12 R-rated Vintage Kid's Toy Lines
In the 1980s an R-rated hit feature-action film usually meant there would be a toy line to follow. Don't quite follow the logic in that? Well if you were a child during the time you may remember some interesting broadcasting choices following Saturday morning cartoons. I'll never forget the first time I stumbled onto what I thought was an After School Special that turned out to be the opening diner scene from Children of the Corn. Needless to say I never looked at ice cream quite the same way again.
12. Starship Troopers (1997) R / Starship Troopers by Galoob
Director Paul Verhoven's follow up to box office bomb of the century Showgirls, Starship Troopers, was a unexpected, gory ride, considering the extensive toy line Galoob pushed out before the film even hit theaters.
11. Conan the Barbarian (1982) R / Conan the Adventurer by Hasbro (1993)
I guess some toy executive thought nothing spelled a hit kid's toy line better than a sword-wielding neanderthal with a penchant for decapitating his enemies. That's one pitch I wish I could've been in the room for considering the toys one feature involves a string you can pull that gives Conan a rather strange ability.
10. Tales from the Crypt (1989) TV-MA / Tales from the Cryptkeeper by Ace Games (1994)
Tales from the Crypt wasn't just an adult HBO horror series, it spawned an animated kid's show Tales from the Crypt Keeper (1993) coupled with a brief toy line, two hard-R feature films; Demon Night (1995) and Bordello of Blood (1996). The latter of the three being a total piece of doggy doo-doo.
9. Swamp Thing (1982) NR Version / Swamp Thing by Kenner (1990-1993)
While this is a scary film to watch as a child, it's pretty campy from a grown-ups point of view. While IMBD states the film has a PG rating, consider a couple factors: one, this film was made prior to PG-13, so there was no rating gap between it and R so there was a lot more film makers could get away with, and two, just watch the international version and you'll see what I'm talking about.
8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) R / Talking Freddy by Matchbox (1989)
I'm not making this one up! Talking Freddy Krueger was an actual thing! I mean what parent wouldn't want their child to sleep with a doll of a child serial killer that haunts your dreams at night?
In addition, the video game manufacturer LJN held the licenses to a number of horror properties so if you owned a Nintendo Entertainment System you possessed the luxury of playing their shitty line of video games, including; Friday the 13th, Jaws, and A Nightmare on Elm Street.
7. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991) R
Shorty after its theatrical release Terminator 2: Judgement Day quickly became the highest grossing movie of all time. So there was no surprise that despite its R-rating a toy line would follow. One of toys in particular; the Bio-Flesh Re-generator actually lets your build your own flesh colored T-800 from an exoskeleton.
6. Rambo: First Blood (1982) R
John Rambo was a lot of things; a drifter, a decorated Vietnam veteran, a PTSD time-bomb just waiting for to someone to draw first blood, and now your favorite kid's toyline from Galoob.
5. Alien (1979) R / Alien by Kenner (1979)
The Alien chest bursting scene was largely considered one of the most shockingly violent and unsettling scenes of its time. In hindsight, it seems rather an odd choice to market a ravenous flesh eating space alien symbiotic without a heroic protagonist to counter but that's what makes it so cool.
4. Commando (1985) R /
Schwarzenegger plays a retired Special Forces Colonel whose daughter is kidnapped by a disgraced, former military college. Seeing no other choice he sets out to rescue his daughter from a South American military strong hold that results in a one-man killing rampage. This commando must have slept through his stealth training because he certainly takes no prisoners! He literally kills dozens of people willy-nilly, which is why this toy line seems so wrong.
3. Demolition Man (1993) R / Demolition Man by Mattel (1993)
Set in a present day dystopian future Los Angeles, John Spartan, aka The Demolition Man, played by Sylvester Stallone is framed by the villainous Simon Phoenix (Wesley Snipes) and subsequently both are sentenced to a long cryogenic slumber as punishment for their crimes. When Phoenix is later awoken, after nearly four decades, from his cryogenic slumber he goes on a mission to murder as many individuals as possible. Having not seen a single murder in years the unarmed and unprepared future police department have no other choice but to thaw out and reinstate the disgraced former bad ass cop to deal out some old school justice.
2. The Toxic Avenger (1984) R / Toxic Crusaders by Playmates (1991)
The over-the-top, shock-value violence from the cult classic horror movie, of a slightly different name, makes you wonder who the hell would even entertain the notion of this as children's entertainment? Even odder, the premise of the cartoon is that these Toxic abominations that emit radiation and pollution dedicate their crime fighting ways to protecting the environment.
1. Robocop (1987) X / Robocop and the Ultra Police by Kenner (1988)
I remember seeing the advertisement for this film in the paper and wondering what the X rating meant. If you're not familiar with the X-rating it's part of the old rating system, and a modern equivalent to NC-17. If you're familiar with the first Robocop film then you are well aware that even by today's standards this film is disturbingly graphic. And if that wasn't already enough, these toys fire real caps to simulate real gunfire!