Let’s go on a virtual toy hunt, shall we?
There are so many things I love about Silent Night, Deadly Night that if you got me started I’d probably never stop, but right at the tippy top of that list is the Ira’s Toys location, where a sizeable portion of the film takes place. Named after producer Ira Barmak, Ira’s Toys is where we first meet the adult Billy Chapman, and it’s inside the fictional toy shop that Billy begins his holiday killing spree. Why do I love that portion of the 1984 film so much? Because Ira’s Toys is absolutely jam-packed with awesome vintage toys from the ’70s and ’80s.
Since nobody really had the foresight to take pictures inside of toy stores back in those days, we only really have movies like Silent Night, Deadly Night to thank for forever preserving the look and feel of old school mom and pop toy shops; and for that, I am eternally grateful. One of my favorite things about watching the film is spending a solid half hour in Ira’s Toys, where I always manage to notice a new vintage treasure that I had never previously spotted. It’s like being transported back in time, to a way better time, and it makes me feel all warm and nostalgic inside.
It’s ALWAYS Christmas inside Ira’s Toys.
Here are five vintage monster toys I’ve spotted inside the coolest toy store on Earth!
1) STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI JABBA THE HUT ACTION PLAYSET
Silent Night, Deadly Night was released right in the midst of Star Wars fever, which is very much reflected on the shelves of Ira’s Toys. At one point in the film, Billy and Pamela are seen stocking the shelves with Jabba the Hut playsets from Kenner’s Return of the Jedi line, and you can also see a Patrol Dewback in the upper left-hand corner. Return of the Jedi was released into theaters in 1983, the same year that Silent Night, Deadly Night was filmed. I bet Billy was a fan.
2) MANGLORS MANGLODACTYL
The Ideal Toy Company’s Manglors line first arrived on the scene in 1984, and the “Action Aliens Figures” were marketed as being “made from the strongest stuff on Earth.” What that meant is that the squishy toys could be stretched and mangled to any child’s content and they would always return to their original form; the packaging even noted that the toys could be completely torn apart and then stuck back together again. Seen between Billy and Pamela in the screen-grab above is the Manglodactyl toy from the original line – a purple, winged dinosaur beast. Maybe if Billy had taken his aggression out on Manglodactyl, well, just maybe he wouldn’t have snapped.
3) KRULL: THE BOARD GAME
Believe it or not, the sci-fi film Krull spawned a good deal of merchandise when it came out back in 1983. The Peter Yates-directed film, which starred a young Liam Neeson, was made for a whopping $47,000,000, making it one of the highest-budget films of the time, and there’s no doubt that Columbia Pictures expected it to be a massive hit. Though it has achieved cult status in the subsequent years, Krull was a box office bomb of epic proportions, failing to capture the Star Wars audience that it was clearly gunning for. The flop, centered on a man’s attempt to rescue his bride from a netherworld beast, spawned both an Atari game and a Parker Brothers board game, the latter of which can be seen in several shots in Silent Night, Deadly Night.
4) MONSTER MAKE-UP KIT
You’ve heard of a dick in a box but how about Dick Smith in a box?! Released in the late ’70s by Pressman, the “Movie/TV Monster Make-Up” kits seen in the above screen-grab were designed by none other than legendary makeup artist Dick Smith, whose work can be seen in classic films like The Exorcist, The Godfather, and Taxi Driver. The kits included “flex flesh” and even makeup tips from Smith, instructing kids how to turn themselves into Frankenstein’s monster, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and/or Mr. Hyde. Who better to learn from than the master himself?!
And speaking of masters…
5) MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CASTLE GRAYSKULL PLAYSET
We round out our trip to Ira’s Toys with the coolest toy of all: Mattel’s Castle Grayskull playset from the mega-popular Masters of the Universe line! The badass locale, a fortress located on the planet Eternia, first appeared in the toy line back in 1982, and it of course made the leap to the big screen when the live-action film was released in 1987. The original playset, which was recently recreated and re-released by Mattel, can be seen displayed on an end-cap in Ira’s Toys; smart placement considering how popular the toy was as a Christmas gift for kids of the ’80s.
You ran a great store, Ira. We hope you’re resting in peace.