Movie Maniacs remains one of the most popular annual lines for Todd McFarlane's action figure empire, McFarlane Toys, a company known for excellently sculpted, high quality figures from great movie licences, but with a slight lack in articulation and playability, not to mention the adult content of the figures, which often entail enormous splatters of blood, body parts and extremely violent weaponry. 2001 marked the coming of Movie Maniacs 4, of which I've provided a detailed account of in my Michael Myers review. With it came one of the most interesting figures in the Movie Maniacs to date, the infamous Blair Witch.
The Blair Witch Project was one of the highest grossing films of 1999, a wonderfully scary little horror film creeping the audience out using their imagination. The sequel, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, wasn't as well recieved, but has gained a cult following with its Secret of Esrever function on the video and DVD. But neither of the films actually showed us a picture of the title character (except perhaps a brief flash in BW2), so how to create a figure based on this unseen character?
During the promotions for the BW2, Todd McFarlane sketched his image of what his sickly imagination thought the witch looked like, and this in turn became the concept for the figure. While all of us collectors waited like hungry dogs to see the figure form of this awesome sketch, it was informed that two different figures of the witch would be released; the first, a skeleton-like dreadlocked version, and the second, a hybrid tree-human skeleton witch version. My personal favourite is Version A, which has become rarer than Version B, and is what I will be covering for you today.
The Blair Witch is a skeletal, wretchedly ugly monster who stands 7" tall from enormous bony feet to her rotted scalp. Her sickly thin legs are painted in brownish flesh wash, covered by a rotted, transluscent dress made from soft plastic. Her toenails are blackened, which highlights the blood splattered across the dress, as if the witch has walked through a pool of blood. At her midsection, a small amount of the torn dress covers bare intestines and bloody organs which have fallen from her exposed chest cavity. Each rib is detailed with dead flesh and blood, leading up to ripped skin and muscle on her shoulders and neck. Boney arms lead to her oversized demonic hands with detail on the veins and darkened fingernails.
Her head is an enormous, screaming skull adorned with deadly black dreadlocked hair and glowing yellow eyes. The face is extremely detailed, from the glowing flesh wash, to the bloodstained mouth and teeth, to the realistic looking dreadlocks. Overall, the paint and detail on the Blair Witch is very impressive, as one gets the full impression of a female who is both dead and demonic in form. The torn, faded and bloody dress is especially well done, with both realistic folds and a realistic look, as if it's a transluscent, ghostly dress hanging from her body. The figure is an excellent representation of the Blair Witch and is both imaginitive and creative.
Unfortunately, the articulation stoops a little and, while offering some poseability, the poor durability of some joints shows that some corners were cut in the production of the Blair Witch. She's articulated on both shoulders, elbows, wrists and legs; but unfortunately, neither of the cut joints in the wrists will hold together, both hands actually falling off the figure within a few days. This sucks. It can be fixed with a bit of glue, but it might permanently wreck the joint and leave her with one less point of articulation. Ugh. Despite this flaw, however, the articulation leaves some really good poses, especially for a demonic witch as such. Arms raised, with weapon in hand, is very creepy, particularly with the open-mouthed scream.
The Blair Witch comes with several awesome accessories; like all Movie Maniacs, she has a large marquee made from bone, with a picture of a stickman and Blair Witch insignia where the movie poster normally is. Though I would have prefered a Blair Witch Project movie poster, I guess it wouldn't fit the tone of the figure, since the witch herself is never seen. Like all Movie Maniacs, the marquee is good for displaying the figure with, and identifies her. I like it. The next accessory is a large 5" long scythe, which she can hold in her right hand as a weapon. It's very well detailed; the handle created realistically like wood, ties to the stone blade, splattered with metallic blood. It's especially fun for her menacing poses, at it suits the overall look of the Blair Witch. The witch also comes with two authentic pieces from the first film; a bundle of sticks containing Josh's teeth, bloodstained and wrapped in blue cloth, and a stickman. Both are awesome displayed with the marquee; with a little bit of string and glue, you can hang the stickman from the marquee, making a nice Blair Witchy display. The witch can also hold the sticks in her left hand. The accessories are so cool they almost make up for the flaw in articulation; they are very well suited to the witch.
I like this figure a lot, and it definately reigns over the other version of the Blair Witch, in my opinion. I like the demonic look this figure has, whereas the other looks like a plant-human hybrid, kind of like Medusa, which isn't how I imagine the Blair Witch. Both versions have the same accessories, and the lower section of the figures are sculpted the same, with different skin tones and head sculpts. It's a shame that the articulation is botched on both, and that the figures aren't as durable as they should be, since this figure could be the queen of your collection. But I recommend both of these figures to anyone who wants a good witch toy, or a piece of Blair Witch merchandise to terrorise your other toys.
Is it cool to make a Movie Maniac out of a character that's never been seen? Does anyone at all like Version B of the Witch? Discuss all this (and everything else) at our message board, the Loafing Lounge.