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Zombie Mask Ghost Face

Scream 4
by yo go re

Last year, NECA mentioned that they were very excited to be working on a horror icon that, in their estimation, no one had ever gotten right before. The license in question was never offically named, but it's clear now that they were refering to Ghost Face.

There's a story that the Ghost Face mask was chosen for Scream shortly before filming began (or even after, in some tellings), but that's not strictly accurate. The script describes the mask of the killer as white and ghostly, so obviously they already had some idea what they were looking for. Wes Craven first saw the mask while he was scouting locations for the film - one of the houses belonged to a mask collector.

The mask was originally designed in 1991 for a company called FunWorld, and was first sold in 1992. It was part of a four-mask assortment known as "Fantastic Faces," which had two scary masks (with black hoods) and two "cute" faces (with white hoods) - this particular one was known internally as the "peanut-eyed ghost." Licensing Peanut is entirely the responsibility of a gentleman by the name of RJ Torbert, and he's also the one who pushed to give it a real name (which NECA parses "Ghost Face," McFarlane parsed "Ghostface," and Fun World parses "GhostFace"; we're going to go with that last one).

One of the most glaring errors with McFarlane's Ghostface was that he wasn't wearing the movie costume, but rather the retail version. The biggest giveaway is the belt, which the movie costume lacked; it closed in the front with velcro, and the sculpt on this figure suggests the same. The wrinkles aren't as exaggerated on this figure as they were on Todd's, but then, neither is the pose. This GhostFace is designed to stand upright, not have his arms flailing about wildly - although you can do that if you want.

This GhostFace has articulation! Lots of it! Swivel head, balljoint neck, swivel/hinge shoulders and elbows, balljointed wrists, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips and knees, and balljointed ankles. Hot diggety! You can get him into the same pose as the old toy, but you can also do pretty much any other thing you'd want to with him. This isn't the first time NECA's done this style of joint for their hips, but it's not too common; they prefer H-hips over these pseudo-balljoints, but it's nice to see them here. Or not see them, as the case may be; they are hidden by the smock, after all.

The first shipments of these figures include a mixture of plastic and softgoods for the cloak: the chest and arms are plastic, but everything from the waist down is cloth. That means none of the articulation goes to waste, and the legs are fully sculpted if you lift the skirt. It's a clever solution, no doubt, but a lot of the Scream fans complained about the way it looked, so only the first half of the shipments will feature the cloth - the second half will have plastic, allowing people to decide for themselves which looks better. NECA's been very upfront about this running change the entire time, too, so no one should think they're double dipping. The flowing sleeves on the second release will remain cloth, because otherwise you end up with the forearm spikes like McFarlane's had, and that just looks crappy. A thicker cloth might have been in order, so it wasn't as translucent, but then it might not have hung properly.

Something else available only on these first figures and not on the later shipments is this chase variant head. The so-called "Zombie Mask" GhostFace is packed two per case, sharing space with six standard versions. The mask is the same basic shape, but it's been sculpted with cracks and is a dusty gray. No one's saying for sure whether or not the mask will appear like this in the upcoming Scream 4 (which is the reason NECA is able to make these toys right now), but NECA asked FunWorld for reference material, and the company sent a Zombie mask along with the normal one, so NECA decided to make this as a fun extra.

Just like the costume is more accurate than before, so is the accessory. GhostFace only comes with his knife, but it's accurate to the one seen in the film. It's much smaller than the hatchet McToys came up with, but it's still sinister. Amusingly, his left hand is posed perfectly to hold the cellphone the Movie Maniacs Ghostface came with. Was that intentional, or just blind luck? Either way, it's a fun bonus if you have the old toy.

NECA said they wanted to do this figure because it was really the only horror icon they hadn't had a crack at, and it had never been done right. Well, now it has. This figure is better than McFarlane's version in every possible way. We love the articulation, and the softgoods actually work well. Since I got the "zombie" version now, I may even get the normal version when the ones with the plastic skirt come out later.

-- 03/06/11

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