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Halloween III - Trick or Treaters

Toony Terrors
by Shocka

"It's almost time, kids! The clock is ticking!"

One of the unexpected side effects of pop culture pivoting entirely to brands and brand-loyalty is previously underappreciated, or downright ignored, franchise oddities becoming accepted and adored simply because they're related to the franchise. Halloween 3: Season of the Witch is one such odd duck.

After the original movie became such a smash hit, establishing what was essentially an entire genre of horror film, sequel demands led to a hasty follow-up that once again brought the masked menace Michael Myers and his prey Laurie Strode to the forefront with the comparatively cheaper, more Friday-the-13th-esque Halloween II. John Carpenter's original intent was, if franchised, each Halloween film would be entirely unique, part of an anthology of scary movies not centered around characters from the previous films; thus Season of the Witch, a particularly nasty bit of '80s horror centered around a psychopath selling masks that will kill their wearers on the titular All Hallow's Eve.

To say the audience rejected Halloween 3 is an understatement; even with only two films in the franchise, it was already synonymous with its antagonist, and Season of the Witch was such an unpleasant, repellent film - complete with a deeply disturbing ending - that both audiences and critics despised it. But, with the aforementioned reappraisal of art associated with different franchises, Halloween 3 has been revisited and found to be a cult classic, a clever and unsettling slice of American horror that is enjoyable on its own merits as well as something tangential to the rest of the franchise. And so we get this: an action figure set based not on the antagonist of a horror flick, rather a set of potential victims.

Silver Shamrock Novelties isn't an obvious Michael-Myers-esque villain, but rather some combination of techno-wizardry-mumbo-jumbo led by psychopaths to enact violence on the innocents. There's no iconography there, is what I mean, no "look" for audiences to remember. Even their robots were just boring guys in suits! But the instruments of their evil - the masks - make for ideal merchandising, thus we have this, the second outing of figures based on kids from the movie wearing the masks that (might) spell their doom.

Because this is in the NECA Toony Terrors line, this go-round features the three tots stylized like Saturday morning cartoons, instead of the previous Mego-knockoff set that was more realistic. Notably a much smaller scale, too; these kids are to the 6" scale, and thus stand a range of different much smaller heights. The packaging here is a highlight, with a great window box and cutout backdrop to suit the characters and seemingly matching the other Toony Terrors sets. Consistency! The insert shows the town of Santa Mira at approximately 6pm, when the curfew starts, and the back of the box shows a beaten body in some filthy alley.

The shortest "Trick or Treater" is the skeleton, with the "Skull" mask from the Silver Shamrock trio. This is a standard Donnie-Darko-esque skeleton costume, with exposed hands and little brown shoes. The detail doesn't match the more expensive, more sizeable NECA offerings like their Ultimates line, but the simplistic paint apps here match the style and Saturday-morning-cartoon aesthetic. Articulation here is limited, so these figures are all a little different: you never really know what you'll get until you buy the toy and open it. Skelly has balljointed ankles, swivel wrists, swivel shoulders, and a balljointed head. He'll need those wrists, too, to best hold the included large sack for Halloween candy. Is he just carrying a pillowcase? Greedy little bastard!

Next, the tallest "Trick or Treater" is the Jack-O-Lantern mask, adorned to a maximum height of nearly 5⅜" tall via a well-placed witch's hat. What weirdo puts a Halloween hat on top of a Halloween mask? I like the semi-slouch of the pose (it's very much how a child would stand), and how nice the simple clothing choices are; blue jeans, long-sleeved black shirt, black cape to go with the hat. One of the new reveals at this year's weird, October-scheduled Toy Fair was a set of Funko ReAction trick-or-treater figures, so this vibe is definitely "in," and this set looks very recognizably like a group of kids out on Halloween night, in addition to being fun merchandise based on the cult film. As with the skeleton, he's got a sack to hold his Halloween candy, albeit much smaller. That can be hung on the fingers of his left hand. The slouching pose does make balancing Jack a little tricky, though this figure gets a swivel waist Skull didn't.

Finally, we come to the witch, wearing a hooded robe and a very cliché "witch" costume: black dress, black hood, black cape with orange lining. But no hat, because Pumpkin stole it. The mask here is instantly recognizable as the stereotypical crone witch, complete with wart on the nose. All three masks look excellent, capturing the specific look of the onscreen masks but appropriately "tooned". The witch reminds me, for some reason, of Daria, with a very sarcastic pose, one hand on her hip, the other arm out holding her paper bag of candy. This is the only hollow bag in the set, meaning you could put some actual candy in there - either the kinds of things that have come with NECA's various Gremlins and suchlike over the years, or one delicious kernal of candy corn. Witchypoo has the balljointed head, but you can't do too much with it because even her swiveling shins don't do much to balance her properly.

A great attention to detail is, if you turn the kiddies around, you'll see the logo pin painted on the back of each mask. How Silver Shamrock expected kids to not immediately rip that tag off is a mystery for the ages - it would be decades before Beanie Babies were a thing!

So this ends up being a great little Halloween set to include in your movie-specific displays, or just as generic trick-or-treaters. Alongside the recent Toy Fair reveals, with multiple companies doing several different trick-or-treater figures, this is a great add to your collection. If you have any Scooby-Doo figures, maybe they can do what Zap Rowsdower Jr couldn't, and save these poor dumb children from their fate!

-- 10/28/23

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