Producer/Host/Writer: Levi Gogerla
Editors: Clint Hoekstra, Samantha Helgeson
Videographer: Kitrina Brodhecker
Grotesque Lumbering Heavy Metal Monstrosity – Enter, The Dungeon Beast.
“O Friend and companion of night, thou who rejoices in the baying of dogs and spilt blood, who wanderest in the midst of shades among the tomb, who longest for blood and bringest terror to mortals, Gorgo, Mormo, thousand faced moon, look favourably on our sacrifices! “ – H.P Lovecraft
Sofubi: An original soft vinyl toy inspired by monsters, ghosts, and other strange things. All Sofubi are made in Japan.
The Story of The Dungeon Beast is ridiculous, totally ridiculous. It begins with a life-changing exposure to Sofubi in Osaka. The telepathic communication of brothers KING DOOM and KING GLOOM and the manifestation of encroaching darkness and eldritch monstrosities stalking their minds brought to life their brainchild, KING HIDEOUS TOYS.
A script brought to Japan in Tupperware containers… Back alley late-night dinners are scarfed down in Shibuya. New friends, both in the Satanic Temple and in straight-edge toy crews, spur them on. Black Metal J-Pop idol bands… The sound of a hacksaw…
With years of hard work, unwavering dedication to the dark arts, and the encouragement of friends and fellow toy aficionados around the globe – The Dungeon Beasts intitial run comes in four different renditions, SAMHUINN, PAIN DEALER, CHLOROSIS, and PRETORIUS which hit the new online storefront as they emerge from their endless cold void.
The Dungeon Beast, 12” twisted monstrosity coated in paint from top to bottom, are the ‘badder’ faction in a universe composed of “terrible and horrible creatures.” They are cast in high-quality hand-pulled Japanese Vinyl from the Maruyama Factory in Tokyo by Science Patrol (Cory Privitera), an American gajin living and working in Japan producing Sofubi designer toys.
Science Patrol specializes in their own line of affordable Japanese soft vinyl and has released over 40 different characters, including various yokai, monsters, animals, and artifacts, as well as a bird with lips, a larva with the face of a Japanese game developer, and a Pomeranian with an elephant-like trunk that absolutely no one on this earth wanted to buy.
The Dungeon Beast is just the first step into a world of reality-bending horror.
There is an excerpt from their story written for the eyes of the owners of the first limited run. The bigger story itself remains shrouded in mystery… “I am of nothingness. My children may never live and so may never die. My sleep becomes my dungeon. Here, my favourite son comes to know you and makes this world mine.”
You have to piece the story together – a man dreams of awful things, a massive totality whose darkness was pierced by a single eye, filthy with wrath and disgust. There are no concepts of heroes in this greater necro-verse, only bad things and worse things. The Dungeon Beast acts as an emissary of a certain side, a bizarre cosmic being, outside of human consciousness between dimensions.
“It’s life without life,” King Gloom says. “It doesn’t possess autonomy or a soul, nor is it alive like anything on our planet. It’s a singular entity that represents the violent side of cosmic evil that can’t be stopped.”
If The Dungeon Beast were a movie, its denouement would be dire and depressive. No good comes from his presence; its only thoughts are to ruin and destroy.
“It’s a perverse, wrong version of life; a huge thing, towering twice our size.” King Doom says. “Even though the medium changes, the mindset stays the same. We want to take that ethos of community and understanding and approach this world the same way. The very last thing that we would want to convey is some smug, self-righteous attitude that we’re the next hot thing. Again, the parallels to the independent music world come forward; new bands show up with a bad attitude, no one comes to the shows. Rather than hack out a place in a ‘scene,’ we’d like to participate in a community. We ourselves are collectors. We’ve long since collected toys (three boys in the house, we had the gnarliest toy room on the block!), and it’s something that has stuck with us. We’re excited that now we are working on -making- the toys.”
The Dungeon Beast is heavy metal… or is it Toy Punk? The creators want you to think Indomitable. It’s a lumbering force, not a rapacious predator, when you see him in all his grotesque totality. These are the toys that would scare a small child growing up.
The proportions are thick and inhuman, his exposed brain almost leaks out from his monstrous helm, and colours out of space clash with the senses and assault the eyes. The duel grins twisted into a hellish smile – they’re hungry, and they’d like to devour your other toys in terrible rituals of toy flesh. The Dungeon Beast looks almost happy to see you.
“The transgressive galvanizes us to make things. Aggressive music influenced the other things we got into, and it made sense to make a monster toy. Capturing that strength and power in a toy, carrying over the intensity of blast beats or super sick wipe-out vocals, and making that into a toy,” explains King Doom. “When I look at The Dungeon Beast, I can almost hear a band like Our Place of Worship Is Silence. It’s like being trapped in a quagmire of filth… smothering.”
This toy represents all the oppressiveness of extreme music “that never fucking happens.” The Dungeon Beast, boiled down, is the concentrated, unrestrained and unfiltered version of any crazy idea for a band turned up to eleven, their amps on fire, everybody’s dying, and the height of music brutality the brothers haven’t been able to reach. Sculpting a toy is like making an album; the parts need to pop.
The Dungeon Beast being strictly limited, it quickly sold out on King Hideous Toys’ new online storefront. (sorry, it might be a little hard to get your hands on one for now!) The batch was hand numbered, and a mix of hand-brushed and spray paints was used to create unique one-offs. They were packed with stickers, enamel pins, and some very special Canadian snack food.
Parallel to The Satanic Temple’s teachings, King Hideous Toys encourage benevolence with empathy, rejection of tyrannical authority, advocacy of practical common sense, opposition to injustice, and undertaking of noble pursuits.
With this in mind, King Hideous Toys, Brothers Bryn (DOOM), and Colm (GLOOM) are steadfast in their support and dedication to building communities both locally and abroad. The Sofubi scene is international, relatively small, and extremely tight-knit.
Using their macabre designs, they raffled a special one-off toy in support of the Emergency Release Fund, helping raise money for medically vulnerable individuals, especially those who identify as LGBTQ2SA+.
“The money raised was specifically aimed to help LGBTQ2SA+ people jailed in America; people facing trauma and violence, increasingly marginalized – all this in the middle of a global fucking pandemic,” King Gloom says. “It’s not hard to see the marginalization elsewhere. We’re both care workers, and bringing awareness to these micro-aggressions in society is so important.”
For the Dour Duo, these toys mean much more than just what they’ve accomplished so far. It represents friendships with people with whom they might never have crossed paths with. It is the total culmination of their insane imaginations and the complete gratification of moving from being life-long toy collectors to (hopefully) life-long toy makers.
“If we had the chance, would we change him? No way! It’s the way he was meant to be. Brutal and kinda silly,” says King Gloom.
The Dungeon Beast was an arduous undertaking with over five years of revisions and grotesque improvements constantly compounding, challenging, and strengthening the foundation of King Hideous Toys. The finished beast: a love letter to tasteful violence, 80’s exploitation, gore, and a cartoon heaviness too brutal for Saturday morning television. Eventually, they might like to try their hand sculpting the mythical beings of their native Adena/Metis ancestry under the twisted influence of the insidious King Hideous.
What’s next? Quite a few collaborations with like-minded underground Sofubi artists are in the works. Expect to see some limited runs in more appalling shades of filth. Glowing ghastly spectres, glow-in-the-dark variants whose vinyl have already been pulled are heading out soon.