Monday, May 20, 2024

Action Figure Review: Skeletor & Demogorgon from Masters of the Universe X Stranger Things by Mattel


      Stranger Things is definitely one of the biggest hits in pop culture from the last decade or so. While pop culture and entertainment is so often heavily segmented these days, Stranger Things managed to capture a pretty wide audience and gain some wide spread pop culture recognition. My daughter is10 and we've been watching through the show with her. She's absolutely loving it. While we're waiting for the fifth and final season, many companies have still been releasing lots of toys and merchandising items for the show. There have been some crossovers between Stranger Things and a number of other 1980s pop culture staples and now we're getting Masters of the Universe X Stranger Things from Mattel. While some of the other crossovers have used the human characters from the show, Mattel's Masters of the Universe X Stranger Things line seems to be just using the monsters so far with a storyline that Skeletor has accidently broken into the Upside Down, allowing Vecna to come through and attempt to take over Eternia. That's a decent setup and, to be honest, you could simply consider these as a Masters of the Universe meets Dungeons & Dragons crossover, too. The Demogorgon in this set is actually a pretty cool Masters of the Universe Origins styled monster figure and Skeletor has more paint applications and a darker color scheme than the basic Origins Skeletor figure. It's a pretty good set, really, and I think it's a decent crossover though it's probably of more interest to MOTU fans than just Stanger Things fans. Ready to check out Skeletor and the Demogorgon? Then join me after the break..

The Facts: Skeletor

Height: 6 inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, boot swivels, swivel/hinge knees, balljointed hips, waist swivel, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a double balljointed head.

Accessories: Armor, belt, sword, and Havoc Staff.

The Facts: Demogorgon

Height: 6 3/4ths inches

Articulation: Swivel/hinge ankles, calve swivels, swivel/hinge knees, ball jointed hips, waist swivel, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, and a barbell jointed head.

Accessories: Armor, 2 shoulder pads, Hellfire staff, and 2 flames.

Non-Scalper Price: $35 dollars

The Packaging:

* I don't often include shots of packaged toys but I really like the look of the Masters of the Universe X Stranger Things line. Well, there are two releases that we know of: This set and a He-Man & Vecna set. Still, it's pretty cool as it utilizes both the MOTU and Stranger Things imagery and shows off the figures quite well. The ability to flip the box over and have the Demogorgon upright is clever. These are exclusive to Target, by the way. 
The Positives:

* If you're a Masters of the Universe Origins collector, you probably have quite a few Origins styled Skeletors lately. Mattel has re-released him fairly frequently and he's here again. For this kind of item I can understand why Mattel wanted to include Skeletor and He-Man again. For folks who see these and like them because of an affinity for Stranger Things or just because of 1980s nostalgia but who aren't collecting any other Masters of the Universe items, Skeletor and He-Man are the two most recognizable characters. Like the rest of the Origins figures, Skeletor captures the look of the vintage toy with somewhat updated articulation. The thing about this figure that sets him apart from previous Origins Skeletors, though, is that his colors are much darker. Overall the Origins figures have been rather bright, but this guy definitely has a darker skin tone and darker, shinier armor. I think it actually looks more like the actual vintage toy this way.

* I wasn't initially wild about this Skeletor portrait on the standard Origins figure from 2020 but this one is better because of the darker color scheme and the slightly more nuanced paintwork. The eyes and teeth look much better.

* Not only is Skeletor's armor shinier now but there's also some depth given to his body by having two shades of blue. What would you call this? Shadowing? I think it just radically improves the figure and makes for a figure that feels more like a vintage toy. 

* The MOTU Origins figures are built like the vintage toys but with modern articulation. While their bulky frames make the articulation a bit clumsy, they do feel like an evolution of the vintage line. Imagine what you would get if you mixed a vintage figure with a MOTUC figure. They're quite fun to play with and they feel very sturdy. Of course, they're also modular and can be easily separated to make your own lazy boy customs!

* Skeletor comes with his classic Havoc Staff. It matches the vintage accessory nicely and looks pretty spooky. 

* Skeletor includes a full sword rather than a half sword, and it looks to be the minicomic inspired version. I really like this accessory, especially molded in shiny purple. 
* The Demogorgon makes a fantastic Masters of the Universe figure. While the idea of a Demogorgon possibly goes back to Greek mythology, it's more likely that it really came to being as a mistranslation of older Greek texts and the idea of it as a powerful demon comes into being in some medieval Christian inspired writings and came to more prominence by authors like Milton, Marlowe, Voltaire, and Ariosto in the 16th and 17th centuries. Of course, the Demogorgon in Stranger Things is a creature from the upside down that is named based on Eleven seeing a miniature of the Dungeons & Dragons creature. The creature doesn't really resemble the D&D character but it was the monster they were fighting in their campaign the night Will disappeared in season 1 and Eleven saw the piece setting out. Mattel has done a very cool job of translating the creature from the show into a MOTU figure. He uses some standard Beast Man parts and such, but he also has some new parts that make him more unique. 

* The headsculpt is insane. It pops it's jaw open like a flower and they're covered with rows of small, sharp teeth. The head is huge and it's very intimidating. This is a pretty impressive sculpt and it has a very gruesome design. 

* From the back of the head you can see how the Demogorgon doesn't have any identifiable features until it opens it's mouth; it's just wrinkly and purplish. 

* The Demogorgon gets a paint wash, too. Rather than just being kind of a dingy lavender color all over, it also has a darker wash that brings out the details in the weird, furry Beast Man body.

* The Demogorgon isn't just running around naked. This is Eternia, after all. Instead of running around in his birthday suit, he's sporting furry trunks and Beast Man's furry collar and spiked shoulder pads. They're gold, which gives the Demogorgon a unique color scheme among  MOTU character figures. 

* The feet and hands look like new parts to me. The lower legs and feet are quite long which makes the Demogorgon taller than most MOTU Origins figures. The hands have longer fingers with claws on the end, which definitely makes this guy seem more menacing and clearly inhuman. 

* The Demogorgon is articulated like pretty much every other MOTU Origins figure, so you should know what to expect here. The parts are also swappable, so you can use his new parts to make more wild, crazy creations. 

* Showing his D&D inspired roots, the Demogorgon comes with a staff called the Hellfire Staff. It's a long blue staff with a D20 on both ends. The D20s can rotate on each end though they don't seem to be removable. I like it, though it is a bit silly. It seems like something a TMNT figure would come with rather than a MOTU figure, but it's well made and a new accessory.

* What makes it even cooler (or is that hotter?) is the inclusion of two snap on flames. They can clip right over the ends of the staff, making this thing a lethal and magical weapon.

The Negatives:

* My only negative with this set is that my Skeletor has some flashing under his right arm. I'll probably be able to trim it up with a hobby knife or something, but it is a flaw so I thought I'd mention it. 

   Is there any logical reason for this set to exist? Not really. Yeah, some vintage MOTU toys and a scene from the Filmation cartoon did appear briefly in Stranger Things, a love letter to 1980s popular culture, but they weren't plot elements or anything. Father Dougal McGuire's vintage Masters of the Universe bedspread and pillowcase appear pretty frequently in Father Ted, but I don't think we'll be seeing a 2-pack of Hordak and Father Jack Hackett anytime soon. But enough of that; is this a good set? Yes, it really is. This is one of the best Origins Skeletor figure out there and the darker color scheme really appeals to me. Sometimes I have felt like the MOTU Origins line is a bit too bright and bold, and so I really like this darker Skeletor. And the Demogorgon? He's an incredible figure. What a cool MOTU-ized monster! Even if you're not a fan of Stranger Things, this is just a cool monster who really feels like he fits in with the line. Mattel did a nice job with this set, especially considering the retail price ends up making each figure in the 2-pack cost a bit less than the average retail price of a single figure. It's a Great and a 1/2 set that's really much better than I expected it to be. 

If you're looking for more of Skeletor/ Keldor, check out Snake Mountain, an archive of all my Skeletor reviews. 

This is my first review of the Demogorgon on the site. 


  1. Can't stand Stranger Things. I watched first two seasons and quit cos it had done nothing but be a boring string of homages to things I'd already seen, rather than do anything actually original itself. This two pack is alright. The Demogorgon makes for an interesting figure and his D20 staff is pretty clever even if I've never been into D&D (other than the cartoon). :)

    1. I really wish we could get more straight D&D figures from the game and art, NECA's are the best, but their character selection is really limited to just the vintage LJN line. I'd love to see someone else tackle what Super7 is doing in the ReAction line, but as fully articulated figures. Hasbro's movie based line did have some cool monsters, but the prices were oddly high and I skipped them (my daughter ended up with the main cast on clearance because she loves the film),

  2. Oh I think Father Jack is long overdue a figure, preferably a triple pack with him sitting, Fett-style, in his Elvis outfit on a throne. Dougal and Ted as the early versions of The King would be the final, ludicrous touch

    1. A Father Ted and Bishop Brennan 2-pack with real arse kicking action! The cardboard insert at the back of the package could be the 10' x 10' photograph of the kick itself.


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