The more I remember the decade of my young childhood, the more I understand why my doctor gave me that seemingly large prescription for Xanax.
It was like all the marketers of the world got together sometime in 1981 and just said, “What if we did our best to ruin children?”
And they did it in the most nefarious way possible: disguising movies, music and toys that were terrifying even for adults as harmless merchandise that every kid should own.
These are the toys that we all remember playing with, yet send an ice-cold chill into our spines every time we recall those memories. The toys from the ’80s that STILL give us nightmares.
Oh cute! A talking bear!
WRONG. It’s an Illiop.
And by the way, his dad just vanished when he was younger and now we wanders the dystopian land of Grundo looking for crystals. Because, of course.
Oh yeah, and the toy TALKS BY ITSELF.
And not in a cool Siri kind of way, but a weird the-mouth-doesn’t-match-the-sound-quite right kind of way. All we waited for was a voice of a diseased, angry child to possess little Ruxpin and trick us into burning something.
Here’s a quick question: Why in the sweet name of Jesus do these exist?
Oh, that’s right, because we all want clothed, stuffed monkeys with dead, beady eyes staring right back at us whenever we wake up! Gee, I almost forgot.
In this age of constant surveillance, it’s hard to remember what it was like when we couldn’t track a child’s every move and share our locations with strangers on dating apps.
But there was a clear plot either by aliens or the government (or both) to slowly replace all human children with this strange doll that was clearly the inspiration for Chucky.
“Hey, adults, why would I want this doll as a kid?”
“Oh, kid, because you should carry something with you everywhere you go and dress it exactly like you at all times.”
The next thing you know, mom and dad are asking the doll to eat its veggies before having a treat, not you. And the next thing you know, you’re having dreams of the doll waking up and breaking all your toys in the middle of the night, only to wake up and find your toys scattered across the room, and this evil, non-human doll staring at you—all while wearing your favorite shirt.
There is literally nothing you can say to convince us that a) any child should be exposed to that smile and b) this phone wasn’t always plotting to kill you.
In fairness, the marketing was pretty upfront in terms of more or less scaring children into buying these weird puppet toys, as well as encouraging boys to use them to scare girls.
Because, of course.
It was like they took the weirdest Jim Henson creations and said, “hey, you know who would love these? Young children who haven’t been traumatized yet!”
Thank you, toymakers of the ’80s, for helping us to usher in the age of anti-psychotics and anti-depressants. We owe it all to you!