Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days of Halloween: Toy Review – S.L.U.G. Zombies Series 2 By JAKKS Pacific

I talked a little bit about the first series of SLUG Zombies a while ago, then realized I should’ve saved them for 31 Days of Halloween. Actually, I think I might have eaten into my intro for today because I even mentioned finding Series 2 at Toys R Us. But I’m sure I can fake this thing out to 1,000 words.
When I was a kid I had a ton of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. I remember it was a fight to get my mom to buy me some the first time and I’m pretty sure I had to use allowance money to bulk out my collection. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I had to use my own money for the first ones I bought. I mean, that ‘s fine – I had to do the same thing for every video game system I bought. But it was significant that MUSCLE (dropping the periods for the sake of my fingers) toys did not meet my mother’s approval. She had no problem buying most of the things I got into (though admittedly GI Joe and Star Wars were the bulk of my young collection) and telling me I would have to figure it out myself for things she didn’t like.
I think the commercial bothered her, because the MUSCLE guys themselves weren’t particularly offensive. Weird as heck, yeah.
Me and my friend Andy – the one kid I knew who dug MUSCLE as much as me – would spend hours sticking the little MUSCLE guys all over the living room or the back porch or the little nook thing outside the basement door. I think the basement door one happened because my mom got sick of finding MUSCLE figures concealed in spots around the inside of the house for days after Andy came over.
It’s funny how my different friends were into different things. I don’t know if your childhood was like this, but my buddies and I all had varying toy collections and it seemed like each of us was big into a specific line:
Adam was into Thundercats.
John was the Transformers guy.
Ryan had all of the M.A.S.K. toys.
Matthew was Masters of the Universe and nothing but.
I had all of the GI Joe toys.
We all had a few things from all kinds of lines, but we each had a specialty.
Anyway, me and Andy were the only ones that cared about MUSCLE.
And now we’ve got these awesome zombie figures that are very much like the MUSCLEs. Rad.

First Glance: I’m pretty sure a few of these were shown along with the first series at Toy Fair, if not all of them. None of them seemed surprising and new when I opened the box. Except, of course, for the living characters.

Sculpt: Here’s where I just show you a picture of each figure and then say something. Not my best work ever, but I really just wanted to draw attention to some great new toys.
Mash-Up Mike
I thought this guy was supposed to be some kind of punker until I read his little bio and saw that his previous job was a taxi driver and he dislikes fools. Apparently this is Mr. T. Either way I like him.
Gator Jones
Those of you that are around my age will recognize this as Crocodile Dundee. Everybody else will be confused. I would pay large amounts of money to see a Crocodile Dundee 3 featuring Paul Hogan fighting zombies in the Outback.
Stu B’ You
This guy is pretty great. His previous job: Head Chef. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Andrew Agony
Clearly the people making these things are around my age, because all of their references come from over twenty years ago. Either that or somebody came up with this entire toy line back in 1992 and it never got made because it was too gross for stores then and JAKKS Pacific – desperate after losing the lucrative WWE license and getting stuck with the decidedly non-lucrative TNA license – bought it last year hoping to strike the modern-day equivalent of MUSCLE gold. Maybe.
Oh, and this is a zombie Andre Agassi. Way to be temporally irrelevant, JAKKS. Still, it’s a funny figure.
Cleopatra Comin’ Atcha
This is the worst name of the line by far. The figure is great, as she’s busting out of a sarcophagus, but damn. That’s almost as bad as Netossa.
Dr. Outbreak
So is this the Patient Zero of the SLUG line? I like this guy a lot. He reminds me of the end of the Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse the first year. I hope they make a living figure of a lab assistant that escaped Dr. Outbreak’s terrible mistake, but too late to warn the world.
Jump-Shot Rot
What a terrible name. Seriously? How about Dennis Rot-Man? Oh, and his favorite food is pasta prima-scareya. Whoever came up with this guy’s bio should have to eat a dog turd.
Macho Mangler
This one is questionable in the same way that Grave Lincoln was questionable. I mean, the figure looks like a zombie Hulk Hogan, but to use Macho Man’s name in such a way – I dunno. It makes me uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as if they’d named him Chris Benrot, but uncomfortable nonetheless.
Also, I’m a little concerned about the possibility of a lawsuit. Hulk Hogan himself looks like zombie Hulk Hogan, so there may be a likeness issue.
Maximus Cadaverous
He’s a zombie gladiator. I like him, but it occurs to me that these ancient ones should probably just be skeletons, right? Maximus looks kind of like Glaber from Spartacus. A lot, actually.
Teddy Terror
This is the scariest one of the line so far by a long shot. Most of these guys are a cute kind of grotesque, but fat zombies freak me out.
Captain Payback
Most of this survivor is reminiscent of John Rambo, but that eyepatch screams Snake Plisskin. I like Rambo a lot, but I really want this to be Snake. Maybe a future survivor will look more like him. I like the rocket launcher.
Grim Trekker
This is obviously Indiana Jones, but his name just seems lazy and weird. Why not Indiana Bones? This is the figure featured in the window and I think it was a good choice. Kids will see a zombie with a hat and dorks and old people will see Indy.
The other four that I do not have are Blazin’ Basel the fireman survivor, Buck Wilde (no, really) the cowboy survivor, Flesh-Eatin’ Phil the zombie in a mailbox, and Mr. Jangles the chimpanzee. I don’t really care about Basel and Buck Wilde is really only notable for his name. I would feel compelled to own Phil if I had Piece Mail Pete from the first series, but he wasn’t in the box. But I absolutely must own Mr. Jangles. A zombie chimp is just too sweet a prize to pass up.

Design: The big change for the second series is that zombies are green and living persons are pink. In case you didn’t pick up on that. I think it’s a pretty clever and easy device and I look forward to possible future variations – red vampires, black werewolves, brown owlbears. Shut up – I just want a toy of an owlbear, dammit!

Packaging: There are two types of SLUG Zombie packaging so far – coffins and blister cards. The coffins each have twelve specific figures in them and the blister cards have three random figures. I originally thought buying the coffin got you all of the figures, but it doesn’t. There are sixteen figures in each series, so you’re going to have to buy a few blister packs if you want them. This is where I get a little irritated, as it means collecting a whole set is going to require you to buy not only doubles but to pay the extra that blister packs cost. The coffin of twelve is $9.99 and the three packs are $3.99, so it’s less than a dollar a figure for the big one and $1.33 apiece for the smaller packs. But whatever – I think I’m just going to live without the four extras. So far they aren’t characters I have to have.
The coffin itself is pretty flimsy cardboard with a window in the front to show one of the figures so you know what you’re getting. I have to give JAKKS credit for that one. Some other toy companies might have had some nice, full-color depictions on the front and just let you assume you were getting fully decoed figures.
Once you get the coffin open, there is a plastic tray inside with the various figures arranged on it:
This kind of amuses me for some reason. I like the way they just kind of stacked the guys up to make the space work. They’re not just jumbled in there, but they aren’t exactly organized and separated either.

Overall: This series is even better than the first. I am totally okay with JAKKS throwing some survivors in as long as they keep them interesting. The names and stats are still kind of lame, but the toys are great.

4 out of 5

These are available at Target and Toys R Us now and I would imagine Walmart before too much longer. Walmart may censor their selection of music but they sure don’t seem to give a damn about anything else.

Phantom Troublemaker vs. 31 Days of Halloween

If you’re new here or haven’t been keeping up, this is where I give my thoughts on SyFy’s “31 days of Halloween” programming. Obviously I haven’t seen everything I’ll be talking about, but that’s kind of what the internet is all about – talking out of your ass.
Each day I will cover the schedule from the time my post goes live (usually 11 AM) through the following 24 hours. On Fridays I will cover the whole weekend, which is a huge pain in the ass but also kind of fun.
11:00 AM – 1:30 PM – Star Trek III: The Search For Spock – In the wake of the almost unparalleled King of All Sequels, Wrath of Khan, the Nimoy-directed Search For Spock was almost certain to be underappreciated. While it has certainly found… Wait just a damn minute. Why is SyFy showing Star Trek during “31 Days of Halloween”?
Don’t get me wrong – I love the Star Trek movies. All of them (to varying degrees, granted). But they do not belong here. With approximately 87,392 SyFy Original Movies in the can you’d think they could have dug up some actual horror to show.
Halloween score – 1 (Christopher Lloyd killing that giant worm thing is pretty gruesome)
Quality score – 4
1:30 PM – 4:00 PM – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – I can’t imagine why they’re skipping The Voyage Home, but I also can’t imagine why they’re showing Star Trek as part of a Halloween event. The only thing scary about this one is the “Row, row, row your boat,” scene.
Halloween score – -2
Quality score – 3
4:00 PM – 6:30 PM – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – What the good green gravy is going on around here, anyway? Surely somebody in SyFy’s scheduling department got confused by Roman numerals. Because I really can’t see why they would show these movies out of sequence, particularly when the narratives run directly through parts II – Generations. SyFy, you goofy bastards.
Halloween score – 0 (This one is practically a family movie)
Quality score – 3 (What? I still think the San Francisco stuff is funny. “Nuclear wessels” HA!)
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – I’m giving this one a pass because I really like it and because that hot, orange, shape-shifter chick is more Halloweeny than everything else they’re showing today put together. Seriously – she’s orange and kind of wears costumes all the time.
Halloween score – 3 (I said a pass, not a perfect)
Quality score – 4
9:00 PM – 11:30 PM – Star Trek VIII (what?): First Contact – Aside from Wrath of Khan this is my favorite Star Trek movie. I took this girl I was absolutely in love with to see it and she dug it despite not being very nerdy. I mean, she was a little nerdy; but not, like, “I’m going to go see the new Star Trek movie under my own motivation,” nerdy. But that’s not the only reason. It’s also just a great movie that features Farmer Hoggett as a famous astrophysicist. “That’ll do, Riker.”
Also, the Borg are fucking scary.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 5
11:30 PM – 2:00 AM – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – Just a replay.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 4


2:00 AM – 4:30 AM – Star Trek VIII: First Contact – Also a replay.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 5
4:30 AM – 6:00 AM – Paranormal Witness – A replay of “The Abduction” because apparently it is that fucking scary. Or maybe just because they need to fill up and hour and a half between Star Trek and infomercials.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 3
6:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Paid Programming – Probably the shortest block of these we’ll get all month. This is the one that pays for the effects in Lake Placid 4: Alligator In The Family!, which will look like Sega CD graphics.
Halloween score – 1
Quality score – 5
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Locusts: The 8th Plague – While I, personally, do not find killer bug movies to be all that Halloweeny, at least these are scarier than Star Trek. I’ve actually seen this one thanks to its all-star (by my standards) cast – David Keith (who I frequently refer to as Keith David), Jeff Fahey (who I never refer to as Fahey Jeff), Dan Cortese (who I rarely refer to at all), and Julie Benz (who I frequently refer to as “hella hot”). This movie is honestly worth watching just for the cast.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 3
                  10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Swarmed – Recently brought into popular consciousness by Robert Downey, Jr. in the movie Marvel’s Avengers, this is a Levantine Arab meat preparation, where lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Although it can be served in shavings on a plate (generally with accompaniments), shawarma also refers to a pita bread sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat. Shawarma is eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba. Shawarma is a fast-food staple across the Middle East, Europe, and the Caucasus. (from Wikipedia)
I know, I know. I jes’ playin’.
This movie stars Michael Shanks and is pretty terrible.

Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 1

Come back tomorrow for… something. I’m not sure yet. But I guarantee there will be more SyFy coverage because I’m getting ready to write it now!


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