Another summer of blockbusters is upon us, and with merchandise-heavy hits like Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra you can bet it’ll bring a deluge of tie-in toys.
While we’re quite partial to shapeshifting 'bots and still have our old Sgt. Slammer figure with all the guns, what we’d really like to see are some less obvious – hell, all-out freaky – characters brought to plasticky life.
Here's seven to start with...
Frank Booth (Blue Velvet, 1986)
On the box: ‘Daddy wants to play!’
Who is he? The wheezy, Freudian foul-up at the centre of Blue Velvet’s twisted suburban crime ring.
Frank holds the husband and son of club singer Dorothy Vallens hostage so he can force her to act out his aggressive Oedipal fantasies while blowing hard on a can of amyl nitrate. Furious, nasty and destructive.
Accessories: Gas canister with realistic hissing noise and small square of fetish-rub blue velvet.
Also in this set: 'Dorothy’s Apartment' diorama, with openable wardrobe, one-eared corpse on chair and weirdly standing dead Yellow Man.[page-break]
Bad Lieutenant (Bad Lieutenant, 1992)
On the box: ‘He’s a good Catholic boy!’
Who is he? The nameless ruined dirty cop crashing through a spiral of hatred and self-destruction in Abel Ferrera’s barely watchable 1992 drama, as played by a frequently naked Harvey Keitel.
The lieutenant is a broken heap of addiction, lust and corrupted power, snorting coke, racking up mob gambling debts and, in a moment of hurricane-strength sleaziness, forcing a pair of teenage girls to watch while he does something awful in his trousers.
Accessories: 'Real Wrist Action!' masturbation arm and miniature bag of dope.
Also in this set: Sexually assaulted nun with torn habit and the lieutenant's spiritual mentor Daryl Strawberry with real wooden baseball bat. [page-break]
Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction, 1987)
On the box: ‘Ignore her at your peril!’
Who is she? Alex represents an ego-driven male fear – the rejected lover who won't go away, the secret that won’t stay buried.
She’s a contradictory monster, probably designed just to annoy feminists: one minute, a powerhouse career woman and sexually confident one-night-stander; the next, a psychotic stalker and rabbit-slayer.
Accessories: Emergency morning-after pill and razor-sharp kitchen knife (recommended age 17+)
Also in this set: Cooker unit with turnable hob switches and bubbling-pot sound effects.[page-break]
Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver, 1976)
On the box: ‘Spend some time with God’s lonely man!’
Who is he? Travis has become the patron saint of late 20th-century loners, a tortured soul lost in the neon haze of the modern metropolis.
He’s also utterly crackers, and as a Vietnam veteran with a marine background, has elite military training to help him bridge the gap between ‘violent retribution fantasy’ and ‘orgiastic shower of blood and horror.’
Accessories: Authentic diary of paranoid thoughts and attachable arm-rail gun mechanism.
Also in this set: Jealous husband with .44 Magnum and small-time mobster with exploding face (one-time use only).[page-break]
Hannibal Lecter (Manhunter, 1986, Silence Of The Lambs, 1991)
On the box: ‘The cannibal with an appetite for fun!’
Who is he? Iconic villain and brilliant psychiatrist whose CV under ‘Other skills and interests’ probably reads: ‘I enjoy fine wines, nights at the opera, and lightly fried human brain'. Criminally insane.
Lecter is capricious (he’ll either help or attempt to fatally hinder his FBI captors on a whim), murderous and incredibly resourceful, as witnessed by his daring, disguised escape at the end of Silence Of The Lambs.
Accessories: Human-skin facemask, human liver that emits chianti wine when squeezed (not actual human liver - or wine).
Also in this set: Two-size switchable model of senator's daughter Catherine Martin – before and after starvation. [page-break]
Norman Bates (Psycho, 1960)
On the box: ‘Take me home but don’t tell mother!’
Who is he? Twisted mummy’s boy and peep-hole voyeur who runs the family motel.
Norman is handsome and sensitive, and would have more luck with the ladies were it not for his dark family secret.
And that secret is... (spoilers, in case you went to bed in 1960 and overslept)… the fact that Norm is his mother, or at least he has been since he sliced her up and put her body in the basement. Now he punishes his own carnal thoughts while dressed as his old lady.
Accessories: Grey platted wig and stuffed birds. Replacement shower curtain.
Also in this set: Fake-mud swamp featuring sinkable cars with impassive skeletons in the back seats.[page-break]
Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975)
On the box: ‘Passive-aggressive powerhouse!’
Who is she? The insipid mistress of manipulation who runs the ward of a mental institution in the stageplay-turned-Oscar winner.
Her cold control of the feeble men in her charge is disrupted by the arrival of bawdy, brawling Irishman R. P. McMurphy, who invigorates the patients for a short while before the heartless authoritarian has him lobotomised.
Accessories: Pullstring-activated emasculating voice, sedative syringe.
Also in this set: Chief Bromden with window-smashing water fountain and suicidal Billy with sachet of fake blood.