The finale of this month of terrifying toys is the most spectacular one in my collection: the Cloverfield Monster. Standing 14″ tall, this beauty features interchangeable heads and an electronic roar. And remember when we were making a fuss about 16 points of articulated evil? Cloverfield boasts 70 points of articulation. (Personally, I identified only 46; I think Hasbro was counting some of them twice.) Its accessories include a bunch of “parasites,” the head of the Statue of Liberty, and a fancy box that serves as a display background. Yeah, it’s that nifty.
Well, that wraps up another October! I hope that you’ve enjoyed this look inside my toy box. And, of course…
Daimajin was a Japanese riff on the Jewish Golem myth, produced as a trilogy of feudal-era giant monster movies. In each, the wrathful statue was awakened by downtrodden peasants to squish their oppressors. This nifty action figure features real metal chains, interchangeable faces, a removable forehead spike, and (not pictured) a Japanese warlord to crush in its mighty fist!
After making a splash with its highly-detailed action figures based on artist Todd McFarlane’s comic book Spawn, McFarlane Toys branched out into other areas: sports collectibles, slutty fairy tale heroines, and eventually a long-running line of licensed horror characters collectively known as Movie Maniacs.
While most of the latter were based on relatively recent “slasher” characters such as Freddy Krueger, one notable outlier was this spectacular, oversized King Kong figure based on the 1933 original. It depicts Kong breaking free from the platform on which he was displayed to a Broadway audience. And somehow he’s already managed to snatch up a blonde in his paw!
Beanie Babies! Remember those? For a time, everyone tried to grab a little of that sweet, sweet beanie cash. Even Star Trek got in on the act with their short-lived line called (no joke) “Alien Beans.” Honestly, most Trek creatures don’t translate well into beanie form, but the Mugato–the white space ape from the ’60s episode “A Private Little War”–fared the best.
One of the less unlikely opponents of Japan’s favorite flying turtle, Gamera, was the space cephalopod Viras. Arriving in an interstellar craft resembling a ring of beach balls, Viras and his crew of creepy, glowing-eyed humanoids kidnapped a couple of children because, well, Gamera. When the turtle shit hit the fan, Viras sliced off the heads of his followers, revealing the squidlings hiding within. They merged into one giant space squid, therefore making it easier for Gamera to kick all of their asses simultaneously.
This vinyl figure was one of seven included in manufacturer Bandai’s 1999 Gamera Memorial Box. In case you were wondering.
This charming fellow was the featured creature in the 1976 Doctor Who serial “The Brain of Morbius.” The mad doctor in this Frankenstein pastiche was obsessed with building a new body to house the loose think muscle of the executed Time Lord criminal Morbius. He cobbled it together from the leftover bits of those unfortunate enough to crash their spaceships into the planet Karn, which is why it has one human arm, one claw, the lungs of a Birastrop (not pictured), a fishbowl and a pair of flashlights. Surprisingly, the resultant body proved less than reliable.
In 2000, games manufacturer WizKids came up with a very clever concept: a miniatures wargame in which each figure’s attack and defense values were displayed on a unique, two-piece base. As the unit took “damage,” the player would rotate the base, revealing new values and activating special powers. Mage Knight was a hit, and spawned a bunch of similar “clicky,” collectible miniatures games, including the superhero-themed HeroClix and its spooky counterpart, HorrorClix.
The latter game began with generic monsters, but soon began to license other frightful film properties: Freddy vs. Jason, Hellboy and Alien vs. Predator. From the latter comes today’s entry: the Alien Queen. This oversized figure slots into an even larger base depicting the Queen’s egg sac. Honestly, I have no idea how the egg sac is used in gameplay, but it looks cool and isn’t that what matters most?
The third and “final” chapter of the Star Wars saga, Return of the Jedi, gave us a taste of the overkill that was to come years later with George Lucas’ prequel trilogy. In an attempt to outdo the famous Cantina scene from the original Star Wars, Jedi provided an entire castle full of monstrous alien thugs, presided over by the slug-like crime lord Jabba the Hutt.
Jabba’s prize pet was an enormous, slavering beast that lived in the basement beneath the sort of convenient trap door that comes standard with a supervillain lair. The Rancor dined on whomever displeased Jabba, which, presumably, was eventually everyone.
While Jabba’s Rancor was killed by Luke Skywalker, subsequent “expanded universe” books and games have introduced Rancors on any number of worlds. Perhaps they’re the Star Wars galaxy’s invasive species, like 30-foot-tall zebra mussels or Asian carp with gigantic claws. The colorful specimen pictured above hails from the planet Felucia via the video game The Force Unleashed.
I’ve written before about Giant Robo, aka Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot, a Japanese children’s show about a gun-wielding nine-year-old with exclusive control over a 100-foot-tall, mobile weapon of mass destruction. I don’t have anything to add, so I’ll leave it at that while you enjoy this vision of state-of-the-art 1967 monster-fighting technology, with its inexplicable Egyptian headdress.
This is one of the sillier toys in my collection, and that’s saying a lot.
An extensive line of 6″ action figures accompanied the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and once manufacturer Toy Biz exhausted their list of orcs and hobbits, they released this toy of the chief villain, Sauron. It’s unique in that it’s not a figure at all, since it’s a tower. It’s the fortress of Barad-dûr, and the flaming eye atop it is the incorporeal form of Sauron himself.
As the film depiction of Barad-dûr is alleged to be nearly twice as tall as the largest skyscraper in our world, and the Eye of Sauron toy is the same height as the standard human figure in the Toy Biz line, it’s…well, it’s just a little bit out of scale. Also, it hews to the Japanese “super-deformed” style of design: big “head,” squat body.
But what’s silliest about it is its action feature: a lever on the back causes the Eye to pivot and light up, while shouting “I seeeee youuuuu!”
Which becomes even funnier when it triggers on its own, as mine has done at least a couple of times.