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Living Dead Dolls
by yo go re

We've often said that Living Dead Dolls have kept the lights on over at Mezco. As action figure fans, we not personally care much about them, but they have a huge and dedicated fanbase. And when those folks go wild over a new set, it means Mez can afford to take a gamble on something that might not be a guaranteed success. It's like a movie star who appears in stupid blockbusters so he can fund his little art house films - one product offsets the cost of the other. So, since we like so many of Mezco's action figures, and we therefore owe so much to the Living Dead Dolls, it only seems fair that we finally review one.

The Living Dead Dolls are sold in black, coffin-shaped boxes with a colorful tissue paper lining. A clear plastic lid with the logo and some cobwebs printed in silver covers the figure, and then, like a Beanie Baby, there's a cardboard slip with a little poem on it:

Isaac is a scarecrow who wants to steal your soul/
But he is too busy hanging and loving his Ole' Crow.

As that says, Isaac is a scarecrow - his name likely a reference to Isaac Chroner, the child-preacher from Stephen King's Children of the Corn. He's wearing a floppy black hat with yellow patch held on by red stitches, and real straw poking out from underneath. Well, "real" straw. It's fake, but it's the stuff you could find at any craft store - not sculpted.

His head is vinyl, and is mostly orange - to suggest the "scarecrow-ness" of him, there are darker patches around his left eye and under his chin. They're just painted, but they make him look patchwork. The four thick sutures over his mouth are sculpted elements, though. His sclerae are black, with white irises and pintpoint black pupils. There's a bit of black airbrushing around the eyes, to make them shadowy.

Unlike every other Living Dead Doll, Isaac has a soft, stuffed body - again, a choice made to maximize his non-human status. He has plastic boots and hands, but everything else below the neck is just cloth. The boots are plain, the sort of things dollmakers could buy in bulk, but the hands are monstrous claws that are each wrong in their own way: the right hand looks more like an upside down left hand, and the left hand has six fingers instead of five. The skin is brown and wrinkled, and looks dangerous and creepy.

Isaac is wearing black overalls with tattered lower edges and a yellow patch (matching the one on his hat) on his right hip. His shirt is a red and black plaid, and it also has a patch - this one just below the left shoulder. There's more of the straw poking out of his sleeves, his waist, and the collar of his shirt. The back is closed with velcro, but there's no point is taking the clothes off him, because there's nothing to see underneath - it's just a plain black body with some folded joints at the knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. Although, if you were to put a pencil or something down his sleeves, it would definitely give him a more traditional "stuck out in the vegetable patch" pose.

All the LDD come with a death certificate, wrapped up in a tube with a ribbon. There's another poem inside, again referencing Children of the Corn:

Nailed onto a cross,
This false prophet hates.
Crows pecking on his innards,
He just hangs and waits.

They sure do like their poems!

Isaac was part of Series 6(66), released in 2003. All the figures in the sixth series came with a pack-in pet accessory, and Isaac's is, appropriately enough, a crow. It's an evil-looking bird with no articulation, but with a stylized sculpt that makes him look right at home with something as creepy as Isaac. The bird's triangular eyes are painted glossy red, but the rest is jet black. He stands 2¼" tall.

As an action figure collector, the Living Dead Dolls don't appeal to me, but then, they're not supposed to. You can't hate something just because it was made for a different audience - the most you should give it is indifference. I like Isaac, because he's a cool, creepy scarecrow, but considering it's been more than a decade since I bought this figure (at Suncoast, with rewards bucks, so he technically didn't cost me anything), he clearly didn't turn me into a big time fan.

-- 10/30/14

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