After the success of Star Wars in 1977 came a movie two years later that would scare movie goers to no end. It was the 1979 release of Alien starring Sigourney Weaver and directed by Ridley Scott. Alien was a blend of horror and sci-fi and with a R rating was a step up from the PG rated Star Wars. Leveraging the success of the movie Kenner came out with an Alien action figure that left some parents wondering if they should even buy it for their kids. It stands 18 inches tall and is an excellent representation of the horrifying alien in the movie. Kenner originally made prototypes of 3 3/4 inch figures for Alien but never produced them, instead deciding to produce the larger figure.
As you can see, even the artwork and pictures on the retail box were scary. The figure had spring loaded arms and a moveable tail. It also had mechanically operated jaws that when activated would cause the smaller set of the alien's jaws to protrude from the larger mouth. The only thing it was missing was the copious amounts of dripping saliva.
The movie alien was designed by surrealist artist H.R. Giger known for both his work on the Alien movie as well as the classic German movie Killer Condom. Well, more so for Alien than anything else. Dan O'Bannon initially saw Giger's work and found it disturbing. Ridley Scott called the movie the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre of science fiction". Wow! What mom wouldn't want to get this toy for their little child? In fact, allegedly due to many complaints from parents the Alien figure was taken off the market or discounted and sold off quickly. That is why they are somewhat rare today.
The Alien action figure was very detailed and also had a clear plastic head dome that fit over the alien's skull. Over time many of the domes were broken or lost and now they sell for a premium themselves. In fact, the last two sales were for over $100.
Here you can see the detail of the alien's head. The skull/brains would actually glow in the dark after being exposed to light for a while.
Here are the protruding jaws that were activated via a trigger switch at the rear bottom of the skull. Pulling the trigger would open the lower jaw and extrude the small set of jaws. The alien's arms and legs are both articulated and his tail will rotate as well.
Here are the instructions that were included in the box.
In case you missed the TV commercial when you were younger here it is:
If the action figure wasn't enough then you could buy the Alien board game described as "An exciting new game of elimination and escape!".
Given the icon stature of the movie in both the horror and sci-fi genres the action figure is very desirable among collectors. And, since mom's around the world complained about the scary figure resulting in it's removal from the market there are not a whole lot of these figures around now. To find one mint in the box is very difficult and they sell for around $1000. A nice loose figure without a box can sell for $200 to $250.
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