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RUE MORGUE #5: Cryptic Collectibles

Launched in 1997 by Rodrigo Gudiño, RUE MORGUE is the world’s leading horror in culture and entertainment brand, spearheaded by its multiple award-winning magazine, RUE MORGUE and RUE MORGUE DIGITAL; RUE MORGUE TV specialty horror channel; RUE MORGUE LIBRARY book series; RUE MORGUE PRESENTS FRIGHTMARE IN THE FALLS horror expo and RUE MORGUE PRESENTS CINEMACABRE MOVIE NIGHTS monthly film series.

MARRS Media Inc.
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min

BEFORE I LOVED MONSTER MOVIES, I LOVED MONSTER TOYS. THAT’S HOW IT STARTS FOR many of us. Before our parents allow us to see the films and TV shows that’ll give us nightmares (and them headaches!), we get our sugar-stained hands on an avatar. My first monsters were plastic dinosaurs, and then somewhere along the way someone gave me a six-inch-tall rubber King Kong, which quickly earned a place as both my travelling companion and, well, a chew toy. I managed to nervously gnaw one foot off, which was briefly reattached with a Band-Aid before being lost forever. Though hobbled, he would ride the dinos and eventually do battle with a rubber Frankenstein’s monster that I was gifted one Halloween. These items ignited my imagination, and I began to make up…

4 min

MY LOVE OF MONSTER TOYS AND HORROR MOVIE MEMORABILIA BEGAN AT AN an early age. Growing upin the 1970s and early ’80s, I was exposed to frequent airings of classic Universal, Hammer, Amicus and A.I.P. films on television, as well as the offbeat Canadian kids TV program The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (which not only featured Vincent Price in the role of a poetry-reciting quasi-host, but also had a green-skinned vampire, a werewolf, witch, and a creepy old librarian as characters). I soon found that I not only wanted to watch monsters on TV, but I also wanted to have toy monsters so I could create my own adventures. As a five-year-old back in 1977, I asked my parents to buy me The Curse of the Werewolf book-and-record set (from Power…

13 min
chapter 1: action figures and dolls

THERE’S AN INCREDIBLE SELECTION OF TOYS AND COLLECTIBLES TO CHOOSE FROM FOR TODAY’S HORROR fan, but it wasn’t always that way. Kids growing up during the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s could buy numerous items depicting characters they knew from radio, movie serials, comics and television, such as the Lone Ranger, Buck Rogers, the Green Hornet, Flash Gordon and Superman. But the same could not be said for horror film characters. At the time, monster movies such as Universal’s Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932) and The Wolf Man (1941) weren’t marketed as familyfriendly fare (though, unlike some countries, including England and Australia, where horror was considered suitable for adults only, kids here in North America were certainly allowed into cinemas to watch the films on the big screen). As a…

10 min
spotlight nightmares in plastic

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN ACTION FIGURES WERE FOR KIDS AND HORROR MOVIES WERE NOT, but things sure have changed. A cornerstone of the toy industry, action figures have undergone a dramatic shift through the years, from being playthings meant for children to items targeted at adult collectors. Playing – no pun intended – on childhood nostalgia, a number of companies have tapped into the highly lucrative market, with children of the ’70s and ’80s now purchasing toys reminiscent of the ones they owned – or wish they had owned – as youngsters. FUNKO AND SUPER7 REACTION FIGURE LINE On the forefront of this trend are companies Funko and Super7, which worked together to roll out a series of retro-styled action figures dubbed “ReAction Figures.” Consisting of characters from several horror, sci-fi…

8 min
chapter 2: model kits

SPURRED ON BY KIDS’ NEW-FOUND INTEREST IN MOVIE MONSTERS IN THE LATE 1950S, AURORA PLASTICS Corporation – a hobby company known for a diverse line of plastic model kits that included military vehicles, aircraft and knights in armor – gave budding Dr. Frankensteins a chance to build their very own creation when it released a Frankenstein Monster kit in 1961. Providing further enticement was the spectacularly colourful package artwork by James Bama (who would go on to paint the covers for the Doc Savage paperback novels), which quickly made the kit an overwhelming success. Additional monster kits were promptly produced; Dracula (pictured) and the Wolf Man were released the following year and others followed: the Mummy, the Creature (from the Black Lagoon), the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Opera,…

4 min
spotlight scintillating monster scenes

LONG BEFORE YOU COULD WALK INTO YOUR LOCAL TOY OR COMIC SHOP AND PICK UP GRUESOMELY detailed collectibles from McFarlane Toys or NECA, there were Monster Scenes model kits. Released by hobby giant Aurora Plastics Corporation in 1971, they were a Monster Kid’s delight and a parent’s nastiest nightmare. Featuring an evil mad scientist, his monstrous, manmade servant, oversized creepy creations, not to mention buxom, scantily-clad figures and terrible torture devices to put them in, they were billed by Aurora as “frightening good fun.” But many parents weren’t amused. In fact, the kits – marketed under the tagline “Rated X… For Excitement!” – aroused the ire of more than a few concerned citizens, including women’s groups and church organizations. Mired in controversy, they were soon yanked from store shelves in the…