Gross Out! Toys: Flash Frites Monster Flashlights
Hey hey, boils and ghouls! Dig yourselves out of that mountain of semi-rancid leftovers, and come on back… this gooey part of the clubhouse is ALWAYS open to new visitors! And if you tuned in last time… so much the better. That means you’re hooked and the frying pan awaits… but we’ll get to that. Eventually.
So, pull up a trash bag… that bloated one over there, the one that’s wriggling. Get comfy! This time, we document: Flash Frites monster flashlights!
Flash Frites were so obscure, they actually managed to elude throughout my ill-spent childhood… or so it seemed. Nestled snugly between an age-old Piggly Wiggly and Gold Star Video (a dimly-lit refugee from the heyday of the VHS boom), was a little mom-n-pop drug store I used to get dragged to when I was a kid. When I wasn’t forcing my mom to buy me Kool Aid and Pudding Pops at The Pig, or renting Burial Ground and Splatterhouse 3 at Gold Star, I was soaking up the various wonders of the drug store.
While I can’t remember the name of the little pharmacy, I remember much about it… it was one of those inexplicable magic spots, that always had the best stuff, the weirdest, best candy like Barfo Family, Lice Cream, and bubblegum flavored soda. They had comics on a spinner rack, and Fangoria (which the clerk refused to sell to my pre-pubescent self), and it was generally just an unusually rad place to be.
One especially rad aspect of the old drug store was that every year, they would decorate for Halloween and back then when pharmacies and grocery stores would decorate for Halloween, especially in smaller towns, they would go all out. You don’t see it so much anymore, but it was a different game altogether back then. Cobwebs, coffins next to soda displays, weird masked mannequins, goofy prop… remember that drug store from Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers? Things were actually like that back then. It was all-stops-out, and anything went.
This little drug store was no exception. It was all clearly stuff that the owner and the employees’ brought from home, and one item caught my eye above all others… a weird, purple monster toy that I had never quite seen before. It had a head like an enraged horse’s skull, and a stomach full of coiled, red guts, with overlong arms raised in a “BOOGA BOOGA!!!” pose. I couldn’t quite tell what it was, at the time, I took it to be a candle of some sort. It was utterly unique, and totally awesome. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
Of course, I had to have it… I offered to buy it, but again, it was the personal property the owners, and therefore it was off limits, destined to only be seen amongst the decorations every Halloween. And I looked for it, year after year, like clockwork… visiting my mysterious monster friend whenever I could, until it would go back into mothballs to wait for next year.
Then, one year, the unthinkable happened. After untold decades, the little drug store closed down. I swung in during their final days to get a last look at the place and saw “it,” the purple monster – for sale!!! Not believing my amazing fortune, I snapped it up instantly, heart racing, and bought the beast for a few paltry bucks. It wasn’t a candle after all, it was a friggin’ flashlight… and it still worked.
It would take me years to learn the full truth about this amazing rubber beast, that had guarded the dusty shelves of the drug store for countless haunted Halloweens… it was indeed a Flash Frite, a creature from a line I never knew existed. The monstrosity had a name, and holy hell, it was Intestinor!!! You can’t top that. Try it. See? You can’t. And what’s more, he had friends. Coiled, green, snake-like Tri-Digitor, and red, four-armed demon Quadralimbo! Okay, so those names aren’t the coolest, but hell, at least there’s truth in advertising.
Aside from their truly killer gimmick, the Flash Frites were cool because they were almost like mini-Inhumanoids, even though they pre-dated those terror titans by a couple of years. As an added bonus, the packaging on these monstrosities is truly awesome. A horrific, desert wasteland, with the giant logo erupting from the storm-blackened sky… with a truly terrifying image of Tri-Digitor crawling from within, eyes glowing, three-clawed hand outstretched for the kill! It’s the type of thing that would have given little kids nightmares… it looks more suited for the cover of a cheapo splatter-monster paperback, which makes it perfect for a children’s toy of the 1980’s; nightmares were what we played with, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Charles Band – if you’re reading this (and why wouldn’t you be?) – you need to make Flash Frites: The Movie. It’s money in the bank.