Monday, 18 March 2019

Omnibot’s Robot Root-Out: Garbage Pail Kids

“...Deep under Arfon’s studio lies an extensive collection of random artefacts thirty years in the making. His robotic assistant Omnibot has been assigned the mammoth task of excavating the collection. What will Omnibot uncover today...!”

While I’ve been promoting my new Glow- In the Dark Monster StickerClub Omnibot has been doing his bit to raise funds for the studio and discovered another curio from the  80’s... Garbage Pail Kids!
There cards/stickers are probably the earliest things I can remember obsessively collecting they were disgusting and my mother didn’t approve of them so naturally I had to have them!  You might even say they en-Grossed me... First produced by the trading card company Topps in 1985 based on an idea by cartoonist Art Spiegelman these cards served as a parody of the phenomenally successful Cabbage Patch Kids dolls that to say were all the rage would be an understatement!  For those of you that weren’t there at the time and unaware of Garbage Pail Kids they were essentially cards that featured Cabbage Patch dolls either deformed, as monsters or just being anarchic, smoking, vomiting and picking noses (but in humorous ways and beautifully painted!) As kids we would share them amongst ourselves and comment on how disgusting they were- each one had a different name (condemning any unfortunate child that happen to share the same name as one of the cards to having to live with that nickname) they even had ‘humorous’ licenses and certificates you could give your friends on the back!  

Seeing these cards again brought it all back to me, how I would scrimp together what money I could find and run down to our newsagents to buy new packs. One such day I noticed some older kids hanging around some garages we had near us, because I had numerous run-ins with these bullies in the past and had no intention of encountering them again I picked up the pace, ignoring their name calling. Thankfully they didn’t pursue, this was because they were preoccupied by another kid my age that had a pile of Garbage Pail Kids on him and these older kids were looking through them. I bought my cards and made my way home worried that those kids were still there and as I reached the garages I was delighted to find that the bullies (and kid) were nowhere in sight. It is at this point I learned that even at the age of 7 I had some understanding of the mind of a bully! Following a hunch, knowing that these lads were effectively ‘gits’ I peered through a crack in the garage door and sure enough on the floor within was a pile of Garbage Pail Kids all over the floor! The bullies had taken the kid’s cards and thrown them into this garage! It was at this point that I looked for a branch and proceeded to pull as many of the cards back towards me, collecting quite a haul! Now I’m not sure if this made me a child physiologist or a petty opportunistic thief (you decide!) but I was very pleased with myself, I had amassed the entire run of the Garbage Pail Kids cards by using my head and for the first time ever I actually benefited from bulling (actually the more I think about it this was all wrong wasn’t it?!) but anyway moving swiftly on I would spend hours looking through my collection committing them to memory (more so if they were the ones my mother thought were disguising! 

34 year old bubblegum... 
The cards, Art Spiegelman along with fellow cartoonist Mark Newgarden worked together as the editors and art directors on the cards with artist John Pound producing the art itself. 15 individual series of cards were produced through to 1988 even producing various other spin off products such as sweets, badges and poster books. There was even a live-action movie based on some of the characters (often considered to be one of the worst films ever made... not by me!) and an unaired animated TV series – however the card series lost its momentum somewhat when they yielded to a lawsuit with Coleco, the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids who sued for trademark infringement.  Now no longer looking like the original cards, kids lost interest and the series ended (Trying it one more time in 1992, this time going after the Norfin Trolls craze and creating the short lived Trash Can Trolls series) it seemed like the cards were just a distant memory until 2003,when  Topps reintroduced Garbage Pail Kids with all-new artwork in their ‘All-New Series’ and they have been producing new cards to this day- but those original first three series will always have a special place in my heart, I am confident that they played a big part in making me the well rounded monster obsessed, gross toy collector and artistic individual you see today! 
Did you collect them? Can you remember your favorites? ‘Got any swaps? If you sold yours and want to start collecting them again check out our eBay page and pick up a few! By buying from our eBay shop you are supporting my work! If you have any questions get in touch and Omnibot will endeavor to help you!

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

Friday, 1 March 2019

Join Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club!

Sticker #1 A Killer Shrew!
Well, the Women in Horror Art Show has ended, so it’s on to my next venture.... Patreon!
Aside from working on the commissions I have, I am also working on numerous projects of my own, specifically a self published book of 30 individual paintings devoted to monster/ horror related nostalgia from 1980’s and 90’s that I hope to launch at my very own solo art show at the end of the year! It’s a lot of work but I believe in it and I want to make it happen- but it’s not easy and for some time now I’ve been told I should try Patreon, as it helps artists receive additional funding from people who enjoy or admire their work and I’ve wrestled with this for some time, worrying that it might be seen as a form of “e-begging” however, the argument was made that Patronage is how artists used to do this ‘back in the day’ so I thought “why not?” But I must confess what ‘sold’ the idea for me was that Patreon is laid out in such a way that allows creators to provide exclusive content for their subscribers or "patrons” like a sort of mini club if you will, and this interests me greatly!  The other thing that appealed to me is that this presents me with the opportunity to create a unique product for those who kindly support my work; rewarding their generosity, so today I am launching  Arfon’s Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club!

They really do glow- in- the- dark! 
So, for a minimum  donation of £3 (Patron is an American site so it’s listed as $3.99) ) or more a month you will be enrolled in my Glow- in- the- Dark Monster Sticker Club and receive a new/ exclusively created glow in the dark sticker each month as a thank you for your support! Not only that but your membership entitles you to prize draws, project updates, exclusive behind the scenes content and the opportunity to nominate next month’s sticker allowing you to be a part of a community and not forgetting that warm fuzzy feeling knowing that you are supporting me and my work!
Each vinyl sticker (measuring 100mm x 50mm) will be numbered and will feature a design that harks back to classic monster stickers of the past.  Created by yours truly,  they really do Glow- in- the- Dark! Suitable for sticking on things or just collecting, your collection will grow each month, I want this to be a fun venture and I hope you will join me by showing your support!
Not for you? Fair enough perhaps you will bring this to the attention of someone that might? 
Thanks in advance!

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

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Happy Horror-day! My Bloody Valentine (1981)

With a box of unfinished Valentine’s Day chocolates I once again embarked on my challenge to watch a holiday based horror movie on the days they are set, this time round ... what else? But My Bloody Valentine from 1981! Directed by George Mihalka and written by John Beaird the film was shot on location in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia and released theatrically in North America on Valentine's Day.
The mining town of Valentine Bluffs has lifted its twenty year suspension of their traditional Valentine's Day dance to the delight of the town’s young folk, the reason for this 20 year hiatus? Two supervisors left several miners in the mines in favour of attending the dance, neglecting to check methane gas levels results in an explosion that traps the miners for six weeks, only one of them survived one Harry Warden whom resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. Now insane, in his mining attire Warden murdered the two supervisors and vowed to return and kill the townsfolk if they held the Valentine's Day Dance again... sure enough, the bodies start to pile up!
Yes, it shares certain parallels with Halloween but the film holds its own and gained a cult following over the years, it was even remade in 2009.  On its initial release the movie was heavily censored and a total of nine minutes of violence and gore was cut by the Motion Picture Association of America and it remained like that until an uncut version was finally released in 2009 (I watched the extended cut tonight) With its dingy, claustrophobic atmosphere and drinking/smoking randy young adults with complete disregard for the advice of their elders it’s worth checking out. Don’t forget to check back with me on Sunday the 31st of March... Mother's Day!
Until then, Happy Valentines’ Day!

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

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

A Celebration of Women In Horror Exhibition

Since 2017 the Liverpool Horror Club has been running regular events celebrating the horror genre. This month is Women in Horror Month and the Liverpool Horror Club is celebrating it at Constellations on Sat 9th Feb hosting a panel entitled HORROR IS NO PLACE FOR A LADY, an in-depth discussion delving into the many facets of women in the genre “A celebration, exhibition and discussion of the past, present and future of women in the horror genre” followed by a screening of American Psycho.  They are also hosting an art exhibition showcasing artworks of 20+ artists from all over. Each piece celebrates women in horror and two paintings were produced by yours truly! 'Mistress of the Dark' and 'Millicent Patrick: The Beauty Who Created the Beast' as seen in this phonograph, kindly provided by the event. Artworks have been on display at Constellations since the 2nd February and will continue through to the 17th! The event promises to be a great opportunity to socialize & network with other enthusiasts, so pop along and show your support, follow this link to purchase tickets or alternatively, email tell them Arfon sent you!

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

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Happy Horror-day! Happy Birthday to Me (1981)

Ok here is the second instalment of my challenge to watch a Holiday-themed horror movie on each holiday/festivity of the year! Not ACTUALLY something the populace celebrate (I have reservations about celebrating it myself!) but.... today is my Birthday so I thought I would include it. So today I watched a Birthday related slasher released when I was only 3... 
Happy Birthday to Me is a 1981 Canadian slasher from director J. Lee Thompson and stars Melissa Sue Anderson as Virginia Wainwright a popular high school senior at Crawford Academy, who is part of the elite clique of privileged and popular students who are killed off one by one by an off screen killer during the length of the movie using gruesome means, one of which with a shish kebab skewer (not a spoiler as this death featured on the poster!). Glenn Ford also stars as Dr. David Faraday, Virginia’s Doctor trying to help her when she starts to suspect that she might be the one murdering her friends during a series of blackouts, which slowly explain the murderer’s motives before closing with a twist ending.  This movie has achieved a cult following over the years, helped largely by being included on the Section 3 Obscene Publications Act in Britain during the video nasty ‘panic’ and so an interesting flick that’s worth your time. If I had to find fault in it, I found a group of privileged spoilt teenagers difficult to like and so I was never really sure who I was ‘rooting’ for, I didn’t like the kids so perhaps the killer? But then the movie sometimes suggests it might be one of the kids, so...  anyway check it out and I will see you again on St Valentine’s Day!
Happy Birthday (to me)

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

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy Horror- day! New Year’s Evil (1980)

Happy New Year to you all! I've set myself a new challenge for 2019 I call it, Happy Horror- day! The success of Halloween in 1978 gave rise to the holiday based horror movie genre and that is why I, Arfon Jones will attempt to watch a Holiday-themed horror film for each holiday/festivity of the year! I must have (Subconsciously) got the idea from Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn but my only requirement is that the movie takes place during a specific holiday/occasion playing a central theme (images/ motifs from the holidays featuring throughout) and a movie that features a killer wearing a costume associated with that celebration will most definitely meet the criteria!  Each movie will then be documented on this blog. So first up...

Directed by Emmett Alston New Year’s Evil takes place during (you guessed it) New Year's Eve (and New Year's Day hence why I thought I should start the challenge/ year with this one first) during a live televised show called, Blaze’s Countdown which celebrates the music of that year with callers, calling in the Hollywood Hotline nominating their favorite songs (Think Top of the Pops meets Telethon) the show features various punk/ new wave groups and their fans dancing to their hits, (personally I would rather watch this show than Jools Holland’s Hootenanny!) and features such bands as Shadow and Made in Japan (Shadow play the title song New Year’s Evil twice!). The show’s punk rock presenter Blaze (played by Diane Sullivan) receives a phone call from man calling himself Evil disguises his voice with a “Voice Processor” announces that each time the clock strikes midnight in each time zone, a "Naughty Girl" will be killed declaring that Diane herself will be the last Naughty Girl to be punished. The studio calls in Lieutenant Ed Clayton (Chris Wallace) a man who doesn’t care much for the punk/new wave scene who rather unsympathetically resents having to “pick a phone freak from this bunch!” but agrees to tighten security never the less as, Evil delivers on his promise and starts killing women on the hour (playing tapes of the killings over the phone to taunt Blaze) building up to the climax of the film, which I will not spoil for you.   
While researching this film I read that movie critic, Gene Siskel called it "a hideously ugly motion picture” I must disagree with that, although perhaps not the most original concepts the movie does do one thing differently by showing us the killer right from the start, instead hiding his identity and motive from us which is revealed as a twist at the end, in my opinion the film could (almost) pass as a Thriller, If it hadn’t been for the Friday the 13th style "chi chi chi ha ha ha..." effect, set up for a sequel and use of a Stan Laurel mask which is genuinely creepy! It’s not brilliant, but it’s not bad. It’s just a good old fashioned slasher that's worth a look. 
Happy New Year!

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


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