Gross Out! Top 10 Most Terrifying Toy Commercials of The ’80s – Part 1

Greetings, boils an’ ghouls! This time on GROSS OUT!, we’re in for a special night. I hope you have your He-Man sleeping bag rolled up in that backpack… we’re having a SLEEPOVER! What, you didn’t know? Well hurry up, there’s still time! Gather up your Madballs lunchbox & thermos, grab a six-pack of Squeezits (save me a blue one!), and snag some Doritos in case some monsters come – which is highly likely – because this isn’t just any old sleepover. We’re firing up the VCR, and having an all-night horrorthon… of The Most Terrifying Toy Commercials of The ‘80s!

That’s right… we’re going down the list of the top 10 most eerie, spazzed-out toy commercials of the decade… a veritable haunted house of plastic horrors, all played just for you, the white-knuckled reader. You are in the club after all, right?! Right! So, hunker down! Hit the lights! Pull your My Pet Monster close! The toy box terror-fest is about to BEGIN!

First up, is a moldy little classic I remember quite vividly from the mists of my cartoon-watching pre-adolescence…


There’s so much to love here. For starters, the first thing you hear is eerie horror music. You know it’s a solid win right out of the gate. As if we’d had any doubt, we’re immediately greeted with the sight of a purple mummy, just minding it’s own business trying to be dead in it’s sarcophagus, being menaced by a demented child brandishing said Mash’ems. The message is clear: even the unholy living dead will know fear in the face of toys as horrible as these… a horror YOU now command!!! And if the litany of psychotic sound effects that follows doesn’t lure you in, the fact that one child randomly has a disembodied foot to crush the depraved toy with should.

Everything from the horror lighting and scary music to the inexplicably lavish sets and bitchin’ monster makeup is just total spookhouse gold. And the toys themselves? The very definition of rad. One of ‘em was a green, skull-faced maniac holding a chainsaw and severed head! Who knew misshapen wads of foam could be such devilish fun.

We switch abruptly from the shadowy, tomb-like realm of darkness of the Mash’ems commercial, to the bright, open, daytime scenery of our next offering. But believe me when I tell you, that daylight and pleasant suburban surroundings cannot shield you from the horror you’re about to experience…


The fever-dream of terror you just endured cannot be washed clean by a thousand prayers, an army of trained psychiatrists, or a barrel of high-end prescription drugs. But imagine being a child in the mid-’80s, just trying to watch Punky Brewster and getting hit with this commercial. And they wonder why crack caught on.

If the hellish “mother” figure cooing “Ugly Ball!” in a nurturing June Cleaver voice doesn’t stop your heart, the abomination of horror that pops up from behind the couch shrieking “You’ll LOVE ‘EM!” most certainly will. The Bonkers Ugly Ball was a pretty sweet little pug-faced monster head, your typical Madballs knock-off that got so knocked-off itself, it became nearly as recognizable by extension. It’s pretty much a certainty that every one of you reading this owned something with that horrible face on it at some point in your childhood… hopefully it wasn’t your mom.

Chances are, you’ve all seen horrifying, glowing eyes staring at you from the darkness. Hell, there’s any number staring at you right now! Settle down… you’ll have that at the clubhouse. Point is, whether it was a horrible ghost lurking near your fridge during a late-night sandwich raid, or a homicidal slasher stalking you through your hallway on the way back from the bathroom, glowing eyes in the gloom are rarely a good thing. But in the world of toys, it can only mean glory awaits.


Now, I don’t know about you, but when I first saw this commercial way back when, I didn’t merely ‘want’ a Boglin… I NEEDED one. IMMEDIATELY. Like some godless cross between a Ghoulie and Belial from Basket Case, these gnarly nightmares could only signal good times. I didn’t have a slovenly, uptight Aunt Martha, nor was I routinely force-fed peas, but after that commercial, I sure as hell wished I had.

The reign of absolute, anti-social, anti-authoritarian terror I was about to mount with my demonic new little friend was going to be sweet indeed. As it turns out, I pretty much just sat in a corner and played with my Boglin alone, and no one really cared. Emerging from under my sister’s bed and growling like a lunatic was old-hat at that point, and I hardly needed the assistance of a parasitic rubber hand puppet. That said, what in the hell was up with that kid scaring his sister in the commercial? Is he possessed?! He’s five times scarier than the Boglin he’s wielding. He must have been buried in the Pet Sematary.

Regardless, my Boglin’s eyes glowed in the dark, and that meant it was automatically one of the greatest things ever. Moreover, the cool crate-like box he came in was illustrated with stunning depictions of Boglins in their natural swampy habitat, flailing merrily about the muck. You simply cannot go wrong.

Alright, kids… break out those 6-packs of Jolt Cola. Bunch up those pillow cases, and get ‘em ready for swingin’ because we’re goin’ ALLL night. So keep it right here boils & ghouls, for Part 2 of The Most Terrifying Toy Commercials of The ‘80s!

Written by Mike Wasion

Mike Wasion is a Madball-Headed Garbage Pail Kid dedicated to the tao of Future Retro Style. SO far, his unhallowed name has been seen in Fangoria (where he pollutes their pages with his semi-regular Comic Casket column), HorrorHound, Retro Slashers, and Splatterhouse fan site par exelance West Mansion, and his art has corrupted the likes of the cannibalistic comic classic Deadworld, sketch cards for Mars Attacks Heritage and Star Wars: Galactic Files. He wishes they still made Pumpkin-Face bubble gum.

11 posts
  • Ha! Awesome list… excited to see Part 2!

  • Just doing some blog catching up.
    Love this post!

    I think I had blocked out the imagery of the Bonkers Ugly Ball commercial but now I’ve got sleepless nights ahead. Awesome.

    Can’t wait for more!