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Points of Articulation

yo
yo go re
Reverend Rose's Twisted Toys

We've spoken before about how "gross-out" items appeal to kids. They give children a way to interact safely with taboo subjects (like death, bodily fluids, and standards of cleanliness) by using cheerful comedy to undercut the inherent danger of things that would normally be frightening and mysterious. The concept of death is less traumatic once you've seen 100 cards' worth of Garbage Pail Kids blowing up, falling apart, losing their skin or eating pieces of their own bodies, you know?

After acceptance, the next stage is pride: you show off how mature you are by not being bothered by these inappropriate subjects. In fact, you love them! Only babies are scared of these things, so the logical thing to do is obviously to push the boundaries and be proud when people are offended. If they're offended and you're not, then you're better than them.

Unfortunately, this attitude isn't limited to the elementary school set; in fact, for a lot of us, it never really goes away.

For instance, back in the late '90s and early '00s, when the Spawn.com message board was still a thing, we would look forward at this time of year to the release of the annual Reverend Rose "Warped Toys List." Not because we cared about what toys were inappropriate for children, but because we hoped that there would be some Spawn figures on there. Toy collecting, as a hobby, was fairly new - and so, like a child, it was immature. We wanted toys that were offensive, so we could prove we weren't offended. Look how cool we are, everybody!

The Warped Toys list had its origins in 1986, when Rev. Rose was a new dad and was shocked by the offerings he found at the toy store. He cites mucous, vomit and nuclear disasters as things that shouldn't be sold at Christmastime. One Sunday he gave a sermon about the toys, and an annual tradition was born.

Eventually, the yearly sermon had become a press conference, the list was published in newspapers across the country, and featured on tv and radio. It even garnered coverage in The Weekly World News!

Nominees were toys that met any of four criteria:

  • Promote a stereotype.
  • Simulate violence.
  • Depict gore or mutilation.
  • Psychologically inappropriate.

(That last one means toys that are overly sexual, scatological, etc. Basically, whatever's wrong for young kids' minds.)

To build the list, Rev. Rose subscribed to toy magazines, browsed the stores and even went to Toy Fair in New York. He and his five-member committee would show dozens of toys to parish children, and find out what message they took away from the playthings. The first official list was published in 1987, and the final one came out in 2001. Toy fans waited for the silliness of the list in 2002, but it never came. Nor was there a list in 2003, or 2004, and soon enough Reverend Rose and the Warped Toys list was just a faded memory.

So, what became of Reverend Rose? After serving as pastor of Grace Episcopal Church for 20 years, he stepped down in 2002 - which is why there was no list that year. He continued hosting the Sunday at Six radio show on WJMJ until 2008, when the Catholic station (the "JMJ" stands for "Jesus, Mary and Joseph") decided to cut all its Protestant and ecumenical programming. He currently works in the mental health field at the Genesis Center, and also works as a supply clergy for the diocese (the religious equivalent of a substitute teacher). His three children are all adults now, but may be young enough that they don't yet have kids of their own. Perhaps the Warped Toys list will be back when Rev. Rose has grandkids to worry about?

If so, let's hope he recognizes that not all toys are meant for kids in the first place. And also, that the hobby of toy collecting has matured enough that we don't feel the need to offend people just to prove we can.

1987
unknown
1988
unknown
1989
unknown
1990
• Steve the Bum
(Dick Tracy)







others unknown
• Nozone
(Toxic Crusaders)
• Sewer Exploration Belt
(TMNT)
• Swamp Trap
(Swamp Thing)



others unknown
Vince and Larry
(Crash Dummies)
Bio-Flesh Regenerator
(Terminator 2)
Monster Face
(Hasbro)
Boogers
from the Planet Nose

others unknown
1. (tie) Dr. Finkelstein
(Nightmare Before Christmas)
1. (tie) Simon Phoenix
(Demolition Man)
1. (tie) Burne
(TMNT)
2. Street Fighter
(Hasbro)
3. Sally
(Nightmare Before Christmas)
4. Oogie Boogie
(Nightmare Before Christmas)
5. Crash Plane
(Crash Dummies)
6. Gorilla Alien
(Aliens)
7. Mommy's Having A Baby
(doll)
8. (tie) Boot Camp Stimpy
(Ren & Stimpy)
8. (tie) Bathtub Ren Hoek
(Ren & Stimpy)
9. Dennis Nedry
(Jurassic Park)
10. Monstro-Viper
(GI Joe)
1. Realistic toy guns
2. Mortal Kombat II
Battlevision
• Vega & Balrog
(Street Fighter II)
• Dr. Dreadful Food Lab

others unknown
1. Angela, Cosmic Angela
& Mother-One

(McFarlane Toys)
2. Insultinator
(SRM Mouth Machines)
3. Power Spark
(Kenner)
4. Aaahh!!! Real Monsters
(Mattel)
5. Gooey Louie
(Pressman)
6. Big John
(Parker Brothers)
7. Earthworm Jim
(Playmates)
8. Clown
(Spawn)
9. Stitchey Malone
(Mattel)
10. Dr. Dreadful Lab Toys
(Tyco)
1. The Freak
(McFarlane Toys)
2. Egyptian Batman
& Egyptian Catwoman

(Kenner)
3. Lady Deathstrike
& Scream

(ToyBiz)
4. Tiffany
(McFarlane Toys)
5. Monster Head Maker
(Goosebumps)
6. Ghoul
(Ultraforce)
7. Dr. Dreadful Creepy Clinic
(Tyco)
8. Cryptic Skeletons
(Creepy Crawlers)
9. Xena & Mole Man
(Hercules)
10. Brain Ball
 Chain Blazer Blaster
 Cyber Strike Gear

(Nerf)
1. Alien Anatomy
(WPF Inc)
2. Monsters
(McFarlane Toys)
3. Warrior Nun Areala
& Shotgun Mary

(Antarctic Press)
4. Meanie Babies
(The Idea Factory)
5. Dino Damage
Medical Center

(Jurassic Park)
6. Primal Rage Chaos
(Playmates)
7. Real Squirmin' Bugs
(Empire)
8. Moldy Body Parts
(YES Entertainment)
9. Skworms
(Parker Brothers)
10. Hellina
(Skybolt Toyz)
1. Randy Savage
(WCW Bashin' Brawlers)
2. "Crush Me" Phil
& "Taunt Me" Igor

(Toonsylvania)
3. Silly Slammers
(Gibson Greetings)
4. Dr. Vic's Electron Chair
(Toonsylvania)
5. Forest Speyer/Zombie
(Resident Evil)
6. Dr. Frankenstein
(McFarlane Toys)
7. Toonsylvania (various)
(Toy Island)
8. Gywnn
Mercy
Typhoid Mary
Skull Queen
Letha

(various)
9. The Graveyard
(McFarlane Toys)
10. Rock 'n' Barf
(Yoe! Studios)
1. Hatchet
(McFarlane Toys)
2. Buff Bagwell
(WCW)
3. Jacqueline & Al Snow
(WWF)
4. Impaled Mummy
& Severed Mummy

(The Mummy)
5. Tormentor
(McFarlane Toys)
6. Claire Redfield
& Zombie Cop

(Resident Evil)
7. Ice Man Cryogenic Lab
(Wild Planet)
8. Casket Match
(WWF)
9. Marvel vs. Capcom
(ToyBiz)
10. Sleepy Hollow
(McFarlane Toys)
1. Wolverine
(Mutant Power Bashers)
2. Back-Talkin' Crushers
(WWF)
3. Bump 'n Crash Cars
(Fisher Price)
4. Alice Cooper
& Death Row Marv

(McFarlane Toys)
5. Logan vs. Rogue
(X-Men)
6. Al Simmons & Clown
(McFarlane Toys)
7. Leatherface
(Movie Maniacs)
8. Incredible Edibles
(Toymax)
9. Buried Alive
(WWF)
10. Psycho
(Max Steel)
1. Wacky Mike
(Monsters, Inc.)
2. Stretch Screamers
(Manley Toy Quest)
3. William Birkin & Sherry
(Resident Evil)
4. Lita vs. Bubba Ray
(WWF)
5. Mummy King Playset
(Fisher Price)
6. N-TEK Explosives
(Max Steel)
7. Splatter Dome
(Monsters, Inc.)
8. Orc Overseer
(Lord of the Rings)
9. The Super Dooper
Reindeer Pooper

(Midlon Foods)
10. Creatures
(Stan Winston)


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