AAAHH!!! Real Monsters is an American animated television series about adolescent monsters in training, developed by Klasky-Csupo for Nickelodeon. The show ran from October 30, 1994 to December 7, 1997 on Nickelodeon's main US cable channel. The series is currently being released on DVD.
The show focuses on three young monsters — Ickis, Oblina and Krumm — who attend an institute 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.
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 "IND Subway". The dump the monsters inhabit is implied to be Fresh Kills Landfill, but never explicitly named in the series.
- Ickis (voiced by Charlie Adler) - Ickis is a small red monster who, due to his large ears, is often confused with a rabbit. He is the son of Slickis, a famous scarer. He seems the most skiddish of the monsters but is also a capable leader. Ickis looms (growing in size) to scare and comes from a long line of loomers.
- 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 shaped like a black-and-white, upside-down candy cane, resembling a banded sea kraft. One of her favorite methods of scaring humans is reaching within herself and pulling out her internal organs, and she has considerable talent for shapeshifting into various terrifying forms. She also has a talent for inducing nightmares in humans, by sticking her finger in their ear and tickling their brains while they sleep. 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 seen 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.
- The Gromble (voiced by Gregg Berger) - The Gromble is a tall, green-blue monster with two 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. 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. The Gromble uses the Viewfinder which her students sit in so that he can view their scaring activities.
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was created by Gabor Csupo and Peter Gaffney, and was produced by Csupó's company Klasky-Csupo, which also created the animated shows Rugrats and Duckman. 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, bore a close resemblance to the Blue Meanie characters from that film. 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.
Home media releasesEdit
From 1997, select episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were released on VHS by Paramount Home Entertainment. The complete first and second seasons were released for PlayStation Network for view on the PS3 and PSP systems.
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 will be released on June 10, 2014 as a Shout! Select title.
On October 8, 2013, Shout! Factory released Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series on DVD.
|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|
In the United Kingdom, 4 volumes are available as exclusive releases in Poundland stores. Volume 1 contains the 1st 9 episode (5 half-hours) from Season 1. Volume 2 contains the 1st 8 episodes (4 half-hours) from Season 2, while the remaining 2 volumes make up the 1st 16 episodes from Season 3.
From October 1994 to around 2004, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was on Nickelodeon. In 2002, it started airing on Nicktoons TV (now Nicktoons). In 2006, it was taken off Nicktoons and was shown occasionally on Sundays on Nickelodeon's "Nick Rewind." It often appears on Nick.com's Turbo Nick, an online programming broadcast. In July 2011, TeenNick debuted The 90's are All That, a block of classic Nickelodeon programming from the 1990s, which included episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
After the success of The Rugrats Movie, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies and Klasky-Csupo had plans to make a film of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. However, production of the movie was shut down due to the story being "too dark" for children.