The original Movie Maniacs series was released in 1998, including three mainstream slashers - Jason Voorhees, the hockey-masked slasher of Friday the 13th (Parts 2 - 9); Freddy Krueger, everyone's favourite child-molester from A Nightmare on Elm Street; and cannibal Leatherface, the head chef of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Two other figures were included, Eve and Patrick from the god-awful Species 2, proving not as popular as the others yet now hard to find, selling for a small fortune on eBay.
Because of the horror theme, two different variants were made of the toys - PG-13, which included lots of adultness (blood splatters, dismembered bodyparts and also nipples) and PG, which included none of the above. Looking back on it, this entire concept was genius on behalf of McToys; working high profile characters such as horror icons into collectible toys was perfect to grab media and guaranteed profit, and the actual "Movie Maniac" name gave leeway to ensure that even after they'd made and sold all of the mainstream slashers, they could include other "Maniacs," like the later action movie figures included in the line.
Today's maniac is the sexually repressed youth Jason Voorhees. A brief history: Jason was a retarded kid who drowned
at a summer camp, Camp Crystal Lake, when camp counselors who were supposed to be looking after him were too busy having sex to notice him dying. A year later, they both died at the hands of Jason's enraged mother, Mrs. Voorhees, who went about butchering camp counselors until she was beheaded by a plucky lass named Alice. Jason wasn't too happy about this - after rising from the dead, he donned a plastic bag (!?!) and went to see Alice with an ice pick. Yes, originally Jason wore a plastic bag over his head - it wasn't until Friday the 13th Part 3 that he picked up the hockey mask that would later become his icon. Along with his hockey mask, Jason's other distinguishing feature is his penchant for killing teenagers having premarital sex - yes, if you get some in the land of Crystal Lake, you're looking at the wrong end of a machete.
After his reincarnation, he used a variety of weapons and garden tools to kill hundreds of kids and whoever-else got in his way, and to date, Jason has killed, died, possessed people, gone to Hell, been frozen aboard a space ship, been technologicalised, gone to New York, and most recently, took on retrograde slasher Freddy Krueger. Jason, as some kind of uber-zombie, has lived quite a death, being recognised as one of the most popular slashers ever, and the best reason not to have sex when in a horror movie.
McFarlane Toys' Jason figure is an impressive representation of the killer, especially considering its age. Standing 7" tall, Jason is pre-posed raising one of his weapons, complete with disgustingly blistered, festering flesh, barely concealed beneath rotting clothing. The sculpt is great, the tattered clothing is a nice touch over the strangely demented skin. Sadly, the paint apps don't fully show off the sculpt - the paint is simple and doesn't highlight some of the cooler aspects of the sculpt. The PG-13 version of the figure is also splattered with lots of blood, looking unrealistic here instead of cool like on Leatherface - the PG version was definitely a better purchase.
Jason makes his mark as actually defying McNorms and having decent articulation! To kill his victims, Jason has 10 points of articulation, including decent arm articulation to wield his weapons. This was especially good back in the day, and considering the statuesque movement of much of the Movie Maniacs, Jason is sweet. An updated figure might have ball-joints and more leg articulation, but who cares?
Included with Jason are three weapons - the hailed machete, an axe, and a harpoon, all of which fit snugly
into his right hand. All are sculpted and painted with murderous glee - especially cool is the machete, which has a chrome metal blade. Sadly, none of the weapons fit into his open left hand, in which bluetak is essential to hand him with a second weapon, and also the PG-13 figure has sloppy blood splattered onto the weapons, which isn't effective at all.
How could I review Jason without mentioning his infamous hockey mask? One of the best parts of the whole figure is the tiny mask fit over Jason's
face - an excellent replica of a rotting, broken hockey mask, it was originally intended to be removable, although the fear of it falling off him in the package, thus becoming unsellable to MOC collectors caused McToys to glue it onto his face in a panic. Luckily, it comes off easily using an X-acto knife under the mask to loosen the glue, revealing the hideous face underneath. McToys went the extra edge to make this Jason unique and not taken from one movie alone - Jason is a combination of many different Jasons by many different actors, seen across the spectrum of the movies.
To give the Maniacs collectivity, each one included a marquee featuring a small glossy replica of the movie poster from which the figure originated. With Jason, it couldn't be the original Friday the 13th, as he wasn't his full killer self back then - instead it was the "final" Friday, Jason Goes to Hell, pictured in Jason's marquee. The film, considered a joke by even the most hardcore F13 fans, isn't a great Jason movie but I like it nonetheless, and I'm happy to have it with this figure.
Overall, McFarlane Toys created an odyssey with their Movie Maniacs series, and this is where it all began. Jason is a great figure, although not perfect, still a awesome piece of action figure nostalgia. There's a rumor we might see a new Jason figure following the Freddy vs. Jason film [yeah, from NECA -ed.], hopefully better than the goofy Jason X from Movie Maniacs 5, perhaps improved with more weapons and articulation - we can only hope!