Mel Birnkrant
SCARY CHRISTMAS
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”Creatures” and “The Pets of Frankenstein” and all drawings pertaining to them are Copyright MEL BIRNKRANT and KISCOM.
“Aahh! Real Monsters” are copyright 1995 Nickelodeon.  All Rights Reserved.  NICKELODEON, Real Monsters and all related title, logos, and characters are trademarks owned and licensed by Nickelodeon.  
Characters and storyline created by Klasky-Cuspo Inc. Photography and writing on this website are Copyright Mel Birnkrant.
 
          And so, throughout the Holiday Season, I toiled over the eight selected creatures.  I worked feverishly, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.  And, all the while, I was afraid that I wouldn’t finish them in time for the testing date in early January.  This was a monstrous assignment, one that required superhuman effort, sculpting, mold making, and casting some of them in latex.  Others were made of Super Sculpey with magnets baked right in.  Every element of the project had to be coordinated carefully.  Each tiny detail mattered, like immediately ordering a variety of plastic eyes, in what I guessed would be the right size.  I had to proceed without them, hoping they’d arrive in time.  It wasn’t just the figures; I was also building accessories, a trunk, a cage, and the mechanism to enable the creature on a string to climb.  It’s moving parts were made by me and baked inside, not harvested, ready made, from an existing toy.  This all-consuming flurry of activity left little time for celebrating the holidays, buying presents for the family, or trimming the Christmas tree.  But, miraculously, spurred on by an outpouring of adrenalin, and Christmas spirit,  I managed to do everything.

        
This website was inspired, to some degree, by finding these hitherto lost photographs.  I shot them, on and off, haphazardly, while I was crafting the creatures.  Not all the characters got captured by the camera, but, nonetheless, I hope that you will find that the ones that did, interesting.

         
My favorite will always be this character.  I felt it was the most spectacular!  The body was some kind of clay. And the appendages were made of flexible Sculpey.  The eyes began as beads, which were removed before the separate parts were cast in latex.  The resulting cavities were later filled by plastic eyes.
          I found these fragments, just last week; they are a bunch of extra pieces, cast in latex.  This is what the separate pieces look like before being trimmed extensively, and then, assembled, using liquid latex as adhesive.  One day, I might trim and assemble these.  They appear to be complete.
          This crazy cow-like creature was another favorite.  His size and pose was determined by the cage I made to order.  His lower arms were designed to grab the bars.
         Here we see him fully cast cast in latex.  He operated like a finger-puppet, and could survive outside his cage.
         This is seen here already cast in latex, but not yet assembled.  The finished figure could turn inside out to transform into a spider.
         And, here’s the carnivorous little monster who eats bugs for his supper, then, uses his dinner dish as a potty.  Dinner's ready!
        And this guy managed to appear in at least one photograph.
         Here is a group shot of the whole bunch, ready to be painted.  Phew!  I knew that, at this point, the worst hurdles were behind me, and I would, most likely, make the deadline.
         Soon, a few of the lucky ones had donned their monster makeup, and were ready for their close ups.
         And here they are all finished, the photo you have seen already, in the introduction, and maybe on the internet.  But it is a a little bigger here, and you can see it bigger still by clicking on the image.
          Last of all, when the creatures were finished, two days early, I hurriedly made this video.  I sensed that there was a possibility that I would never see these creatures again, and I also wanted to show Kenner how to operate them, and put their best claw or tentacle forward.
         And then, I sent the whole thing off to Kenner!
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE