10 Horror Icons That Deserve Action Figures
On a recent episode of Killer POV, the podcast I co-host with Fangoria’s Rebekah McKendry and Inside Horror’s Elric Kane, we tackled the topic of “Childhood Obsessions,” and that led to discussing our desire as young budding horror fans to obtain any toys we could get our hands on based upon some of our favorite genre properties. There weren’t that many horror toys when I was a kid, except for the talking Freddy doll, but as an adult, everything pretty much changed when McFarlane Toys unleashed their Movie Maniacs line back in 1998 and proved that there was in fact a huge market for these kind of collectibles. I remember distinctly hunting for the “bloody variant” Leatherface figure at all the local Kay Bee stores, much to the surprise and shock of the clerk’s face when I brought it up to the counter to buy. “We sell this here?” But over the course of the next decade and a half, tons of other toy companies such as Neca, SOTA Toys, Sideshow Collectibles, Gentle Giant and many, many more have gotten into the same frightful spirit and have given us various interpretations of all of our favorite cinematic madmen.
However, there are still plenty I’d like to see immortalized in plastic. That’s not to say that some of the following I’m about to mention don’t exist in some form or another as custom made figures. There are places like Homemade Horror, Retroband, Creations Unearthed and Old Colony Hobbies that have specialized in limited small quantities of obscure figures, not to mention savvy fans that can craft their own figures as well. But these are ones I think deserve a massive run and the special edition treatment. Without further adieu, here’s 10 horror icons that deserve their own action figure!
I’ve always felt that Harry Warden has never gotten his due. Both his debut feature, the 1981 Canadian lensed cult classic ‘MY BLOODY VALENTINE,’ as well as its box office smash remake ‘MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D’ unfairly never got sequels. And sure, Retroband did a pretty awesome custom figure, but I want one of the bigger companies to do a definitive release of Harry Warden, complete with his trademark pick-axe! Maybe add a sound chip in there that makes that Darth Vader-esque breathing noise. Harry Warden was more of a folk-lore legend, a campfire tale that’s told in the opening of both movies about a miner that got trapped deep in the recesses of a cave with a small crew and went nuts and killed them all. Years later, he warns the town to never have a Valentine’s Day party again and a new string of murders imply that Harry’s back to carry out his threat. Granted the mystery behind who is using the Warden persona is probably why his popularity never reached the levels of Jason or Michel Myers, but visually, he’s one of the coolest looking characters in “slasher” history. And considering his look is pretty similar in both the original film and the update, the figure could technically be for both!
If there was one character that was screaming for an action figure, it’s got to be Babyface from The Hills Run Red. I mean, just look at this bad boy. The red jacket, the giant axe, the rotted porcelain baby doll face held together by barbed wire, the tufts of hair sticking out. He’s got to be one of the coolest looking and most bad-ass killers to emerge from a horror film in the last decade! In the film, a group of documentary students go back to the original shooting locations of the long lost & infamous horror film “The Hills Run Red.” When they arrive, they quickly realize that the film never stopped shooting and it’s lead killer Babyface is very much still out there and active! The kills are cools, the characters unique in that they don’t follow the traditional logic that most kids in these films do and the direction by Dave Parker is fierce and determined. (It’s his best film.) But the thing that sets it apart is Babyface himself. And I want him immortalized in plastic! (Custom figure)
I’ll be completely honest. I personally am not a huge fan of the LAID TO REST movies. I rather like the ambitious 2nd one, named after it’s title character, but the coolest thing about them for sure is Chromeskull himself. A modern style serial killer dressed in all black, camcorder fixed to his shoulder and a beautifully clean skull mask hiding his identity. His kills (in both films) are brutal, over the top and jaw dropping, which is no surprise considering they’re both directed by FX master Robert Hall. But Nick Principe’s intense performance as Chromeskull in both movies, in particular the 2nd is what makes this killer stand out. It’d be cool to see him in plastic as an action figure with his trademark blade and maybe the top half of Johnathon Schaech’s head as an added bonus!
Let’s face it, Kane Hodder for a lot of us will always be Jason Voorhees, but he also absolutely owns as Victor Crowley in the HATCHET series. An old legend of the Louisiana swamp, Crowley lived a secluded life with his father until one day, a prank gone horribly wrong engulfed their home in flames and amongst the chaos, his father Thomas Crowley accidentally hits Victor in the face with a hatchet. Ouch! Hence, he roams the swamps of Louisiana during the nights as a ghost in search of his father and those responsible for his death, often tearing apart limb from limb anyone that gets in his way! And while his look has been slightly modified between the 3 films, the basic creepy bits are all there. The hatchet scar across his deformed face, the crazy tuffs of uneven hair sticking out of the top of his head, the overalls and the multi-colored skin. By the third film, they got his look perfect and Hodder has fully embraced embodying this misunderstood, yet ferocious killer. Let’s face it. We need a kick-ass Victor Crowley action figure. And we need it now!
If we’re talking about both INSIDIOUS movies, there’s quite a number of creepy poltergeists we can choose from to immortalize in plastic, but none are quite as memorable or as terrifying as the first film’s “Lip Stick Faced Demon,” portrayed by the movie’s composer Joseph Bishara! Not much is known about this particular nasty ghoul. Just that he’s trapped in “the further,” the regional that harbors a number of unhappy spirits and he’s attempting to take over the body of young Dalton Lambert. We get to see him in his “work space” in the final act of the first film and I could totally see that as an elaborate collectible playset. Hell, a plain ol’ action figure will do too! Sneaking it up behind your parents or friends is optional.
It’s amazing just how popular Angela is to this day. She’s appeared in a trilogy of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS films, not to mention a remake! And most recently, Scream Factory yet again gave the party-host-turned-demon the star treatment with a special edition Blu-Ray release. So why not release the demon-ized Angela as portrayed with gleeful perfection by Amelia Kinkade? Quite frankly, there aren’t enough female horror icons, or at least there aren’t enough that have been given the action figure treatment. Angela seems like the ideal candidate!
Speaking of Angela’s, what about the other famous one from the late 80’s horror franchises? Yep, that’d be Angela Baker from the SLEEPAWAY CAMP movies! The question is, which version would fans most want to see of their gender confused camp counselor? The shy, awkward and practically mute killer-under-the-surface gal from the original, played by Felissa Rose? (Dare we do a naked version as in the shocking final moments of the film?) Or the perky, constantly smiling and malicious version of Angela from Part’s 2 & 3 played by Pamela Springsteen? Why not both? Just give us a SLEEPAWAY CAMP action figure!
Alright. Now it’s time for me to give a lot of love to the film universe of Frank Henenlotter. The Times Square of New York City in the 80’s is long gone, having been Disney-fied, but it still lives on in BASKET CASE! The film follows Duane Bradley, a shy, awkward young man that constantly carries around a large basket with him where ever he goes. “What’s in the basket?” Why it’s his brother! Duane was a Siamese twin at birth and his brother Belial and him were separated with Belial left for dead. However, Belial survived and now the two of them are on a quest to knock off all the doctors responsible for separating them in the first place! The film went on to spawn 2 sequels, and Duane (with his basket in tow) makes a surprise cameo appearance in Henenlotter’s second feature film BRAIN DAMAGE, but we’ve never seen the dynamic duo in action figure form. I want a collectible 2 pack that features both Duane and Belial!
Well, while we’re already talking about Henenlotter’s movies, the other one that seems obvious is the title character from his 1990 horror/comedy cult classic Frankenhooker! When Jeffrey Franken loses his beloved fiance in a bizarre lawnmower accident, he combs the streets of NY looking for the perfect… well, parts to bring her back. And he opts for prostitutes! I mean, visually, a figure of Frankenhooker (Patty Mullen) should already exist. (Clay Guy did a great custom one, along with a Basket Case one too!) And think of the possibilities, she could have a voice chip that spouts out some of her great one-liners. “Wanna date? Need some company? Looking for some action?” The original VHS tape had a button that you’d push and a voice chip would say “wanna date?” So that would have to be a must for this action figure!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, SLAUGHTER HIGH isn’t all that great of a horror movie. But regardless, it’s still got that special something that makes it memorable amongst the crop of 80’s “slasher” pics. And one of those elements is a pretty darned cool looking killer. We haven’t really seen someone quite like The Jester before or since! In the film, a group of high school students (well, in actuality they’re comically all way into adulthood) play a prank on poor, nerdy Marty Rantzen. As can be expected, it goes horribly wrong, they almost kill him and he becomes horribly scarred and crazy. 10 years later for their reunion, he returns in the Jester costume to exact his revenge! I haven’t seen any figures out there, custom or otherwise of the Jester. I think he’s long overdue.
Two I’ve got to mention – I’d love to see a figure of the Bigfoot creature from Ryan Schifin’s ABOMINABLE just simply because he looks cool! Maybe he can come with the two halves of the Tracy character (Tiffany Shepis)! Also, since we’ve got the two Angela’s on our list, it’d be cool to see Mary Lou Maloney from PROM NIGHT 2 & 3! Technically, she’s got the CARRIE backstory, but in the PROM NIGHT sequels (which were heavily influenced by the popularity of the NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET films of the time), Mary Lou turns out to be a pretty bad-ass female boogyman. It’d be neat to see her as a figure.
Who are some of the ones you’d love to see?