Friday, October 31, 2008

Cancelled Action Figure Cavalcade: Universal Monsters

This is the second installment of Canceled Action Figure Cavalcade. It's Halloween night and this is a toyline especially suited to be remembered on the last day of October.

In the same year Jakks Pacific produced toys for Van Helsing, the company also took a stab at producing toys of the significantly more iconic versions of the Universal Monsters. While these icons of classic horror had received many plastic representations in the past (and even afterwards Toy Island would make a Marvel Legends-esque line of the characters) what made Jakks line stand out was their large diorama that seemed to be influenced by the popular Aurora model kits of yore. While this aspect would make them stand out to adult collectors, Jakks line was still first and foremost children's toys.

While I admired what Jakks was doing, the line never took off. I'm not sure any retailer even carried these besides Toys R Us. They only produced a single series consisting of Dracula, The Wolf Man with interchangeable Larry Talbot parts, and Frankenstein's Monster chained to the chair from The Bride of Frankenstein. All three also received black and white repainted variants, so technically six figures were produced but they were planning much more.

The Creature from The Creature From The Black Lagoon always seems to make for great toys. Planned for the never released second series, the Creature looks like he would've been the highlight of the toyline. The "swimming" effect is a nice touch.

Compared to the other monsters, the Invisible Man doesn't get as much merchandise and when he does he's usually in the robe and pajamas he wears in the latter part of the film. Jakks was going to produce a figure of Jack Griffin in the suit he wears in the beginning. That would've been really awesome. I much prefer this look with the false nose and hair that he wears with his bandages. I also love the array of chemicals on his table.

The third figure that would have been the Mummy, but not the mummy Imhotep played by Boris Karloff in the original The Mummy film. This figure is based on Kharis, the mummy played by Lon Chaney Jr. in The Mummy's sequels. I've never seen these sequels so I couldn't explain why the figure's base is a swamp or why there's a face in the swamp. Still I do appreciate that Jakks wasn't always going for the obvious choices in character selection.

Jakks was planning still more figures beyond series two. AFAIK these figures were never sculpted and didn't make it pass the design stage. They were considering a Frankenstein's Monster as played by Bela Lugosi in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man complete with the block ice he would be frozen in. I'm continually impressed with what Jakks was trying to do both with characters and the display bases.

I've saved the oddest for last. It's the Metaluna Mutant from This Island Earth. This alien from a '50s sci-fi movie doesn't quite fit in with the stalwarts of gothic horror. He looks like what the Mars Attacks! martians were spoofing but that's what makes him awesome.

Revisiting these never released figures ha really bummed me out. If it had the opportunity this could have become quite a great toyline. Ah well, Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hallo-week Countdown

This is the last week in October and the countdown to Halloween is winding down. Before it survives let's enjoy one last stroll down random Halloween stuff lane.

We can't have a goodbye to the Halloween season without saying a goodbye to Domo. The local Target now has a non-pirate costumed giant plush hanging above the front entrance. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to steal one.

Oh Hello Kitty, could your Halloween costume be any more lazy?

So there's not just a Slappy mask, but a full costume. I think they might be trying too hard in pushing for this Goosebumps revival. Give it a few more years. On another note I watched Dead Silence, which is a bit like Night of the Living Dummy but with a slightly more mature themes and far more crappy.

Please monitor the diet of your Jack-O-Lanterns and help fight the spread of squash-hood obesity.

This mask is awesome. What's its story? Is it a partially transformed werewolf? Did he pull out his fur himself? Is it werewolf pattern baldness? Is he a half-werewolf, half-vampire and was the vampire half exposed to sunlight? Is he suffering from cystic acne? Did Boss Maroni throw acid in his face?

I'd forgotten why I took this picture than I remembered that this skull was surprisingly large in person. Too bad this pic doesn't quite convey that.

This was a perplexing find. It is apparently a "black guy" mask. A "black guy wearing dark sunglasses" mask to be more exact. I can't quite understand the mindset of a person who perceives "black guy" as being a potential option for a Halloween costume and I don't think I want to.

Now dressing up as a famous black guy at least makes some sense. This mask was vaguely labeld as being a political figure but didn't specify who. It's either Colin Powell or the result of Barack Obama and John McCain performing the fusion dance. Behold Jarack Obamcain!

Halloween even makes used car dealerships interesting, if only for a brief time.

The local supermarket has several of these large inflatable decorations on display. The "crime scene" one was the largest and was particularly cool. Unfortunately the other inflatable decorations were Christmas related. Isn't that depressing?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Indiana Jones 4 Is Out On DVD Today


Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Is Haul-oween

Welcome again to the show that never ends. This is my haul for the last several weeks. First up are some action figures from The Clone Wars and Sasuke sporting Orochimaru's curse mark.

Second is a bunch of DVDs.

Here's a pic of the backs of the Iron Man & Black Lagoon: The Second Barrage steelbooks.

These are pics of the Full Metal Panic complete series set.

Lastly I got the limited edition of Claymore. I haven't opened it yet but I'll try to get a picture of its contents later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Can (Not) Wait

The Japanese website for Neon Genesis Evangelion has updated with new information on the next installment in their Rebuild of Evangelion series. Evangelion 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance will be released in theatres in Japan next summer. It's the sequel to Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone which was released in September of last year. Clearly Gainax is no hurry to wrap things up.

The website isn't of much use if you don't speak Japanese but it does provide us with the poster. It's similar to the first film's poster but it adds Asuka at the top and most interestingly, an all new character seen in the lower right-hand corner. Her face is obscured but she's a clear indication that Rebuild of Evangelion will be going in a new direction.

BTW there's still no word of any of the new Evangelion movies being acquired for North American distribution. Considering the built-in fanbase these movies have, I'm assuming Gainax is asking for a hefty licensing fee.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The First Day of October now there's only 30 days to go. Doesn't mean we can't celebrate a bit early.

I finally spotted all the Halloween costumed Domo plushies available at Target. He comes dressed either as a vampire, a devil, Frankenstein's monster or a pumpkin. Dressing up Domo for Halloween is the only way to make him more awesome.

I thought this inflatable decoration was really impressive but I couldn't help but imagine that the skeleton was using the Jack-O-Lantern as a makeshift toilet. I'm still six years old mentally. I'm sorry.

These are all me. Were it socially acceptable I'd wear those goggles every day of the year. I have nothing else to add other than to say I look like Sir Topham Hatt in the first pic.

Buy this thankfully green wig. Buy this makeup kit and you're set. Screw that cheap brown haired monstrosity.

Even I have my limitations when it comes to kitschy Halloween stuff. This is the Grim Rapper. I listened to his awful song so you don't have to.

Why do so many skeletons look so startled? Are they just suddenly discovering they're devoid of flesh and internal organs? At least it debunks the theory that one can not look surprised without eyebrows.

Here's the Wal-Mart exclusive Bumblebee Transformers mask I mentioned earlier. Not really Halloween related, but hey it's a mask.

This must be what the Scream guy looked like before he died and became a ghost. He died how he lived. Screaming.

Ever wondered if the success of J-horror would make its mark on Halloween culture? Me niether but whatever this thing is, it looks like a Japanese ghost to me.

This picture came out horribly but it's a child sized mask of Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I considered making some kind of commentary on that but I realized if I was a parent I'd be pressuring my kid to dress up as something wildly inappropriate for a child.

I'm aware this post is already heavy on skeleton related content, but this here is a skeleton butler so I'm sure you'll more than understand.