It’s Halloween and while I don’t usually get around to doing any special content on this holiday, I have been saving just the thing for today. NECA has been producing some truly amazing figures under their new “Ultimate” line and while they run the gamut of movie licenses, several have been pulled from the horror greats. Last year they did a killer job with Ultimate Freddy Krueger and this year, it’s Leatherface!
The packaging on this line has been fantastic and this release may even up the ante a little based solely on the box art. It comes in what appears to be an enclosed box, although the front is actually a velcro secured flap revealing a window and the figure within. Both side panels are lettered and that makes it perfect for sliding onto a bookshelf along with the other Ultimate releases, while the back and inside the front flap feature shots of the figure itself. The front flap has a great piece of promotional artwork from the movie poster, and what a freaking creepy ass movie it is.
Where do I even begin with this movie? I started as quite the horror hound early in life, gorging on Friday the 13ths and Nightmares on Elm Street, but the Texas Chainsaw movies always pressed the line of fun horror and ventured into damn disturbing territory. It felt like a found footage movie before they became trendy and almost ruined the horror film genre, and I mean that in every complimentary way. It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since this flick first haunted theater goers. Yes, in the current climate of torture porn, it’s rather tame by today’s standards, as a lot of the gore is implied, and yet it’s still one of the most powerful horror films I can remember. I still consider the scene where Leatherface bursts out of the house and grabs Pam to be one of the most effective horror scenes of all time. And while Jason and Freddy have both taken on a familiar and comfy identity for me, Leatherface has still remained a seriously scary muthaf’cker. Let’s bust this demented sicko out and have a look!
Yeah… Wow! First thing’s first, yes he is wearing a soft goods apron and that just kicks all kinds of ass. It’s made of some kind of very pliable leather-like material. It’s beautifully stitched and ties around his waist in a neat bow. It’s also splattered with blood, which looks wonderfully surreal against it’s light khaki color. The rest of the figure features a great sculpt of his dirty striped shirt, loose necktie, blue trousers and cowboy boots. The dangling bracelet on his right wrist rounds out the package nicely. Fantastic!
And there’s a face only a mother could love. The haphazard skin mask looks deliciously grotesque and with the exposed areas of the face appropriately sunken to make it look like he’s really wearing a mask, even though it’s all part of the same head sculpt. The paint here is excellent, particularly on his gnarly teeth and lips.
You also get the alternate old lady portrait, which is a very nice bonus and every bit as wonderfully executed as the regular stock head. Alas, this look just isn’t iconic enough for me to warrant displaying it, but I still really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it and the fact that NECA bundled it with the figure, especially at this price point.
The articulation here is really solid. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and he has rotating hinges in the knees. The ankles appear to also have rotating hinges, although there isn’t a whole lot of movement there other than in the lateral rockers. He has a ball joint in the waist and another in the neck. Not bad!
You want accessories? Leatherface comes with a wide variety of butchering implements. You get a meat clever, a skinning knife, a meat hook, and a hammer for breaking up them pesky bones, or just bonking dinner on the head when it’s trying to run out the front door. All these items are well done, but I think the little skinning knife is my favorite because of the attention to detail on the antler handle, despite it being such a tiny piece. Very nice! Oh, wait… Did I forget something?
Oh yeah, it’s the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it wouldn’t be Leatherface without his trusty saw. I have to be honest, there are few things more terrifying to me than getting attacked with a chainsaw. I don’t even like being around them. NECA’s tribute to this horrific tool is a lovely piece of work, right down to the tiniest detail and the blood-splattered blade. And thanks to the hand grips and the figure’s articulation, he can hold it in any number of fantastic poses… not least of which is over the head for the Chainsaw Dance! I love it!
In fact, it would perhaps be more accurate to say that I love everything about this figure. After coming off of the sheer masterpiece that was their Ultimate T-800, Leatherface here just goes to show that care and craftsmanship is the order of the day for this line. And at the ridiculously low price of $22, NECA is not only producing a top notch collector grade product, but they’re offering some of the best value in the action figure market. The 40th Anniversary of a film franchise is no small potatoes and it’s nice to see that Leatherface was given his due. This is every bit a figure that is worthy of celebrating those four decades of horror tradition and it really makes me think they should have gone with the name Masterpiece over Ultimate to accurately describe this line. Jason Vorhees is the next horror icon to get the Ultimate treatment, and man, I can’t wait.