I don’t remember ever seeing Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice movie as a kid, which is a damn shame as it would have probably ticked all of my boxes for what constituted as a good movie. I liked spooky shit and crass ‘in your face’ humor and that was pretty much was this film was all about. If you have never seen Beetlejuice, it is a typical Burton-esque romp with a bunch of undead jokes, in the same vein as other horror-comedies like the Addams Family or Casper. If you haven’t seen it, you really should make it a ‘must-watch’ this Halloween.
Like the Ghostbusters, an animated series followed the release of the film, but I don’t know if it was ever released over here in the UK, I have yet to watch it anyway. Like Ghostbusters again, the series allowed for the production of an interesting array of action figures, packed with all sorts of spooky features.
Despite never seeing the movie or series, I actually had one of Beetlejuice figures when I was a kid, the ‘Showtime’ Beetlejuice, which was (like most of my toys) a carboot sale find. But the one I will be looking at today is the ‘Shish Kebab’ Beetlejuice.
This version of Beetlejuice is based on when he is wearing his guide outfit, though he looks a lot more cartoonish with the garish colours. The original costume was much less bright, but in terms of likeness, I do think that they did a good job with this figure in a ’80s or’90s toy kind of way, as you can still tell who the character is even he just doesn’t look as grungey and undead as the movie version.
The gimmick part of this figure is he can be skewered like a kebab, but the only scene I can remember where anything happens like that is when he is really teeny, and is picked up by Barbara and he makes little spikes come out of his body to make her drop him.
Regardless of whether it happened in the movie, this figure has a bunch of little kebab spikes which pass right through him. They look pretty fun and have loads of weird stuff on them, like food, a rat and a skull. Just the kinda stuff you should expect to find in a kebab from a dodgy takeaway joint at 2am after a night on the razz.
It is a fun little feature but it isn’t that fun, ya know? As action figure features go, the fun wears off pretty quickly as it’s just cumbersome to have loads of things sticking out of an action figure, so you take ’em out and they are instantly lost to the realm of mislaid action figure accessories.
It isn’t an awful figure. It just isn’t that great either. The one redeeming feature is that Beetlejuice’s head is removable revealing a strange little eye underneath. Again, this is not something that I remember from the movies but it is an interesting addition. The figure I had as a kid had a removable head as well, revealing a ‘shrunken’ head like in the movie, that could retract up and down.
So that was the ‘shish kebab’ Beetlejuice figure. As it was kinda “meh” let’s have a look at another toy that is a little more interesting. It’s another Kenner product, this time it’s the Queen Xenomorph from the Aliens series.
Though technically not ‘spooky’ I think the Alien franchise did borrow heavily from the horror genre. The original Alien movie from 1979 is basically a slasher movie set in space, and the amount of suspense and gore throughout all three ‘decent’ movies really does qualify this toy to be on this Halloween list in my opinion. If you disagree, I don’t care. Go and make your own Halloween list.
Queen already looks like a vicious bitch but she has a couple of neat features which make her a little more terrifying. Anyone who has seen the movies will know that the Aliens have a smaller mouth inside of their mouth which can rapidly extrude to chomp through the skulls of unwitting marines. Well this figure does a pretty good job at doing that. Under her long ‘crown’ is a little rubber pump, and if you squeeze it quickly then her second set of nashers will swiftly extend.
It’s seriously so cool. I don’t know if another Alien figure has managed to replicate the extending teeth since this figure, but as far as I know, this one was the first and they nailed it.
The second feature that this figure has is if you press the little button on her left leg she will swivel from the waist, giving the impression she is attacking with her tail.
It really isn’t as good as the teeth feature, but it’s not bad and is much more interesting than anything that the Beetlejuice toy has to offer.
The Queen only comes with one accessory, a little baby chest burster. I think I would have preferred it if it could stand up but as accessories go it isn’t awful.
It is big enough that it wouldn’t disappear to the realm of mislaid action figure accessories that easily.
I have mentioned before how Kenner did a few toys from more mature movies before, but this is definitely one of my favourites from their lines .
I think that concludes today’s Halloween countdown. More to come tomorrow!