Yesterday, a short clip from the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife introduced the Mini-Pufts, miniature versions of the classic Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man that terrorized Manhattan back in the original 1984 movie. They’re adorable...in theory, because in practice they’re tiny nightmares who live only to torture, murder, and cannibalize each other.
Hasbro has revealed some of Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s first tie-in toys, and wouldn’t you know it? They’re a collection of Mini-Pufts figures, each one more disturbing than the last—as I have chronicled here.
Look at this cool dude! He’s just hanging out, shielding himself with a beach umbrella, maybe trying to get a tan. Unfortunately, when you stick a marshmallow over a fire there’s a 1.5-second window when the marshmallow has been browned, and then it immediately chars to black. Things are not going to work out well for this guy, is what I’m saying.
At first glance, this may appear to be a cute li’l Puft just happily chowin’ down on a chocolate bar. At second glance, you’ll probably notice his mouth is full of razor-sharp teeth. The maniacal glee on his face could be just his wild delight with the chocolate, but there’s a figure below that makes me suspect Hungry here is intentionally filling himself with it for some dark purpose.
Haha, it’s a little homage to the countless Christmas comedies that have featured the bumbling man of the house getting completely wrapped up in Christmas lights! He was probably trying to decorate his tiny house when—uh—wait. Mini-Pufts don’t live in small houses. They live in our world, which means there are only two ways CVC here could have gotten himself entangled: 1) Some maniac stuck a tiny, writhing monster in their Christmas tree as an ornament, or 2) other Mini-Pufts found the lights and tied CVC up. The bellow of rage he’s emitting makes me believe it was the latter, whether he’s screaming because his fellow Pufts have incapacitated him or because he knows why his fellow Pufts have incapacitated him.
He knows battle is coming this day. He isn’t afraid; he exults in it. He can already hear the war drums, feel his heart beating in excitement, smell the blood in the air. He knows at the end of the day he will either be dead or covered in the marshmallowy goo of other Stay-Pufts; he’s fine with either option. He grabs his weapon and dons his tiny blue sailor’s cap and walks to the battleground, a grotesque grin on his face that promises pain and violence to all those unfortunate enough to see it.
Given how much we know the Mini-Puffs cherish death, including their own, it’s pretty clear this guy is trying to commit suicide while potentially (maybe hopefully?) hurting other Pufts in the process. The question is whether he’s doing this out of rage or to end the pain of his existence? Whichever answer it is, it’s bleak as hell. And yet this is only the eighth figure in this list!
Although this is, visually speaking, one of the most adorable of these figures, we can all admit things are not going to go well for Rocket here. That firecracker is going to explode, killing him, and even if it doesn’t, the eventual crash-landing will. Plus, the fire from the rocket is absolutely melting his legs. Rocket looks to be enjoying himself, which gives some credence to the idea that this Puft has chosen to go out with a bang (extremely tired pun intended). However, I can’t get over the way his two eyes are looking at wildly different angles. It’s almost as if someone had drugged him with a powerful hallucinogen, tied his basically unconscious body to a rocket, and lit the fuse.
I was about to call this guy “Cannibalized Mini-Puft” until I took a closer look and decided those were human-sized teeth marks, arranged in the appropriate curve of the human jaw. Presumably, the human who took a bite of this guy’s right arm, right shoulder, right side of his head and rent his flesh asunder dropped the Mini-Puft when it immediately started shrieking in agony. So that’s the figure we’re getting: a masticated Mini-Puft, having just climbed back to his feet after a fall that only increased his suffering, screaming in pain at the horrific event that has befallen him. And screaming. And screaming.
He ran as fast as he could, which was only hobbling. It was the best he could manage, since they—those people, his people—backstabbed him with a sharpened branch, which they cruelly pushed all the way through his body, emerging through his left side. He was too shocked to feel the pain at first, until the other Mini-Pufts started taking the branch closer to the grill, and Fugitive knew his true fate. By some miracle, the stick broke, and he tumbled down a steep hill, away from the fire. It was more agony, but it gave him a head start on the others, who were sure to chase him and complete the ritual.
He could have been running hours or days. Every step was a torment. Suddenly, he heard faint, high-pitched voices down the path he’d been traveling, and in a total panic, he flung himself into the woods as fast as he could hobble while enduring the pain. He went as far as he could, but eventually had to stop and gasp for air while standing in the hunched position that best—but barely—alleviated the pain. That’s when he heard the soft crinkle of a nearby leaf. He slowly opened his one good eye and knew his flight, and his life, were over.
The Warrior strode into the clearing, his minigolf pencil in his hand, and an evil grin on his face.
The question with these Pufts is whether they were put in dire circumstances by other malicious Pufts, or if they’re acting on their own recognizance. I’ve got major problems with this one, because Burning’s expression is absolutely inscrutable for a marshmallow man becoming engulfed in flames. He’s angry and irritated about it, but not (thankfully) yelling in pain. Since the fire is all on his back I assume he’s jumped or been pushed into the grill’s flames. If it’s the former, he’s yelling “I’d rather be dead than deal with you idiots a minute longer!” If it’s the latter, it’s “You idiots think you can push me into a fire and kill me? I’ll b-” as his body sinks fully into the flames.
You might think being burned alive would be more disturbing than slowly melting, but again, Burning Mini-Puft was only mostly irritated by it. This guy, though... this guy has a long, long time to anticipate and agonize over his impending death. This is the face of a Mini-Puft who has not come to any terms with his fate, who’s nearly catatonic in disbelief at what’s happening to him. Whatever consciousness he can spare is focused on begging for mercy from whatever god will hear him.
It’s clear that S’mores here isn’t in the process of dying, and there’s no obvious indication he’s about to die, either. What makes him so upsetting to look at is the maniacal glee on his face as he lies in the campfire treat. This is the face of a Puft who is anticipating something happening to him while he’s being a s’more. At best—at best—it’s a sex thing, and I mean that honestly, because s’mores-based sexplay sounds delicious if nothing else. But given how messed-up most of these figures have been, I think it’s more likely he’s waiting in ecstasy to be eaten alive, maybe by a human not paying attention to the fact that their s’more has two wiggling legs sticking out of it, but also maybe by other Pufts. Either way, S’mores here is very, very into it.
A lot of these figures have relied on context clues and interpretations of the facts to reveal what’s most disturbing about them. But not this guy! He’s just beheaded a guy, attached it to a rig that holds the severed head over his chest, and is using matches to beat it like a drum. The facts that he positioned the face outward and is marching somewhere implies to me this is a public performance for others, that he wants to be seen by the other Pufts as the craziest goddamned Puft of them all, the one who has an infinite capacity for violence and cruelty, the Marshmallow Alpha of this wild pack of sugary sadists and killers. He’s got my vote.
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