Halloween (2018): Ultimate Laurie Strode by NECA

Earlier in the week I checked out NECA’s Ultimate Michael Myers figure, based on his appearance in the most recent film in the Halloween franchise. That release was quite special in its own way, as it marked the long overdue return of the Halloween license to NECA’s loving, and abundantly-skilled, hands. But today’s figure? Oh boy, this one is a release that was against all odds. It’s not only Laurie Strode, but it’s Laura “elderly, survivalist-wack-job, ass-kickin, and unbelievably amazing” Strode. Yeah, it’s a great time to be a horror action figure collector, my friends!

I don’t think it would be accurate to call Jamie Lee Curtis my very first celebrity crush, but she’s gotta rank in rather closely. I cut my teeth on the first two Halloween films at a shockingly young age and I’m not ashamed to admit that JLC sure made me feel all funny down there. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed her films. Fast forward to the 2018 Halloween, and her wonderful character arc just made her all the more appealing. Older, Grittier, and a total badass. One time hot Final Girl blossomed into I-Ain’t-Takin’-No-More-Shit-Granny and she has never been more awesome. We just talked about the Ultimate packaging a few days ago with my Michael Myers review, so I won’t spend any time on it here, other than to say how much I love the art on the front panel. That’s it… let’s just jump right into the figure.

Laurie comes sporting the latest offering from the Survival Chic catalog. I honestly couldn’t even remember much about what she wore in the film, but I’ll happily accept this as screen accurate because I know NECA does their homework and always has an eye for details. She’s got a pair of black trousers with stitch lines running down the sides, and partially tucked into her woodland boots. And I might add the sculpting on the laces and individually painted eyelets just shows you how much love NECA pours into these figures. Whenever I can admire details in an average, everyday costume like this, that’s how I know they are masters at their trade.

Working our way up, she’s got a thin brown belt with a knife sheath on her right hip, a dark blue t-shirt, and a jacket which makes use of the old trick of using sleeveless soft plastic and sculpting the sleeves onto the arms. Like the boots, the jacket sports all sorts of great details, from the sculpted pockets and wrinkles, to the stitch lines and carefully painted silver zipper tracks. She even has a tiny cross hanging from a chain around her neck, both of which are part of the body sculpt. The articulation here is basically the same as we saw with Myers, and yes that does include the double rotating hinges in the elbows. As some of you may know, Hasbro’s elbow articulation gender inequality in their Marvel Legends figures is a big sticking point for me, and it’s nice to see that Laurie here doesn’t take a hit just because she’s a woman.

But the gushing doesn’t stop there, because now we get to the portraits, and wow are these great. I think the likeness is instantly recognizable, although I will say I think it looks better from an angle than when viewed from dead on. If I were to nitpick, I might suggest that it could have used some more age lines, especially since these are very apparent in the art from the box. The film did not play down JLC’s age, and I really respected that about the film and the actress. But when the figure looks this good, why complain?

The secondary head looks more or less identical, with the one exception being the granny glasses. I’d argue that these are some of the best executed glasses I’ve seen in this scale. Now, did I really need a second head to display her with or without glasses? Nah, if the extra head weren’t in there, I wouldn’t have missed it. Did NECA throw it in anyway? You bet your ass they did! They cool like that. What other extras are in the box? Let’s have a look!

NECA bundled enough weapons in here to make their own Ultimate Sarah Connor jealous. She also comes with a right hand that is sculpted with a trigger finger to work with all the guns, and a left hand that is designed to cradle the long arms. The first of the guns is her Smith & Wesson Model 66. This is the one she was using for target practice in the yard. The sculpt is ridiculously well detailed for such a tiny weapon, and includes some really nice silver paint and brown paint on the grips.

Next up, we get one of my all-time favorite rifles, the Winchester Model 1873. This one really appeals to the Western lover in me, and it was great to see it make an appearance in the film and in this figure’s accessory list. Once again, you get some wonderful detail in the sculpt, and the paint includes an authentic finish to both the metal and the wood.

And finally, Laurie comes with her own boomstick, and another iconic beauty, the Mosberg 500 shotgun. This one is easily the simplest sculpt of the three firearms, but it’s still quite accurate and her left hand is sculpted to fit the pump action slider very well.

And just when you think we might be done, Laurie comes with one more weapon, and that’s this little survival knife. It fits into the sheath that hangs off the belt on her right hip and the sheath itself is a magnificent little piece of work. It features a retaining strap for the hilt, sculpted stitching, and teeny-tiny rivets, which are individually painted in silver. The kicker is that this entire thing is only visible if you peel back her jacket flap, which just goes to show you how much love NECA puts into these figures. The knife itself is very small, and Laurie comes with an extra right hand sculpted specifically to hold it with a tight grip. I dig the finish on the blade. It looks like it might be intended to be a Damascus blade.

What more can I say, other than, “HOLY HELL, WE GOT A LAURIE STRODE FIGURE!!!” What other company would take the risk of making a figure like this? I can’t think of many. And all I can say is I hope she sells well enough to justify it. NECA did a beautiful job with this one, and I consider an essential companion figure to the 2018 Michael Myers. What’s more, I’m so happy to see this license back in NECA’s hands and I’m eagerly looking forward to the classic Halloween II version of Myers that’s supposed to be shipping sometime this month. Keep them coming, NECA, and I promise to even buy versions of The Shape from the movies I hated.

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Halloween (2018): Ultimate Michael Myers by NECA

Since I’ve been back to semi-regular content, I’ve been trying to spread the love around to the offerings I collect from various toy companies that are piling up on the floor of my Toy Closet. I’ve also been trying to combine some reviews when possible to help me not be so far behind. This week, I thought a return to NECA was long overdue. I’ve got tons of new NECA figures to look at, so today let’s open up the Ultimate version of Michael Myersfrom the recent 2018 film. I had originally intended this to be a dual review of both Myers and Laurie Strode, but I found that I had a fair amount to say about each of these figures, so I’m breaking it up into two reviews, which will hopefully both post this week.

I’ve been a dedicated fan of NECA’s Ultimate line, so it should come as no surprise that I was beyond excited to get this figure. As always, these Ultimate releases come in what appear to be enclosed boxes, but actually have opening front flaps to show off the figure and accessories inside. The front panel looks fantastic, there are lots of pictures of the goodies inside, and the box is collector friendly. Yup, these are some of the few figures that I keep in their boxes, not only to keep all the accessories together, but also because NECA’s Ultimates look great lined up on bookshelves. And oooh, look at that sticker! There’s a flickering pumpkin inside!!! As for the film? I really enjoyed it. I don’t think it was mind-blowing, or in any way exceptional, but it was refreshing in its simplicity, especially when you consider what a shit-show the Halloween franchise had become. It’s been a long time since I cared about these movies, and I feel that the new one set things back on a positive track. So let’s get this box open and check out The Shape!

I have to imagine that even people who didn’t care for the movie, would still have to concede that Myers never looked better. And as usual, the same can be said of NECA’s version. Granted, from the neck down, this isn’t a terribly complex or flashy sculpt, it’s a just a dude in a boiler suit, but it’s still loaded with details. You get wrinkles and rumples, pockets, stitching, and all that jazz. Exciting? Maybe not, but it sure looks great, right down to the meticulously sculpted work boots.

The high collar of the suit gives way to the iconic mask and this portrait is fabulous. The expressionless visage of the Shatner mask has chiseled creases and wear making it look as frighting as ever. As time wore on, the mask began to take on more detail, which lends itself well to the HD age of film. I also really dig the way the shock of hair is swept back and the mask ends high enough so you can see Myers’ real neck protruding from it. And then you have what might be a sticking point for some classic Halloween fans, and that’s the eyes visible through the holes in the mask. There’s some wonderful depth here that really makes the mask feel like it was layered onto the head and there’s a face sculpt under there. And let’s not forget, this is Myers as he appears in the 2018 film. A film that dared show a glimpse of Myers unmasked.

But, let’s say you don’t like the visible eyes, and you just want a pair of vacant black pools where his peepers should be? That’s right, you get an alternate head to suit your preferences. It’s actually a completely different sculpt, with subtle changes in the mask itself, and the hair is a lot less unruly. And the eyes are actually still in there, they’ve just been painted over to make them harder to see. Normally, I would prefer the blacked out eyes, but to be honest, I think the first mask just looks loads better, and it’s probably the one I will go with for the display. It’s certainly the one I went with for a majority of the pictures in this review.

The articulation here is very good, and it even holds a few surprises in the elbows. NECA is usually content with giving their figures rotating hinges in the shoulders, but Myers here has double-rotating hinges! Yeah, they’ve done this before, and it’s nice to see them doing it again. It allows for a much tighter bend in the elbow, and overall better posing. As for the rest, the shoulders are rotating hinges, and the wrists are ball jointed… or so I thought! They’re actually pegs on tiny ball joints, similar to what we get with a lot of Sixth-Scale figures these days. Not bad! The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. I’m not sure what’s hiding under the rubber boiler suit in the torso, but it does feel like there’s some movement in there. Finally, he has a ball joint in the neck. Let’s move on to the accessories!

First off, Myers comes with a modest assortment of killing tools. These include a bloody hammer, a fireplace implement, and his rather iconic butcher knife. He also comes with extra hands to help him hold each of these. Actually, you get both a right and left accessory holding hand, so he can dual wield if you like. Extra weapons are always nice, but there’s only so much I can say about these. The very iconic butcher knife is my favorite. To me, it’s as much a part of Myers, as Jason Voorhees’ machete is to him, or Leatherface’s chainsaw is to that demented freak. As for the others, the poker is very thin and frail, and I probably won’t be pulling it out much just for fear of snapping it. The hammer is great, and I appreciate the bloody paint apps, but it’s still just a tiny hammer.

Myers also comes with a left hand with two of the fingers blown off. God bless ya, NECA. You really do think of everything!

Also included in the box is the severed head of the police officer from Laurie Strode’s protection detail that Myers decapitates. And wow is this a delightfully gruesome piece of work! I’d dare say that this is one of the most grizzly accessories I’ve seen included with a horror figure. I dig how it’s been hollowed out and carved up like a Jack-O-Lantern, complete with the eyes taken out. Yup, this is pure nightmare fuel cast into plastic and lovingly painted.

Next up is the grave-marker of Judith Myers, which is a nice addition to the little collection of headstones that NECA has been giving to us with some of their Ultimate horror figures. This one is very thin and lightweight, but it looks fine, and will make a nice addition to the display when off-set behind him on the shelf.

And finally, you get the accessory that’s so damn good, they had to call it out on the package with a sticker. At first, I assumed this would be the iconic Jack-O-Lantern from the credits, but in a really nice callback, it’s actually Vicky’s pumpkin with the heart-shaped eyes and nose. You know, the one that wound up in the fishtank! The lighting effect is activated by pushing down ont he top of the pumpkin and it really is superbly done.

Who doesn’t love Halloween in August, eh? Finally seeing Michael Myers done by NECA feels so right and this is yet another Ultimates release that they knocked right out of the park. The sculpt and articulation on the figure itself are both great, and the entire package is elevated by the wonderful accessories. There’s enough here for plenty of fun, as well as some great display options. And to think, when I pre-ordered this figure, I imagined it was going to be the only Myers that we get out of NECA because of licensing issues. Of course, they have since shown off the Halloween II version of The Shape, and that one has me very excited. But hell, even if they couldn’t swing that deal, I still would have been perfectly happy with this figure representing Myers on my Slasher Shelf! And what could possibly be cooler than this? How about a figure of Laurie Strode from the 2018 movie as well? Yup, we got that too, and I hope to be back by the weekend to have a look at that figure!

Savage World (Halloween Resurrection): Michael Meyers by Funko

If you follow me on Twitter, than you know I’m doing a #HalloweenCountdown by featuring some of my past horror-themed figure reviews. I’ve also promised to pepper in some new content for the Countdown and that’s exactly what I’m doing right now with my first look at Funko’s Savage World series of 5 1/2-inch action figures. And since I’m going to check out the new Halloween flick tonight, I thought I’d kick it off with The Shape himself, Michael Meyers!

This wave of Savage World figures answers what is possibly one of the best examples of a question nobody has ever asked: What do you get when you mix the vintage Mattel Masters of the Universe style with 70’s/80’s horror film slashers? This is a concept so bewilderingly weird and yet so intriguing, I simply had to pick up this assortment. The figure comes on a very basic bubble-and-card affair and I’ll note that this version of Michael comes from Halloween: Resurrection. The best thing I can say about that mess is that at least it actually had Jamie Lee Curtis in it. Anyway, this package is most definitely not collector friendly, so let me grab a nice sharp knife and slit it open.

And here he is out of the package and all ‘roided out! The first thing I noticed once this figure was in hand was how solid it is. I was expecting these to feel like some kind of cheap rack toys (because… Funko!), but the plastic quality is actually great. Michael has traded in his jumpsuit for a medival-looking belted tunic. Actually, it looks like the tunic could have been fashioned from his more traditional jumpsuit as it’s still got the outlines of stitched pockets sculpted on the chest and the bottom is ragged enough to look like it was torn in half. The sleeves have also been torn off to display Michael’s impressive guns, and he’s got a pair of sculpted wrist bracers. Below the belt, he’s got some simple leggings with sculpted bands wrapped around his thighs and a pair of buccaneer style boots. The stitching up the back of the boots is a great little touch.

While I think the body is fine, the real high point of this figure is in the head sculpt. Funko did an excellent job recreating the white Shatner mask with great attention to detail. You get some sharp facial contours as well as some spots of wear sculpted into it. The shock of hair and the black voids he has for eyes are also both perfect. I’d almost argue that the head isn’t stylized enough to go with the body. It really is that good!

The articulation here is as basic as it gets. You get swivels in the neck, waist, and shoulders and ball joints in the hips. No one is going to get any great poses out of this guy, but there’s just enough articulation to have a little fun with him.

Meyers come with two accessories, which are two of the same kitchen knives. It’s a pretty iconic weapon for him, so I’m cool with that. What’s not so cool is that his right hand is way too big to hold either one. He can, however hold one in his left hand fairly well.

Surprisingly enough, Savage World Michael Meyers is just what I needed to hold me over until NECA can get their version from the new film onto toy shelves. Sure, this figure is goofy and it doesn’t make any sense, but I can appreciate that being part of what makes him so much fun. Plus, when I eventually get around to opening my Savage World Mortal Kombat figures, I can get some epic crossover battles going! I’m not sure what the official retail on these actually is, but I picked up Meyers here for $12.99. It’s a tad more than I wanted to spend. I think the sweet spot on these would be around ten bucks, but then I’m also pretty surprised at how good the quality is.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 1:6 Scale Leatherface by McFarlane

I wanted to do a few things for Halloween week. I mean, I’m already going to watch a different favorite horror film every night this week and eat half of the bag of bite-sizes Snickers that I bought for the trick-or-treaters, but I aslo wanted to throw out some Halloween themed toy reviews. Unfortunately, I don’t have all that many horror themed figures, which kind of surprised me, since I’m such a fan of the film genre. Once upon a time I had a whole bunch of McFarlane’s horror creations, but not so much these days. So I figured, I’d just do what I can. Let’s go right for the jugular, with the biggest and most impressive horror piece I have left. McFarlane’s giant tribute to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I’ve had this guy for quite a few years now, so the packaging is long gone. I do remember it came in a huge window box, which I probably would have saved. But this figure, or statue if you prefer, usually gets tossed into a storage tote along with my assortment of spook-decor after Halloween is over. I tend to give McFarlane a hard time because they spent a long time trying to pass off semi-articulated statues as action figures, but this 1:6 scale Leatherface is standing proof that McFarlane new how to craft a great looking statue… er, figure… whatever.

The figure itself is simply amazing. All too often, we’re used to seeing these large scale statues turn out to be just soft, hollow rotorcast. Not Leatherface, here. He’s a hundred percent solid plastic. If I threw Leatherface at your head, it would most certainly hurt like a bastard. He’s got all the heft of a nice chainsaw. Although his shirt and apron are actually separate rubbery plastic, which you can feel come away from the core body. Every inch of this sculpt is pure love. The skin mask almost looks like it’s removable, and there are a ton of wrinkles in his shirt, apron and trousers. Even the rings on his fingers are present, and of course, Leatherface is classy enough to wear a necktie along with his mask made out of human skin. It’s just an all around freakishly great likeness. The chainsaw is pretty huge and it is fully removable from Leatherface’s hand. It’s also chock full of detail, especially around the blade and the controls on the handle.

The paint apps are nothing to sneeze at either. Granted, this isn’t a bright and cheery figure, but there’s a ton of excellent detail work. The individual stripes on his shirt are painted on, and the wash on his mask, particularly around the eye holes is fantastic. The dried blood on the chainsaw is just the icing on the gore cake. There could be some slop here and there, but truthfully, this guy is so nasty, how would you even know?

As expected with McFarlane, this figure has just a few points of articulation. His head can turn and he has swivel cuts on each arm. He’s basically designed to be holding the chainsaw aloft in one hand, although you can have it facing outward or turn it back in toward himself. I think I would have preferred him holding it in both hands, or perhaps even above his head like he’s doing his trademark chainsaw dance. But this is still a decent enough stance.

McFarlane also went all out with the backdrop. Leatherface comes with a base that is nicely sculpted and littered with bones and an old rusted skinning knife. There’s a gallows that towers above him, which comes with a couple of hooks and a winch with a real tattered looking piece of twine rope. There’s a nice delapidated wood grain texture on the gallows, and it just adds a ridiculous amount of height to this whole display. Oh yeah, the set also comes with an extra severed arm that you can place whever you like, or just save it for later to snack on.

I seem to recall Leatherface retailing for around $29.99. At least that used to be the price point of these bigger McFarlane pieces. I’m pretty sure I got this guy at Spencer Gifts during one of their post-Halloween sales and I don’t think I paid more than $15 for him. Either way, he’s well worth the money. A lot of work went into bringing this guy to life.

In retrospect, it’s funny I own this and not a big Jason or Freddy Krueger, because Leatherface is my least favorite of the Big Three of slasher horror icons. Of course, that’s probably a compliment, since I can sit back and laugh at Jason and Freddy’s antics, but the Texas Chainsawmovies are just fucked up and uncomfortable to watch. And that’s what true horror should be about. Either way, the reason I hung on to this as long as I had is because it’s just so damn impressive and no doubt an example of some of McFarlane’s finest work, before they turned into a company that now seems content to just churn out sports and Halo figures. Sigh.