"Lost" 1970s Alien Action Figures - Now You Can Horrify Your Holidays
This holiday you can fulfill a nightmare that started way back in the late 70s, but never saw the light of day. Which is both fortunate and apropos. The late 70s proved that movie sci-fi was very much alive, tie-in merchandising even moreso. Star Wars was no fluke - "serious" science fiction films were on their way, and there was great potential to make serious buck at the box office, as well as at the toy counter.
The brooding (and breeding) horror of Ridley Scott's 1979 horror masterpiece "Alien" was as dramatic a move forward in cinema science fiction as Star Wars was two years before. Whereas Lucas' opus captured the spirit of family friendly swashbucklers of years past, Alien had far more in common with gory b movie fare and the stylish gothic Hammer horrors.
Despite the well-deserved R rating, toy maker Kenner had plans to put the brutal xenomorph Alien into the hands of children. Fun! Ignoring the fact that the toy buying populace had no business seeing this R rated movie (Robocop toys fall into the same weird category), Kenner reckoned that H.R. Giger's erotically charged monster designs were perfect for a new line of toys.
Some of the toys were ordinary enough - a board game, jigsaw puzzles, and the like. Kenner created a cartridge movie viewer (like the Star Wars one we've shared before) that condensed the terror of the entire feature into a 3 minute silent loop of film. I haven't seen it, but what kid-safe scenes might they have included? Ripley walking down a corridor?
To really banish sleep from your kids' lives forever, you could have tucked an 18" reproduction of the "Big Chap" alien under the tree. Imagine the marketing that could go into the packaging of just such a blood-curdling toy. How about some bright yellow labels on the packaging declaring "Exciting!" "Horrific!" "Phallic!"
Not too many of these toys actually made it to market. To be fair, these products were in development before the film earned its R rating - but had anyone on the creative team even seen the movie? One of the casualties was a set of action figures. Inspired by their own smash hit Star Wars figures, Alien was a natural follow up. Kenner got them to the prototype stage before pulling the toy line.
Until now. The geniuses at Super 7 - the same crew that produced the amazing Shogun Warrior inspired Stormtrooper - are introducing this long lost toy line to collectors for the first time. Using the original prototypes, the Alien figures are a real look at how these toys would have appeared had they made it to store shelves. Super 7 has created full packaging too, an astonishingly accurate picture of a 70s nostalgia that never was. Pre-orders for the set are long gone, but Super 7 has teamed up with Funko to produce another run of the figures. They've even created a set of drinking glasses for Alien like those that might have been given out at a fast food restaurant back in the 70s. These Super 7 folks really know what they're doing. When the second run of figures comes out, I may just have to take the plunge. Then the race is on to see who's the first to recreate scenes from Alien on YouTube.