The holiday season means one thing for many kids across the globe (of all ages — yes, that means you): toys. Film’s finest offerings have inspired the money-grubbing marketing gods to create some truly terrible and infinitely weird tie-ins that left many people shaking their heads and wondering, “Why?” Before you race to the toy store to make merry, take note of the bizarre movie-related toys that we’ve shared past the break. Twilight, an Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, and even a Michael Bay movie have inspired some of the strangest playthings in history. Check in with our picks for the most peculiar, and leave us your own below.
Rocky‘s The Meat Action Figure
In 1976, Jakks Pacific created a line of action figures to coincide with the release of everyone’s favorite bruiser, Rocky. What the toymakers didn’t consider is that the strange toy actually encouraged kids to “beat their meat.” The Meat was a plastic slab of beef that resembled the one Rocky practiced boxing in the movie. The fleshy toy also included a bloody apron that looked more like a prop for a Texas Chainsaw Massacre collection than one about a lowly Philly dude who became a champion in the ring.
Harry Potter‘s Nimbus 2000 Vibrating Broomstick
Mattel’s Nimbus 2000 Broomstick seemed like a fun toy for tiny Harry Potter fans that yearned to whoosh across the sky like their favorite wizard. Soon, though, parents began to discover that the broom vibrated, and it began to make sense why children were locked away in their room for hours fixated on the magical broomstick. Mattel caught on and pulled the product from shelves, but some of the lingering toy reviews floating around are amusing to read after the fact.
“My 12 year old daughter is a big Harry Potter fan, and loved the part with the Nimbus 2000, so I decided to buy her this toy. I was afraid she would think it was too babyish, but she LOVES this toy. Even my daughter’s friends enjoy playing with this fun toy. I was surprised at how long they can just sit in her room and play with this magic broomstick! A great buy for any Harry Potter fan! 🙂 —Ashley, TX”
The Birds‘ Barbie Doll
Manufactured since 1959, Mattel’s Barbie empire has had a long history of entertainment tie-ins, but one of the weirdest has to be this Hitchcock-inspired doll. The Birds‘ Barbie features a plastic Melanie Daniels — played Tippi Hedren in the 1963 film. The socialite figure comes with a few bloodthirsty crows that appear to be attacking her and a set of detachable eyeballs — at least according to one Amazon reviewer:
“A great addition to any Hitchcock Barbie collection. Just remember to hang onto the detachable eyes. Once the charm of empty sockets wears off you may want to replace one or both.”
The Barbie was created for the Black Label collection, which means it wasn’t necessarily geared toward children, but it’s still a bizarre toy mashup more than worthy of inclusion in our list.
A Nightmare on Elm Street‘s Freddy Fright Squirter
You’d think marketing a toy line featuring a pizza-faced child molester/murdering madman would be a difficult venture, but if the 1980s and early ’90s proved anything, it was that Freddy Krueger was king amongst kids everywhere. The five-fingered fiend spawned numerous sinister toys that didn’t always make sense — like this Freddy Fright Squirter, for example. The hollowed out head of Elm Street’s dream demon acted like a creepy water gun — bearing no resemblance to anything that actually happened in the film series. It was Freddy’s finger knives that did the killing, not his salivary gland problem. There’s also something really eerie about the photo of a giggling child hoisting a disembodied, spitting Freddy head into the air — as pictured on the product packaging.
Nothing says playtime like a bootleg toy mashup (swapping “Transformers” for “Transformables”) of a national tragedy and a Michael Bay film. The Titanic-Bot transforms from robot to sunken passenger liner in just a few simple steps — evoking the deaths of 1,517 people and cinematic destructo porn.
Star Wars‘ Force Beam
Every kid wanted to be a Jedi Knight wielding a lightsaber after seeing Star Wars for the first time. In 1977, one company invented a horrible knockoff of the honorable plasma weapon when they created the Force Beam. Essentially a giant plastic flashlight with a clear tube that utilized a green filter and ran off D-batteries, the Force Beam (worst name ever) recalled Lucas’ awe-inspiring galaxy far, far away in the cheapest way imaginable.
Alien‘s Action Figure
Clearly an R-rated film that features chestbursting aliens, slimy facehuggers, and the pervy, biomechanical designs of H.R. Giger is the perfect inspiration for a child’s action figure. Kenner thought so, anyway. In 1979 the toy company released its version of the murderous space monster that came complete with breakable, choking parts. The toy caused a stir amongst parent groups who kept it off the shelves for years, until the ’90s arrived and it reappeared. At that point, moms were more worried about things like gangster rap versus phallic alien beings.
The Karate Kid‘s Mr. Miyagi Action Figure
Even though The Karate Kid‘s Mr. Myagi is kind of a badass — he’s a decorated Army vet who has seen his share of carnage — most people really only remember him as the weird maintenance man in Daniel LaRusso’s apartment building who fiddles with bonsai trees. That’s why it’s a bit strange that Remco created a Mr. Myagi action figure, featured in this ’80s commercial that even has one kid performing his best racist Asian accent.
Twilight‘s Barbie Dolls
Twilight fandom has perhaps inspired more weirdness than any other movie-tie in, but Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural teens turned Barbie dolls are the toys we’re looking at. The Bella doll seems mostly normal, and we can even live with creepy Edward and his hair, but one look at the Jacob Barbie got us wondering. The company went so far as to create a shirtless doll with rippling abs and a tattoo, but left off the nipples (probably matching the ambiguous Ken crotch between his legs). Sexualized, topless boys are ok for little girls, but actual human anatomy isn’t?
The Incredible Hulk‘s Hulkey Pokey
The Hulkey Pokey completely emasculates the Marvel Comics’ character, the Hulk, by offering children a plushy, friendly doll that dances and sings. It might not be so bad if they hadn’t made the raging humanoid behemoth so damn dorky.