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Dr. Tongue

Day of the Dead
by yo go re

Nope, still haven't seen it.

Our first review of an Amok Time Day of the Dead figure was Bub, as close as any of George Romero's Living Dead movies came to a "main character" zombie until Big Daddy showed up in Land of the Dead. He had a name, he had his own story arc, he had more than one scene... he was an important character, even if he was dead. By contrast, today's figure was just another cameo - a memorable cameo, but a cameo nonetheless.

"Dr. Tongue," as he was known on the set (since he's never named in the movie) was the first zombie seen in the film, because it's a great way to drop the audience into the deep end: after two movies' worth of zombies that were mostly identified by having a different skintone, the first one we see this time has had the lower half of his face blown off by a shotgun; it tells audiences right away that they're in for a different kind of experience.

The Dr. Tongue makeup was created by special effects master Tom Savini, and was a shocking sight. The zombie seen in the movie was a full-scale puppet rather than a prosthesis, but this toy pushes things even further: the lower jaw is more recessed, while his rubber tongue flops all the way back against his throat. The toy captures the idea of the character more than the reality, and that's just fine!

The toy was sculpted by Jean St.Jean, who's pretty much the toy industry's go-to guy for anyone that doesn't have their own in-house team of sculptors. The good doctor is wearing some very fancy clothes - a brown jacket, a light vest and shirt, a red tie, dark grey pants, and black shoes. There's a bit of blood near his collar, though not nearly as much as you'd expect from his grievous wound, which suggets that he may have already been (un)dead by the time he was shot. He's probably been a zombie for a while, too, since his shoes and pants are muddy. In addition to his ruined face and wispy hair, both hands have torn skin on the back.

Like Bub, Dr. Tongue's articulation is less-than-impressive. The packaging (which gets a few style points for making the back of the insert look like the famous "The Dead Walk!" newspaper seen in the film) says he has seven points of articulation, but he's actually got eight: waist, wrists, biceps, shoulders, and neck. They're all plain swivels, so there isn't really a lot you can do with him. Of course, all he did in the movie was stumble into frame and look around, so it's not like we're talking about someone being dumb enough to turn karate action heroes into 100% immobile statues. At least the tongue is rubbery, so it flexes as you move his head around.

And he doesn't have any accessories, just a display base. Day of the Dead was shot in an abandonned limestone mine outside Pittsburgh, but the movie is set in the Everglades, so the base is a small section of Florida street. It's an irregular shape, 5⅛" by 3⅝", and depicts a bit of street with a man hole cover in one corner and various detritus strewn about. It's not an exact match for what's seen in the film (because no one could possibly sculpt every stray bit of shredded plant matter) but, like the sculpt of his jaw, the feel of the piece is correct.

Dr. Tongue doesn't have as many extras as Bub, and he isn't as cool as Tarman, but he's a visually distinctive 7"-scale zombie, and will look good mingling with his fellows.

-- 10/11/14

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