The 13th Floor

The TRANSFORMERS Horror Movie Toy Line That Never Was

One of the most fun subjects to talk/dream about is that of horror toys that never ended up hitting shelves, and in the recent past here on we’ve shined the spotlight on failed figures like the fourth series of SOTA’s “Now Playing” line and the MAXx FX line that didn’t quite turn out the way it was originally intended to. There are many more unreleased figures where those came from, and today we’re talking Transformers.

Transformers, you ask? What the hell does Transformers have to do with horror? It’s an odd pairing, to say the very least, but there was a time when some of our favorite movie monsters almost became shape-shifting vehicles. Why? Well, that’s a question that’s nearly impossible to answer given the lack of information about this particular line, though we can only assume the mash-up was a result of both monsters and Transformers being mega-popular back in the glorious 1980s.

Do we really need more of a reason than that?

It was back in 1984 that American company Hasbro teamed with Japanese company Takara Tomy and launched the Transformers franchise, which started off as both a toy line and an animated series – of course, it eventually became a much-maligned movie franchise, spearheaded by Michael Bay. Running from 1984 through 1991, that original wave of characters is commonly referred to by fans as “Generation 1,” and it was during those early years that a monstrous sub-line was conceived.

Simply dubbed The Vintage Horror Movie Series, the “Generation 1” sub-line was proposed sometime in the mid-late ’80s, and though rough concept art for three different characters was drawn up, the series never made it past that early conceptualization stage. In fact, it’s likely that nobody outside of Hasbro/Takara would have even known about the idea if that art hadn’t appeared in the Japanese book Transformers Generations, released in 2001.

Let’s take a look at the three pieces of concept art below.

First up is DRACULA, the only character in the proposed line that wouldn’t have required Hasbro and Takara to obtain a license – after all, he’s part of the public domain. Naturally, Drac was to turn into a flying bat, true to the classic tale of the fanged blood-sucker.

Unlike Dracula, the so-called CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON – also known as the Gill-Man – was created by Universal Studios back in 1954, meaning they own the rights to the character. Fittingly, the lovable green icon was going to transform into an aquatic vehicle, resembling a fish.

And finally, the Vintage Horror Movie Series was set to be rounded out by THE FLY, based on 20th Century Fox’s 1958 horror classic. The beginning stage of this Transformer was a half-man/half-fly creature, which would become a full-on insect when, well, transformed.

It’s very possible that licensing issues prevented the Vintage Horror Movie Series from getting off the ground, though again, it’s hard to know exactly what spelled the end of the sub-line. All we know for sure is that the toys were never produced and the three pieces of concept art you just saw are the only proof we have that an attempt was even made to bridge the gap between Transformers and monster movies. As is often the case with failed toy lines, those concept images will have to do.

Stay tuned for more unreleased horror toys in the coming months!