Not every movie deserves a line of action figures, but lord knows if there's a buck to be made, someone's gonna make it. Movie Merchandise from Hell deals primarily with action figures, vehicles, and playsets from movies that didn't merit a line of toys, but can also cover generally horrific merchandising decisions. This week, we're looking at the 1995 Michael Crichton adaptation Congo, the film that brought us Joe Don Baker and Bruce Campbell playing father and son, as well as Tim Curry as a Romanian madman, though none of them got an action figure. Laura Linney and Nip/Tuck's Dylan Walsh did, though! Read on, if you dare...
In the summer of 1995, the hype machine kicked into overdrive for the upcoming action flick Congo. Pitched as a killer ape adventure from the writer of Jurassic Park and the director of Arachnophobia, the film has roughly four to five minutes of killer ape action and the rest of the film is just Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, and a talking gorilla named Amy farting around in one of the most dangerous terrains on the planet. It's not as exciting as it sounds, and I deliberately tried to make it sound as unexciting as possible.
Anyhoo, because Jurassic Park was a marketing cash cow and we've already learned how absolutely stupid movie studios and the people that run them are, they tried to turn this third rate jungle thriller into the next big thing. Needless to say, their efforts failed and now we're stuck with a glut of unpurchased and unplayed with action figures. Let's take a closer look at these abominations, shall we?
As I mentioned earlier, Tim Curry's scene stealing (question mark) character Herkermer Homolka didn't get an action figure, which was a real bummer since Curry never got an action figure in his time (though there have been several Frank N Furter figures more recently). Nope, instead we got figures for...
Dr. Karen Ross
Much like their woefully inadequate Ellie Sattler figure from the Jurassic Park line, Kenner didn't fare much better with this figure, meant to represent Laura Linney's character in the film...
Yeah, none of this is accurate. It gets worse though. So much worse.
Dr. Peter Elliot
I know what you're thinking, Bill Pullman was in Congo? Not quite, though he did get a figure in the Independence Day line we'll get to one of these days. No, this fella here is supposed to be Nip/Tuck star Dylan Walsh. This guy...
Yeah, not so much. Oh well, maybe they did better with the two other humans...
Munro or Monroe?
The character played by Ernie "Ghostbustin' Ass" Hudson in Congo was named Munro Kelly, but this action figure—which bears more than a passing resemblance to Hudson—is just enigmatically named Monroe. Will we ever give a shit long enough to solve the problem of how this happened? He also got a deluxe figure with fedora action.
Remember this guy? If you do, it's probably only because he was played by future Lost star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, then going simply by Adewale. He was just a simple merc in the movie, but he got his own action figure. Now, the progressive in me looks at a line of action figures with one women and two black dudes in a line of only four unique human characters and thinks it's a win for progress. The fact that it's for Congo sort of undermines the argument though. Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?
If you haven't seen Congo, and frankly, why would you have seen it unless you were a fat sixteen year old living in the New Jersey suburbs in a summer where the biggest box office hit was Batman Forever? Anyway, it's allegedly about killer apes that look like this...
Terrifying, right? Anyway, they should at least make for some pretty great action figures, right? Yeah, not so much...
It's been twenty one years since I've seen the film, so please don't ask me if this ape was really named Bonecrusher in the film/book. I don't remember and I don't care.
Wasn't there a Robert England movie called The Mangler that came out around the same time? Yes there was, and I also saw that one in the theater. I'm not proud of my movie going habits in 1995.
These guys don't appear on the card back, so I'm wondering if they were exclusives or mail away figures or what they were. They also features the glow in the dark eyes and teeth though, which was a crucial selling point in the mid-90s.
This guy could beat his chest and he also appears to have come with a small monkey for stealth attacks.
Sign language expert extraordinaire Amy was supposed to be the breakout star of the film. This is an overall indication as to the film's quality.
What 90s action figure line would be complete without vehicles? Playsets were still popular in the 90s as well, though nowhere near as popular as the vehicles, and they didn't even have to appear in the movie to be turned into toys. Look...
Exciting. I love the movie accurate Congo movie poster stickers all over this fucking thing.
Man, so many great movie scenes to reenact with this toy, like the time Bill Pullman came in to save the fucking day!
The lesson to be learned from the Congo toys is that most movies don't need toys, especially shitty movies. Thanks again for reading!
Images via Figure Realm