Mint In Box Rewind: Movie Maniacs Series 1 – McFarlane Toys
I’m going to preface this article with a little history about my collecting hobby. I’ve been mostly a mint on card collector since I got bit by the collecting bug when the Star Wars: Power of the Force line launched in the 90s.
I like having the option of hanging figures up with the packaging because the figure could can displayed and protected. The packaging for some figures is also awesome to hang up (and that became more of the norm as toy lines progressed). So, you’ll be seeing a lot of articles and reviews of figures on this site from my collection that are still in the package.
I know toys are meant to be out on display and played with but I think of them as little works of art and like displaying them as such (my wife pissed herself laughing the first time she heard me say that). It’s easier for me to display things in the box/package to utilize the space I have. If I know the end of the world is coming then I’ll have a good time before I die because I’ll open up every one of these toys and have a good time. Now, let’s get on to what this article is about: MOVIE MANIACS SERIES 1!
It was really cool in the 90s to see action figures go from things sold for kids to play with to an art form, where sculptors really wanted to encompass a character or actor’s likeness into a figure to the best of their ability. One of the first companies to really blow people away was McFarlane Toys.
Known for creating Spawn, Todd McFarlane became a 90s icon in the comic and toy markets. He acquired licenses such as The Beatles (Yellow Submarine), the NHLPA and MLBPA to create sports figures, Austin Powers, Sin City, The Simpsons, and more. Today his company are pumping out figures from The Walking Dead.
The series that interested me the most was Movie Maniacs. In 1998, McFarlane Toys released the first series featuring Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies, and Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (as well as two figures from the movie Species).
I had no interest in Species but I was hell bent on acquiring the other three horror movie icons. Thanks to the great, late Toyfare magazine, the promo shots were enough to have me start saving and ready to search the then blossoming Ebay if I couldn’t find them at the very few places that actually sold action figures in my old town – those were the days of buying online without Paypal!!!
LEATHERFACE (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
I got Leatherface off of Ebay (thanks to sending a money order), while I actually found Freddy and Jason in Walmart of all places. Surprisingly, that’s when I lived in Sudbury, ON, where we were lucky to even have the latest Star Wars toys.
You’ll have to excuse the orange tint. For some reason, these figures’ plastic shells have turned from clear into this abomination. Speaking of abominations, isn’t Leatherface a great example of one? I’m not saying the sculpt is one. I’m amateurishly alluding how it captures how Leatherface is an abomination of a human being! I think the sculptor(s) really did a great job capturing the likeness of the character from the movie and this still remains one of my favourite Leatherface figures to date.
The blood that is splattered all over his clothing, skin, mask and apron is so well done. He looks like he’s just fresh from one of his grisly murders….and excited about it!
The head sculpt, particularly the mouth, looks like they took the time to capture the essence of how evil this character is. I found that many companies have tried to do this character, but the main thing that always turns me off from getting other version is the head sculpt. You need to nail a head sculpt with Leatherface or the figure just loses its appeal.
The accessories he comes with are: a severed head (and bucket), a severed arm, the hammer/mallet from the infamous scene in the movie where he opens up the metal door and kills Kirk, and, of course, his trusty chainsaw. Everything is splattered with blood and so over the top it’s magnificent.
All the Movie Maniacs figures in the first few series came with a replica movie poster or scene in creepy frame. As you can see from the last picture, there is a The Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster behind Leatherface.
FREDDY KRUEGER (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
The bastard son of a 1000 maniacs finally got made in plastic toy form in this line! As far as I know, this was the first Freddy action figure. There was a talking Freddy doll released back in 1989 by Matchbox but I wouldn’t count it as an action figure (I don’t have one, but you can see pics and read about it HERE).
I thought that McFarlane did a great job on the sculpt overall. The head looks really good, although it’s not a 100% match. I think my favourite part about the figure is his dirty sweater. It’s really hard to get a textured look like this in a figure and I thought it came across really well here. Look at the sweater near his wrist and tell me that isn’t some awesome attention to detail.
There are some spots of blood on his glove and the sculpt of it is also well done, although I think the knives look a little bit rounded instead of razor sharp. That probably has to do with specific laws regarding action figures on the shelf for safety reasons.
Freddy comes with a little mini-me (him) that was seen in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Freddy took the form of a puppet when he was in Phillip’s dream, sliced him up, and made poor Phillip a living, but dreaming, puppet (one of my favourite sequences in all the films).
The poster behind Freddy showcases the original movie’s poster. I really wish I had a big replica of this poster that I could frame in my house – and the room to do it.
Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
At first, this sculpt seems to stem from around the Part VII: The New Blood – as it seems this costume is tattered and torn like in that movie, but the movie poster that’s included showcases Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Even the picture of his mask on the box shows that it’s from a latter entry in the series as it’s been through the wringer, too.
Similar to the Freddy figure, the texturing and details on the outfit and the skin are amazing. To this day I can look at this and appreciate the details and the leap forward in sculpting these figures took.
The mask isn’t 100% spot on, but the worn look of the mask, as well as his outfit, portrays just how much action he’s seen. While writing this, I shouldn’t scrutinize these figures as I would with figures that come out these days, as McFarlane was leading the industry at this point time and setting the bar high.
The mask isn’t meant to be removed but back in the day, people were carefully prying it off and putting pictures of the deformed mask on forums. I found a picture someone took for their Ebay auction below.
The accessories Jason comes with are: an axe, a harpoon, and his trusty machete. All his weapons come covered in the blood of his victims. As mentioned before, the poster behind Jason showcases the supposed Final Friday movie.
Although these figures did create some controversy, there were variants released that had the figures without blood splattered on them. Even as a teen, you couldn’t see the rationale behind blood being the only reason some people opposed having these in the stores. If you knew who these characters were, you knew a) these weren’t meant for kids and b) they kill people in the movies, so even if they aren’t bloody, who is anyone really kidding here?
I’ll be showcasing some other figures from the later series releases down the road. I only went as far as series three and cherry-picked the characters that I had some connection with (so sorry Scream fans, there is no Ghostface in my collection).