Action figures from Ridley Scott's classic science fiction horror film Alien will finally be released to the public this year.

The toy figures were originally scheduled to be unveiled in stores following the film's release in 1979, but the collectables were pulled from shelves at the last minute after the manufacturer Kenner realised how frightening the film was.

At the time, film-related merchandise was aimed exclusively at children and the figures, which depict murderous aliens who hunt astronauts in outer space, were deemed inappropriate for youngsters.

The evolving film merchandise market, which is now also commonly aimed at adults, means the figures can now be released for sale. The items will be distributed in Britain by Underground Toys and priced at £15 each.

Kenny Penman, co-founder of the Forbidden Planet chain of science fiction and fantasy stores, said Kenner's earlier success with Star Wars figures in 1977 reinvigorated the company and made it keen to consolidate its position in the market by capitalising on Alien.

A character from the film Alien in Times Square, New York.
A character from the film Alien in Times Square, New York. Reuters

"They thought it was a dead cert and that the alien would be a villain like Darth Vader," Penman told The Times.

"They obviously didn't see any footage of teeth coming through someone's chest or know that people get killed every 20 minutes. When they saw it received an R rating, they knew that it would instantly mean there would be no children's audience."

Kenner still issued an 18-inch figurine of the film's eponymous alien.

Prototypes of the remaining planned figures became well known among fans but did not go into production until last year, when they were picked up by Super 7, a small US company.

Super 7 is releasing the Alien Re-Action Figure Set for $75 (£45), which includes likenesses of the film's characters, including Ripley, the lead character portrayed by Sigourney Weaver, and John Hurt's character Kane, which comes wearing a space suit with a detachable helmet.