With its first line of Hellraiser toys, NECA struck gold. Not only did they finally produce a line of figures that fans had been wanting for years, but they made all he right choices when they did - they could have put all the fan-favorites in the first line, or made it just Cenobites from the first Hellraiser, but that would have meant that later Series would have suffered.
Instead, they opted to change things up, to give fans monsters from various films. That the first line sold out so quickly (and that we have a second already on its way) is a testament to just how smart that choice was, and how badly the figures were wanted.
In each series, NECA wants to include one figure that is somehow distinctly different from the rest. In the first series, that figure was the canid Chatter Beast.
Once human... perhaps the oldest of all Cenobites. The ravages of time and the constant reconfiguration of the flesh have created a being more animal than man... a living testimony to the true personification of guttural instinct and the desire to feed.
So, according to the story, this thing was supposed to be a man, once? Yeah, right. It's a dog. Always been a dog, always gonna be a dog. In fact, that's why I bought it: to get a Hellraiser Dog.
The Chatter Beast is indeed one hellish animal: he looks just as malformed and horrific as the other Cenobites, with his skin pulled back, straps sewn into his flesh and metal melded to bone. Even the spiked collars look intimidating.
The sculpt on this bad boy is definitely high quality. The Beast looks more realistic in plastic form than it ever did in the film, which is thanks in no small part to the attention to detail; his skin is textured, his muscles look real and the various wounds look just as they should.
The Chatter Beast moves at the hips, elbows, right wrist, neck and jaw. While this isn't a great deal of motion, it all suits the dog well and doesn't detract from the sculpt. It might have been nice if he wasn't stuck with one paw forever raised, but I guess that's the price you pay if you sell your soul to hell, little doggie.
No terrible killer would be complete without a victim, as Movie Maniacs have proved over and over. Everyone loves bodyparts, so the Chatter Beast comes with a gloved arm and a human head. Both have various scratches, gouges and bite marks, as well as punctures made by the Beast's big fangs. NECA isn't saying whether or not the head is based on anyone, but it is a lovely piece of gore, with its scalp pulled partially back to reveal the bone beneath.
All the Series 1 figures include a piece of the puzzle box made so famous in the films. Collect all six and you can build your own evil(er) Rubik's cube. Buy just one or two, and you've got a wicked display base. This was a really good idea on NECA's part, and really well executed.
So is having this hellhound worth it? Well, sure; even if you've never seen Hellraiser: Bloodline, what collection wouldn't benefit from a big demonic dog?
No, really - what collection wouldn't? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.