Luckily for me I have more than those creepy Time Life books to help me guide my daughter on the path of spookiness. Don't worry, I'm not about to launch into another Monster High love-fest (as much as I want to.)
I was at Target the other day in the toy section looking at things other than Monster High dolls (not true) when I spotted an end-cap showcasing the newest Lego release. Lego Monster Fighters. I stood there for a good ten minutes, mouth agape, frantically trying to find an excuse in my head to buy them. Yes, my 11-year-old stepson Quinn was standing next to me also salivating (he is a huge Lego fan) but I resisted the urge to by any of them, mostly because I am trying to teach him fiscal responsibility by setting a good example when we are at the store by not to buying every little thing that appeals to us, and I was there to buy groceries, not Legos. But, man oh man, where they cool and he will totally be getting them for "Happy Back To School, Quinn" or whatever other bullshit reason I can think of to buy him a gift.
Yes friends, it was incredibly difficult for me to walk away without slipping these guys into my shopping cart:
There is a Lego Monster Fighters Haunted House that is going to be released in September of 2012....for 179 dollars. That is a lot of dollars for Legos.
Oh, yeah, the actual Monster Fighters too, Col. Mustard-esqu characters who are tasked with taking down the various monsters, but who cares about them, the monsters are where it's at!
Is this just the boy answer to the Monster High toy line success? Probably, but clearly, there is a market for this kind of "scary" stuff for children. And I know damn well I'm not the only one buying this stuff for myself-I mean, my kids.
Toys isn't the only medium experience a bit of an influx in all things creepy. Kid's movies are also getting a bit goth. It may have began a few years ago when Disney Pixar released the wonderful movie Monsters Inc. in 2001. They monsters in that movie were nothing but warm and cuddly and John Goodman-y. John Goodman rocks, that is all.
This year Hotel Transylvania will be released in September (you can go buy your thousand dollar Lego Haunted House after you take your kids to see this movie!) and it features the voices of *shudder* Adam Sandler as Dracula and for-some-reason-polarizing-among-the-tweens Selena Gomez as his moody teenage daughter. I think some of the tween girls don't like her because she's boning Justin Bieber. But! The teenage daughter of Dracula? That sounds terribly familiar. In this film, Dracula runs a resort! And hilarity ensues. But this just goes to show that it's not such a niche film genre anymore, spooky movies for kids, that Tim Burton dominated (his Frankenweenie comes out in October of 2012.)
The Disney Channel debuted a new show at the end of June this year called Gravity Falls, which revolves around two kids and their Scooby-Doo villain like uncle who runs Gravity Fall's Mystery Shack, a tourist attraction. Turns out, the whole town is a bit on the mysterious side. This is the Disney Channel. The channel that used to just show Winnie The Pooh on an endless loop for years. I'm impressed! Nickelodeon on the other hand, has been ahead of the curve when it comes to this type of programming. They aired Danny Phantom back in 2004, a show about a boy ghost and his goth sister (who, no joke, had a Nine Inch Nails poster in her room. And do you think I can find a screen-cap of this anywhere? No!) You could argue that shows like this have been made for kids since the late '60's. That's when our beloved Great Dane and his stoner owner made their first appearance with the rest of the gang to solve mysteries and thwart the creepers of the world! The term "Scooby-Doo Villain" is so recognizable and universal I even used it earlier in this paragraph!
I welcome this trend in children's media and marketing, I think it's great and it is creating a whole new generation of fans for the horror, sci-fi and scary movie, book, TV show genre. Kids who read Coraline as a child will more than likely seek out The Sandman when they are older. I'm sure this trend has it's naysayers, (much like the apparent "Girlification of Horror" does) but like I have said in many blog posts before, people are the worst...I mean, you can't please everybody.
Maybe I can buy Quinn those Legos for like, "Happy Mid-July" or something....