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Sebastian "The King" Haff

Cult Classics
by yo go re

For some reason, NECA rushed Cult Classics series 4 and 5 out at nearly the same time - it's not like you ever saw two series of Movie Maniacs on the shelves at the same time, you know? So while everyone is falling all over themselves trying to find the new Medieval Ash, there's another Bruce Campbell figure that's getting overlooked.

Bruce Campbell has, in a sense, been playing Elvis for his entire career (much like Kurt Russell). It's fitting, then, that one of Bruce's best roles to date is as the man-- sorry, as The King himself. Bubba Ho-Tep was a goofy film, but Campbell's performance as the elderly Elvis (maybe) was a subtle and nuanced piece that earned respect for both the actor and the character.

It's almost like a tabloid story: Elvis is alive and kicking, living in a nursing home in east Texas - the "hip break" hotel, if you will. Tired of life in the spotlight, he traded places with an Elvis impersonator named Sebastian Haff. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, but he lost the documents that proved who he was - it was Sebastian who kicked it on the toilet, while Elvis Aron slowly withered away in anonymity. Of course, since "Sebastian" is the only one who believes his own story, it's left up to the viewer as to whether it's true or not.

Cult Classics 3 already gave us the titular mummy, and Sebastian "The King" Haff is hot on his trail in Series 4. Considering that McFarlane Toys has been producing lots of Elvis figures over the past few years, this could be seen as yet another jab at McToys on NECA's part. But to be fair, it's not like Todd's done a figure of Elvis after his death.

The King is looking awesome. Well, as awesome as a guy pushing 70 could be expected to look. He's gone all doughy around the middle, and he'd probably break a hip if he tried any karate kicks now, but the sculpt is still excellent. The detailing on his jumpsuit is unbelieveable, with all the right wrinkles and hundreds of tiny rhinestones sculpted perfectly in place. He's got a real gold chain hanging from his belt, and he's wearing one of his nicest capes. Even the rings on his fingers are reproduced well.

The facial sculpt is what clinches this one, though. Campbell was under a great deal of makeup for this role, but the figure captures the look of it almost perfectly. He's got all the wrinkles, the big Elvis shades, the wavy hair and the big, bushy sideburns. If Elvis really had lived on, you can imagine quite easily that this is what he'd look like today.

Sebastian is sculpted with a bit of a squat, but he's still almost 6¾" tall. He's definitely got his one intended fighting pose, and that's about it. He moves at the ankles, waist, wrists, balljointed shoulders and balljointed neck. At least he doesn't suffer from NECA Arm. Despite all the little details on the figure, there are no paint problems to worry about - everything looks perfect. There's even a light dry-brushing on his hair to give him a few streaks of gray.

Elvis has a few accessories, as well as a display base. The base is a 6¼" x 4¼" patch of grass and swamp, and "connects" (ie, sits next to) Bubba's base so these two can have their final face-off. The paint is just as good here as it is on the figure, with even the broken branches picked out cleanly. There are footpegs for the figure, though he stands well enough on his own that you won't need them. They do help line everything up for the display, though, so that's nice.

The accessories are the King's "mojo bag" - a fringed leather satchel that dangles around his neck on a real bit of string - and his walker. The guy is a senior citizen, after all. The walker is detailed very nicely, on par with Hannibal Lecter's gurney, and actually looks like a fully functioning piece, though it doesn't have any moving parts, not even the wheels. On the down side, it's rather brittle, so be careful when working it into his right hand: it feels like it would be fairly breakable, and you definitely don't want that (because then how could it support him when he's walking the halls?).

There were really only two "must-have" figures in CC4: Shaun and Sebastian. Bubba Ho-Tep is really an excellent film, and deserves the action figure love that NECA has given it. What else can we say? Hail to the King, baby.

-- 11/15/06

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