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Film / My Pet Monster

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In 1986, the American Greetings Corporation released a line of plush dolls of a horned, blue-furred monster with orange plastic handcuffs that had a breakaway link on them. Known as My Pet Monster, this was one of the very few male-oriented plush toys of the day and proved quite the hit. So much so that American Greetings began working with the famous Canadian studio Nelvana to produce media featuring the character. And the first result of this endeavor was simply titled My Pet Monster.

My Pet Monster is a 1986 direct-to-video movie distributed by Hi-Tops Video (a subsidiary of the now-defunct Media Home Entertainment) and standing out as one of Nelvana's few non-animated productions. This Merchandise-Driven film follows Max, a young boy who gains the ability to transform into the titular monster whenever he's hungry after visiting a museum and being exposed to the mysterious powers of an ancient statue depicting the creature. With the help of his sister Melanie, Max must escape the clutches of the scientist who discovered the statue, Dr. Snyder, who seeks to capture Max for publicity purposes.

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The My Pet Monster movie was created with the intention of being the Pilot Movie for a full TV series, but this ultimately never came to be. Instead, a year later Nelvana would produce an Animated Adaptation of the same name, which ran on ABC for 1 season. Unlike the film, which had very little to do with the toyline it was based on beyond the monster's appearance, the cartoon stuck much more closely to the idea behind the plush (namely having the monster as Max's friend instead of being something he turns into). It also featured several actors from the movie, such as Alyson Court and Colin Fox, although some of them took on slightly different roles. Tropes for the cartoon can be found here.

My Pet Monster also received a series of children's storybooks published by Golden Books (the children's book imprint of Western Publishing). They featured a similar setup to the cartoon, except the monster lived in a cave that let out into the basement of Max's house.

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Tropes found in this movie

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the movie, Max and his sister both have brown hair. In the animated series, they’re blonde.
  • Adaptational Name Change: In the movie, Max’s sister’s name is Melanie. In the animated series, her name is Jill.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In the animated series, Jill calls Monster “Monzie”.
  • Bald of Evil: Snyder has male pattern baldness.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Snyder and the dognappers are separate threats.
  • The Cameo: Two other characters appear in the 8-bit opening that aren't seen in the movie itself - Beastur, Monster's Arch-Enemy, and My Football Monster, a spin-off of the toy.
  • Child Hater: Dr. Snyder hates being a tour guide to "brats".
  • Covers Always Lie: The monster looks nothing like the creature on the cover of the box. That's because the costume used in the movie was so cheap and awful that they decided to use the actual doll instead.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Max hates the fact that he periodically turns into a monster with Super Strength. His sister, however, is convinced that it is the coolest thing ever.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Max in monster form.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The statue that transforms Max and transforms Snyder at the end.
  • Hulk Speak: This is how the monster talks in the animated series.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "I am a man of science, not a tour guide!"
  • In Name Only: The movie does a Title Drop, at one point, but shouldn't the point of the movie be the fact that the Monster is supposed to be the pet? The title makes no sense when you take those facts into consideration.
    • There was a Saturday morning cartoon version where the monster actually is Max's pet, rather than Max turning into the monster.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: In the movie, Max changes into his monster form whenever he gets hungry.
  • Merchandise-Driven: It's a movie based on a stuffed animal.
  • A Monster Named Monster: In the series, the monster is only ever called "Monster", although Max's sister Jill insists on calling him "Monzie".
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Snyder.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: At the end of the movie they take Max to a dog show pretending he's their dog. A blue-furred gorilla/troll thing. And nobody questions it.
  • Pinball Protagonist: When left to his own devices, Max does little more than mope. He has to be pushed along by Melanie to get anything done.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: The villain fell off of a window ledge and exited a building using the door. No explanation is given for how this might be possible.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with the Big Bad implied to gain monster powers of his own. Though, with how the statue looks, it's also implied that he will become Beastur.
  • Sudden Video-Game Moment: Interestingly, the film opens like this, showing a fictitious arcade game of My Pet Monster.
  • Super Empowering: The monster idol that zaps people so they periodically change into monsters and back again.
  • Super Senses: One of the powers of Max's monster form.
  • Super Speed: Another of Max's powers in his monster form.
  • Super Strength: Yet another one of monster! Max's powers.
  • Theme Tune Rap: The animated series does this in the bridge, but the theme song is sung otherwise.
  • Title Drop: When a girl sees Max in monster form and asks what he is, a boy replies "That's my pet monster".
  • Villainous Underdog: Dr. Snyder wants to catch Max to use as a specimen to boost his career, but really has nothing that makes him a match for a super-strong, super-fast monster that can eat anything. Had there been a sequel he would've been on more even footing with a monster form of his own.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Max still keeps the same voice after turning into a monster.
  • Worst News Judgement Ever: Apparently, in the world of My Pet Monster, a dog being the favorite to win a dog show is worthy of the front page.

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