We've talked many times in the past here on Freddy In Space about action figures based on horror movies, and will surely continue to do so right until the day I hang up the keyboard and do something else with my life. But tonight, we're going to talk about something a little different.
Over the years, many stars who are most known (by us, at least) for their roles in horror movies have tackled roles in non-horror movies/TV shows, and have found enough success with those roles that they ended up getting the action figure treatment. Since I'm a total weirdo toy geek, I've always been kinda fascinated by the fact that there exists a Bruce Campbell action figure, from the Xena TV series, for example. It's the little things in life that amuse me.
Here are 17 non-horror movie toys, of beloved horror movie stars!!
Hey, speak of the devil! From 1995 through 1999, the man with the golden chin played the mustachioed thief Autolycus on both Hercules : The Legendary Journeys and its hit spin-off, Xena : Warrior Princess. In the horror world, Campbell has of course been given many action figures, from the Evil Dead films and Bubba Ho-Tep.
Brad Dourif is certainly no stranger to the world of toys. Countless Chucky dolls and action figures have been released over the years, but it wasn't until his role as Grima Wormtongue in The Lord Of The Rings : The Two Towers that Dourif's likeness was actually immortalized in plastic. Pretty dead on likeness, might I add!
Speaking of Lord Of The Rings, several different action figures of Saruman have been released, a character which was of course played by legendary horror icon Christopher Lee. Lee also played Count Dooku in Star Wars episodes 2 and 3, which also led to a slew of action figure releases. On the horror side of things, Lee's role as the Hammer Films incarnation of Dracula spawned a 12" figure as well as a bust.
The late Roy Scheider was of course known for a vast catalog of films, not just in the horror genre, but his role as police chief Martin Brody alone forever solidified him as a horror icon. A Brody figure has yet to be made, but his character Captain Nathan Hale Bridger was included in Playmates' line of toys based on the '90s sci-fi show seaQuest DSV.
seaQuest DSV also gave birth to the first ever Ted Raimi toy, who is of course the younger brother of Sam. Ted has appeared in countless horror films over the years, including Intruder, Candyman and The Midnight Meat Train, and he recently received his second action figure, in the form of the demon Henrietta, from Evil Dead 2. Yep, that was Ted, under the fat woman suit!
Everyone's favorite Re-Animator, Jeffrey Combs, has portrayed many different characters on various different incarnations of Star Trek, from Deep Space Nine to Enterprise. It was his 11 episode run as the blue skinned Shran the Andorian, on Enterprise, that led to Combs' first and only action figure. Despite two Herbert West toys being planned to the point that prototypes were whipped up, West has yet to be immortalized on the toy shelf.
Also no stranger to the Star Trek universe, Tony "Candyman" Todd played Captain Kurn for a few episodes on Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, a role which landed him on toy shelves in the '90s. McFarlane released a Candyman figure in their Movie Maniacs line, as part of Series 4.
Before he became the epitome of a sleazy psychopath as Frank Zito, in 1980's Maniac, the late Joe Spinell portrayed loan shark Tony Gazzo, in both Rocky and Rocky 2. Back in 2006, Jakks Pacific picked up the rights to the franchise and turned pretty much every character from the Rocky films, including the iconic slab of meat (I shit you not!), into an action figure. Thus, we've now got ourselves a Joe Spinell toy. I don't know about you, but that makes me pretty damn happy.
Anthony Perkins played Dr. Alex Durant in 1979's Disney adventure film The Black Hole, a character that was immortalized in both 12" (above) and 3 3/4" plastic. It would be many years before Perkins' most iconic role, Norman Bates, was given the action figure treatment, in McFarlane's Movie Maniacs line.
It's pretty surprising that a Laurie Strode action figure has never been made, especially considering how many companies have released Halloween toys over the years. Ironically enough, it was 1999's sci-fi flick Virus that gave uber scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis her only action figure to date, the one film on her resume that Curtis has spoken most outwardly against. Go figure!
Former pro wrestler Tyler Mane became an instant horror icon when Rob Zombie chose him to play Michael Myers in both the Halloween remake and its sequel, both of which spawned action figures. Nearly a decade prior, Mane played Sabretooth in X-Men, a role that earned him his first toy.
Though Tom Noonan perhaps isn't a household name amongst horror fans, he damn well should be. Noonan most famously portrayed Frankenstein in The Monster Squad, and also had memorable roles in Manhunter and most recently, in Ti West's throwback House of the Devil. In 1993, he played the super creepy axe wielding villain "The Ripper" in the way ahead of its time and totally awesome Last Action Hero, which landed him in my childhood toy collection.
Corey Feldman was a God among children in the 1980's, bringing to life a slew of characters that horror fans will forever love, including Tommy Jarvis, Edgar Frog and Pete Fountaine. But believe it or not, none of those characters have to date been given the toy treatment. Thankfully, Mezco did release a set of Goonies toys a few years back, including our very own mini plastic Corey Feldman. With a little clever customization, methinks this one could be modified into any one of the other aforementioned horror movie characters Feldman played, as a youth!
God I wish he never grew up.
Though a planned Leprechaun bust and action figure were both shelved before they ever made it to the market, Warwick Davis fortunately had better luck back in the '80s, seeing action figure release as both a Star Wars Ewok and of course, Willow Ufgood. Tonka released these miniature 3" toys, back in 1988.
One of Clint Howard's very first roles was the creepy alien Balok on the original Star Trek series, when he was just 7 years old. Funny enough, that role was also the only role in his career that resulted in an action figure, put out by Playmates in 1997. Balok was included in a box set with Kirk, and the Balok puppet.
The first person to use that head to make me an Ice Cream Man custom gets a $100 reward. And I'm not even joking.
After his roles in The Devil's Rejects, Dear Mr. Gacy and Rob Zombie's Halloween, I trust that no one will question me including William Forsythe in a list of horror movie stars. OK, so I admit that the lower we go down on this list the more leeway I'm allowing when it comes to who is and isn't a "horror star", but we're having fun here, and I don't want to stop. So lay off me.
Many years before those aforementioned movies, Forsythe underwent a heavy make-up job to play Flattop, in the live action Dick Tracy movie. Have many fond memories of this toy from my childhood, and it was definitely a shocker when I realized the character was played by Sheriff Wydell!
Speaking of the Wydell family, actor Tom Towles, who played Sheriff Wydell's brother (in both House of 1000 Corpses & Devil's Rejects), has also got his very own toy. And it's not from Henry : Portrait of a Serial Killer. Or Tom Savini's Night of the Living Dead remake. Or Zombie's Halloween. Nope. It was Ronny Yu's 1997 fantasy film Warriors of Virtue that ushered Towles into action figure land. Don't worry, I've never seen it either.
And that about does it. If anyone can think of anymore instances of action figures based on non-horror movie roles of horror movie stars, please do leave me a comment and let me know.
Huge thanks to my friend Tony Carroll, without whom this post would quite simply have never been possible. I thank you, and I owe you!