluish and greenish color. He has a beard and a tail to match. On his feet, he wears red pumps. He looks cute when he is not angry, but he is almost ever angry. He can move from smiling one minute to raging with anger the next minute. He observes the behavior of his three students keenly, and when one angers him (you can trust Ickis to anger him), he punishes them harshly.
The Gromble is soft-spoken (at least the first minute anyone talks to him). After those speaking to him start feeling safe and trusting him, he yells at the top of his voice. The Gromble is the leader of the damp. His role is to teach young monsters how to terrify humans. To assess the readiness of students, he uses the Viewfinder, which is a projection device that looks like a chair that shows the students' scaring activities. He also has a special gift where he listens to the pool of elders where the monster ancestors tell the origin of scaring human beings. The only other monster who can talk to the ancestors through the Pool of Elders is Ickis.
Snorch works with the Gronmble and his assistant, Zimbo, to keep the students in line. As a disciplinarian, his role is crucial in helping the students (especially Ickis) become the best monsters they can. Snorch doesn't say a word when he needs to communicate, he makes voice effects which can be translated into a word. He has three chambers to discipline students – the first is labeled "Something Bad," while the second "Something Really Bad." In the first room is a hissing boiler and in the second is a machine cyclops with very sharp teeth. The third room has an even scarier title as it has the label "You Don't Want to Know." However, this third room is a cheerful room with beautiful flora.
He seldom uses the torture rooms as he has another way of torturing the students, singing opera. His singing voice is worse than anything you might have heard, and when the students are forced to listen, it is torture enough for them.
Zimbo looks like a bee, but his face is that of a human but with green hair. He only has one leg, and it looks like a hawk's. His wide mouth and seemingly sharp teeth make his scary. He flies around as the Gromble assistant. He is always perched on Snorch's head, and he appears jealous when anyone tries to be friends with Snorch. That doesn't mean that Snorch spares him when he misbehaves – on several occasions, he has faced Snorch's orchestra.
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Simon hunts monsters for fun, and he is one of the two recurring human characters. He is a human with no monster features. He is ever on a thick jacket and thick glasses. His goal is to expose the existence of monsters and wipe them from existence. Ickis has almost helped him do that on several occasions, but mostly, Simon has not been successful in finding the monster hideout.
Before settling on monster hunting, Simon believed that Bigfoot exists, and set a large robot trap to capture Bigfoot. Simon is so determined to expose the monster community that he saved Ickis three times. Other monster hunters captured Ickis with his recklessness. When these hunters wanted to expose the monster world through Ickis, Simon saved him. His goal, however, was to have Ickis run back to his hideout so he could expose all the monsters from their hideout. He was not successful all three times.
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Bradley is the second main human character in the series. He knows of the existence of the monster community, but he is friendly and the monster's trust. His character starts in the second episode, where he meets Ickis and befriends him. He also appears on a TV show with Simon and two victims of monsters. They talk about monsters, but people laugh at them, not believing the existence of monsters. He manages to capture Ickis and a few other monsters, but he releases them later after Ickis pleads with him. He becomes a friend of the monsters and helps keep the secret that monsters exist. In a later episode, Brad is camping in the woods, and he is scared that he will be picked on. He later helps Ickis execute a scare, and he becomes the bravest among his peers.
Other Recurring RolesThere are other recurring characters that made Aaahh!!! Real Monsters interesting. Slickis is Ickis father and the Gromble's favorite former student. Horvak is Krumm's father and the Gromble's worst former student. There is also Sal, a parasite that increases the monster's appetite. Sublima acts as Oblina's overbearing mother. She never liked her daughter's scaring behavior, and at some point, she made Oblina almost quit school. However, Oblina has help from her father, Skeetch, who urges her to continue to stay in school. Other recurring roles include:
- Mama Gromble – Gromble's mother
- Nicky – A human friend
- Shroink –A 10-year-old human friend of the monsters
- Dizzle – A monster girl in love with Ickis
- Dr. Buzz – The Monster School residential doctor
- Deitrich Duchamp – A fashion designer with a fake French accent
- Don – A human traumatized from monster scares
- Murray the Monster – Murray is a human who thinks it is fun to dress like a monster. He once ran a TV Show where he talked about monsters and so many other things. Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm thought he was a monster working with humans. Oblina scared him with a nightmare, and he quit TV to start a toy store. Murray doesn't appear anywhere after season 1.
It was a successful series that was produced for four seasons, a total of 52 episodes on Nickelodeon.
Awards and MerchandisingThe pilot episode of the series won the hearts of many. I do not remember the episode, but it must have made me fall in love with the characters. This episode won an award at the Ottawa Film Festival and the Houston Film Festival. It was also nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Animation, a category of the Daytime Emmy Award, in 1995. The series came close to winning the award, which went to Rugrats. Rugrats was a win for Nickelodeon and Klasky Csupo.
In 1995, Mattel sought to make Aaahh!!! Real Monsters last longer when he produced the action figures for the series. There are other products developed from the series, including books, pens, toys, Fleer trading cards, cups, gum, videos, backpacks, notepads, and hats. Flipbooks of the main characters have also been sold. The merchandise sold widely, thanks to the success of the series.
So many video games have features the characters Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm.
Why Did Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Enjoy So Much Success in the '90s?When you walk on dark alley alone at night, are you afraid that something is lurking in the dark? Would you want to see how scared you were the following day after getting home safe? Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was developed to bring out the reality of monsters and how they are also afraid of humans but still terrorize them.
It has been more than 25 years after the Nickelodeon series Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, but the beauty of the production still lasts. You can still buy the action figures and the DVDs on Amazon. Even after Nick stopped the production of the series, it continued under Shout! Factory with the last season airing in 2014.
The fact that viewers could relate to the fear of monsters made the series popular. I still remember some scenes as I saw them last week.
The Washington Times described the show as "hip and witty," while USA Today described it as "garish and blissfully silly." You would expect a kids' TV show on monsters to attract controversy (even a little), but that never happened with Aaahh!!! Instead, the legacy of the series moves on to today.
Final WordsIf you never watched Aaahh!!! Real Monsters in the mid-’90s, it is time to watch it now. Leave the superheroes from Marvel and see what we indulged in back in the 90s. Bring enough popcorn and prepare your children for a monstrous experience. There is a lot to enjoy from this series.
What are your fond childhood memories of Ahhh!!! Real Monsters?