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Jason Voorhees

Cinema of Fear
by Poe Ghostal

A few years ago, I did a "Halloween Month" on my other blog where I wrote a review-length post every single day of the month - mostly movie reviews. The following year, the theme was going to be slasher movies - I would review my way through every single Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween movie.

It ended up being a miserable failure. I managed to get through four Friday the 13th movies, and even by the second one I was starting to go insane.

And yet, there's something about the characters my inner adolescent still thinks is cool. They're the closest thing to a modern equivalent of the Universal Monsters (even if their movies aren't anywhere near as good). Seeing Jason, Freddy and Leatherface as part of McFarlane's first series of Movie Maniacs was part of the reason I started collecting action figures again (and that first Jason figure is still one of my favorites).

Both McFarlane and NECA have covered a lot of ground with 6"-7" scale figures of Jason, Freddy, and Leatherface, but Mezco picked up the licenses last year for their Cinema of Fear line. By focusing on interesting variations of the characters as well as offering versions based on specific movies, Mezco has managed to keep the line fairly successful, but as always, hard to find (check the eBay prices for the Jason and Freddy figures from the first two series and you'll see what I mean).

The fourth series of Cinema of Fear is out now, and as usual, Jason is the hardest to find. I had to go to three different Newbury Comics to find one. The other two figures in the line - "Doctor" Freddy and some sort of bug-woman I don't feel like looking up right now - were at all three stores. With Series 4, Mezco has switched to blister cards, and I for one am pleased. I suppose MOC collectors will be annoyed, though. In any event, the packaging style is consistent with the previous lines and also features a nice applique on the blister itself, with some great graphics.

As good as McFarlane and NECA's work has been on these characters, I think Mezco has managed to raise the bar even higher. First off, it's important to note this figure, like all Mezco figures, has a slightly exaggerated design - it's not a perfect, 1:1 realistic sculpt (like, say, NECA's Terminator), but rather, it looks more like it's based on a fairly realistic comicbook drawing of the character.

But the sculpt is about as realistic as Mezco's movie Hellboy figures, and personally, I think this style really makes the figure even more appealing. That said, there's not a lot of intricate sculpting here - it's mostly just a regular guy in a work shirt and jeans. The best work is (predictably) on the head, particularly the mask and the face: this is Jason as he appeared in Friday the 13th Part III, which, believe it or not, was the first time he put on the iconic hockey mask.

I don't mind the figure's hunched pose - I was resigned to this figure's pre-posed nature before buying it - but one thing that does bother me a bit is the left hand. It's sculpted so that Jason can realistically hold the axe in two hands, but when he's just got the machete or axe in his right hand, the left one looks a little odd.

The figure is nice and solid, but where it really shines are the paint applications. This is another area where Mezco is often hit-and-miss. Some of their figures are of excellent quality, while others (such as the first series of Hellboy II figures) seem rushed and are made from cheaper materials. Jason, I'm happy to say, is the former. Again, while this is a fairly simplistic character design, the paint work is superb, with little or no slop. The texture on the pants and shirt is great. The best work is probably on the mask, which looks well-used and filthy.

Jason features a balljointed head, wrists that both swivel and have a hinge, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, hinged elbows, and a swivel waist. The shoulders are a bit limited by the sculpt, but you can still get him into a number of different poses. His legs and feet have no articulation; fortunately, he stands like a rock.

Is there any better accessory than an alternate head? Jason's "regular" head has a removable mask. The alternate head's mask is glued on, but it has a deep cut in the upper right side. Both the machete and the axe can be fitted into the cut and will stick there pretty well. The axe and machete are sculpted well, although the blood looks a bit fakey. There's also a severed victim's hand for those who like their mass murderers equipped with body parts.

I paid $18 for Jason at Newbury Comics. I guess that's becoming the standard range for a figure like this, but I would have preferred to pay closer to $15. The only real disappointment with this figure is the non-articulated legs, but I suspect that was the right way to go with CoF and its target audience. Other than that, it features a great sculpt and excellent paint, and manages to make it worthwhile to buy yet another Jason Voorhees figure.

-- 10/31/09


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