Whether they're old or new, I'm always on the hunt for Halloweeny horror toys that I've never seen before. Perhaps more than anything, I have a big soft spot for knock-off toys. You know the type... they quality isn't quite as high as something you'd see produced by a major toy company, and even the legality of their existence is questionable at best. But still, there's a certain charm to them... like some kind of mutant, hand-made craft project that fought against all odds and still somehow made it onto store shelves. I absolutely adore those kind of unsung toys, and that brings me to this amazing batch of monster figures known as Super Monstruos.
Produced in Spain in the 80s and early 90s, Super Monstruos Serie Especial (translated: Super Monsters Special Series) was a set of 24 different horror-themed PVC figures. Originally they were monotone and there were less figures in the set, but eventually they were re-released in 1992 with full-color paint jobs. The figures came individually bagged or you could get 'em by the box. Those of you who purchased one of my 2015 Halloween Club Packs are already vaguely familiar with these toys, as you'll be receiving one in your box.
Still, there's much to be said about this set of old monster figures. After all, since they were only released in Spain, they're not the easiest monster toys to come by. With that in mind, we're going to take a closer look at each of the figures in the set. What's nice, and frankly unusual for figures like these, is that the boxes included sheets of printed descriptions about each horror character in the set, along with some awesome dual-tone illustrations. Of course, it's all written in Spanish, but thankfully I took three years of honors Spanish. Oh wait... I haven't retained much of it since high school, and certainly don't speak fluently. ¿Vamos a la biblioteca? Yeah, that's about where I'm at these days.
Alright, well I'll just use Google Translate instead for anything I can't recall on my own. Hey, if nothing else, you'll learn how to say the names of some of your favorite monsters in Spanish! On with the monsters!
Okay, I admit that Pirata isn't the most monstrous looking figure out in the bunch, but he's still awesome. Hell, he looks like Santa Claus called it quits, fed his left hand and lower leg to his reindeer, and decided to become a pirate. A GHOST PIRATE no less. Seriously, if you're and old man with a white beard and you decide to become a pirate, perhaps a red & white outfit isn't your best bet - lest you want to be known as "The Dread Pirate St. Nick".
TRANSLATION: "Evil beings with a good list of crimes of which they are satisfied. They kill for pleasure and take possession of the treasures of his victims."
I can think of far worse things to have chiseled on your tombstone than "a good list of crimes of which they are satisfied."
Up next is ol' scratch himself, Diablo! You really can't go wrong with a classic depiction of the devil, can you? Bright red body, goatee, horns, tail, and a pitchfork. What I like here is that the illustration makes it look like he's clawing at something, but the way the figure turned out, it's like he's giving a friendly wave to passersby.
TRANSLATION: "Angel evil owner of the underworld. His power is superhuman and destroys the conscience. Dominator of evil, when choosing a victim, you are not immune."
Perfection! I mean, come on! Have you honestly ever heard a better description for Satan? If you ask me, this is clearly how Blizzard Entertainment should have promoted their most recent Diablo game. Maybe then it would've been as entertaining as Diablo II was. I'd totally play a game featuring the "evil owner of the underworld"... wouldn't you? The mere thought of a game like that destroys the conscience!
Ciclope is awesome. He's a one-eyed giant who throws huge boulders at mere mortals. I'm guessing he's jealous that they have two eyes, but he shouldn't be. His one big eye is rockin', and I love how his hair is parted right alongside it.
TRANSLATION: "Ulysses, legendary character faced with this being gigantic one-eyed. It fed on human flesh."
I love that last sentence. They just toss in the fact that this cyclops fed on human flesh like a total afterthought. I need to interject that into more of my conversations. I can picture it now... "Hey honey, I was out getting the car washed earlier today, and afterwards, an adorable little parakeet landed on one of the mirrors. It fed on human flesh." Classic.
I thought for sure they would've gone with the Bride of Frankenstein, but they opted for the less appreciated Vampiresa, or "Vamp". Sure, at first glance she may appear to be an elegant woman in an evening gown, but in reality, she's a vampiric seductress in search of blooooood.
TRANSLATION: "After a fierce vampire angelic appearance, she is using her feminine charms to gain the reason men fall subjugated hidden."
I'm not sure I would describe her appearance as "angelic", what with the blood on her hands. Then again, if you've seen movies like The Prophecy, I suppose she could be described that way. I'd let her use her feminine charms on me, but only if she did it while doing her best Christopher Walken impersonation.
Odd, I always thought the word "doctor" in Spanish was "medico", but I guess either works. Doctor Jekyll is a character we're all very familiar with, and I like how he's presented here. Granted, some might initially confuse him as a hybrid between a human and a wolf, or as the Batman villain Two-Face, but that goblet of potion leaves no doubt about who we're dealing with here. Okay, I guess there could still be some confusion. Maybe he's just a half-monster who wants to buy you a drink? There's only one way to know for sure... to the translation!
TRANSLATION: "Serious and hardworking scientist who in their desire to eliminate bad experience for yourself a potion that produces a complete metamorphosis becoming a brutal and merciless."
Yep, I'm pretty sure that's the exact phrase Robert Louis Stevenson had in his head before he wrote the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Case closed.
El Asesino De La Opera is particular amazing to me, because his name translates to "The Murderer of the Opera" instead of "The Phantom of the Opera". I gotta say, I'd be heading to Broadway immediately if they called it that instead. Murderer! Another noteworthy thing about this figure is how the original illustration was quite different from the final figure. First off, you have two tails on the jacket, and more noticeable, is the fact that his face is completely different. The illustration makes him look kinda like a relative of Sloth from The Goonies, whereas the figure looks more like a guy who recently got into a fist fight with a grizzly bear.
TRANSLATION: "Great musician who was disfigured in a fire. Now he takes refuge in the sewers of Paris and is awaiting the performances, reaching attack different personalities from the world of theater."
Man, if he's hanging out in the sewers, he should bring some C.H.U.D. creatures back up to the surface with him. If he did that, he'd truly earn that Murderer of the Opera title.
Jack El Destripador (Jack the Ripper) looks pretty spot on, what with his top hat, bag of medical instruments, and of course, the bloody knife. The figure is actually an improvement on the illustration, as it looks like he's actually trying to stab someone, instead of trying to decide whether or not dropping the knife on his foot would hurt.
TRANSLATION: "English murderer whose identity has not yet been discovered, butchered their victims without trace masterfully to incriminate him. It was supposed doctor."
When someone asks me who told me I shouldn't eat so much candy every Halloween, I say, "It was supposed doctor."
Caballero Errante (Wandering Knight) could probably have a better name. I mean, given all his armor, why not just say he's a proud member of the Skeleton Warriors, right? Nevertheless, I love this figure, because I love all skeleton figures. What I particularly dig about this one is how he's not focused on battling anyone in front of him. Instead, he's staring up at the sky with childlike wonder. One can only guess what's going through his head as he stares up at the heavens. My guess? He's saying to himself, "Looks like it's gonna rain today."
TRANSLATION: "Old soldier killed in a battle whose ghost, they can not find your forgiveness, roams the time struggling with himself."
WHAT!? Goddamn, that took quite a morose turn. And what's with the "they can not find your forgiveness" part? You know what? Fuck that. Listen up, Caballero Errante, you no longer need to struggle with yourself. You have my forgiveness. And here's the kicker... you didn't need it to begin with. You're a rad skeleton ghost and have nothing to be sorry for.
Esqueleto is one of my favorites in the set, simply because skeleton was one of the earliest words I learned how to say in Spanish. I also like his unusual pose, which almost appears like he's about to bust into one of the infamous zombie walk dance moves from Michael Jackson's Thriller. Best of all, however, is this amazing translation:
TRANSLATION: "Set of bones that hold incredibly. If it appears you can be impressed. He likes to frighten."
That's a good point, it is incredible that the bones hold together. And guess what? I *am* impressed by you, Esqueleto, so by all means, frighten away!
Hombre Mosca (aka: Man Fly) is another favorite, as it's not quite Jeff Goldblum's character from The Fly, but still completely awesome. I love that half of his body is still man, but his head is 100% a fly, and he ruined half of his leisure suit.
TRANSLATION: "During an experiment involving molecular transmigration, a researcher accidentally becomes half insect half man."
Gotta give 'em credit on this one... that's actually one of the most sound descriptions of these creatures I've read so far.
Simio is clearly a take on one of the characters from Planet of the Apes, and certainly one of the stranger choices for inclusion in the set. Still, if you take issue with a shotgun-wielding ape, you're more than welcome to try to talk it out with him. The illustration makes him seem far more threatening, while the actual figure makes it look like he simply wants to give you a friendly fist-bump.
TRANSLATION: "Being the future, men will be slaves of these monkeys with intelligence."
Goddamn, if there's ever been a t-shirt I've needed my entire life, it's gotta be one that reads "Men will be slaves of these monkeys with intelligence." That may be one of the greatest things I've ever read.
Now we come to reason anybody outside of Spain has most likely ever heard of this Super Monstruos figures set. Yes indeed, they included their own Freddy figure! Interestingly, it's the only figure in the set that actually displays the copyright info next to the illustration. Still, the fact that they merely call him Freddy instead of Freddy Krueger makes me suspect they never really secured the rights to use him.
What's great about the figure is that he has not one, but TWO of his infamous razor gloves! Plus, unlike the Freddy we all know, his gloves even have extra razors on the thumbs. No wonder the illustration shows his clothes so completely shredded... poor guy probably can't help it! Lastly, you gotta love his pose with that huge grin and bloodshot eyes as if to say, "Freddy's heeeeere!"
TRANSLATION: "Kind of ghost come back to life. His hatred of the human race and especially to his old acquaintances, takes you to a bloody revenge on their hands sharpened."
You know, that's one of the best ways to quickly sum up Freddy Krueger that I've ever heard! He *is* a kind of ghost!
Come on, it's Dracula. You knew this guy was gonna be in a set of classic monster figures. I'm all for it, because the figure turned out quite nice, with the bright red cape, and blood dripping from his mouth. What I really like are how his eyebrows make it look like he's wondering, "Wait, why the hell did I just drink that person's blood?" Well that and how it looks like he's trying to get the attention of a waiter at a restaurant, likely because they put garlic in his food.
TRANSLATION: "Emperor of vampires; daytime sleeps in coffin dormant and evening attacks its victims, which are converted into slaves."
Wow! I've heard him described as the leader of the vampires... but the emperor? That sounds so much more impressive. He should totally introduce himself like that to all of his victims. "Hello, I am Dracula, Emperor of the vampires! I vant to suck your blood and have you join my empire! Ah, ah, ahhhh!"
You know, not enough monster sets include an homage to Death. Thankfully, we have La Muerte included in this set, and he looks killer! A skeletal figure with a black robe and scythe would be good enough, but I love all the little green highlights around his few exposed bones. It just makes him look all the more intimidating.
TRANSLATION: "People waiting for their moment with impatience. Spares neither respects nothing, takes the life mercilessly."
We're all waiting for our moment with impatience, aren't we? So poetic.
Yeti are such underrated monsters. Snow beasts who'll tear you limb from limb, much like a Wampa. What's not to love!? Plus, it's one of my go-to words whenever trying to rhyme "spaghetti" with something. This one has some serious chompers, and I like the detailed yellow claws on its hands and feet.
TRANSLATION: "Being human-like, hairy. It is said to appear when you least expect in the high peaks of the Himalayas. Elusive and mysterious, it has not yet been demonstrated its real existence."
I don't know why "hairy" made me laugh, but it did. I also like that they acknowledge it as a cryptozoid.
I wasn't sure if this was a person who went nuts and decided to make a beard out of seaweed, but then I red the description, and it was clear that El Monstruo Del Pantano was a swamp monster. While the illustration looks far more like Swamp Thing than the figure does, I actually like the figure MUCH more. Beardy McSeaweed will always hold a special place in my heart, and nothing can change my perception of him.
TRANSLATION: "Disposal of sewage. Martyrdom that because of several physical similarities is forced to live among the filth."
Forced to live among the filth? That sounds more like something the Punisher would say... not Beardy McSeaweed.
Gotta have a classic mummy figure, and Imhotep pulls it off wonderfully. I absolutely love how they aged his bandages with yellow and brown coloring, instead of having him pristine white like so many mummy figures are. Plus, some of his bandages are even dangling from his body, such as the one on his upper left thigh. It's little details like that make this one of my favorites in the whole set.
TRANSLATION: "Egyptian priest who comes to life after a spell. Ruthless character who seeks immortality."
They should've also added in a little factoid about how he once battled Elvis.
Another must for any set of monsters is a solid Frankenstein tribute, and they pulled it off nicely here. Stitches on his hands, bolts on his head, green skin, and he's one of the tallest of the bunch. Can't ask for much more than that.
TRANSLATION: "Giant monster created from human remains. Its creator can not avoid the horror master or representing that run loose."
Yeah, I suppose that's true. Dr. Frankenstein cannot avoid representing his monster. He should probably change his name. It's honestly no big deal, Doc. Actors in Hollywood do it all the time.
La Bruja is a classic witch, complete with a tattered shroud, staff... and apparently a poor daily facial cleansing regiment. But hey, when you're spending all your time mixing things up in a cauldron, I suppose personal hygiene can fall to the wayside.
TRANSLATION: "There are good witches and bad. Power and art can trigger real spells destruction and calamities that only they can master."
Power and art? Perhaps they're saying that there's an art to mastering witchcraft. I hope so, because it sounds a lot more menacing than some old lady who does spooky art crafts. That's like one notch below the scare factor of the Hocus Pocus witches.
You wanna know why I love this Zombie figure? Looks like Frankenstein's hip little brother. He wants to be cool like his older brother, and he may surpass him someday, but right now he's just trying too hard. Yeah, go ahead and tear your shirt and show off those abs of yours all you like, Zombie. The ladies still know Frankenstein is where it's at. That's why he has such a rockin' bride, and you're still shuffling around the earth looking for someone with a decent brain.
TRANSLATION: "By voodoo and magic, you can be converted into living dead who dispossessed own brain and butchers will be terrible."
There's nothing worse than a terrible butcher. I said I wanted my lunch meats sliced ultra-thin! What's wrong with you? Did you dispose of your own brain?? Give me thin lunch meats!
The Jorobado (Hunchback) will always be a classic horror icon, despite the fact that they're not really monsters like the old stories would have you think, and just folks with a physical deformity. For some reason, they never seem to be able to afford regular shoelaces or belts either, and always have to resort to using lengths of rope to get the job done. It's a tough life.
TRANSLATION: "Be deformed and mysterious that everyone laughs at his ugliness. However, it has a good heart and is able to give his life for the beloved."
You see!? I told you the Jorobado isn't a bad guy! Stand proud, fella... you've got a good heart.
Hombre Lobo (Werewolf) is a surprisingly cool depiction of the classic monster. First off, those yellow and red glowing eyes are perfect, and make him look ready to feast on another victim. But what I really like is how this version of him makes it seem like he just finished transforming into the Wolfman. He's still tearing his shirt off, and I'm not sure I've ever seen another simple figure doing that. Pretty great.
TRANSLATION: "Man suffering the full moon metamorphosis, becoming a formidable attacking mercilessly butcher. They often do not remember their misdeeds."
You know, that last line sounds more like how people would describe an alcoholic after getting blackout drunk.
Verdugo is your classic take on an executioner: no shirt, black hood, and a big axe. What's great about this one is the difference between the figure and the illustration. The illustration makes him appear to be proud of having just severed a man's head, but the posture of the actual figure makes it look like he's asking someone, "Uh, are you sure we got the right guy? I mean, I know I just chopped his head off, but now I'm not so sure he was guilty." Yeah, it's safe to say I love this one.
TRANSLATION: "At all times there have been these characters, masterfully using his weapons, leaving lifeless and legal those condemned to fall into their hands."
"Lifeless and Legal" sounds like an excellent name for a show about a zombie prosecutor. Fantastic!
And the very last character in the set is another favorite of mine, Fantasma - the sheet ghost! Back in the day, simply wearing sheets was enough to get the job done on Halloween, as evidenced by It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but these days, people feel the need to be so much fancier with their costumes. I get it, but still, it's always nice to see a simple ghost sheet character in a set of monsters.
TRANSLATION: "People died when they were condemned to live eternally and repent of their mistakes. They wish to rest in peace and as they get, with its strange torment the living forces."
Sure, it's sad if it's actually a tormented soul under those sheets, but just think of it as Adam or Barbara in Beetlejuice and you'll feel a lot better about it. Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
And there you have it. The complete Super Monstruos figures set, identified and translated. That was a lot more work that I originally anticipated, but the process only made me love these obscure figures all the more. I hope you do too. For a group of weird lil' monster characters who you wouldn't expect to see hanging out together, they sure are a fine looking bunch.
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