#3108: Ultimate Ash



In 1981, after a series of glorified home movies, and otherwise widely unseen product, Sam Raimi and a bunch of his friends put together a full-length feature.  A horror movie about a group of friends trapped in a haunted cabin in the woods, and an extremely low-budget affair to boot, The Evil Dead gained quite a bit of notoriety for its cast and crew, especially Raimi, and the film’s star, Bruce Campbell, who made his first turn as Ash Williams, the man who would become the face of a franchise.  While there’s been toy coverage for the ultimate badass that Ash would become, we’ve never gotten anything based on his debut appearance.  In honor of the film’s 40th anniversary (well, last year, anyway), NECA’s gone back to the beginning, with a full on “Ultimate” treatment for Ash, circa the first film.


Ultimate Ash is a single release figure, under NECA’s general Evil Dead banner, but the very first to be officially branded as The Evil Dead, aka the first movie.  The figure was first released in limited quantities to Target as part of their “Haulathon” event, before getting a wider release through specialty stores the following month.  This figure stands about 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Ash’s articulation scheme matches up with the modern NECA set-up.  It’s generally pretty decent, but there are certainly some areas where he could stand to have a little more range of motion.  For the most part, it does what it needs to, however.  Ash’s sculpt is an all-new affair, based specifically on Bruce Campbell’s much less action hero-y portrayal of the character from the first movie.  It does a pretty respectable job on that front.  The details match up well with the look from the movie, and the sculpting is all pretty sharp and on point.  There are three heads included with this release, each with a slightly different expression.  Given how expressive Campbell is in all of the Evil Dead films, it’s nice that NECA continues to give us a full range of extra heads to fully showcase this.  Of the three, I particularly like the more frightened head, which I feel best fits the first movie version of the character, but all three of them have a pretty respectable likeness of a very young Campbell.  Ash’s paint work is generally alright.  Nothing too fancy going on here.  Ash is based on his appearance early on in the film, before he really gets all messy from killing his possessed friends.  Knowing NECA, a bloody version will more than likely follow, but this one keeps with the clean look.  Given that all of the Evil Dead 2 figures had him in various states of dirtiness, having this one be totally clean actually makes it a bit more distinctive.  Ash is packed with a sizable assortment of accessories, befitting the “Ultimate” status of this figure.  He gets three alternate right hands (basic grip, trigger finger, and lantern holding), a lantern, chainsaw, rifle, axe, and the tape recorder he and his friends find in the cabin.  He lacks the book of the dead, which feels like an odd omission; maybe that’s a piece they’re saving for that inevitable bloody variant.  As it stands, not a bad assortment of extras.


As I’ve addressed before, my first introduction to the Evil Dead films was via Bruce Campbell’s behind-the-scenes discussions regarding them in If Chins Could Kill.  I really enjoyed the book, and figured I might as well actually watch the films discussed there in.  I watched them in order, and notably caught The Evil Dead after midnight, which certainly made for a slightly more restless night.  I love the low-budget roots of the film, and I’ve been hoping to see some sort of toy coverage for a while now.  This guy finally gives us that, and he does it well.  He’s quite a lot of fun, even if he’s not the distinctive version of Ash that most people remember.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#2446: Ash



In addition to putting together a fairly consistent stream of usually quite accurate recreations of various horror and sci-fi fixtures, NECA has a tendency to experiment with some slightly different styles and ideas from time to time, in order to get a little bit more mileage out of some of their licenses.  They like to have a little bit of fun with whatever their working on, and that translates to some often rather goofy, off-beat ideas.  Tooney Terrors, a line launched late last year, fits right in with that.  It’s not the most complex idea; essentially, they’re filtering horror icons through the lens of a Scooby Doo-esque Saturday morning cartoon.  I myself am not the biggest standard horror/slasher fan, at least as far as collecting toys goes, but they managed to pique my interest with their latest assortment, which happens to include Ash Williams, Bruce Campbell’s groovy, chainsaw-handed, boomstick-weilding fighter of evil from the Evil Dead films!


Ash is one of the three figures in Series 3 of NECA’s Tooney Terrors line, which started hitting right at the end of May.  He’s the first “heroic” character to grace the line, though he still does kind of fit with the “terrors” descriptor.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  It’s mostly cut joints on the movement, but he gets a ball-jointed neck, which was a pleasant surprise, and gives him a nice bit of range.  Given how stiff the figure is otherwise, it actually does quite a bit for posing.  Kudos to NECA for that.  I do have to say, I was a little sad at how large he was, since he’s a little too big to fit in with any of my Scooby Doo figures.  That said, he does fit just fine with the rest of the line he’s *actually* from, so I suppose I can’t be too mad at NECA for not making him fit with a line they didn’t manufacture.  He’s also close enough to be fudgable, so it’s hardly the end of the world.  Ash’s sculpt is pretty fun.  He’s based on the character’s Evil Dead 2 appearance, which is really his most distinctive, and therefore the best choice for such a figure.  It also translates quite well into that simplified design they’re going for, goofy expression and all.  There’s a lot of character behind this sculpt, and even without the usual super hyper accurate recreation of the movie look that NECA’s usually known for, there’s no confusion about who this is supposed to be.  Ash’s paintwork is quite clean, and bright as well, which makes him stand out very nicely on the shelf.  Ash includes his “boomstick”, the twelve-gauge double-barreled Remington he carries through both Evil Dead 2 and its sequel.  He can hold it in his left hand, or stow it in the holster on his back, depending on your display preference.


Tooney Terrors has fascinated me since NECA introduced it, but none of the characters were on the nose enough for me to really warrant picking them up.  As soon as they showed off Ash, though, I knew I had my entry point.  There’s not a ton going on with this figure, but I really do enjoy it.  As much as I love having my movie-accurate 7″ figure, there’s something about this one that almost feels more on the mark to the tone of the movies and the character.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy to review.  He and the rest of his assortment, and many other cool toys both old and new, are still available through their website and their eBay Store, so check them out.

#1774: Evil Ash



“Oh, you wanna know? ‘Cause the answer’s easy! I’m BAD Ash… and you’re GOOD Ash! You’re a goody little two-shoes! Little goody two-shoes! Little goody two-shoes!”

Director Sam Raimi’s first proper film work was Evil Dead, a promising, but ultimately kind of generic horror film.  But promising it was, so Raimi was able to actually get a studio on board for not one, but two sequels to it.  The second of those, Army of Darkess, ended up being the most financially successful of the three, and up until recently was the one with the most merchandising attached to it.  Its first action figures courtesy of McFarlane Toys’ Movie Maniacs line.  Today, I’m looking at AoD’s primary antagonist, the dark reflection of the main character, Evil Ash.


Evil Ash was released in Series 4 of Movie Maniacs, as the follow-up to the standard Ash Williams from Series 3.  Evil Ash is based on his armored, leader of the Deadite army appearance from Army of Darkness’ big climactic battle, which is a sensible choice, since any other version would just be largely indistinguishable from a standard Ash.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall (thanks to his hunching positioning) and he has 8 points of articulation.  Movie Maniacs were from the period where McFarlane had given up on actually making real action figures…or posable ones at least.  He’s really just a plastic statue, with some cut joints thrown in.  But, as with a lot of these figures, his articulation is mostly there as a matter of habit; it doesn’t actually allow for anything but the one main pose.  On the plus side, Evil Ash’s sculpt is definitely a strong one.  It actually quite accurately captures the details of Evil Ash’s costume from the movie.  The details are all quite crisp, and they’ve even gotten the horribly scarred visage that is his face down pretty much spot on.  Also, despite rather missing the mark on the likeness for their standard variant of Ash, you can make out a pretty decent Bruce Campbell likeness on this guy, even under the horrible scarring.  It’s the chin that really sells it. Evil Ash’s paintwork is another strong point of the figure.  They’re really managed to get that grimy, really broken-in look that he has in the movie, and the detailing on his face really accents the scarring of the sculpt quite well.  Overall, he just looks like quite lifelike, and they really did the best to accentuate all of the details of the sculpt.  Ash is packed with a pair of swords, which he will forever have to hold, because what else is he going to do with those sword gripping hands, right?  He also gets a movie poster marquee base, like all of the earlier Movie Maniacs.  I guess it’s cool, but I think he might have greatly benefitted from an actual display stand.  Still, it’s kind of neat.


My first exposure to the Evil Dead films wasn’t actually the movies themselves, but was instead Bruce Campbell’s memoir If Chins Could Kill, which I started reading because I knew him as “the guy from all of the Spider-Man movies.”  I know, weird.  I missed out on a lot of Evil Dead stuff when it was first released, and ultimately ended up going for NECA’s offerings, though those didn’t include this guy.  Despite his statuesque nature, Evil Ash is actually one of the better offerings I’ve run into from Movie Maniacs.

This guy isn’t part of my personal collection.  He was loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in owning this figure, he’s available via their eBay page.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.