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Eight Horror-Themed Action Figures from Otherwise Mainstream Lines

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In the spirit of the season, we here at PGPoA have been thinking a lot about horror. There have been plenty of horror-themed toy lines over the years, from Aurora’s monster models in the 1960s to Remco Universal Monsters in the 1970s, from the Real Ghostbusters and Super Naturals in the 1980s to Skeleton Warriors and Movie Maniacs in the 1990s, but most action figure lines don’t center around gore or guts.

However, many toy lines often feature one or two characters with a horror theme. Often the characters in these toy lines are based on some sort of gimmick (be it an action feature or simply an aesthetic), and for certain characters, that gimmick is “horror” or perhaps just “being scary.”

In honor of All Hallow’s Eve, we put together a list of eight characters from more mainstream lines who are still pretty horrifying. We could only come up with eight in time for the deadline, so please feel free to post your own suggestions in the comments!

2012 4″ Batman Target Halloween Exclusive

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I picked this up last year but never got around to doing a write-up about it. I absolutely love it when companies do holiday-specific exclusives (for example, the Christmas-themed S.L.U.G. Zombies, Santa Gizmo, or the Playmobil Santa set). There was a couple of years where Target had a lot of these, maybe about 4-5 years ago, but they don’t seem to have as many nowadays. However, they did have this one last year.

Poe’s 2013 Halloween Mood Table!

Are you one of those people who always intend to do a bunch of Halloween decorating, and yet life just gets in the way and you’re lucky if you remember to sticky-tack up those card-paper generic vampire and skeleton heads you bought at iParty because they reminded you of the ones your parents bought in the ’80s?

I know I am!

That’s why I loved this idea from Dinosaur Dracula: the Halloween Mood Table! (He actually had the idea last year as well, but I missed it.) It’s simple: just take a small table or other flat object and pile all sorts of Halloween or horror-related goodies on it and presto! Instant mood-setter for the house!

This form of decorating is perfect for two particular categories of humanity that I represent: specifically, those known as “action figure collectors” and “lazy.”

Anyway, here’s my mood table for 2013:

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Attack of the Death Trooper (Star Wars Black Zombie Sandtrooper Custom by Joe Amaro)

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Twelve hours.

Twelve hours was all the time it had taken for nearly the entire crew of the Star Destroyer Vector – all 46,700 personnel – to die.

Ensign Bran Fenrell didn’t know why he’d been spared. He didn’t know why, just a few hours earlier, his bunkmate, Ryas, had drowned in his own blood just a few feet away. Fenrell himself had felt no ill effects, except for the painful knot of nausea that caused him to vomit all over the floor of their quarters as his bunkmate and friend gasped and writhed.

Finally Ryas had let out a slow, lifeless breath, like a deflating balloon, and lay still. Fenrell hadn’t bothered contacting the infirmary because by that point, everyone knew there was nothing that could be done. Whatever had been unleashed upon the Vector, it was invariably fatal.

Fenrell had sat on his bunk for hours, in shock, as the corpse of his fellow ensign putrefied across from him. He knew he’d have to leave eventually, though he had no idea where he would go.

He was considering his limited options when, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a flicker of movement on the opposite bunk.

He stared. He couldn’t have actually seen that, could he? His nerves were getting to him. But there it was again – he saw it clearly this time. Ryas’s finger had moved.

Fenrell hesitated, then crossed over to the other bunk. Could it be true? Could Ryas still be alive?

He looked over Ryas’s body. The skin of the ensign’s face and hands had turned to a gray-greenish color, with a rough, dried-out texture. It seem to hang loosely, although Ryas had been a bit overweight in life.

There was a slight hiss of air from the body. Was Ryas still breathing? A thought struck Fenrell – could Ryas actually have survived the infection? Could he be getting better? Or was this just the last bit of air escaping from a rotting corpse? Slowly, Fenrell leaned closer over Ryas, turning his head to listen for an intake of breath.

That’s when Ryas bit his ear off.

Fenrell screamed, blood spurting between his fingers as he clutched the ragged remains of his ear. Ryas lunged for him, sinking his teeth into Fenrell’s arm. The thing had terrible strength, and it was all Fenrell could do to tear it away. A chunk of his forearm came away in the monster’s jaws.

Fenrell ran for the door and frantically punched in the code to unlock it. Mercifully, he got the code in one try and the door slid open. As he fled, he glanced back to see the thing chewing with what seemed like deliberate concentration on the flesh of his arm, an almost beatific expression on its face. Torn bits of black uniform, sticky with blood and offal, clung to the thing’s lips.

Clutching his forearm and trying to ignore the desperate throbbing of his missing ear, Fenrell staggered through the door, being sure to lock it behind him. The thing that had been Ryas could have unlocked it from the inside, but Fenrell doubted it would remember how.

He found himself leaning along the corridor wall as he struggled to walk, leaving a long, bloody smear. He came to the end of the corridor and turned the corner…

…and found himself facing a squad of Field Stormtroopers. He recognized them by their yellow pauldrons and the rail detonators that dangled from their hands…

…their green, mutilated hands…

Fenrell managed one last scream, and then they were upon him.

I know zombies are probably kind of uncool at this point – particularly the tendency to insert zombies into any geek franchise you can imagine. But Joe Schreiber’s novel Death Troopers came out three years ago, when the whole zombie thing was a bit closer to its height. I wasn’t even into Star Wars at the time but I still bought it when it came out, primarily because I found zombies in the SW galaxy a more interesting idea than, say, the Marvel universe.

Part of that novelty was because Star Wars doesn’t typically veer into R-rated territory. Fifteen years ago, LucasFilm gave author Daniel Keys Moran a hard time for a scene in his Boba Fett story for Tales of the Bounty Hunters in which a mass murderer is executed by being eaten by animals (the actual killing isn’t even shown). Evidently by 2010 they’d realized there was a market out there for more mature-oriented SW material.

Odds ‘n Ends > Halloween begins, S.H.MonsterArts AvP, random plugs

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  • It’s Halloween season! For as much holiday fun as can be fit into a blog, be sure you’re following Dinosaur Dracula, the current blog of Matt Caracappa, one of the minds behind the late, great X-Entertainment.com. Oh, and be sure to keep an eye around here as well, of course.
  • Pixel Dan has three new video reviews of upcoming MOTUC figures: Geldor, Strongor (Strongarm), and everyone’s favorite(?) pink bunny dictator, Plundor!
  • Speaking of Pixel Dan, it looks like he’s getting another #MyMosquitor – a new Mutagen Man for the current TMNT line, coming in spring. (I must confess I prefer the more grotesque vintage version a bit more.)
  • I’ve never even seen Alien vs. Predator: Requiem – even though it evidently sucks, I probably should get around to it anyway – but I’m still intrigued by the upcoming S.H.MonsterArts versions of the characters. Here’s the official Tamashii Nations page for them. They’ll run $60 apiece, of course, but they’ll be better-articulated then NECA’s figures, offer more accessories, alternate heads, and I believe they will be closer in scale to 6″ lines like Marvel Legends, Star Wars Black, and DCUC than NECA’s stuff (which is in a 7″ scale). While the movie may be dreadful, I don’t mind the designs themselves, so I’m considering getting these. The scale will probably be the determining factor for me, so I may have to see them either in person or next to some other figures first.
  • Requested plugs: T-Rav from Doomkick.com is running a contest for some cool classic villain drink coastersAcheson Creations is about 1/3rd of the way to their goal for their Kaiju Kaos: Super Robot StratoMaxx resin kit figure with just five days to go.

Pic of the Day > Mezco Cinema of Fear – Stylized Michael Myers [Halloween II] by Ed Speir IV

Mezco Cinema of Fear - Stylized Michael Myers [Halloween II]

Mezco Cinema of Fear – Stylized Michael Myers [Halloween II] by Ed Speir IV

Review > Metaluna Mutant (Universal Monsters, Diamond Select) w/ Sculptor’s Commentary

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, Universal Studios built their reputation on horror films. The “canonical” Universal Monsters are Dracula, Frankenstein(‘s Monster), the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and the Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon. However, there are other Universal Monsters who aren’t quite as well known; Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame; the Invisible Man; and the subject of today’s review, the Metaluna Mutant from the 1955 science fiction extravaganza This Island Earth.

I have watched This Island Earth many times – far more times than any other Universal Monsters movie, even Creature. However, I’ve never seen the “official” film – the version I’ve watched is the one found in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Partly due to the film’s mocking at the hands of the MST3K crew, I have a hard time thinking about it as a good movie, but it’s a fun, colorful film featuring a monster straight out of the pulp comic covers of the era. [Fun fact: the Outer Space Man figure Orbitron was based on the Metaluna Mutant.]

There have been a few Metaluna Mutant toys and model kits over the years – in the Universal Monsters TMNT line, there was even a “Mutant Raphael” figure. But for some time now, the gold standard for the under-12″ scale has been Sideshow Toys’ 8″ figure. Now that Diamond Select Toys (DST) has taken over the Universal Monsters license, there’s a new contender in town.

You can get your Metaluna Mutant in two flavors. There’s the specialty store version (the subject of this review), which includes the “Interocitor” device from the film. It will run you about $19-$20. Then there’s a basic version with no Interocitor that’s available as a Toys R Us exclusive for $16 and comes with a small display stand. Given the meager price difference and the fact that the TRU version doesn’t appear to differ in any other way other than lacking the accessory, you’re certainly better off with the specialty store version.

I’d like to thank sculptor Jean St. Jean for sending along this figure to me, and for agreeing to add his “sculptor’s commentary” to the proceedings. His comments can be found in the blockquotes.

Guest Review > The Cryptkeeper! (Tales from the Cryptkeeper, Ace Novelty)

Today’s review is by Justin Gammon of the newly-redesigned WeirdoToys.com. Justin, the bone-strewn cave floor is yours. –PG

When deciding what toy to feature for Halloween, we toy bloggers really become conflicted. There’s only so many times you can post pics of the Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy or any other variation of the Universal Monsters.

As luck would have it, a couple of years ago I stumbled upon the perfect action figure for such a seasonal blogging occasion.

I present to you, the Cryptkeeper!

Pic of the Day > harvest time! by Johnson Cameraface

harvest time!

harvest time! by Johnson Cameraface

Poe’s Halloween Display

For Halloween this year, I decided to just throw as many monster/horror figures as I could fit along the shelf above my desk at home.

From left to right:

  • Diablo 2 Diablo by Blizzard
  • Dark Alliance Lucifer by Art Asylum
  • Ghostbusters Slimer by NECA
  • Silent Screamers Graf Orlok by Aztech Toys
  • G.I. Joe Zombie Viper by Hasbro
  • Attack of the Living Dead Earl by Mezco Toyz
  • Silent Screamers Golem by Mezco Toyz (they had changed their company name by the time it came out)
  • MOTUC Skeletor by Mattel w/ Demo-Man alternate head
  • Throne from Marvel Select Mephisto
  • Dead Space Necromorph by NECA
  • AvP: Requiem Alien by MECA
  • Evil Dead II Henrietta by NECA
  • Nightmares of Lovecraft Cthulhu by SOTA
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy by NECA

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