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Twisted Christmas
by yo go re

After taking a year off, McFarlane's Monsters are back, ready to desecrate another beloved childhood institution. First it was The Wizard of Oz, then Fairy Tales. And in the middle, uhm, historical figures. But now, now their target is Christmas - someone alert the fundamentalist wackos!

Lovable snowman, or cold-hearted killer? Melt him down and you'll be left with a pool of pure evil.

The only thing "frosty" about this psycho snowman is his icy killer instinct. Remember those old Calvin and Hobbes comics where Calvin would build some snowman-themed Grand Guignol, causing many a disturbed conversation in the neighborhood? This is that kind of thing, taken to a whole new level. Why, this fellow is less a snowman... than a god demon! Some sort of hideous frost golem loosed upon the world by the ritual burning of leaves. Ia! Ia! Bouli fhtagn!

Surprisingly, the Twisted Christmas (or "Twisted X-Mas" if you go by the packaging) figures aren't too "extreme" - the McMonsters have been toned down from the previous series, which featured such aesthetic abominations as Cuisinart werewolf and Fatty McGee. Heck, the token female in this line doesn't even feature bondage torture or spider-rape. What's going on at McToys? It's like someone over there finally realized that you don't need to be gross to be scary! Gasp!

If the sculpt was anything but excellent, we'd be very disappointed - this is McToys, after all! The snowman's body is built from four balls, though the way he's moving means they're not stacked in a straight line. His mystical nature is evident from the texture of the snow - there are large, unnatural ripples everywhere the surface is disturbed, like the two lumps of coal on his chest. Real snow doesn't do that. The twisted wood of the limbs does a good job of simulating muscles and anatomy, but still looking plant-like. His tattered hat even looks like a real item that's seen years of wear.

The face, somehow, manages to take up two balls' worth of body. The two eyes made out of coal rest beneath furrowed brows on the top piece, but his gaping mouth ends down on the second. His nose is the classic carrot, and 61 individual icicles are crammed in his mouth to serve as teeth - 26 on the top, 35 on the bottom. He even has a crooked little icicle tongue jutting out of the back of his mouth. This is one vicious-looking snowball, ready to bite the head off anyone who comes too close. And just in case he scares you, his hat is removable: if he really is anything like Frosty, taking it off will put an end to his murderous rampage.

Like most snowmen, this one has arms made out of small branches. Unlike most snowmen, he has four arms and two legs, all ending in savage claws. As we said, the detailing on the limbs is good, and there's a swivel joint where each of them meets the body. Sure, any other company would have made those balljoints, and given us hinges or swivels for the elbows and wrists, but this is McFarlane Toys: six joints might be the most any figure has this year. The joints turn freely, and the arms overlap in different ways. There are even spots where the bark has worn away, exposing the wood beneath. And hey, if he runs into some particularly difficult prey, you can always use his feet as another set of hands.

It may look like the Snowman comes with a display base, but he really doesn't - yeah, it's a separate piece, but it's a part of his body. This is no more a display base than the legs on some of the taller NBA figures are a display base. It's really cleverly designed, too. The "base" is more snow, sculpted and painted to blend with the rest of his body perfectly. There's a bigger pile of it in front of him, and the back of the base trails out into thin streaks. What does that mean? It's evidence the Snowman has been dragging himself through the snow, stalking his next victim. That's right, even a little 6" long base has a story to tell. There's a red Christmas tree ornament laying in the snow behind him, as well as a few random bones and a mitten - with the hand still inside it. Creepy!

The Snowman stands about 6½" tall, and is molded from semi-opaque plastic. He's then brushed with an off-white paint that leaves him looking a bit yellow - but not like "yellow snow" yellow or anything. That'd be really scary! The teeth are more of a blue tint, with the same off-white paint and a touch of grey. His carrot is a muted orange, and the coals are black with blue highlights painted on. The hat, painted grey, looks like it was one black, but has been distressed over the years - that's why there's a much lighter drybrushing over the surface. The sticks are two-tone brown, and the items in the snow on the base are all painted well.

We make fun of McFarlane Toys a lot around here, because McFarlane Toys does so very much worth making fun of. But that doesn't mean they're not extremely good at what they do. You don't have to be a McFarlane fan or even care about the backstory to get this Snowman - with a cool sculpt, nice paint and just a bit of articulation, he's just that good. This is a great wintery display piece.

-- 11/30/07

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