Some products have become so identified with horror movies, to the point of cliché, that they have ceased to be effective. Jack in the Box toys fulfills this condition. You’ve probably encountered them in countless horror movies: toy boxes with a handle. Turning the knob will play music, often similar or even the same. Then, after a few seconds, it happens. A particular figure steps out of the box and goes “Boooooo!”, metaphorically or not. In the traditional versions, this figure is a reasonably simple clown and not a terrifying one, but in the scary Jack In The Boxs toys you’ll find the thrills.
Do these scenes in horror movies, often used to create an atmosphere and indicate that something is wrong in the house, the room, etc. (presence of malicious entities, of course), justify themselves? The truth is, it’s hard to remember too many compelling scenes involving this toy, so the answer may be negative. The good news is that in the home products section, you’ll find some exciting and super cool versions where your favorite horror villain comes out of the box.
The Long History Of Jack In The Box
The roots of Jack in the Box toys are not 100% known, but they have a very long history. One widely held theory is that a 14th-century English prelate named Sir John Schorne is responsible for the first version of the toy. According to the stories, the same John Schorne was a very mysterious figure who managed to create very effective medicines for toothaches or rheumatism. Among the legends attributed to him is the finding of a well with magical water during a drought and the one in which he put the devil in a boot – believe it or not – to protect a small British village. It is speculated that the origin of the toy “Jack in the box” (which is called “devil in the box” in French) is in this act.
According to estimates, the first real version of the toy was created in the 15th century by a German clockmaker known as “Claus.” He built a simple box, mostly of wood and a little bit of metal, and added a handle that, after being activated, would release a “devil” figure. Claus made
the box in honor of the birthday of one of the local princes. People who heard about the toy asked for version of their own. Since then, it has gone through many incarnations and has come in time to become a sought-after toy among ordinary people as well.
The technologies for producing Jack in the Box were improved, and tin began to replace wood over time. On top of the box appeared drawings that children love, with characters such as Winnie the Pooh, The Cat In The Hat, Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse, and a host of other animals and creatures.
In most versions, the tune that plays when the toy is activated is Pop Goes The Weasel, a traditional English and American song from the 19th century considered one of the classic nursery rhymes. You can find it worldwide in Jack in the Box toys, other children’s games, ice cream trucks, and more. It is interesting to note that in some versions – and especially in the various horror models – we do not know precisely when exactly the figure will jump out of the box, so there is a specific potential for panic here.
In its various versions, Jack In The Box toy was an imoressive success. In 2005, it entered the American National Toy Hall of Fame alongside familiar toys such as cubes, Barbie dolls, bicycles, yo-yo, frisbee, five stones, and more. There is an American fast-food restaurant chain named after the toy, with a mascot that looks just like that classic clown character.
There are many appearances of Jack In The Box in culture, such as songs (Britain’s song at Eurovision 1971 was named after the game and came in fourth place), characters from computer games (one of the distinctive characters in one of the versions of Donkey Kong, for example) and of course horror movies too – quite negligible, to be honest. For example, there is a horror movie from 2019 in which the main villain is the same Jack in the box. The sequel, “The Jack in The Box: Awakening,” was released last year. We haven’t seen it yet, but from the trailers and the reviews (about 4.5-4 on IMDB) it seems like it deserves a shot.
Here’s Jack In The Box Awakening trailer:
Scary Jack In The Box Toys
If you want to avoid settling for horror movies of questionable quality or the same worn-out scenes in horror movies, you can buy yourself a horror version of Jack in the Box. The truth is that it is, from our impression, a good choice. The characters that appear here are among the most prominent in the world of horror; the level of detail is imposing so that it is a beautiful design addition to the home, office, or children’s room, and the “surprise” element can add a little action to the matter.
It is important to emphasize that these toys are suitable mainly for adults or teenagers. The recommendations of the manufacturing or marketing companies usually talk about ages 15 and over for the simple reason that they may scare the younger ones. In addition, some of these scary Jack In The Box toys have small parts, which pose a risk of swallowing and suffocation.
Unleash Freddy: Freddy Krueger Inside the Box
We start the review with one of the biggest horror icons, if not the most famous of them all. This is of course Freddy Krueger, responsible for one of the well-known movie franchises ever. The toy is a fully licensed item from Mezco Toys’ Burst A Box series, which is the main one to star in our review. It comes in a large and well-designed box (7x7x7 inches in size), and after the figure’s appearance, the height reaches about 14 inches (about 35.5 cm).
You can release Freddy by turning the handle, which plays the sam Pop Goes The Weasel. The truth is that here we were a little disappointed because perhaps we were hoping to hear the familirt theme song from “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “One, Two, Freddy’s Coming For You.” But we should not be petty because tradition has a role central to these toys.
On top of the box, in its closed state, you will find various drawings of Freddy. The level of detail of Freddy’s figure when it comes out of the box is awe-inspiring, no doubt: you can see the scars and burns on the face, his gruesome smile attracts attention, and on the body is worn the red-green sweater associated with him.
Another cool feature is that you can remove Freddy’s famous fedora, so you also get a kind of accompanying accessory made of plastic. Like other models in the series, you won’t find arms here. In the case of Freddy with his famous knife fingers, the disadvantage is noticeable.
Float On Surprise: Pennywise In The Box
The following Burst-A-Box product features the character responsible for the highest-grossing horror movie of all time, which is Pennywise, the scary clown from the “It” movie series. Those who survived the two successful films know that they are very long, probably too long, or in other words: they don’t have enough Pennywise compared to the film’s length, which ranges from two to two and a half hours. The good news is that, in the case of this scary Jack In The Box toy, you can get your dose of the clown in a matter of seconds, with the character “floating” out of the box during that normal pleasant playback.
With a quick look at the product cover, which shows Pennywise in all his glory (including a particularly stressful close-up), you can see that the design here is of the character played by Bill Skarsgård in the 2017 and 2019 films and not Tim Carrey in the mini-series from the early 90s. In our opinion, this is a good decision, considering the fact that the level of detail in Pennywise In The Box is also excellent: the orange hair and white makeup with traces of blood, the doubt-innocent-doubt-evil smile that Skarsgård was able to produce masterfully, the yellow eyes with the red frame, the white vintage costume with the decorations The red decorations and more. The dimensions of this creepy scary Jack In The Box are similar to Freddy’s model, about 14 inches (about 35.5 cm).
Here’s Just Jen’s kind review of Pennywise Burst A Box:
Not Realy A Child’s Play : Chucky In The Box
We continue the series of horror icons with the doll that is probably considered the most famous in the world. The fact that there is a jack-in-the-box version with Chucky shouldn’t surprise you first because it is a character that every horror fan knows and loves. Besides, in the sequel to Chucky (“Child’s Play 2” from 1990), the box played a central role in the movie’s poster – which showed Chucky coming out of a box holding scissors – and in the trailers that marketed it (“Sorry, Jack. Chucky is Back!”).
The box, in shades of yellow combined with red and black, has similar dimensions to the other models in the series. From the reviews we’ve seen, we get the impression that not every time you turn the handle, Chucky’s figure will indeed jump out of it: which may add to the surprise dimension but also disappoint some addicts.
We loved the design of Chucky In The Box, including the famous boyish Good Guy jumpsuit that comes here with its buttons and pockets. However, we would have been happy if the design of the figure itself (and the one that appears on the box) was inspired by the Chucky sequel, which first made the connection between the doll and the children’s game, and not from other versions as was done (“Bride of Chucky,” if we remember correctly).
We also loved Chucky’s childish-threatening expression, the scars on his face, and the blue eyes, which convey some of the character’s insanity.
From Crystal Lake With Love: Jason Burst A Box
Jason Voorhees, the killer from Crystal Lake and the “Friday the 13th” film series, is the main villain in the following box from the Burst a Box series. The most remarkable thing in this scary Jack In The Box toy is Jason’s face design – or, should we say, his mask.
Like other models in the series, they did a great job recreating the character, especially its murderous and threatening aspects. This character has a creepy look, partly in the segments where you see Jason’s split and scarred skin behind the mask. We also loved the garment, with its signature buttons and markings.
For the sake of accuracy, it is essential to emphasize that this figure – as also appears in one of the drawings on the cover – is Jason from the seventh film in the series, “Friday the 13th 7: New Blood” from 1988.
“Trick R Treat” As A Toy: Sam Returns
“Trick R Treat” from 2007 is a horror anthology film that was not successful then but has since been considered a kind of cult film – especially
when it comes to Halloween movies. Along with reports that we could see a sequel in recent years, we were happy to discover the following toy: “Sam in a Box,” if you can call it that.
The truth is that the character of Sam, who chases people who don’t keep the Halloween holidays and hurts them, is the most memorable from this movie: that “boy” with orange pajamas and a burlap sack on his head, who looks like a scarecrow in a way.
Even if it is not an iconic film like the others we reviewed here, nor a franchise full of sequels and related series, you can appreciate that they also created a Sam version of Jack in the Box. You can surely add it to your catalog of horror products or even give it as a holiday gift to a loved one.
Let’s Open A Box: Billy In The Box
The puppet Billy has become one of the main symbols of the “Saw” movie series, even though she is not a murderer or the villain in it: that’s why there is John Kramer, known as “Jigsaw,” and he simply communicates with his victims through this dummy. In fact, in the films, this character is not even mentioned by name, but the interest she created led to the fact that the creators often referred to her in interviews leading up to the promotion of the films as the Billy doll.
The Billy doll, in the Jack in the Box version, looks exactly as we have come to know it: this is an orphan doll with red eyes and long black hair, particularly thick eyebrows, cheeks with spiral drawings, and a formal uniform that looks like it came out of a wedding (whether as a groom or as a waiter ). Although the designed character does not include the tricycle – one of its hallmarks – it successfully conveys the scary magic from the “Saw” movies.