Gremlins: Ultimate Gremlin and Gamer Gremlin by NECA

If you stopped by hoping for an action figure review of a Funnybook Character, GI Army Man, or Convertorobo Car, well… THOSE AREN’T SPOOKY! And spooky is what I’m all about right now as Halloween Horror Month grinds ever onward, crushing the bones of those who fall by the wayside into dust. Now, feel free to call foul as Gremlins is indeed a Christmas movie… nay, a Christmas Classic! Right up there with the likes of Die Hard. But it’s also a horror movie, and I’ve got a lot of Gremlins to look at, dammit, so I’m slipping them into this Action Figure Monster-Thon! Today I’m looking at both the regular vanilla Gremlin and the Gamer Gremlin!

You know the deal by now! NECA’s Ultimate figures come in boxes with front flaps that open to reveal a window to show off the figure inside. Regular Gremlin has a reproduction of the movie poster on the front, while Gamer Gremlin has the same, but with the obnoxious Gamer Gremlin bursting through and looking EXTREME!!! As indicated on the box, the Gamer Gremlin started out as a Gamestop Exclusive, but right now my Target has a few of them, so I guess he ain’t one no more! Man, it’s been too long since I last watched Gremlins. I should remedy that this month, but maybe I’ll wait until closer to Christmas. For now, I’ll just put on my Quarterflash LP and listen to Make it Shine.

It doesn’t matter which one I start with, because as near as I can tell they are both the same Gremlin figure, but with different accessories. Truth be told, I have a few of each and they’ve been mixed up so even I don’t know which is which anymore. The sculpt is excellent, with every inch of the figure covered in reptilian-like scales and texturing. The proportions look good, with the elongated arms and the stubby, canine-shaped back legs and dinosaur feet. I liked the homogeneous Gremlins design from the original film a lot more than the varied look featured in the second. I enjoy Gremlins 2 for what it is, but I don’t love it, and I’m not intending to collect any of The New Batch. The fact that they were just an army of identical beasties made them more like dealing with a swarm. It also lets me army build the hell out of them. The paintwork is solid enough, but I feel like they went a little heavy handed on the yellow stripes, but that’s just me nitpicking. The muted striping on the tail section looks rather cockroach like and delightfully icky.

The head is just about perfect, as far as I’m concerned. It captures all the personality of the original puppets, and I can’t even nitpick the paint here either. The eyes are incredibly lifelike, and I love the evil smile with the top row of teeth showing. The jaw is even hinged, and opening the mouth reveals the bottom row of choppers, as well as his tongue. One of my Gremlins’ jaws opens a little crooked, but it’s not a big deal.

The articulation is good on paper, but all of my Gremlins have at least one or two stuck joints. I haven’t given any of them a hot bubbly stove-top bath yet, but there are some joints here that I’m too nervous to give a workout until I can get around to that. I’ve owned enough NECA figures to know when a joint feels like it might rather snap than cooperate. He’s mostly loaded down with rotating hinges, and the ones in the arms work particularly well. I don’t have as much luck below the waist. The canine-like legs are difficult to work with by design, and these are where I’ve encountered most of my stuck joints. Still, they’re pretty easy to get standing in all sorts of poses, even if their feet aren’t always planted firmly on the ground. And heck, even the ears are articulated! OK, let’s check out some accessories!

The regular Gremlin comes with all sorts of bits and bobs from the film, and it all seems to be from the Bar Scene or the Theater Scene, and that makes sense, because these are where the Gremlins antics involved the most props. The frosty mug of beer looks great, and can be held quite convincingly in the left hand, and a little less so in the right. One of the cool things about it is you can take out the plastic beer and suds and have an empty glass. I know these are considered Adult Collectibles, but I’m still surprised, what with the way the world is today, that NECA was able to include an alcoholic beverage in with an action figure. But, it’s not like they’re promoting tobacco right?

Oh shit, he comes with a ciggy too! OK, I guess all bets are off! Beer and smokes for everyone! I heard that Amblin drew the line at including a gun, which may or may not be true. So that’s just the A and the T out of the ATF. Like Meatloaf sang, Two out of three ain’t bad. So, don’t be sad! Besides, I’ve got plenty of guns lying around to give them.

You also get a hand of playing cards, which are a bit more difficult to get them to hold, but with just a little patience and I was able to make it work. Moving on from the Bar, let’s check out the Theater stuff!

Everybody loves over-priced theater candy, right? The Gremlins sure do, because they didn’t pay for any of it. You get a packet of Brad Bites, which are basically off-brand Skittles, anda Doo-Dah Bar, which I think is an off-brand Baby Ruth Bar. Both are pretty cool, especially since I’m reviewing these figures at Halloween, so I can have them trick-or-treating for candy.

You also get an icy cold Cola to wash down the candy. I really dig that this is a cardboard cup. If you have a bunch like me, you even even crumple one of them to look like garbage.

Finally, you get a pair of paper popcorn bags to put on the Gremlins’ ears and a pair of old school 3D glasses. Yeah, these are pretty cheap accessories, but damn they look great and they are lots of fun. I wish other companies would get this creative with their action figure accessories every now and then. Let’s move on and see what Gamer Gremlin got!

Gamer Gremlin comes with the same paper cup of Cola, but he also comes with a big bucket of golden, buttery plastic popcorn! You can remove the popcorn piece to see that it has eye holes cut out so he can wear it as a creeper mask top hat. I don’t know why I love this so much, but I really do.

He also comes with a beanie hat and a pair of sunglasses. I dig the sunglasses, I’m not as keen on the hat. YES, I REALIZE HE SHOULD BE WEARING IT BACKWARDS!!! I put it on wrong, because I’m a stupid head and the Jameson told me to. It doesn’t matter which way it’s facing. I just don’t care for it. Fortunately, the rest of Gamer Gremlin’s stuff is pure gold.

As an Atari enthusiast, I was absolutely tickled to see him come with a little replica Atari controller as well as a copy of Gremlins in an homage to the game’s Atari 5200 box. I actually played this game most on my Commodore 64, but it’s a really fun and addictive game on any system. I don’t mind the Atari 2600 Gremlins game either, but that shit is crazy expensive and the fact that I no longer own that cartridge makes me sad. Anyway, the attention to detail on these two accessories is just wonderful.

And lastly, Gamer Gremlin comes with an homage to the old Coleco tabletop games. I’m pretty sure it was Coleco’s Donkey Kong in the movie, and I thought I remembered the Mogwai playing it, but like I said, it’s been forever since I watched it. Rather than face the full fury of Nintendo litigation, the game has been rebranded as The Fail Guy, but everything else about this little arcade machine is pretty damn spot on.

At one point I had seven of these little bastards, but I wound up trading a couple to a friend who couldn’t find them. Now, these guys are all over the place, and I’m constantly resisting the urge to pick up more when running into Target for something. I should probably just pour water on the ones I have! It doesn’t surprise me that I’m hooked on these, because when I was growing up I had that big Gremlin figure by LJN and I carried him around all over the place like a My Buddy doll. Needless to say, it’s great to have some Gremlins represented in my collection again. I still need to pick up Flasher Gremlin and the Caroling Gremlins eventually. When I come back after the weekend, we’ll check out one more Ultimate Gremlin… Stripe!

Child’s Play: Ultimate Chucky by NECA

Did you think that after Puppet Master, I was done talking about evil, murdering dolls? Well, think again! I can’t have a Halloween Horror Month without paying my respects to Child’s Play, now can I? And it’s a good thing because this figure has been kicking around here for ages waiting to be opened. I absolutely love Child’s Play, it was another one of those horror flicks that I was introduced to on Cable TV late one night and I regard it as a Modern Classic. I seem to recall liking the second one quite a bit too, but after that they started to blur together until I stopped watching them. Nope, I didn’t bother with the remake, and I haven’t really looked at that TV Series either.

Chucky comes in your typical NECA Ultimates box, which means it looks fully enclosed, but the front flap opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. The box plays off the the doll’s package design in the movie with the Good Guys logo and even challenges you to collect all the different Chucky accessory packs. Very cool! Like the Puppet Master figures, NECA went with an extra small figure here that kind of puts it in scale with the regular 7-inch line. I mentioned how I would have preferred the Puppet Master figures be 7-inches, but I think the smaller size works better for Chucky. It also allowed NECA to absolutely load him up with three extra heads and an obscene amount of murdering accessories.

NECA certainly did not let Chucky’s small size get in the way of pumping him full of a crazy amount of detail. He features his long sleeve striped shirt, overalls, and red sneakers. If I didn’t have the figure in hand, I would swear the overalls were soft goods, but nope they’re sculpted plastic! The rumples and stitching are just so damn convincing, and they are littered with printed images of the various Accessory Packs shown on the front of the box, from construction worker to cowboy and doctor. It looks like Chucky’s has more professions than Barbie! The striping on the shirt isn’t exactly crisp, but I think that lends to the idea that it’s supposed to be printed on fabric. The painted laces on the shoes, on the other hand, are pretty sharp. This is just a great looking figure!

As I mentioned earlier, you get a total of four heads for Chucky, each one sinking further into the realm of nightmare fuel. The first is his stock, straight out of the box, Good Guy noggin. They did a great job making this look like a lifeless doll head, with vacant, staring eyes, puffed out, pinchable cheeks, and a golly-gee-willikers pucker of a smile. The hair is sculpted into an immaculate bowl-cut, parted on the right side, and his eyebrows, lashes, and freckles are printed on in the most appropriately un-realistic fashion possible.

From there we go to the head with Charles Lee Ray’s personality poking out. It’s great how just a change in expression can bring the portrait to life. His once blank eyes are now bulging with villainy, his hair is a little mussed up, and he looks decidedly displeased with the world around him. It no longer looks like a doll, but a living psychopath!

From there we go to the damaged “OH, LAWD HE CRAZY” head, and this just a lovely work of art. Chucky’s got some really nasty gashes running up from his chin, across his mouth, right up his right eye, and forking into a puckering “V” on his forehead. Meanwhile another gash runs from above his left eye down to his nose, along with sutures holding it together at the top. His hair is now parted dead center at his widow’s peak, and he looks like he means to do a lot of harm.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any more horrific, here’s Chucky with half his face gone and advertising that there’s meat and gore inside, rather than plastic and sawdust. “The more time you spend in that body… the more human you become!” Hot damn, I love it! Let’s check out his accessories!

Chucky does love him some cutlery, and he comes with a nice assortment of it. He also comes with extra hands so he can wield these blades. You get a bowie knife, a butcher knife, a straight razor, and a dagger. Each of these are wonderful sculpts with detailed paint to their hilts. I have a passing curiosity as to whether that butcher knife is repacked from one of the Michael Myers figures, but knowing NECA it’s probably brand new.

The dagger is the one he’s chasing Andy with through the doll factory in Child’s Play 2. Chucky gets his hand ripped off, and using the dagger and some duct tape, he makes himself a blade hand. Naturally, NECA included a swap out arm with the blade attached! You gotta hand it to them, eh? “I hate kids!” Me too, Chucky. Me too!

Also included in the mix of knives is the VooDoo knife. This fearsome blade features VooDoo symbols on the hilt and blade. It’s good for VooDoo rituals, stabbings, but can it cut through a can and then slice through a ripe tomato like butter? It would have been cool to also get the VooDoo Doll he used on Dr. Death, but there are so many goodies in the box already, it’s hard to nitpick what’s not.

I mean, holy crap you even get the yardstick he beats the teacher to death with while she finger-paints on the desk with her own blood! “You’ve been very naughty, Miss Kettlewell!” And just look at! All the units of measurements are drawn on it in teeny tiny little numbers, and it even has The Good Guys logo!

What’s that? You want MORE? How about a baseball bat? Or the Good Guys claw hammer? Or the gun he used to take Mattson hostage in Childs Play 2, albeit ever so briefly. They’re all here! I do wish that he came with a hand that held the gun better. I can make it work, but it’s a little iffy.

Lastly, but easily one of the coolest accessories, is a scaled cardboard replica of the Good Guys box to put Chucky in! I almost missed it in the box, as it’s flattened out. It’s so damn cool, and the figure looks great displayed in it. It’s accurate right down to the tiny Play Partners Toys logo in the bottom corner.

Egads, this is an incredibly fun figure! There’s so much great stuff here to play with, and I’ve been tempted to pick up another if I come across it, just to display one in the Good Guys box. I remember having some trepidation over whether this figure was going to be worth it, as it’s so small and released all by itself, but those concerns vanished after just a short while of playing around with him. I think the three extra heads and assortment of accessories more than make up for the asking price, even if Chucky is rather small. I’ve still got quite a few horror flicks scheduled to watch this month, but I may just have to slip Childs Play and Childs Play 2 into that mix somewhere. It’s been too long, and playing with this figure has made me want to revisit them again!

Vampirella One-Twelfth Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

The FFZ Horror Train continues to chug along to its final destination… Halloween 2021! A while ago I took a look at TBLeague’s Sixth-Scale Vampirella, and today I’m having my first look at the same figure only now in 1/12 Scale! How do they shrink those beautiful figures down to this size? Let’s find out…

The figure comes in a plastic case, and while I think it may have had an illustrated sleeve over it, mine didn’t come with one, which is probably why I got such a good deal on it. At least there are illustrations on the sides. The figure lies inside this plastic coffin, nestled between foam trays. These roughly 6-inch figures still utilize stainless steel skeletons with silicone seamless bodies grafted on top of them. The idea is you get all the benefits of the larger seamless figures, only in a much smaller package. I’ll admit, I’m a bit skeptical, so let’s see what she’s all about. As with the full size TBLeague figures, Vampirella comes with her head detached. You also have to put on her wrist cuffs, as well as a bicep and thigh cuff. I put both on her right side, but I may move one of these to the left to balance her out more. Once that’s all done, she’s ready to go!

And I have to say, Wow! She really does look like the folks at TBLeague hired a witch doctor to shrink down the original figure. And I’m not just saying that to keep the Halloween mood alive! The only visible seams on the figure are in the wrists and the neck, and the wrist cuffs do a pretty good job of concealing the seams where the hands attach. At least most of the time. The thigh and bicep cuff stay put due to friction. The body’s realism is just as impressive as it is in the larger figures. I particularly love the look of the knees and the abs… Yes, I like the other areas too! The articulation also feels almost exactly the same as the larger figure, with all those extra subtle points that you just can’t get in a regular jointed figure. And the balance! Even with her high heels, I did not have to use a figure stand or any kind of support for any of the poses I put her in.

Of course, Vampirella’s revealing outfit was practically designed to show off the seamless body, as it doesn’t leave a lot for the imagination. The red one-piece is made of a thin vinyl-like material, which I think works better than the cloth they used for the original Sixth-Scale figure. It stays in place most of the time, but every now and then I had to deal with a nip slip. The high-heeled boots connect to the ankles like feet and make for a snug fit all the way up to just below her knees. These have a glossy black finish and are neatly stitched up the backs. The collar is plastic, which I think was a great decision for this scale. I don’t think the same cloth collar that the bigger figure had would hold its shape in this size. She has a golden Drakulon bat symbol emblazoned right in front of her Halloween Hoo-Hoo!

The portrait takes a bit of a hit in this scale, but I still think it’s got a lot going for it. The paint for the eyes and lips is impeccable, and the even included the golden hoop earrings. The hair is still rooted, and it can get a bit wild. I will likely take some hair gel to mine at some point to keep it flatter and more under control. Really, my only issue with this head is the blank expression makes it look rather doll like. This was a factor in their early Sixth-Scale figures, and they’ve gotten a lot better, so I expect to see improvements in this scale as well. A second, more expressive, portrait would have been nice, especially with her showing some fangs, but this isn’t something TBLeague does with their bigger figures, so no real reason to expect it here.

Vampirella comes with an optional cape, which is pretty easy to attach. You just pop the head, pop the collar, put the neck hole of the cape on, and replace the collar and head. I’m pretty amazed at how well they pulled off the cape at this scale. It’s very soft and has some nice weight to it, so it falls about the figure naturally. That’s no small feat with a 6-inch figure, which is probably why so many companies go with sculpted plastic capes for their figures. The exterior of the garment is black and it has a red inner lining with black borders. The stitching here is excellent and it looks great on her. My only concern with the cape is the red dye imprinting on the figure’s skin if left on for too long. OK, let’s see what else she comes with!

I should note that all of this figure’s accessories are smaller versions of what came with the Sixth-Scale figure, so there are no surprises here, and that she also comes with the same three sets of hands: Relaxed, Graspy, and Accessory Holding. The hands are very easy to swap, and they all have meticulously painted fingernails. So first off, you get her little bat friend, no doubt the Drakulon equivalent of a parakeet! This is a beautiful sculpt for such a tiny plastic critter. It has a ring down by its feet, which you can slip onto one of the fingers of her relaxed hands and have it perch there.

Next up, you get a nasty old rotting skull. I seem to recall the skull that came with the larger figure had fangs, whereas this one does not. Like the bat, it’s a fantastic sculpt for its size, and the paintwork on it is equally impressive. It has holes sculpted in the top of it, so she can hold it from the top with her graspy hands, which works a lot better than I expected it too.

The final accessory is this beautiful little dagger. Once again, the detail on such a small accessory is quite impressive, as is the paintwork. The grip is segmented, the pommel is painted silver, and there’s a tiny metallic green stone in the middle of the guard. The blade has a nice finish, and features a bit of a jagged profile. It’s got a nice point to it, so a modicum of care is recommended when handling it around the figure’s silicone skin. You don’t want any accidents!

In addition to all the accessories, Vamps comes with a display base, hidden away in the box under all that foam. This is a heavy piece and feels like polystone. The muddy ground has a slot to attach the grave marker, which is inscribed DEAD IN TOMBSTONE, which makes me think there were some English translation issues going on there. There are some bones scattered about the ground, as well as a pile of skulls. There no stand or foot pegs to attach the figure to the base, which is a common complaint when TBLeague includes these awesome bases. In this case, however, there’s a narrow space just in front of the skull pile where you can insert one of Vampirella’s feet and it will hold it pretty well. I’m not sure if that was intended, but it works great! She can also sit on the skulls and contemplate the meaning of the grave stone.

When all is said and done this figure is amazing! She’s great all on her own, but when I consider her as a miniature version of the larger figure, she becomes all the more impressive. And being half the size of the Sixth-Scale figures, she clocks in at about half the price, well actually a little less. I paid almost $70 for this little lady, and I seem to recall the bigger version setting me back $150. And so, as my first foray into TBLeague’s 1/12 Scale figures, Vampirella has won me over! That doesn’t mean I’m going to start collecting a bunch of these, as they are all smaller versions of the Sixth-Scale figures that I prefer. Still, I have since picked up a couple more in this scale, and it’s possible one more might make her way onto the schedule for Halloween Horror Month.

Puppet Master: Ultimate Blade and Torch by NECA

FFZ Halloween Horror Month continues, and nobody is more surprised than me that I’ve been able to stick to it this long. But we’re only at the halfway mark and I’ve still got lots of spooky plastic to look at. Today I’m covering the second two-pack in NECA’s Ultimate Puppet Master figures with Blade and Torch.

I said my piece about the packaging last time, so I won’t dwell on it here. For the record, the last film in this series that I saw was Puppet Master 3, released in 1991. I thought I’d check in to see if I missed any and HOLY SHIT THEY’VE DONE LIKE TEN OF THESE GODDAMN MOVIES??? I was not expecting that! And that’s not counting a cross-over with Demonic Toys. Crap, where the hell have I been? I loved the first three, but even then the concept was getting a bit thin. I can’t imagine how bad it gets by the tenth movie. My Halloween horror movie schedule is all booked up for the month, but at some point I’ll check out some more of these. But I digress, let’s start with Torch!

Last time, I mentioned what a wonderful collection of designs they came up with for these demon puppets, and Torch is a shining example of that. I love everything about this little guy! He’s got a tan trench coat that looks like he should be reviewing troops on a muddy battlefield and a glimpse of blue trousers, which disappear into his high boots. His left hand is clad in a black glove, while his right arm terminates in a flamethrower nozzle. I really dig the texture they gave to the coat, and it still amazes me that they were able to pack so much great articulation into such a little figure. Heck, this guy has double rotating hinges in the elbows!

But the real star of this figure is undoubtedly the head sculpt. It’s like someone took a boiler plate and reforged it into a combination Prussian Helmet and Darth Vader mask. The top portion of the helmet has a blackened finish while the lower jaw is silver. There are individually painted silver rivets around the nose and lower edge, and he’s got freaking bullets for teeth. BULLETS FOR TEETH!!! The narrow slits that pass for eyes are painted to show flames burning inside the helmet.

Compared to the last two figures, Torch is rather light on the accessories. Indeed, he only comes with one flame effect part. But that’s fine, because Torch is kind of a one-trick pony and it allows him to do what he does best. The flame part tabs right into the nozzle at the end of his arm and it looks pretty good. He can also stand surprisingly well with it in place. Let’s move on to Blade!

If I recall correctly, Blade was kind of the leader of the bunch, and he features another really cool design. Clad in a black Gestapo-style trench coat and black fedora, he’s instantly menacing. His super thin frame adds to his creepiness and reinforces the fact that he’s just a puppet. He certainly looks more like a marionette than any of the others. And don’t offer to shake hands with him, because he hasn’t got any. His right arm terminates into a blade and his left arm into a fearsome hook. Blade takes a hit in the articulation, but he’s still pretty poseable. He is not, however, easy to keep standing.

The head sculpt is fantastic. It’s like a skull with lips, being vaguely cute and horrific at the same time. The large eyeholes have little blades sticking out of them, and he has stringy gray hair cascading down from under his fedora. The white face contrasts with the all black outfit nicely and I just couldn’t imagine that creepy grin being the last thing I saw.

You get a second head as well, which is just blood splattered and has the mouth closed all the way.

Blade only comes with one additional extra and that’s a blood splattered blade to swap out with his clean one. These two definitely got the short and of the stick when it comes to accessories, but I honestly can’t think of anything they could have added. Maybe a blood splattered hook too? Either way, it’s not like Blade can hold anything!

While I definitely dig Tunneler and Pinhead, I have to give the nod to this pair as my favorite of the two sets. Yeah, that’s mainly because Pinhead’s design is kind of boring compared to all these other guys. But even so, these are all really solid figures and I’m glad that NECA acquired the license and that I talked myself into getting them.

And while last time I lamented the fact that they weren’t bigger, I’m kind of digging the fact that their small size means they are releasing in two-packs. There are still some great puppets to be made, and I do hope that these are selling well enough for NECA to continue the line, because I’m all in! Don’t bother with the Dollman and Demonic Toys flicks though. I’ve never been able to make it through any of those movies.

Puppet Master: Ultimate Tunneler and Pinhead by NECA

Welcome back to FFZ’s Halloween Horror Month extravaganza with the sixth installment of plastic spookiness. Today I’m having a look at NECA’s recent series of murdering marionettes! I wish I could convey to you younger folks what it was like in the late 80’s to have crippling insomnia and Premium Cable TV. Well, actually, Cable TV was probably pretty lame compared to the awesome power of the Internet. But back then it was pretty new to me, and I still get nostalgic about sitting up late at night and watching the horror schlock cheesefest that was Cinemax until my insomnia would finally give up and let me go to sleep. Puppet Master was one of those series, and teenage me thought it was glorious! Needless to say, I was pretty excited when I saw NECA was doing these figures!

Evil comes in all sizes! It says so right on the package! This seemingly fully enclosed box looks similar to most NECA Ultimate figure packaging, but it actually opens in the middle to reveal not one but TWO windows showing the figures inside. It’s a nice homage to Andre Toulon’s carry case in the film. The scale here is a little wonky, as they are not 7-inch figures, nor are they really scaled for 7-inch figures. I think these would more be in line with Sixth-Scale, which makes them rather small, but not too small in my opinion. Let’s open them up and check them out, and I’ll start with Pinhead. We have such sights to show you! No, not THAT Pinhead!

This Pinhead! Pinhead is a fun design, but he is easily my least favorite of all of Toulon’s puppets. I mean, look at some of the other cool designs and then you’ve got this guy, which is essentially an oddly proportioned brute with a tiny head. Sorry, man. Someone has to come out on the bottom and you’re it. Still, NECA did a wonderful job with the sculpt and making the articulation work. Pinhead’s oversized upper body consists of a dirty brown turtleneck pullover, and his atrophied lower half is clad in blue trousers. His giant fists have fingerless gloves, sculpted to look like knitted material. Everything here looks great!

The head is so tiny, it almost needs to be seen in person to be believed. His knobby acorn of a noggin still manages to capture the look of his onscreen counterpart pretty well. I especially love how they gave him articulation at the top and bottom of the turtleneck.

As you might imagine, Pinhead is not a well-balanced figure and getting him to stand can be a bit of a frustrating chore. I don’t think I actually started crying until the seventeenth time he toppled over before I could snap the picture. Of course, that’s more a fault of the design than the figure. Still, his tiny feet are not equipped with any peg holes, so if you want this fella standing upright, you’d best use some kind of Figuarts-type stand. The articulation consists of lots of rotating hinges, and he is lots of fun to play around with.

Pinhead comes with two sets of hands, which includes a pair of fists and a pair of accessory holding hands. The left is designed to hold his poker, and the right holds his wrench. I remember his kill in the original movie with the poker, but I don’t recall the wrench. It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve seen it, and I might have to toss it into my October Viewing Schedule in order to remedy that. Both accessories are satisfyingly chunky and well done. I like that they painted the shaft and head of the poker different colors, and the weathered finish on the wrench looks great. OK… moving on to Tunneler!

Now this is one of the more creative designs I was talking about! I love Tunneler! He looks like a little toy soldier with a giant drill on the top of his head. The uniform looks a little more WWI than WWII to me, but the detail is great, including the painted gold stripes on the cuffs and breast pocket, the tiny individual buttons, the cinched belt, and the tiny medal pinned to the left side of his chest. Like Pinhead, we get a lot of rotating hinges here, and he’s a lot more of a balanced figure than his cohort.

You get two heads for Tunneler, and the only real differences are that his eyes are squinting in the second one, and his drill is all bloody. I think I recall this puppet having blinking eyes in the film, so this head makes for a nice detail to give to what would have otherwise just been a bloody variant. And YES! The drill bit does spin! Tunneler had one of my favorite kills in the first movie, where the chick is looking under the bed and he just comes charging at her head.

Tunneler comes with a bunch of cool stuff, including an extra right hand to help him hold some of it. First off, you get this adorable, tiny sub-machine gun. I don’t remember it in the movie, but I love it.

Next up, he comes with this little pick-axe.

And how about a pair of fishhooks, attached with a piece of string! Yeah, he got a lot of cool stuff, considering he already has a drill on his head. But that’s OK, because despite the last item being in his tray, I gave it to Pinhead!

It’s a bottle of the Elixir, which if I remember correctly was what gave the puppets life. Tunneler’s hands are too small to hold this, but Pinhead can hold it really well in his right hand. Maybe it was meant for him, but it just wouldn’t fit in his tray?

OK, now cards on the table, I do wish NECA had made these as 7-inch figures. Yeah, I already discussed this, they aren’t really 7-inch scale, so why not just make them bigger? I guess, it allowed them to do them as two-packs, and that’s fair enough. Honestly, the scale doesn’t hurt them at all, but I would have preferred them to be bigger. That having been said, I absolutely love how they turned out, and if you come back on Friday, I’ll have a look at Torch and Blade!

Universal Monsters: Ultimate Frankenstein’s Monster by NECA

My sincerest apologies to those of you who aren’t into horror, but I’ll be back to comic characters and transforming robots and all the other stuff in just a few weeks. For now, it’s the second week of my Halloween Horror Month and I ain’t done with The Universal Monsters just yet. After a week of looking at Jada’s efforts, it’s time to switch gears and check out NECA’s own version of Frankenstein’s Monster! And I’ll go ahead and do some comparisons throughout.

If you’re familiar with NECA’s Ultimates line, then the packaging here should be instantly familiar. Frank comes in what appears to be a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a front flap secured with a little velcro. Opening it reveals a peek at the figure inside. While I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not Jada was up and up on all their likeness rights, there is no doubt at all, that NECA is offering the real deal here! You get a beautiful recreation of the movie poster on the front and they rightfully dub him The Monster in the bottom left corner. This figure was released in both Color and Black & White versions, and I’ll be looking at the Color Edition here today!

IT’S ALIVE!! ALIVE!!!! Well, he looks so damn good, he might as well be! Let’s be honest, NECA has their share of problems, but when the stars align just right, and the QC holds up and the joints don’t bust, you can count on them to produce an amazing looking action figure. And to be fair, I’ve had precious few issues with NECA’s stuff over the decades, and absolutely none with this figure here. Frank looks amazing, from the top of his flat head to the bottoms of his platform monster boots. If I’m being honest, I fell in love with this figure the moment I got him out of the box, and I’ve had a big dumb smile on my face the whole time.

As always, realism is the order of the day, and Frank’s suit fits the bill! It actually has less textured detail than Jada’s, but manages to look more convincing with it’s smoother finish. The jacket is cast in soft plastic with the sleeves sculpted as part of the arms. The jacket is fastened at the top two buttons, showing off the top of his black undershirt, and parting down below his trousers. You get some rumpling in the sleeves, and a lot more down in the trouser legs. The suit has mostly a matte finish, but there’s some gloss splashed here and there to give him a bit of a wet look in some areas. The coloring on the trousers and coat also match quite closely here. The sleeves are short, exposing part of his forearms and they have all the detail that I lamented was lacking in Jada’s release, including staples and sutures.

You get three heads here, and each and every one of them is a winner. The standard head is just Frank being Frank. His eyes are partially rolled up into his head, and he’s generally expressionless. Here is all the Karloff likeness that I couldn’t find in Jada’s figure, and I’m still not sure that’s what they were going for anyway. Whatever the case, this is a strikingly gorgeous sculpt with some absolutely amazing paintwork. Let’s talk about skin color! I’m no Frankenstein expert, but I do know that the makeup was tinted green, and as I understand it, that was to make it look gray and dead on B&W film. As such, NECA went with an approximation of what that would look like in color. It’s more yellow than gray, but the jaundiced hue works for me very well indeed. I also love the glossy red they used for his forehead wound.

The next head is kind of derpy and I mean that in every positive way, because I LOVE derpy Frank! Yes, this is actually designed to replicate his cheeky growl, and it’s a mighty fine effort, but frozen like this it takes on a whole different meaning. NECA’s wizards manage to keep the likeness there, and the mouth is just some fantastic sculpting!

And finally, you get grimacing Frank, and again I think this one is up for interpretation. I think they were going for angry or scared, but I think it looks more like a big dumb smile, which I really adore because it reflects the misunderstood tragedy of the character. This is also some wonderful execution, and again the depth and realism in the mouth is striking. I don’t think it’s like has been equaled at this scale by many other figure sculptors. Take it as you see it, but like the previous one, I think this head works for a couple different possibilities.

In terms of articulation, NECA’s Frank takes a step back from Jada’s, favoring rotating hinges in the elbows and knees, as opposed to double-hinges. In this case, I don’t mind. As I stated in the other review, I don’t need super-articulation out of my Monster figure, and this guy is capable of whatever pose I wanted to do with him. I will say that the elbow joints look a bit unnatural in some poses, but I guess those double hinges aren’t always attractive either. In the end it’s all compromise, but I’m happy with what we got here. The figure also comes with three sets of hands to change up for different poses. He has a relaxed pair, a grasping pair, and a pair to interact with his flowers.

Yes, flowers! Frank doesn’t come with a whole lot of accessories, but he does come with a trio of flowers to recreat the famous scene. The flowers are sculpted in two pieces, one pair and one individual and he can hold them quite well in his special hands. These are perhaps not the most exciting accessories, but I think they were essential part of the character’s true nature, when people weren’t antagonizing him.

You also get a set of manacles, as opposed to the two sets that came with Jada’s figure. These feature a shorter chain, and the cuffs do not open so you have to pop off the hands to put them on. Still, they look better and feel more substantial.

By every assessment, this is an excellent figure, and for fans of the original film, I think it’s a must own. Jada’s figure still has it’s merits, and I’m happy to have it in my collection, but it’s an entirely different take and comparing the two is like apples and oranges. For a while, I was actually going to pass on this release, since I’m trying to limit my acquisitions these days rather than expand into new areas, but once I saw that the line would be expanding, I jumped on board. I think you’d probably have to look to Mezco’s One:12 release to find a suitable rival, and considering the vast price difference, I think this one wins the day.

Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein by Jada

Welcome back to the Toy Crypt and my fourth installment of FFZ’s Halloween Horror Month! Today I’m wrapping up my look at Jada’s assortment of 6-inch Universal Monsters figures. So far, we’ve checked out Dracula, The Gillman, and Frankenstein’s Monster, and now it’s finally time for a lady monster… Here comes The Bride!

The Bride of Frankenstein is such a delightfully weird film. It can turn on a dime from innocents being murdered to Una O’Connor’s wacky antics as Minnie. It casually drops Dr. Pretorius’ ability to grow miniature humans in jars, which seems a lot more advanced than his desire to recreate a single full-grown human by stitching bodies together. Besides the fact that I never know whether that whole scene is supposed to invoke shock and horror or is it being played for laughs. And, of course, the film relegates the instantly iconic Elsa Lanchester’s role as the titular Bride to about five minutes of screen time. Absolutely criminal! I do enjoy watching this film, but it’s without a doubt the strangest among these four classic monster flicks.

And yet The Bride is indeed so damn iconic, and I’m pleased to say that Jada did a fine job bringing her to this collection. And with soft goods no less! Yes, The Bride comes donning a long white dress, which is expertly tailored and looks great on the figure. There’s plenty of room for her to move her legs, and it’s sleeveless so as not to impede her arms either. When worn, you can see her bandaged arms and feet, and really nothing else, so let’s take it off and see what’s going on under there!

The dress secures in the back with a velcro strip, so taking it off is pretty easy. With the dress gone, The Bride is bandaged from neck to toe. It’s cool to see that Jada didn’t cheap out on what’s underneath. Every inch of her bandaged bod includes the sculpted detail of the wrappings, all realistically textured and even given a paint wash to bring out all those details. Sans dress, you can also get a better idea of what’s going on with the articulation. Yup, it’s mostly more of the same, although Jada did take a page out of Hasbro’s book by nixing the double-hinged elbows for their lady figure and replacing them with rotating hinges. As a result, The Bride has a lot less range of motion in the elbows than the others.

The standard portrait is pretty damn good. At least, I think the likeness is a lot closer to the mark to Lanchester than Frankenstein was to Karloff. However, I think I recall The Bride having visible scars and stitching running up in front of and behind her ears, which isn’t present here. There is a seam that sort of works as a stand in, but it’s an odd detail to omit. The eyes appear to be halftone printed and the lips and eyebrows are pretty sharp. Of course, the iconic hair is recreated quite well too. All in all, very nice.

The alternate portrait is her screaming at the sight of her Groom to Be, and while I think this one loses something in the likeness, I don’t think it’s all that bad. The open mouth looks good, but the teeth really needed some added detail. I’m not sure I’ll end up displaying this head on the figure a lot.

In terms of accessories, The Bride comes with an extra pair of hands, which look to be copying one of the more common production stills, which has her posing with her left arm straight across her chest and her right arm drawing up to her left shoulder. Unfortunately, because of those elbows, she really can’t recreate that pose so well. She also includes the pylons that were on either side of her when she emerged from the operating table. These are pretty simple and have a chain and a strand of wrapping attached to the top of each.

I think The Bride may be my second favorite figure in this assortment, right behind The Gillman. The soft goods dress is a big hit, and I love that Jada still gave her a full body sculpt underneath. The only other figure I’ve ever owned of The Bride was the retro-style 3 3/4-inch ReAction figure, and this is certainly a huge step up and a nice way to round out this Quartet of Classic Horror.

Considering all I knew Jada for was their lines of mediocre painted miniatures, I think they did a damn fine job on this run of 6-inch figures. They don’t feel like an early effort, but rather like they came out of the gate swinging. I haven’t heard a huge amount of buzz around these, and I’m hoping that they do well from word of mouth, because I would very much like to see a second wave with The Mummy and The Wolfman, and whoever else they want to scare up!

Universal Monsters: Frankenstein by Jada

Welcome to my third entry in FFZ’s generically named Halloween Horror Month! If you can’t tell, I’m running through all four figures in the first wave of Jada’s new Universal Monsters series, and number three on the list is Frankenstein’s Monster! I’m a big fan of the original film. It’s so atmospheric and fun to watch, although I’ll confess I’m an even bigger fan of the Hammer Horror flicks featuring the always amazing Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein. I’m actually working my way through all of those again this October and loving every second of it!

Now let me be Frank with you… HA! Does it bother me that they called him Frankenstein on the box? Nah. I’ve got no more strength in me for that fight. The last time I heard myself say “Um… actually…” I wanted to punch myself in the face. Let it go, people. Let it go! I will, however, point out that this guy has some fierce competition on the shelves, as NECA has already got their own version of The Monster out and about and in my clutching mitts. And yes, he’ll probably be the first figure I review after I’m done with Jada’s line this week. Let’s face it, NECA is going to own at least 75% of this month!

First off, I think they did a great job on his overall stature. Frank is a big boi and the heft and size of this figure conveys that very well. He’s not overly big, not too small… He’s just right. And true to the film, some of his height comes from his giant platform kicks. His suave monster suit consists of a black shirt, dark gray jacket, and brown trousers, all of which is textured with a cross-thatch pattern to make it resemble cloth. The trousers have all the usual rumples, and a wash to bring out some of the detail. The jacket is the usual soft plastic vest with sleeves sculpted as the arms, and the illusion works, as there aren’t any major gaps in the arm holes. You get sculpted pockets, lapels, and buttons, and some green slime painted on his right arm. I like that the sleeves are too short, but would have liked a little more gross detail on his exposed forearms.

You get two heads, the first of which is a pretty solid sculpt, even if it isn’t a great likeness for Karloff in the makeup. I’m actually not sure if Jada actually got the license to do Karloff or not, but there’s enough attempts at similarity here that I’m going to assume they did. The indent in the bottom lip, for example, is definitely from Karloff’s Monster, but it’s way too exaggerated here, and the overall facial structure just isn’t quite there. That’s not to say it isn’t a decent looking portrait for a more generic take on The Monster. And to be fair, if you aren’t very familiar with the film, or have a picture to compare, you might not notice the discrepancies. The paint is pretty good, especially the shading. They used halftone printing for the eyes, which as usual looks great in hand, but breaks down as you get in real close. I like the silver paint applied to the bolts and the staples, as well as the red for the forehead gash. Still, I don’t need a crystal ball to tell me that the portrait is going to be a big part of what separates this figure from NECA’s effort.

And then you’ve got this head, and I don’t like this one at all. I know the look they were going for, but I don’t think they got there. Indeed, the drop in quality on this head is so noticeable that it feels like it should go to a different figure. Beyond the expression just not working, the paint here is high gloss, giving him a shiny finish, which makes him look like he’s got a flop sweat going. The eye paint is also terrible, and the white for the teeth is sprayed all over his lower lip. I don’t know what happened here, but if the grave robbers I hired brought me this head, I would have sent it back. It’s just terrible.

The articulation here is right in line with the previous figures, so I won’t run through it all here. Suffice it to say, The Monster has a lot more range of motion than a lumbering brute like himself should really need. With double hinges in both the elbows and knees, and the ability to get those wide stances makes him fun to play with. And even with those platform boots, he has good balance and is easy to stand. Frank also comes with a pair of grasping hands, which are probably what I will display him with the most.

In addition to the extra hands and a terrible second head, The Monster comes with two sets of chains and manacles. These are really well done, as each of the manacles is hinged and can be opened and closed, so you don’t have to pop the hands off to put them on.

Despite a total failure on the alternate head, I think this figure turned out fine. I don’t think he’s as amazing as The Gillman, but I’d put him on par with Dracula for sure. Little attentions to detail and texturing on the body go a long way in making this one feel like a labor of love. Even the pair of manacles are well thought out and well executed accessories. So far, Jada’s Monsters have been hitting home, and I’ve got just one more to look at, so come back Friday for a look at The Bride!!!

Universal Monsters: The Creature From The Black Lagoon by Jada

If you came here looking for Marvel Monday, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a month. I’m at the dawn of my first, and possibly only, Halloween Horror Month, in which I challenge myself to review only Horror figures straight up until Halloween. Last time I started digging into Jada’s new Universal Monsters lineup, and today I’m continuing with a look at The Gillman!

No, they don’t actually call him that on the package, but I think that’s always been his unofficial name. I’ve always had a soft spot for this creature and the movie itself. When I was a kid one of the networks used to show it in 3D every now and then. Actually, it might have been Revenge of the Creature. I’m not sure. Iw as only like 10 years old. It was a big damn deal, and you had to go get your 3D Glasses from a participating retailer. The 3D was pretty janky, but the underwater bits looked cool, and it made the whole thing a special event. My Dad used to make popcorn for it, and the whole family would watch. Good times! I’ve wanted a figure of this guy in my collection for quite a while now, so I’m pretty excited. I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging, so let’s dive right in!

The first thing I noticed about this figure was just how detailed the body is. He’s got various overlapping plates, as well as some lovely texturing for the scales. Add to that the sculpted ridge-like fins that appear on his back and the backs of his legs and arms, and it shows that Jada not only did their homework on this creature’s anatomy, but they invested in all the little details for the sculpt. If Dracula got away without a whole lot of sculpted detail in his suit, I can see where it all went here! I also really dig the lanky proportions of the Creature and the way he is clearly humanoid, but not quite human. There’s also some excellent detail in his webbed hands and splayed out flat feet.

And then there’s the coloring… oh, the coloring! This figure showcases how dynamic coloring can really make a figure shine. Not only is there a general mix of a light lime green with some darker shades, but he’s even got some gradient striping on his arms and legs. His finger and toenails are painted with a beige bone-like hue, and the entire figure has a wash to bring out some more of that lovely sculpt. I admitted last time, that I’m not that familiar with Jada’s work, but I certainly did not to expect this level of paintwork on one of their figures. I can’t think of too many of their competitors that could have done a better job at this price point.

You get two different heads for our fishy friend, one with a closed mouth and one with it open. They’re both OK, but I definitely prefer the open mouth head to the closed one. There’s something going on with the eyes and lips in the first portrait that looks off, whereas I think the second is just all around solid. It’s also the way I would prefer to display the figure anyway. Everything I said about the body rings true for the heads in terms of paint and sculpting. There’s a lot going on in the back of the head too.

I got a couple emails about how I didn’t run down the articulation for the Dracula figure, and it’s a good point. With reviewing so many figures from the same lines over and over again, I tend to take articulation for granted sometimes. Well, Gillman’s got it all going on. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and he’s got swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed up in the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint hidden under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. The sculpt does a good job of hiding some of these joints, and about the only nitpick I have here is that I wish he could look up for some of those swimming poses.

Gillman comes with a few extras, including two hands. Well, only one hand that can be swapped out on the figure, and that’s a grabby left hand. The other hand is the fossil from the film. It’s a cool bonus, I guess, but I would have probably rather had a second grabby hand.

Next up, you get a harpoon gun, which feels like an accessory for another figure, but since we ain’t getting no Mark Williams figure, I guess they threw it in here. Maybe they were hard up on what else to include in the box. Really, getting two accessories that The Creature isn’t really meant to interact with feels odd.

And finally, you get a net, which is a much better choice. It’s made out of string and it’s big enough to cover poor Gillman. I hate this part of the film. I felt so bad for the fishy bastard.

So far, Jada’s Universal Monsters are doing just fine. Dracula was solid, if not exceptional, but The Gillman here is nothing but exceptional. It may be that I was well past ready to have The Creature figure in my collection, but really I just think that Jada did a fine job on this release. The coloring and sculpt are excellent, the articulation and quality control are beyond reproach, and while I nitpicked a couple of the accessories, they certainly aren’t bad. And now that I’ve gone and tossed a B&W filter over him, I’m ready to see Jada roll out that B&W edition as some kind of exclusive. Gillman seems to be the hardest figure to find in this assortment. I had to hunt a bit. But he seems to be turning up for pre-order now at all the usual places.

Universal Monsters: Dracula by Jada

It’s October! And this year I’m going to make that mean something here at FFZ! Typically, I’m lucky if I can scrape up just one or two Horror themed reviews for Halloween, but this year, I’m going all in, putting Marvel Mondays on hold, and going All-Horror, All-The-Time for the rest of the month! I can’t over emphasize just how important horror cinema was to me growing up, and while I haven’t been the best of horror fans lately, I try to take the opportunity in October to go back and enjoy this rich and wonderful genre. Today, I’m beginning Halloween Horror Month with a look at one of Jada’s brand new 6-inch Scale Universal Monsters figures… It’s Dracula!

Surely the king of the Universal Monster family, or at least he’s the one with the most brains, this is old school Dracula through and through. The packaging is pretty standard stuff for the scale these days. You get a window that shows off the goods and wraps to the side panel and another up top to let some light in, just hopefully not sunlight, because Dracula don’t like that. Drac’s name is down below in a stylized font, while the line’s name up top is just kinda boring. The right side panel has a cool piece of character art, while the left just has some artsy-headshots of the characters. Moving on to the back we get a huge section of multi-lingual copy and a “Collect Them All” style spread of the four figures available in the line. And yes, the plan is to look at all of them this month!

Out of the box, Dracula is looking pretty solid and very iconic. He’s all dressed up, making him a very dapper Prince of Darkness. From the waist down, there’s not a lot of detail going on, although I do appreciate the use of high-gloss black for his well-polished shoes. The upper half consists of a black jacket, gray vest, white shirt, red cravat, and a gray bow tie. He has a medallion sculpted on his chest, which would look a lot nicer if they hadn’t flubbed half the paint. As a result, the bottom half is gold and the top half is white. Come on, guys. It’s dead center on the figure and immediately draws the eye. YOU HAVE TO DO BETTER! Oddly enough, just below that, the tiny individual buttons on his vest are immaculately painted, and overall the other paint lines look pretty clean and tight. All in all, I think the sculpting on the body is solid, if not exceptional.

The cape is softgoods, which was really the way to go here. It falls about the figure pretty well and is attached with two pins in the back, and an elastic strap across his neck. The outside is black and the inside lining is red, and it features his rather iconic high collar. The stitching running down the sides is a little obvious, but otherwise, I think they did a good job here. It’s designed to easy fold over his shoulders to get out of the way of his arms. It would have been cool to have some way to attach it to his wrists, for posing with his arms outstretched, but otherwise, I got no complaints.

You get two heads, one is a bit passive and the other is FEEDING TIME! They’re both decent, but I like the passive one better. Both heads look great in hand, but when I get in close I can see some splotchy paint. It’s actually kind of charming, as it looks a bit like they caked on a little too much makeup before filming. OK, I guess that’s only charming if you want to think of this as a figure of an actor playing Dracula and not the real thing. The skin has a grayish tone to it, which looks good, and he has some reddish purple shading around the eyes. The hair is sculpted and painted to look slicked back, and he has some sharp, high-arching eyebrows.

The second head shows Drac ready for business. He’s baring his fangs and he’s ready to get some of your sweet, sweet corpuscles. I like this sculpt overall, but I think the teeth could have used a little more detail.

There’s a second set of hands, which go well with the fanged head in an “I’m gonna getcha” kind of way.

In addition to the extra head and hands, Dracula comes with two accessories. You get a bat and a candle. The candle features a rather elaborate holder, which looks like it’s supposed to be some kind of lizard or just an anemic dragon. It can fit into the figure’s right hand quite well, and he looks great holding it.

As for the bat, I don’t think it’s supposed to be Dracula in his alternate form because the feet have rings to attach to Drac’s fingers so you can display him perched there. It’s a cool bonus, but the sculpt is very basic. Plus, if I get in close it kind of looks more like a chocolate bat than a real one.

Jada is not a company I have a lot of experience with, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect here. In over 10 years, I’ve only reviewed one of their products, and that was a set of AD&D Miniatures. Overall, I think this figure is a good effort. Indeed, apart from that one sloppy paint spot, I can’t really find a lot of fault in it. At the same time, there’s just nothing about it that strikes me as extraordinary. It probably doesn’t help that NECA is also currently working on their own set of Universal Monsters figures. I don’t think they’ve shown off Dracula yet, but they have released Frankenstein’s Monster. I’ll be checking out that figure sometime before we get to Halloween, and you can bet I’ll be comparing it to Jada’s own Frankenstein Monster.