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Zombie Ed

Cult Classics
by yo go re

This figure is stolen property.

When NECA made their Shaun of the Dead Winchester two-pack, the original idea was to include extra pieces - arms and head - to turn plain Ed into zombie Ed. The studio said no, so then they planned to release Zombie Ed by himself in a future Cult Classics series. Well, we waited and waited, but he never materialized. So what happened?

Well, remember that the Winchester two-pack came out in 2007. The same year as the second FANtastic Exclusive vote. Ramathorr. Do you recall all the trouble the Four Horsemen went through with those? With the factory shutting down and their molds almost being lost? Remember how NECA could save the day because they were using the same factory? We don't know this for sure, but it seems that what happened is Zombie Ed was going to be produced by SmartLife, but when the factory was closed, the tooling was either sold or stolen. Maybe both.

It's pretty easy to find Zombie Ed figures on eBay, but they're not official NECA product. They're not even stolen NECA product - it's not like NECA produced an ass-ton of these that are just sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Somebody in China has NECA's molds and is using them to produce new Eds on their own. Every one of them is a bootleg, and the quality reflects that.

The vast majority of Zombie Ed is the same sculpt as the normal figure - the only new parts are the head and right forearm, because that's all it takes to zombify him. The bite on his arm is from his roommate Funky Pete (played by Peter Serafinowicz, who you'll remember as Guardians of the Galaxy's Denarian Saal [the "what a bunch of a-holes" guy] and as the voice of Darth Maul) while the one on his neck is from Bernie, the landlady of the Winchester Pub. His head tips lazily to the side, his eyes are blank and sunken, and his jaw hangs slack. The hair on this figure is different than the previous Ed, and there's goop running down his chin - probably a mix of zombie drool and whatever it is Shaun and Liz have been feeding him.

If the paintscheme of this bootleg accurately reflects what NECA was intending, then it's no wonder they had to spin Zombie Ed off into his own figure, rather than just making swappable parts for the two-pack. His skin is greyish, which means his upper body wouldn't have matched with his shins. He's still wearing his "I Got Wood" shirt, but it's so covered in grue now that it's nearly black - same goes for his shorts. His Nikes are no longer pristine white, instead being splattered and stained. The sculpt of this figure might be nigh-identical, but the paint is fully unique.

This is where you can really start to tell that this is a knockoff and not an official product. When I got the figure, the paint was sticky to the touch. That tackiness didn't go away until I'd given Ed a dip in hot water - something I had to do, because most of the joints were stuck. This thing just doesn't have the kind of tolerances and quality that a real product would. He has a balljointed neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, balljointed biceps, swivel wrists, balljointed torso, and swivel shins. The pin in the left shoulder is a little malformed, which is something else that probably wouldn't have happened on a real release.

If you do decide to buy one of these figures, make sure you spring for one that includes accessories. Because while the figure itself is nice, the accessories add a lot. He comes with a wooden floor base, and then the chains and shackles Shaun used to keep him safe in the shed! The manacles on his wrists and neck actually function: they have hinges to open and close and pegs that allow them to "lock." The chain - a real metal chain - has a plug on the end that fits into a slot in the floor, and the entire thing has a metal paint finish. If this toy had actually been released, this could have been Accessory of the Year! The real thing would also have included a Playstation controller and a garden gnome (for some reason), but you can't get those. The gnome's no great loss - I mean, it's cute, but it's hardly a pivotal prop from the film - but you can give him the controller from the two-pack and he'll look perfect. A lot of the auctions are just for Ed, so you want to make sure you get one with his accessories.

So, as we've tried to make abundantly clear: this is not a real figure. NECA never got to make their Zombie Ed, because an underhanded factory stole their steel molds and is now making cheap knockoffs (cheap both in price and in quality). And if you choose to buy a Zombie Ed like I did, you're supporting that theft. But in all honesty, I love my Zombie Ed and I'm glad I have him. If the stars align and NECA is somehow able to release their own official version, I will gladly buy it, because getting this cool design with actual professional production standards would be amazing. I do not regret getting Zombie Ed, but I do regret that NECA isn't seeing any of that money.

-- 10/15/15

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