We couldn’t afford too many toys when we were kids, but for we always appreciated what stuff our parents could grab for us for Christmas or our birthdays. My toy preferences mostly narrowed down to action figures and play sets with TMNT and superhero figures some of my biggest choices on wish lists as a kid. Along the way I did have some toys that were horror themed, including the Ghostbusters, the Mighty Max play sets, and much more. I was even around during the first wave of McFarlane’s Spawn figures, which were hot commodities for a while, there. These are five of my favorite and most fondly remembered horror themed toys from my childhood.
What were your favorites?
5. Fly Baxter Stockman – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Even before I was aware of Cronenberg’s “The Fly” I always loved Baxter Stockman as The Fly mutant. His original figure looked like something out of a horror movie, and out of a whole line of TMNT figures that included a Rat King, and a sludge monster, I think Baxter Stockman’s figure is the most horror themed. Even with the bright colors, it’s a twisted machination of Shredder who turns his lackey in to a disgusting lackey who buzzes around in the darkness helping Shredder with his mutant army. This is one of my top five TMNT figures of all time.
4. Toxie – Toxic Crusaders
I was never really aware of the Toxic Avenger when I was a kid, so “Toxic Crusaders” was my intro to Citizen Toxie. All I knew is that we had disfigured heroic mutants fighting twisted evil mutants and I loved it. I watched the cartoon religiously (and I also bought most of the comics!) and fondly remember begging my dad for the Toxie figure. I loved the figure, and pretty much still adore all of the figures in the line. Years later after learning about and growing to love Toxie’s R rated cinematic origins, I still love the figure and the animated series. They’re delightfully demented and weird.
3. Kenner’s Aliens line – Aliens
The Kenner Aliens movie line was fucking awesome and if we could, my brother and I would have owned the entire series. We already loved “Aliens” as kids, but to know there were awesome GI Joe type action figures out there for us made us ecstatic. With this line, you could pretty much get almost all of the characters, plus a variety of different aliens, including Scorpion Alien, Bull Alien, Rhino Alien, Mantis Alien, and so much more. For some reason, Vasquez didn’t come much later, even though they did give us Ripley. That was probably because these toys were means to tie in to the planned “Aliens” cartoon that was cancelled. In either case, they were fantastic.
2. My Pet Monster – American Greetings’ My Pet Monster
My Pet Monster was an amazing toy even though it was simple. It was a monster for your bed that could scare away the monsters lurking underneath, but it wasn’t so scary that you couldn’t sleep with it at night. You loved it, and you could tell it loved you back. The Pet Monster was mainly touted for the boys, while Pillow People were mainly for girls, but you could switch off if you wanted. We’d play with My Pet Monster all the time, and loved to cuddle with him and wrestle with him. I think he should be brought back, as kids deserve their own bed time protector.
1. Snare Arm Swamp Thing – Kenner’s Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing became a very, very short lived animated series in the 1990’s and the studios behind it planned to turn it in to an all out franchise, even with its own toy line and video games. Sadly, the series didn’t take off thanks to a variety of reasons, and the show is mainly just a bygone memory of the nineties. The toy line is thankfully embraced by toy collectors and is still widely celebrated. The toy line was pretty big considering it ended up as discount bin fodder for a very long time, but out of the variants of Swamp Thing figures you could buy, Snare Arm was my favorite. This version of Swamp Thing had a small arm that could extend thanks to a retractable green string, and came with its own monster trap. I loved Snare Arm Swamp thing as a kid and brought him pretty much everywhere with me. Back then my only knowledge of Swamp Thing came from the cartoon and the movie “Return of Swamp Thing” but I loved the action figure.