Reel Toys: A Nightmare on Elm Street
When I was growing up, watching horror and rated-R science fiction movies was part of everyday life. Toys of Predator, Aliens, and Terminator ruled the aisles just as much as any Batman or X-Men toys. I remember when John Connor with his dirtbike was the #1 toy on my list for the year.
Watching grown-up movies was never a big deal for me until I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. For whatever reason my family thought ANOES part 2 was too scary for me, but part 3 was totally acceptable. Mind you we were a Catholic family, so I had to turn my head during the titties.
Freddy Krueger became my biggest feared villain of my childhood, something to do with someone who could attack you when you were at your most vulnerable and you not having the ability to fight back. Of course, it didn’t help that my dick brother knew I was scared of him and chased my sister and I around the house with butter knives attached to his fingers with rubber bands. Dick.
Catharsis, Part 1: Buying a Freddy toy.
I’m gonna go over the packaging for two reasons. One, because it’s been a while and perhaps not all of our fans here are familiar; two, because it strikes on one of my pet peeves.
The design is useful enough, with a picture of Robert Englund as Freddy on the front and shots of the Freddy from part 2 and the upcoming versions from parts 3 and 4. The problem I have is the same that I had with their Isaac Clarke and it’s that the design runs up the side of the clamshell and blocks much of the figure from being seen, especially the glove.
There is another pack layout that features the smaller arms attached and you can see the glove clearly, but this version had the glossier face that reminded me much more of Freddy from the end of the first film, where his scarred flesh appears almost wet in the shadows of Nancy’s bedroom. It’s a small detail, but it’s how I always remembered him and trying to go for that look ended up costing me a twisted claw.
Not the end of the world, but even something as simple as putting the art on the other side of the box might have allowed easier sight down inside the package. Being such an important part of the character and so well-detailed, it seems like it’d be something you’d want to show off. Then again, just like in the Isaac Clarke review , I have to wonder if it’s an issue with how gory or scary the figure appears and trying to walk that line carefully. Remember what happened with all the Dexter toys at TRU?
I’m just speculating, of course. I should hope there is a good reason for hiding such a beautifully sculpted figure. Which brings us to…
“You are one ugly…” – Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, Predator 2
But bein’ fugly has never looked so good. My old personal terror factory is sculpted gruesomely in his outfit from the first movie, complete with his gloved hand (as opposed to the claws coming straight out of his fingers) and removable fedora. Once you get that baby off, you’re lookin’ at one mean sumbitch.
All traces of hair have been burned from his face and you can see right down to the bloody muscle tissue in many places. That evil, yet charismatic grin of his is part excitement, part menace, and all Freddy. This is a guy who can’t wait to get his hands on you. And check out his right ear with the chunk taken out! Nas-tay!
His face has tons of personality, and the cocked-up fedora just adds to it. Throw in that cavalier, shoulder-slumped stance of his and you’ve got yourself one heckuva catch! He’ll murder the crap out of you, and then he’ll take home some classy dame and tell her all about it.
Then murder the crap out of her.
His glove was sculpted and painted very carefully, with much attention paid to the difference between leather and flesh on the palm. On the fingers, you’ll see a noticeable difference between the brass of the knuckles and the splatter of blood from an old kill. NECA knows the difference between wet and dry blood, and brings home the creepy by showing that these stains have been there at least long enough to dry.
Here’s where you can really see the bend of the claw on his ring finger. It’s not the worst thing in the world and from most angles I don’t notice it, but I do wish it was straighter since it’s such an identifiable part of his look. Not that anybody’s gonna see him without a glove during Christmas time and assume he’s Santa or anything. Zombie Bill O’Reilly–maybe. But not Santa. He’s a fatty.
Freddy also comes with a few additional accessories appropriate to this movie. The arms are an especially spooky addition from the scene in which he slowly walks down the alley scraping his claws against the wall. It’s awesome to include something from probably the second most iconic scene in the movie and the first where we really get a sense of him having the powers of a nightmare.
While I don’t readily recall the scene in which his face is pulled off, I can say that the sculpting and paint look really fantastic. They even went as far as sculpting that tendon or muscle or whatever underneath his tongue that I can’t find the name of on the internets because everything is stupid and they hate me.
The accessories are super easy to swap out as they’re on a simple peg and socket system. And hey, you can even put the alternate heads on the arms for some weirdo monster action. Huzzah!
The paint is pretty solid all ‘round, with some slop along the lines of the sweater, which are sculpted. Well, slop might not be the best way to put it. It’s not easy to tell unless you’re looking for it and if they hadn’t sculpted those lines in I never would have noticed. The rest of him has all the appropriate washes to bring out those grimy details.
So how ‘bout that articulation, then? Generally, collector film icons these days go with a much more basic approach to their joints systems. Freddy won’t blow you away, but he may have more than you think.
As you can see, Freddy does have the ability to bend in his midsection. That comes from a rather ingenious use of rubber over an articulated armature. If you remove both arms and the head, the sweater is removable and we can get a look at his articulation underneath.
He’s got ball and socket joints in both his waist and mid-torso areas that allow for some very nice forward, back, and tilt motion. Since the sweater is rubber, it doesn’t hinder this articulation much, if it all. A very clever idea to add some movement without tearing up the gorgeous sculpt.
In addition, he also features a ball and socket neck, swivel-hinge shoulders and elbows, ball and socket wrists, and ball and socket ankles. It might not be much, but you can actually get a lot of personality out of him. The neck is especially good, with a lot of creepy tilt action for just the perfect scare.
The elongated arms also feature swivel-hinge elbows and since the hands are swapped out for this look you retain their ball movement as well. This’ll really help you get that nightmarish quality to come through on the toy shelf and the ball ankles will allow you some freedom in how you choose to balance him.
The alt head is really nice with its screaming face to help bring out the more violent poses and get to that thuggish core that is in the heart of Freddy, picking on children and teenagers like an old bully. There’s a lot of versatility to the articulation because of the swappable heads, arms and removable hat that will allow you to pose Freddy *just* so. The right twist and tilt can really bring out the murderous, tongue-in-cheek fun on this old character.
I bought my Freddy at TRU for $15.99. Normally, NECA’s stuff hovers right at the 14 to 15 dollar mark, so I’m not sure if the price increase is from NECA or TRU’s latest trend of trying to nickel and dime kids, parents, and collectors to their deaths.
Regardless of that fact, you do get a lot of bang for your buck. You get a well-articulated figure of a classic cult icon and you get several accessories to go with him. What that does is give you a lot of option of how you wish to display your Freddy. None of the accessories are useless items that have to sit next to the figure because no one thought of a good way to incorporate them.
Freddy’s sculpt and paint are both the usual high quality I’ve come to expect from NECA and even with the dollar hike I think he’s a great value. The only things I say to watch out for are the differences in paint and package warpage on the glove (which you can probably fix with heat if you like the paint enough). Other than that, I have to say that only one word comes to mind when I look at this figure:
Value: Adults: 8
Overall: Adults: 8.3
Highly recommended to horror and Freddy fans, of course. Also highly recommended to pop culture and Halloween fans. He’s got just the right amount of articulation and accessories to make him fun and different for your Halloween displays year in and year out and the price makes him a very affordable decoration. Sixteen bucks is a bit more than a lot of other figures out these days, but do remember that his scale is a bit larger and that NECA’s re-use is a lot more limited than that of a Marvel Legend or DC Universe Classic, let alone higher-priced items along the lines of MOTUC.
Freddy Krueger scared the hell out of me as a kid. As an adult, I can really appreciate him as a pop icon and understand the love and care that NECA put into re-creating this horrific, yet instantly recognizable titan of terror. I dig it. I think if you’re a fan of NECA’s other Reel Toys figures, then you’ll really like this guy.
Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just the dark-brimmed harbinger of nightmare horror. See you in dreams.