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Freddy Krueger

Nightmare on Elm Street 5
by Rustin Parr

I've seen A Nightmare on Elm Street once and New Nightmare twice, but none of those in the last five years, so I can't rightly claim to be a NoES or Freddy Krueger fan, but I'll be goldanged if I don't love the look and presence of the most famous film killer of all time.

When NECA unveiled their Nightmare on Elm Street line at 2011's Toy Fair, it was immediately one of my top two most-anticipated lines and I have eagerly awaited every release over the past two years. This summer Freddy made his triumphant return to San Diego as a Comic-Con exclusive (one of NECA's very first exclusives was a Freddy from Freddy vs. Jason) and I was more than happy to partake in this NoES 5: Dream Child version.

Our pal Freddy comes to us from the scene in which he murders Mark Gray. The kid is presumably some kind of nerd who's obsessed with comicbooks and so he is the only thing that's in color inside his black and white dream. Thus it is we have Black and White (or, more accurately, Grayscale) Freddy.

Like many lines these years, Nightmare on Elm Street relies heavily on reused parts, and this figure is no exception. In fact he is 100% repainted from parts used elsewhere. His legs are the standard pair from every release; his arms, shirt and shoes from Series 1's NoES 2 Freddy (which have become the basic gear for the Krueg); while the claw is from series 2's NoES 4: Dream Master. His head is a pre-paint of one of Series 3's Dream Child Freddy's two heads, a nice bit of continuity. The sculpt is just beautiful, with an incredible volume of detailing and texture. He gets all standard articulation for the line, which is essentially balljoints at the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, ribcage, and feet. But it's the paint that makes this guy unique.

It's a very nice paint job, definitely on par with the strong work NECA has been doing of late. Instead of the familiar reds and browns we get a few shades of gray and black. What's particularly nice is that they use a glossy black for the scars to maintain that same sickly look. It would have been nice if they used a more glossy gray for the skin as well, to help differentiate from the clothes, but this is good enough. Presumably to save money of post production effects the scene was filmed in color, with the set and Freddy painted and dressed in the grayscale colors, so while this figure is true to the intent it's more stark that what appeared on screen and I can't help but wish they had mixed in a hint of color for a screen-accurate, more unique look.

The Man comes with a trinity of accessories - his signature hat (again a reused mold), an all-new skateboard and a cardboard cutout of Mark. The skateboard is a fun piece and is a perfect miniaturization of those dopey looking '80s decks with a sort of "Figure 8" design. It has four slash marks printed on the bottom and four up-swinging blades coming off the back, proving that this is Freddy's board. I didn't notice this in the scene so I can't be certain of its use or accuracy, but it is painted in grayscale like the figure and, with a little posing, Freddy can stand on it quite solidly.

The other pack-in is a pretty neat thing - it's a piece of thin cardboard (almost like cardstock) with Mark's 2D comicbook form printed on it. Thanks to a couple seams along the head and right hand you can easily fold him in half and two more seams along the feet on the front and back create a base. In the clip, Freddy turns the kid into a 2D drawing and then claws him to pieces. After the first slash to the torso (seen here) the color begins draining from the drawing and out the feet to pool on the floor like blood. It's kind of a neat idea and I wish NECA, so famous for fastidious attention to screen accuracy, had mimicked that here with the head and arms black and white as if the color were draining out. Likewise it would have been cool if they had done a two-sided piece because it's pretty hard to keep these two sides close enough together to stop the cardboard underside from being visible, but clearly the budget was tight on this year's exclusives.

All in all this is a neat figure, especially if you're a diehard Freddy fan. He maintains the high quality of the rest of the line and gives a nice bit of contrast in the collection amidst the sea of red and brown, I can't help but feel something lacking here though. The figure is just a repaint, and while a good one, somehow it feels a little bland. For me, he's certainly a background piece and isn't as fetching as any of the figures in the standard series. I'm quite happy to have him in my collection, but even as a completist I'm not sure I'd feel his absence if I lacked him.

-- 10/11/12

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