1955′s This Island Earth is quite possibly the most ridiculed of all of the Universal Monsters series, as much as it’s still regarded as a sci-fi classic today. With alien invasions and mind-control conspiracies at every corner, it’s good that at least one really cool thing came out of this film. That thing is the Metaluna Mutant.
Diamond Select Toys have produced a 7″ action figure of the film’s macrocephalic monster as part of their Universal Monsters line of figures, and he’s beautiful. The ‘Select’ version of the mutant comes with the interocitor device, a mysterious machine which allows aliens to communicate with Earth, as well as serves as a test for our dumb human scientists. It’s also a weapon, an autopilot, a surveillance device, and it can walk your dog and make you a pretty good sandwich. It also can’t be photographed, so it’s a wonder that we have any shots of it at all here. (The Toys ‘R’ Us version comes with a rocky base instead.)
The Mutant is one of those film monsters, played by an initially uncredited actor, who is just too hideous to pass up. A movie monster who wears baggy hospital pants with veins on the outside of ‘em is really something special. Diamond Select’s sculpt of this figure mimics the actor’s costume: while shoulder joints are included, they’re restrained by the costume’s thick, insectoid shoulderpads. A neck joint and arms with two elbows each can bend just as much as the original costume would allow, and fully-articulated legs (double jointed hips, knees, and a cut thigh for rotation) also mirror the actor’s relatively normal leg mobility, allowing for some slightly menacing poses.
The finer details on the head and carapace are really what makes this figure stand out. Bulbous, creased brains lined with red veins, and sphincter-like eyes on top of a pulsating gill-mouth… it’s like every ex-girlfriend you’ve ever had wrapped into one horrifyingly nagging creature.
I’ve been a fan of the Metaluna Mutant since Sideshow Toys’ original 9″ figure, which stands in a translucent blue on my shelves even today. There’s also a Metaluna Mutant Kubrick figure, and a superb 12″ figure which was also produced by Sideshow Toys, and incredibly accurate to the original, awkward movie costume. While there are a few other intpertations of the Mutant in plastic, this Diamond Select figure is probably the perfect Metaluna Mutant, with just enough articulation to mirror the classic costume, just big enough to be a presence in a display, and a very cool showcase of Diamond’s ability to capture monsters in plastic. There are many more Universal Monsters in this series as well, so keep your eyes out for everyone from Frankenstein to The Wolf Man.