8 R-rated movie and TV toys we probably shouldn't have been playing with
The '80s and '90s were a time when you could be too young to watch a particular movie and yet still be targeted by endless Saturday morning commercials peddling toys based on that movie.It was truly a less P.C. time.
I don't know which of these I find most shocking, though I might have to give the edge to Kenner's 18" "Alien" action figure from 1979, which just so happened to be spun off from the bleakest, most shocking, most phallic sci-fi/horror film of all time. Guess what? It didn't sell well. But I'd venture a guess that many of the other toys listed below did, thanks to targeted advertising campaigns that boxed the ultraviolence of the film and TV properties in question into a more kid-friendly package -- if you can call the excessive marketing of automatic firearms "kid friendly," which I wouldn't. In fact, I wouldn't even call it "adult friendly." Let's just not use the term "friendly" to describe guns at any point, deal?
Did we miss any? After scrolling through our selections below, tell us which R-rated toys you can't believe you played with in the comments.
This admittedly cool-looking toy is for the original 1979 movie, a film that featured, among other terrors, a baby alien popping out of a man's chest and the implied rape of a female crewmember at the hands (tail) of a xenomorph. Wonder if the children in this commercial understand the phallic origins of that plastic beast they're futzing around with.
'Rambo: The Force of Freedom'
When a film franchise makes war look like a bloody shoot-'em-up game, why not spin it off into an animated series and toy line? My favorite part of this commercial is when Rambo has to save the hapless woman-brained thing from the surly terrorists. Aren't machine guns awesome?
'Robocop: Ultra Police'
"The only cops with rapid repeat cap firing!" You don't say. "Robocop" is one of the most sophisticated '80s action movies, but you can't sell satire to Mountain Dew-addled 10-year-olds. Better to focus on the firearms and leave the adult stuff out of it.
"Terminator 2" is a non-stop cinematic rollercoaster ride that is not suitable for children in any way, shape or form, but who cares? Let's make toys for it. I would like to meet the one child who bought that lame John Connor figure.
"Aliens" is a great film that no one in their right mind would take an 11-year-old to -- which didn't keep Kenner Products from pimping the hell out of their Alien Flying Queen (apparently cross-bred with Sonic the Hedgehog), acid-spouting "alien gorillas" and machine gun-toting marines on Saturday morning television. With Voiceover Guy aggressively shouting "ALIEEEENS!" seventeen times, what kid could be expected not to want these?
'Aliens vs. Predator'
Long before we had our sensibilities assaulted by the "Alien vs. Predator" movies, two of the sci-fi genre's goriest franchises came together in comic books and as action figures aimed at elementary schoolers! My heart is bursting with pride for this great nation of ours. Like, literally bursting...from the xenomorph in my chest.
"Spawn" is one of the most violent mainstream comic books ever produced, centering on a man who is resurrected as a (reluctant) demon soldier in Hell's army. Flying body parts, child murderers, cackling clown-faced villains...perfect for the Saturday morning cartoon crowd! Let's have this with cereal.
'Tales from the Crypt'
I can't imagine most kids were allowed to watch HBO's grisly "Tales from the Crypt" anthology series, but no matter: here's a 12" talking Cryptkeeper doll, little buddy! But don't you dare watch the show. Don't you dare.