Sometimes when I was a kid, when I got a new toy there often were all the other toys in the line on the box or on the backing card. They usually looked like the most amazing thing that could possibly exist but when I went to the toy store to find that specific toy it just couldn’t be found. And then, even if it did exist and I excitedly purchased it, after taking it home it would sometimes turn out to be crap and worlds away from the massive amounts of fun that I thought I was going to have playing with it.
Luckily the latter part didn’t happen to me often, but I remember 125000000 times where I went to the shop to try to find a specific toy and it was nowhere on the shelves. I was upset as a kid about not over not ever finding The Incredible Crash Dummies toys back then, and am upset as an adult that I still haven’t found them.
One toy that always seemed to have escaped me back but was always on the backing cards of other toys in the line was the ‘Mighty Max Grips the Hand’ playset. I have mentioned Mighty Max before, so if you have shown enough interest in any of the shit I write about, you will know it is a toyline that I feel very strongly about. If you haven’t then I shall sigh and quickly give you the rundown. <Sigh> Mighty Max was the more masculine equivalent to Polly Pocket, and whereas Polly would go to the mall or walk around in her garden, Max would be pitted against horrors that looked like they had been excreted out by Satan himself. The theme varied with each playset, some were prehistoric, some were sci-fi, others were classic horror. But all of the sets were full of traps and monsters and evil fuckers who wanted nothing more than to end a small red cap wearing child’s life. It was some gnarly shit. Anyway, this is the picture I always saw on the packaging but never owned.
Just look at it. It was fucking zombies hand. It didn’t even have to do anything else, just sit on the side and it would still have been the coolest thing ever. But it wasn’t to be. I never ever found this toy despite searching everywhere I possibly could. Until now…
Remember how I said toys sometimes were crap and nowhere near as good as you thought they were going to be? Well, it has been twenty years since I first wanted this and I have become much more of a cynical asshole than I was back then. But in spite of this, I cannot but help think that this is still the best thing ever and is far better than I could have ever anticipated. It’s a zombie hand! There are bones protruding at the wrist area and on the back of the hand here is a maggot crawling around and a gash is held together with staples like a kind of Frankenstein’s monster.
So if you like gore, zombies and old toys like I do, this is really good shit. Opening it up and it gets even better. Inside is a graveyard scene littered with bones and rotting corpses. In the center sits a mausoleum which has a roof that is hinged so you can put figures inside. Next to the mausoleum is a zombie that is stuck to playset but can be rotated to attack Max. The bottom part of the playset (grey part with the shovel) is like a mound of dirt with another zombie underneath, though this one is removable as the mound of dirt is on a hinge. I love how it’s arms sticking out above the ground.
The top part of the the set has a kind of weird red coloured tree which is also on a hinge which swings open to reveal another dead creature. Only this is some weird dead tree monster. It’s terrifying and had I seen some animation or film with a similar looking creature in, I don’t think I would have slept right for months. I am someone who was nervous of the mammoth in Sesame Street, so this would have fucked me up for sure.
One of my favourite things about this toy though is right next to where the dead tree lives, the finger part of the playset kind of hangs down. But it opens up and inside is a kind of slide for Max to shoot down to land in the graveyard. I love it. With the teeth and tongue inside and the blood dribbling out of it’s mouth, it looks vaguely like Audrey II from the Little Shop of Horrors.
It comes with three figures, one of which being the huge tree thing, the zombie and Max. This Max that came with the set has a thing on his back with a gun attached to it, kind of like a Ghostbusters proton pack. Or maybe its a flame thrower? If is the the latter, I would pity the zombies and tree over Max. Every Max figure was packaged with a set mostly at random so he could be holding a lantern or a slingshot or anything, though this being a later series he looks more like a teenager than a child. I also hung around graveyards in my teenage years as well but usually with friends and some bottles of cheap booze, whilst on the look out for police and not zombies.
That concludes day II of the Halloween countdown. I cannot guarantee another Mighty Max set won’t rear an ugly head during the Halloween countdown as they are firmly placed in the genre of horror and playing with them to take photos. Come back tomorrow for another spooky post. If you dare…