Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Horror Toy Revolution!

I got the idea for this one while I was writing the Freddy review the other day. I’m always somewhat hesitant to do a whole post about something that’s nevere going to happen.

So, there are only three formats where modern horror toys are lacking – 8” scale clothed figures and super-articulated figures in either the 3 ¾” or 6” scale. Naturally, I have fantastic ideas for all three.

I love the classic Universal Monsters, but we have got enough fucking toys of those guys. You know how many Gill-Man toys I own? A shit-ton. And he’s not even one of the big four (Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Wolf Man, Mummy). You know how many Hammer Horror figures I own? One. Fucking one. Christopher Lee as Dracula. That’s it. And as far as I know that’s all there is aside from maybe statues and busts.

Note: Despite what certain magazines and websites might have you believe, statues and busts are not toys. Sure, they are plenty neat and I own some and even have that Darkchylde from Sideshow on preorder; but they are not toys. Not even when they’re called “Staction Figures”. Seriously, guys. Staction?

And holy crap on a cracker are bobbleheads not toys. I fucking loathe bobbleheads. I know some of the folks who read this might have given me bobbleheads as gifts over the years (that is why I own some) and I’m sorry to break it to you this way, but bobbleheads are not cool. I don’t know how those wretched little pieces of shit made their way off of the dusty Stuckey’s shelf and into fucking Toys R Us and, but they never should have. It’s like when trucker caps got cool. They’re awful and they just look stupid (trucker hats and bobbleheads).

And just to once again show what a big fucking hypocrite I can be, I bought those Star Wars monster bobbleheads because that concept was not being released in another format and I thought it was cool. But I hate myself and I hate them.

So not only is there a possibility for new formats of Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Michael Meyers, and their ilk; as well as monsters like Pumpkinhead. Somebody also needs to tap into the enormous Hammer Films library and start making some damn figures of Christopher Plummer, Caroline Munro, and Horst Motherfucking Janston.

Naturally, I nominate Bif!Bang!Pow! for the honors. At least for the Mego-style figures. And probably some 3 ¾” ones if their Venture Bros. line ends up working out.

Let’s start with the Hammer Horror line since that’s the one I’m actually more excited about.

The beauty of BBP!’s format is that they release two figures as a set. They’re separate packages or whatever, but they are solicited and usually sold as a single unit. This makes buying them more appealing to me for reasons I can’t quite explain. Like, you’re getting a major character like the Doctor or the Monarch, but holy crap you get a Cyberman or Dean Venture as well.

I don’t think I explained that very well, but I am very accepting of BBP!’s release methods. It makes sense to me.

So let’s say that each series of figures will consist of two sets of two. Let’s also say that when BBP! Gets the license they get the rights to the likenesses of everybody who has been in the franchise. I know that’s not how it works, but since none of this is ever going to happen anyway let’s just pretend.

Bif!Bang!Pow!’s Hammer Horror Series 1

Set One

Captain Kronos – with vac-metalized cross sword

Sara Durward – with cloak

Set Two

Carla – with dead toad in a box

Paul Durward – with fancy hat

Okay, yes – I know that Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter is not exactly the most logical choice to kick off a new line of toys. It would be kind of like launching a new Marvel line with Power Pack figures. But Kronos is my favorite Hammer film and one of my favorite movies of all time. And honestly, it is a great starting point for people who may not be familiar with the British studio’s particular style of horror. The movie features a different breed of vampires, a swaggering hero, heaving bosoms, and plenty of blood. All presented in that dreamy, over-the-top style that I find so much more appealing than the stodgy “deliver your lines and look intense” style of the Universal versions.

The other advantage Kronos has is that people won’t look at it and go, “Oh, great. Another Dracula figure.” Or Frankenstein’s monster or whatever. This film presents something different and visually appealing that can hook people into the toy line without seeming like a rehash of things they’ve already seen, so by the time we get to the more recognizable names of Series Three (yes, we’re holding Big Bad Dracula beck until then!) people will already be addicted.

Bif!Bang!Pow!’s Hammer Horror Series 2

Set One

Professor Bernard Quatermass – with mystery skull

(Sorry, guys - couldn't find a picture. Uh, I mean, I didn't want to spoil anything. Yeah. That's it.)

Devil – with iron chain

Set Two

The Reptile

The Gorgon

Quartemass is another of Hammer’s signature properties that is recognizable to fans but not a rehash of an already well-known character. I used “mystery skull” and “Devil” because I don’t do spoilers. Watch Quatermass and the Pit and you’ll know what’s really going on.

The Reptile and the Gorgon are also recognizable Hammer creatures that haven’t been exploited to the point of overexposure.

I know it might seem a bit risky to populate the first two waves of a new line with lesser-known characters, but ask yourself this – how many waves did every toy line that ever existed get at a minimum? Two. Okay, that’s not technically a fact, but there are a lot of toy lines that made it two waves on novelty alone. Which is why we’re saving the heavy hitters for wave three and beyond. Because some folks will be hooked by the first two waves already and retailers will see names like “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” in wave three and order regardless of the success of previous waves. I think.

Bif!Bang!Pow!’s Hammer Horror Series 3

Set One

Count Dracula – with vampire bat and pile of ashes with ring on top

Doctor Van Helsing – with bag and two candlesticks

Set Two

Frankenstein’s monster – with brain

Victor Frankenstein – with rifle

Dracula is Dracula and will always be a selling point no matter what line he appears in. But this is Christopher Lee as Dracula, so he’s the best. And then there’s Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. Having these two facing off on the shelf would just be awesome. I know they come with what might be deemed extra accessories by the toy company, but come on – those would be worth it.

The Curse of Frankenstein was the first big moneymaker for Hammer Studios and the one that led to all of the movies that I love so much. Also, Hammer’s Frankenstein’s monster is very distinctive from Universal’s, so this would be a nice departure from the big, green head and neck bolts. And it’s Christopher Lee again.

Bif!Bang!Pow!’s Hammer Horror SDCC Exclusive

Deluxe Christopher Lee as Count Dracula w/ voice chip

This would be a heck of a set with a bit of a price tag, but I’m pretty sure people would go for it. Especially since it would be the only way to get Dracula before Wave Three came around.

This set would include a Dracula figure with a voice chip. The voice chip would be programmed with dialogue from all of the Dracula movies Lee starred in, but it would only be the phrases that were lifted directly from Bram Stoker’s novel.

Also included would be a coffin and a full-size replica Dracula ring. Not, like, a super-nice one or anything. Just a toy one.

But here’s my favorite part (though the voice chip is nice) - You’d also get a bonus “Dracula Crazy-As-Hell” head!:

Check back in tomorrow for part 2. I’ve run out of time and honestly I think I can get away with making this at least three posts.

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