Goosebumps Monster Bags baby! A real favourite of mine from 1996 and (I believe) Hasbro, everything about these were great. They worked the exact same way as Galoob’s 1991 flash of brilliance Trash Bag Bunch, I was originally going to make a snarky comment about this not being too surprising because Hasbro own Galoob but it turns out they didn’t buy that company until 1998 so instead of recycling an idea, they just nicked it instead. If you don’t recall Trash Bag Bunch, or are just too young or too sexy to know/care about them they were the best way of handling the blind bag concept possible – the figures came in rubbish bags full of slime that dissolved in water. Monster Bags are just that but even better – because they’re action figures, and Goosebumps.
I was all in on the Goosebumps fad in the mid-90s, if any imaginary readers remember my Two TMNTSweeties post you’ll
know that I still own a stack of the books and am so shameless about my past with them that I proudly have them on my bookshelves as an adult, but I had Goosebumps everything – stationary, pyjamas, clothes, posters, board games, I had Goosebumps slippers and I didn’t wear slippers (putting Goosebumps in the elite Pointless Slippers Club with only Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sonic the Hedgehog for company) – so any Goosebumps action figures, my preferred medium of toys as you may have guessed, was the height of awesome; but ones that came in dissolvable bags of goo? What’s higher than the height of awesome? The Rock of Eternity? Whatever it is, Monster Bags were there for 9 year old me. My mum not so much, she never liked any of these dissolvable things and as I found out in the toy isle of Tesco the other day, she’s still not keen.
The figures weren’t blind bagged, but rather each soft fabric bag (the best way to describe a Monster Bag is, you know when paper gets really used and becomes almost like cloth? They feel like that) came on a somewhat superfluous blister card clearly detailing which one of the four characters came inside along with instructions on the back, each card also included a small plastic knife to rip
open the bags with once you’d soaked it. The bright green bags (most Goosebumps things were either purple or hot green, if you recall) contained equally neon slime with a slightly crystalline/gritty feel to them that had to be submerged in warm water. Whatever this shit was it was clearly supplied by a Sly Sludge, I think you can see it in my pictures but just in case – my Slappy and Mr Mortman STILL have green stains in their nooks and crannies after 20 fucking years. I think the intention was that you ‘cut’ (read: ripped) the bags open on a nearby flat surface but my nan would never have gone for that, this is the woman who put a sheet down on the garden patio when I used Real Ghostbusters Ecto-Plasm, so I opened mine in the water and thus can tell you exactly what that sludge felt like because too this day I can feel it every time I wash up or am forced to drink a J2O– gritty thick water, like everything liquid or semi-liquid from Dr Dreadful but grittier. What you were left with was not a figure, but parts to be assembled, yes – just to make these things even cooler, you could swap all their parts though personally I never did this (I didn’t do it with He-Man either, hell I didn’t do it with Socket Poppers and that was the whole point of them, I just like my figures to look accurate, I was such an anal child). Once you’d done all this you were left with one of four figures from the Goosebumps novels. I’m sure at least one imaginary reader is thinking ‘what an unnecessary load of extra crap to do to get a figure’ but I couldn’t disagree more, the extra effort made me appreciate them more and they remain so memorable because of their gross method of unpacking - and bags of slime improve any toy for kids.