Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Special – S.L.U.G. Zombies Christmas Series By JAKKS Pacific

These things popped up out of nowhere.
One of my favorite resources for toy news is The guy that runs it works for or is associated with Entertainment Earth, so he has good information and gives great heads-ups about what’s coming out. It was on that site that I first saw Christmas SLUG Zombies mentioned.
If you go back to my posts from a couple of months ago, you can see that I am a huge fan of SLUG Zombies and little minifigures in general. Combining zombies, minifigures, and Christmas is a sure way to make me go crazy trying to find your product. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go crazy. Not only did I find all four Christmas 3-packs within just a couple of days of searching, I got them for $1.98 apiece. Fucking crazy. I don’t know why Target is marking these down as soon as they hit, but it worked for me. Heck, I even got the Series 4 coffin set a couple of days later for thirty percent off!
I’m just going to hit all four sets in one review since they’re seasonal and all part of the same series. I’m also not going to re-review the humans I’ve already covered.
First Glance: I am totally disappointed that not only are the human characters previous releases, they’re also just pink. JAKKS could’ve at least made them red to go along with the Christmas theme. Then again, maybe they’re holding red back for vampires like I suggested in my first SLUG post.
Sculpt: Obviously this is a different format from my regular toy reviews, as there’s no paint or articulation to discuss. But I am going to run down each figure briefly.
Hungry Humbug
You can’t have a set of Christmas zombies without an Ebenezer Scrooge. I love this sculpt. It doesn’t necessarily look like any of the more notable Scrooges, but the figure is immediately recognizable. He’s not terribly rotten, but Scrooge is a pretty scary guy in the first place.
Ralph Reindead
There’s a lot to say about this figure. First, the name. Like many of the SLUG Zombie characters it is terrible. I can’t for the life of me understand why they didn’t call him “Rudolph the Dead-Nosed Reindeer”. I can only imagine there’s some kind of weird line JAKKS S&P doesn’t want to cross when making zombies out of beloved children’s characters to be sold at mass market stores. Then there’s the fact that Ralph is more of a monster than a zombie, as he’s an anthropomorphic undead reindeer. This is a whole new level for the SLUG series, as all of the infected have been human thus far. I suppose it’s a Christmas miracle that reindeer can become zombies as well? Whatever the case, I do like the design of this figure. The fact that he is upright on two legs ups the horror ante.
Santa Claws
The name is uninspired, but not bad. The figure has a great zombie pose and manages to look creepy and jolly at the same time. I think his beard could have been rattier. Also, this is my second zombie Santa toy:
From Sideshow’s apparently (and tragically) now defunct “The Dead” line.
Nutty Nate
We passively collect nutcrackers. We don’t hunt specific ones down or anything, but if we come across one that we like we’re going to buy it and put it on the mantle with the other fifty or so that we own. I got started on this nutcracker thing when I was a kid. I think the first one came after the first time my mom took me to see The Nutcracker Suite at The Fox Theater. It was a cheap-o one and I remember wanting a nice, German one. I don’t think I was rude about it, just suggestion-y. Many years later my parents actually got me a Steinbach and I was old enough to be appalled that they had spent that much on a nutcracker. They missed the window like that a lot. I asked for an Indiana Jones-style fedora one year. I might have been ten. Six years later I got one. Nobody between the ages of thirteen and forty should be wearing a fedora.
So I really like this guy for being a nutcracker. But it does sort of bring him into the realm of being more of a monster. His physiology clearly isn’t human. But I like his design a lot and I feel like if JAKKS had tried to make a human in a nutcracker costume it would have come off as just a soldier or something.
Frozen Fright
A zombie snowman doesn’t make any sense at all. And I love him for that. You can see exposed ribs and bones and he definitely looks evil. He almost looks a little bit like famed Shannon Elizabeth molester Jack Frost, but I’m pretty sure any evil snowman is going to look like Jack Frost. That’s a pretty narrow category. I'm glad he has feet.
Johnny Hammer-Stix
Okay, in the unlikely event that somebody reads this that works for JAKKS Pacific or knows somebody that works for JAKKS Pacific, please put me in contact with whoever decides these names. I don’t understand how these get approved. “Johnny Hammer-Stix” carries such an air of just not giving a shit. I don’t even get it. But again – the execution of the figure is great. He’s a drummer boy. He’s using femurs as drumsticks (not hammers). I can see this guy just wandering around, drumming. And he has a very impressive level of crazy sculpted into his face.
Eli the Expired Elf
I don’t want to focus on how bad most of these names are, so instead I’m going to focus on the fact that this guy looks like Jack McBrayer from 30 Rock. It’s so weird to find any kind of likenesses at this scale, so I’m guessing it’s just a coincidence. I like that this guy and Santa have very similar poses. Actually, Eli here is a contender for my favorite of the set. I don’t know quite what it is, but he just works for me. I do have an issue with the consistency of his biography. His Dislike is “Height Requirements”. This suggests Eli is a traditional elf of diminutive stature, but his figure is the same height as any of the others. Oops.
Surprise Demise
I saved the best zombie for last purely by accident. I love the SLUG Zombies that are popping out of crates or mailboxes or whatever, so this one bursting out of a Christmas gift is awesome. His Like is “Practical jokes on his co-workers”, which sets up and awesome story for this guy. I feel like he wrapped himself up in a giant Christmas present to mess with everybody, then died and came back while still in there. His co-workers come back from lunch and find this box waiting, but ol’ Toby (or whatever his real name was) bursts out and eats them all.

Color: These are the same shades of pink and green as the standard release SLUGs. It would have been neat to see some reds, but at the same time JAKKS could have easily just released a bunch of existing figures in red and green rather than even doing new sculpts. So I’m happy with what we got.

Packaging: These come in the blister cards that are typically priced at $3.99. The graphics feature a little wreath  and a cartoon zombie with a Santa hat. I dig blister cards. They’re the easiest toy packaging to merchandise and to open. If it weren’t for thieving shitheads everything would be on blisters.

Overall: Once again, these are totally worth it. Especially if you find them on clearance. I totally would have paid the normal sixteen dollars for these guys, but eight dollars was a steal. If you see them, buy them.

4 out of 5

These are Target Exclusives. Again, I don’t know why they’re immediately being put on clearance, but grab ‘em. They’re awesome.

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