Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Monster Memories: Gurglin Gutz

The classic Gurglin Gutz line-up a brain, stomach, eye and heart
Hello dear reader, we haven’t had a Monster Memories post for some time- have we? So how about we have one now? How about...Gurglin Gutz? 
Gurglin Gutz was a toy that resembled human organs (four designs a brain, eye, heart and stomach) that was encased within a latex ball and immersed in a red fluid that created a ‘gross’ gurgling, bubbling sound when squeezed! Created by designer Jimmy DiResta and his brother Joey DiResta who took their concept (a prototype consisting of a condom filled with tomato juice and a hollow ball) to brothers Jeffery and Keneth Lewis of 4Kidz, Inc. in 1994 a time when the Lewis brothers (Sons of Norman J. Lewis founder of LJN toys) were keen to enter the then trending, gross toy market, and so in 1995 Gurglin Gutz was launched going on to successfully ship over 10 Million pieces in its first 5 years.  I fondly remember them showing up at various toy outlets, as they seemed to spark a craze of squeezable toys but with Gurglin Gutz leading the way adding a knuckle ball variant to the  mix and releasing a smaller version of the regular brain, eye, heart and stomach as key rings and pencil toppers along with branching out with licensed properties lines relating to such movies as Bugs Life, Toy Story 2 and a line relating to Scholastic’s Goosebumps to name but three.
I was in Art College at the time and just as much a fan of gross toys and thought these were fantastic! Much like Garbage Pail Kids cards and Madballs before them they not only resonated with my ‘mother wouldn’t approve’ mantra (Even Jeffery Lewis was quoted in the Connecticut Post, February 20th 1997, “This is definitely a kid’s purchase. This is not something mom’s going to come home with from the store”) I also loved the packaging and design and as a result I had the brain variant serving as a stress ball on my desk for many years.

Diresta signed limited edition Gurglin Gutz (Limited to 100 backers only) 
and eyeball ‘clip on’ 
Fast Forward 23 years to October 2018 and 4Kidz announced that they were bringing them back “with a brand new look and feel!” through a Kickstarter campaign promising that they would be “GUTZIER” than ever before. As the originals only lasted 15+ years (tops) 4Kidz had not been happy about this factor and so spent nearly a year sourcing the right materials for an enhanced feel and durability for the second generation Gurglin Gutz. “More blood” was promised with “Better clarity, more gore, improved elasticity FOR THAT GURGLE SQUISH and Increased durability FOR HOURS OF FUN” various tiers were offered such as, The Mortician Special offering a “Classic" 3 inch style of choice or the Early Bird Maggot Special with all four  of the classic organs up for grabs. Devotees could also pledge for the Cadaver Special offering not only the four classic gurglers but also four 1.5" clip on’s as well, IF the $10,000 target was reached. It was, 289 backers (myself one of them) showed their support and $10,886 was raised. I had opted for the Diresta limited signed edition (limited to 100 backers only) which also included a clip on eyeball and when the project was funded I ‘add-on’ the set of four organs to my order which arrived last week and they have now been added to my monster/ gross out toy collection- very happy with them and I thank all concerned for making them available again, thanks to them I once again, “have the Gutz”! 

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Happy Horror-day! Uncle Sam (1996)

I must confess to have completely missed this movie when it was first released in the mid 90’s and so I was pleased to finally set that matter right.  Directed by William Lustig the man who gave us Maniac Cop and written by the great Larry Cohen (whom we sadly lost earlier this year) Uncle Sam regards one Sergeant Sam Harper (played by David Fralick) out in Kuwait, killed in the line of duty by “friendly fire”.   When his body is returned to his home town to the custody of his widow, sister and patriotic young nephew, Jody (Christopher Ogden), Sam comes back from the dead as the town prepares for its Independence Day celebrations!  After killing a peeping tom dressed as Uncle Sam he steals the costume (shortening the legs as the pervert was on stilts at the time) before embarking on a mission to punish the town’s unpatriotic residents, draft dodger and flag burners alike while Jody  whom harbors aspirations to join the army learns that his uncle Sam was not as good a man as he thought he was, but instead an alcoholic psychopath, who abused both his sister and wife that believe that his joining the army was more an excuse to go kill people than patriotic duty.  The movie also stars William Smith, Leslie Neale,  Bo Hopkins and  P. J. Soles (whom we haven’t seen the last of in this challenge) and not forgetting Isaac Hayes as Sergeant Jed Crowley the veteran who holds himself responsible for glorifying war to the young Sam Harper. The movie is a lot of fun and the image of Uncle Sam is genuinely creepy, why this one never got a sequel or remake yet, your guess is as good as mine, but if you haven’t seen it be sure to check it out. So, back here for Friday the 13th of September?  

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Happy Horror-day! Father's Day (2011)

Wasn’t easy as I wasn’t actually home for the ‘horror-days’ this time but I still managed to watch Father's Day from 2011, the second Troma title to feature in the challenge (although they are in no way connected). This tale regarding a man called Ahab (played by Adam Brooks) out for revenge on a serial killer called Chris Fuchman also known as the Father's Day Killer who murdered (putting it mildly!) his father 30 years before, was originally made as a short film, but was later made into a feature-length movie that received great acclaim and numerous awards at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The movie itself contains all that one expects of a Troma release (and then some!) with its over the top action and violence (some of which very gory and quite, quite graphic at times) but I was more taken however by its impressive Grindhouse style, feel and influences (think Grindhouse only with Lloyd Kaufman in it playing God!) and I also add that I liked the Channel Astron 6 late night movie segments throughout the film. See you on the 4th of July!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Happy Horror-day! Memorial Day Killer (1998)

Memorial Day is when the United States remembers and honors those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces, and although it is not (directly) observed in the UK I thought I would add it to the challenge line-up, even though it has very little to do with the occasion.  So, Memorial Day Killer (also known as Memorial Day) is an offering from 1998 directed by Christopher Alender and written by Marcos Gabriel. A tale of wrongdoing and revenge that happens to take place on Memorial Day concerning a group of friends who decide to return to MEMORIAL Lake Campground for the first time since Rachel (Played by Therese Fretwell) 's adopted brother Danny accidentally drowned there three years before... sure enough, wouldn’t you know it? The killings start. I try not to be negative about these films as I doubt I could do any better, this movie came out at a time when I had become somewhat disillusioned with ‘modern’ horror but I was ready to go back and have my opinion changed, it wasn’t.  Perhaps had this been a big budget movie previously ignored the first time round it might have been regarded by some as the ‘Missing Link’ between the Scream/ I Know What You Did Last Summer genre of movies of the late 90’s and the Saw franchise of the early 2000’s but frankly the deaths of the whining girlfriends and over acting boyfriends at the hands of a papier-mâché mask wearing killer was just a blessed relief.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Roundabout, BBC Radio Wales, 1986: A Three Generations interview

Omnibot once again proving his worth, not only helping me around the studio and listing things on eBay to raise funds but also helping me to upload some vintage cassettes onto my YouTube channel! First up a clip from an episode of ‘Roundabout’ that aired on BBC Radio Wales in 1986 staring Anita Morgan (who was the very first to speak on the station back in 1978) who had visited my hometown of Nefyn, North Wales to chat with some of the locals about village life, this clip features my mother Emrysia Jones, grandmother Marie Julia Roberts (1938-2018) and my great-grandmother Mary Hughes(1907-1993) the clip is particularly poignant for us as a family as it allows us to hear my Grandmother and Great Mother again, we hope it will also be of interest to you. Have a listen. Or just read the transcript.

Anita Morgan: “I’ve Just had a charming conversation with a small boy about 3 (my bother), who speaks no English, I speak no Welsh but he very kindly and patiently got me to understand that his great grandmother Mary Hughes, his grandma Marie Robert and mother Emrysia Jones were waiting for me inside this house, on a smallholding on the outskirts of Nefyn. Great grandmother Mary, I know your family goes back around 400 years in Nefyn but what was the main family trade?”
Mary Hughes: “My father and family were Master Masons... stones.  
Anita Morgan: “What sort of stone would they work on around here?"
Mary Hughes: “Well there is only one kind of stone in the world isn’t there? One in Nefyn, the Gwylwyr quarry and one in India and that’s real granite!
Marie Roberts: “And giving lots of work for the local people, that was then before they closed at the beginning of the last war when the Gwylwyr quarry closed, as I understand... I was just a baby then myself!"
Anita Morgan: “Mary’s daughter, Marie. I’ve said that this is a third generation interview, grandmother, mother and daughter and you’ve got a lovely name...”
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, Emrysia.”
Anita Morgan: “Is that Welsh?
Emrysia Jones: “It is Welsh, it’s my father’s name, he’s called Emrys with an “I A” added on... Emrysia.
Anita Morgan: “You have an interest in the tourism industry in this place surely?"
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, we do let out our houses in the summer...”
Anita Morgan: “Houses?!
Emrysia Jones: “Yes, like we said it’s a family affair you know
Anita Morgan: “And how many houses do you have?
Emrysia Jones: “four
Anita Morgan: “Do you find it lively enough as a younger woman with a child?"
Emrysia Jones: “Personally it doesn’t bother me; I’m married- I married young. But  for other younger people, no I don’t think there is enough life here for them, they do tend to stand on the streets, Really they only have the pubs. But again it depends on the people and the kind of life you like, its fine for me.  
Anita Morgan: “It’s fine for the three of you? The three of you enjoy Nefyn?
Marie Roberts: “Yes definitely
Anita Morgan: “Have you ever lived away from Nefyn Mary?
Mary Hughes: “No, but I traveled quite allot..." (Laughs)
Anita Morgan: “Where have you been?
Mary Hughes: “Through bombs! And shells!” (Laughs)
Anita Morgan: “During the war time?
Mary Hughes: “yes!
Anita Morgan: “What sort of vehicle were you in?
Mary Hughes: “Lorries
Anita Morgan: “As a passenger?
Mary Hughes: “No dear, driving it.
Anita Morgan: “You were driving the lorry?!"
Mary Hughes: “Oh yes... you sound surprised?
Anita Morgan: “I am surprised! ...Where would you be travelling then? ...Where would you drive?
Mary Hughes: “Liverpool. Manchester. Birmingham... (*In welsh to my grandmother “translate for me”)
Marie Roberts: “You would get a phone call saying that there was a ship able to come in and that it needed emptying. These ships with the planes flying over Liverpool, it was important that they got as much off the ships as possible so they... there were also local men as well working on the Lorries as haulage contractors in the district"
Anita Morgan: “So the area was quite busy with haulage?
Marie Roberts: “Yes, that’s right... Quite a lot of haulage but because of the quarries closing down then that was decline of the haulage, the decline of everything...
Anita Morgan: “What about otherwise, apart from that the decline of Nefyn as a place to live in... Has it declined? Can you still get everything you want here in the way of shops, entertainment and so on 
Marie Roberts: “Nefyn itself, if something has prospered really, during the last fifteen years I would say. Because now we have a very fashionable shop in the village, a very nice fashionable shoe shop in the village, you needn’t go really, anywhere but if you’d like to go for a day out to Llandudno then yes, fair enough you’ve got ‘Marks & Sparks’ but if you really didn’t want to travel out of the village then you wouldn’t have to if you patronise local people. 
Anita Morgan: “No more trips to Liverpool driving the lorry for you Mary?
Mary Hughes: “Why not?
Anita Morgan: “Why not? She says!
Marie Roberts: “Why not? She says at 79!
Anita Morgan: “79! ...Great Caesar!
Mary Hughes: “I’d been driving since I was ten, eleven years old! Motorbikes...
Anita Morgan: “Motorbikes?!
Mary Hughes: “...Lorries, all sorts of things...
Marie Roberts: “She was a 1929 Rally winner... tell them about that
Anita Morgan: “Rally winner?
Marie Roberts: “ Yes, motorbike in the race... Black rocks in Porthmadog. We have a picture of her here, with her motorbike that she won the first prize with."   
Anita Morgan: “Against all the men?
Mary Hughes: “Oh yes
Anita Morgan: “Who’s’ going to choose the music, of the three ladies?
 Marie Roberts: “Anything by Sir Geraint Evans anything classical would go with the village we live in.
Anita Morgan: “They like good music in Nefyn do they?
*Closes with The Duke of Plaza-Toro by Gilbert & Sullivan.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Beth's Tarot

Have I mentioned that Mrs Jones reads Tarot? Reading the cards as a divination tool to see the past present and future, reading them intuitively, which means she doesn’t use a spirit guide, instead reading through feelings and intuition, calling on her inner voice to guide her to the meaning of the cards for each person. Beth has been reading the cards for some time now, offering open (general) readings and specific question readings helping many establish a clear picture of what is happening in all aspects of their lives and helping to find the answers and it’s been very well received. So well in fact that we needed a sign for people to find us- This very hand painted sign in fact!    Helping people to find the right location to find the answers they seek. Find out more or book a reading via her Facebook page.

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

News from Tromaville!

I believe I may have mentioned meeting Troma Entertainment head honcho Lloyd Kaufman at the Starburst Film Festival... Well, Uncle Lloydie e-mailed this picture to me last week. This is the Editing Room at  Troma Entertainment, and hanging up on the wall beside the framed Toxic Avenger poster is one of my glow in the dark paintings! (which can also be seen on Lloyd’s Instagram page) As an artist it is always gratifying to know that your work is hanging on someone’s wall, but hanging on the wall of Troma Entertainment?! #delighted!

© Arfon Jones 2019. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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