Longtime readers know that I’m a huge fan of the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special, from 1985. (Officially titled He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special, but that shit’s clunky.)
I watched it on that long ago December night with my older brother, and to this day, we still quote it. I’ve seen it dozens of times since. I’m surely in the minority, but to me, that bizarre Christmas special is just as classic/important/awesome as any other.
Without getting too deep into its story, the special featured every key character from both Masters of the Universe and Princess of Power. (Something that, to the best of my recollection, only otherwise happened when She-Ra was first introduced. Even some of the most rarely seen villains had cameos. +1 for Spikor!)
But the biggest thing fans remember about this special is Skeletor. Drunk with Christmas spirit, the villain “goes good” for a night, almost against his will. It wouldn’t be until the Undertaker stopped Jake Roberts from attacking Macho Man that the world saw a bigger face turn.
If you aren’t a Masters of the Universe fan already, it’s a tough sell. The original series is dated and goofy, and if there’s no nostalgia at play, I guess it isn’t the easiest thing to sit through. Still, you gotta see the Christmas special, at least once. Even if you don’t know who the characters are, so what? Hey, I only wish I was in your shoes. Something tells me that the He-Man & She-Ra Christmas Special would be ten times better if you had no freakin’ idea what was going on.
Of course, aside from Skeletor’s momentary heroism, my other big memory is of Horde Prime.
I know he was mentioned (and maybe even showed up a few times) on Princess of Power, but I didn’t watch that show regularly. In accordance with its color palette, I “wasn’t supposed to.” All I knew of Horde Prime came from this one cartoon.
And what a twist he was! Apparently, Skeletor and Hordak both answered to him. He was the true master of evil!
Like a strange mix of Dr. Claw and Emperor Palpatine, the giant demon could only be partially seen. Shrouded in green mist with only a faint outline to betray his form, Horde Prime was a truly frightening sight for a six-year-old who previously never knew a horror greater than Skeletor.
I think Horde Prime needs to be seen to be understood, so, a video:
Oh, come on. That’s insanely cool. It’s like the great and powerful Oz had a baby with Red Ronin.
Horde Prime only hung around the special for a minute — just long enough to pit Skeletor and Hordak against one another in a sick competition to ruin Christmas. He was in and out of my life quickly, but Horde Prime made such an impression.
Research tells me that the character was fleshed out a little more on Princess of Power. Like, enough to where we can argue a blood relation to Hordak. But if my memories are the true story, Horde Prime was a beautiful, bewildering demon seen once during a random Christmas special, and never again after that. A monstrous mystery that tantalized and tormented me for years and years. If only the animators had given us one good look at the guy!
Well, I’m happy to report that “seeing Horde Prime” can finally exit my bucket list. Thank you, Mattel.
Okay, I don’t know the whole deal with the Masters of the Universe Classics line. All I can tell you is that the figures are gorgeous and hideously expensive. I’m pretty sure they’re sold strictly by mail. The important thing is that the line includes a HORDE PRIME figure.
(And also a Photog figure. But man, that is another post entirely.)
The toy succeeds on every level except scale, though I suppose I can’t blame Mattel for not making a 4000’ Horde Prime action figure. He kind of looks like an uber Hordak, clad in what can safely be called the “ultimate villain costume.” Black with blood red trim, and sort of spiky. It gets no better than that.
When you remove the ceremonial mask, Horde Prime’s true face is revealed. Yep, he’s totally Hordak-like. Then you can get rid of the cool red head and pop a different one on. This other one makes Horde Prime look like a deranged grandpa bugman, so for the most part, yes, I will stick with the red devil head.
A biography on the back of the package sheds even more light on the character. His real name is Anillis Kur, and he’s really, really old.
I don’t know what Mattel charges directly, but at least on the secondary market, these MOTU Classics figures cost a small fortune. Around $40 a pop, with shipping. Those prices shut out all but the most devoted collectors, and though I’d normally balk at an action figure that costs as much as a night out, I couldn’t let this one slip by. I had to see what was under that mask.
So, now I know. Horde Prime has two heads, or something. Or maybe the human head is supposed to represent a “young” Horde Prime? I’m not clear on it. Look, I have a new thing to throw on one of my shelves and forget about ten minutes later. I needed this.
I sure am gonna miss the mystery, though.