I wanted to do another edition of Five Random Action Figures before Halloween, lest I waste the excuse to take pictures of plastic monsters out in the freezing rain. So here we are, hours later, with me sneezing and my phone’s touchscreen on the fritz. I suffer for you.
Star Wars (1983)
The Rancor Monster was the largest of Kenner’s vintage Star Wars figures, with a price to match.
Too extravagant to talk Mom & Dad into buying during a “regular” trip to Toys “R” Us, most kids had to wait for Christmas or their birthdays, and pray that they’d remember how much they wanted one during those small windows of opportunity. It was the kid version of trying to get pregnant.
I never did get a Rancor Monster as a kid, and actually never even saw one in person until I was like, 67. It’s an impressive figure for sure, but as the legend grew in my childhood brain, I imagined the Rancor being triple this size and with rough, leathery skin.
The reality may not be the Rancor of my dreams, but it’s still a wonderful toy. It’s like they mixed DNA from a tyrannosaur and that thing from Cloverfield.
“A stupid rubber spider? What’s THAT doing here?!”
You just said that. You blurted it out without thinking about how ridiculous you might sound. I did that to you. This is so going on my resume, right under that time one of my fan letters made it into the Archie McPhee catalog.
No, this isn’t just some regular rubber spider. It’s Big Bob, the OFFICIAL rubber spider of 1990’s Arachnophobia. I don’t believe that “Big Bob” was ever addressed as such in the movie, but in the associated merchandise and marketing materials, that was the nickname for the big hairy spider who hitched a ride back from wherever that magical misty forest was. The leader spider, who caused so much trouble for John Goodman.
Big Bob was one of the very few Arachnophobia toys. Actually, if we’re not counting video games, I don’t know if I could even name one more. The paint job is top notch, but what really grabs me are Big Bob’s feelers, which are so long and so thick that the dude ends up looking like a ten-legged spider.
Also: Each of Big Bob’s eyes look like a logo from a failed late ‘90s web startup.
Big Bob smirks. “Web startup.”
Get me a newspaper.
Masters of the Universe (1985)
Another of Hordak’s henchmen, Leech lives up to his name. The suction cups on his hands and feet are merely ornamental, but the one in his mouth really sticks to any flat surface. I sound like I’m doing a Leech infomercial. Awesome.
So you’d have this figure in one corner and He-Man in the other, and Leech would somehow have to turn “press my face against a window” into an offensive maneuver. It wasn’t easy. On the plus side, whenever Leech heard a good joke, he could use his own hands as cymbals.
Leech was buffoonish in the cartoons, but I couldn’t name another Masters of the Universe figure that looked nearly so tough. In figure form, Leech is built like a tank, and even colored like one. The weird face made him hard to “animate,” if that makes sense, but he was a great figure to pull out whenever you just wanted to fling someone at a pile of good guys.
McDonald’s McNugget Buddies (1992)
Mummie McNugget was from the first wave of McDonald’s Halloween McNugget Buddies, the game-changing Happy Meal toys that many still believe to be better than 95% of the action figures ever sold at retail. I’m part of that camp, for the record. We are not wrong.
I may consider those old Halloween buckets as the chain’s best-ever spooky promotion, but that’s mostly the nostalgia talking. I’ve publicly begged McDonald’s to do a retro re-release of the buckets, but the truth is that old idiots like me are the only ones who would really be into that. I mean, you have noticed that Target sells reasonable facsimiles of the McBoo pails every single Halloween season, right? And they’re like two bucks, tops.
You could make a stronger argument that it’s the McBuddies that really merit a comeback. Ah, if only McDonald’s hadn’t become so coy about the food they sell. Gone are the days of anthropomorphized hamburgers, and robots that turn into milkshakes. Ronald now passes those things around with a wink and a hush, like Grandma with a cookie before dinner.
I guess they can make Halloween Apple Slice Buddies, or something.
Rocks & Bugs & Things (1985)
Bloodstone was featured in my long-ago tribute to Rocks & Bugs & Things, but given that he’s a legit contender for Best Figure Ever, I needed him to be a part of this series, too. If I thought I could get away with it, he’d even turn up in my reviews of new Cheetos flavors.
Unleashed by Ideal in 1985, Rocks & Bugs & Things may have been the single strangest toy line of all time. I’m honestly having trouble summarizing it. “Rocks that turn into monsters, fighting against bugs that turn into grosser bugs.” I only break out that sort of poetry when I’m already 1000 words in. Nobody’s here.
The wretched demons battled over the smaller Mordles figures, which were pitched as their only food source. So yeah, the point of Rocks & Bugs & Things was to determine which monsters were gonna get to eat a bunch of tiny, neon goblins. Horrifying, but weirdly satisfying, too.
Bloodstone was the line’s greatest achievement. Looking like the Rock Lords version of Belial from Basket Case, I’m still amazed that this was a mass-produced action figure. Even at face value, Bloodstone is as scary as any character from any horror movie. And that’s before I tell you that his little alien puppy is actually lunch.
FYI: The actual monsters from the Rocks & Bugs & Things line are now hideously expensive, but if you just want a big pile of the Mordles, my buddy John has you covered.
Thanks for reading about five more spooky action figures. Here’s the previous edition, if you missed it. Experts might suggest a stronger closer, but fuck ‘em.