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April O'Neil as the Bride of Frankenstein

Universal Monsters x Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by yo go re

When NECA's Universal Monsters x TMNT line was first revealed, all we saw was Raphael: he obviously wasn't cartoony, but it seemed the crossover was just doing the general idea of "Turtles," nothing specific. With the release of this figure, however, it becomes readily apparent that these are the 1990 movie Turtles, not just any Turtles.

The shocking tale of April O'Neil as the Bride of Frankenstein
Witness all the gruesome journalism!
Warning! The monster demands a reporter!
Ripped from the deadlines!
Hair raising horror!
Breaking news: she's alive and electrified!

We really should have reviewed Michaelangelo before April, since he was the next solicitied after Leonardo, but this is the order I found them. Granted, I found them both at the same store on the same day, but April was in the NECA setion over by electronics, while Mikey had been put in the other collectors' sector, across from the Hot Wheels.

So to get right into it, the thing that reveals this line as being movie-based is April's face. Faces. There are two heads. And both of them feature the likeness of Judith Hoag. In fact, they appear to be the same literal molds as her solo release: the hair is a separate piece, so that would be easy to swap, and the ears (which had round earrings before, but little lightning bolts here) go with it. That would explain why this toy gets the same two nearly identical expressions, rather than a new scream or hiss or anything else.

The Bride famously wore a white smock over a bandaged body, but Randy Falk, Trevor Zammit, and James Groman (who the packaging credits with "Direction, Design, & Development") did better than that. Instead of just dropping her in a blank poncho, they've blended that look with more traditional "April" clothes. Take her regular overcoat and give it tails that reach down to the ankle? Suddenly stands in for a gown. Wrapping her entire body in bandages? Maybe too suggestive, so throw a skirt and patchwork vest over them. Leaves the wraps visible to sell the theme, but makes her look like a person, not a medical subject.

While Boris Karloff had that distinctive green-grey makeup, Elsa Lanchester remained skin-colored - far paler than natural, but still believable. Geoffrey Trapp and Mike Puzzo have opted for a pale blue color, which works nicely: it marks her as inhuman, but not as weird as green would. Plus it contrasts with the off-white of the bandages and the dirty cream of her coat (which has dirty brown apps along the lower edge in the back). The stitches that hold all her component pieces together get black paint apps, despite being so tiny. Her clothes are dark brown, standing out from everything around them, and the streaks in her hair have crisp edges. The sculpted bugs that crawl over her are black, and the tube that runs out of her spine, hangs around her collarbones, then curls up into the side of her neck is green.

The articulation is as expected. The Bride never did much in her eponymous movie, because she didn't show up until the end and then swiftly died. But this crossover is a different world, so April gets the potential to do more. She gets a barbell neck; swivel/hinges at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, top of the knees, and ankles; balljointed waist and hips; swivel thighs; and plain hinges at the bottom of the knee. The skirt limits the legs a little, but a nice split over the right leg allows that one to move better than the left. You can swap her open hands for ones designed to hold her accessories.

Referencing the first movie, she includes a purse and a sai to hide in it; it's just that the purse has a metal chain, a padlock, and a bone sticking out of it, while the sai is the same lightning bolt style Raph carried. Sadly, it doesn't actually fit inside the bag in any way. The bag hangs a little too low, like the strap should have one or two fewer chain links at each end. Since she's a reporter, she includes a microphone, but it's an old, 1930s style, with a long handle that looks like elextrical lab equipent. Nice blend of her two origins! The set also includes one loose spider and two genetically modified rats: one with an ear growing on its back, the other with an oversized eye there instead. Gross!

There isn't exactly a surplus of female Universal Monsters, so making April the Bride is about all they could do, short of getting really imaginative. Heck, it's the same thing Playmates did back in 1994, with the second series of their Universal Monsters Turtles (though this one has a much more creative design). She's great as an homage to a classic monster, but more than that, she's great on her own.

-- 10/13/22

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