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Trick R Treat Sam

Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA

Sometimes, it takes years...even decades, for a pop culture favorite movie, television show or cartoon to get the action figure or collectible treatment. In fact, some of the most geek popular shows and movies never get licensed product. So you can imagine how unusual it is for a movie that's never been distributed at all to not just have the license sold, but to have actual product released. Twice.

Trick r Treat is a film written and directed by Michael Dougherty, based on his own short film Season's Greatings. The film was originally completed and ready to distribute for Halloween 2007, but pushed it to 2008. Then, they dropped it entirely for 2008, and a new distributor had to be found. Then WB backpedaled and put it back on the list for 2009, but as a direct to DVD release.  Who has their head up their ass at WB?

I say this because from the limited screenings this film has gotten, the reviews have been excellent. It has several headline stars, including Anna Paquin, who is currently hot off her first season starring in the HBO show True Blood. Somebody as WB needs their ass kicked.
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECASam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA
Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA

The movie looked so good, that two companies picked up the license to produce collectibles before it was ever released. Sideshow and NECA both planned for the main character, Sam, to make it into action figure form.


I looked at Sideshow's late last year, and now NECA's version of Sam is hitting pegs.

You'll pay around $13 - $15 for this guy, depending on the retailers. Of course, I have the usual great suggestions at the end.

Packaging - ***
NECA has stayed with the clamshell packaging, which works great for specialty market figures. You'll have to carve Sam out, but that's just what he's hoping for.

NECA also included a photo of the character himself on the front, instead of just shots of the toy. I always consider that a plus.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Back at Halloween time in 2008, a bunch of additional stills were released for the film, so we have quite a bit more reference material now.

Of the two heads, I much prefer the unmasked version this time. Of course, it's really the masked version that's his signature look, and the unmasked version is supposed to be the 'surprise', but there's something off about the round burlap had. In fact, that's the problem - it's too round. It looks like there's a balloon under there, rather than a slightly roundish pumpkin-like head. It's a minor quibble, because the burlap detailing and button eyes make up for it. But it's what holds the figure back slightly for me, and I'll probably display this version with the unmasked head.

Speaking of that second head, the sculpt is outstanding. The detailing of the melon skin is excellent, and it holds up even under extremely close inspection.

The body is a fairly straight forward sculpt, but the selected pose works well. He stands great on his own without the display stand if you prefer, and the stance works well with a number of head and arm poses.

The body is made from two pieces, front and back, that are then assembled. That means there's a seam down both sides, but they added a slightly scalloped edge to the seam, which makes it look like a sewn edge! That's a nice touch, and helps mask the seam a little.

He's designed to fit in with other 7" scale monsters. He's smaller of course, coming in at about 5 1/4" tall. Without having seen the movie, he seems a *little* tall, but I'm not going to complain, because I think at any shorter statue, he'd look far less imposing. I can sacrifice perfect scale this time for a better shelf appearance.

Paint - ***1/2
The character should look like a small child in costume on quick glance. But on closer inspection, something should seem...off.

They've used the paint to accomplish that, but adding dirt and wear to the footy pajamas. There's also a nice color and look to the burlap bag, and they used a wash to bring out the fine texturing.

Most of the fine detail work is on the pumpkin head. The color is quite good, and the detailed stitching and eyes look as good as the far larger Sideshow version.

Articulation - **1/2
The articulation here, particularly with the unmasked head, is better than it might look at first glance.

He has a ball jointed neck, but that joint really only works fully with the unmasked head. Obviously, the bottom of the bag around his shoulders restricts the ability of the head to tilt, but it still turns fine.

He also has a ball jointed left shoulder, bit it's the single pin type often called 'NECA style', since they have used it so often over the years. It's a little limited, but it does work well enough for this style of figure and doesn't break up the sculpt too much.

Both wrists are cut joints, and the right elbow is a cut joint too. But the left elbow is actually a pin joint, and can move forward and back...slightly. The sculpt restricts it quite a bit, but it still adds a bit to some arm poses.

There is no body or leg articulation. The body is actually hollow, and as I mentioned in the Sculpting section, there is a seam down both sides where the front and back is attached.

There's a little clumping on the skin tone of both hands, and the work on a couple of the patches on the clothing is a bit sloppy. But overall, it's a much better paint job than we've seen on specialty market figures in this price range in some time.

Accessories - ***1/2
Sam comes well equipped, especially for a specialty market figure. We've seen the number of accessories shrink over the last year with most horror figures, so it's nice to see him with multiple goodies.

There's the swappable head of course, and I prefer his unmasked pumpkin version for the reasons explained in the Sculpting section. The heads swap easily, and both look as though they belong when they are in place.

He also comes with a small display stand, but you don't really need it. He stands great on his own, but you can pop him on the pegs of the stand, and it looks like he's outside on the ground. The base also has a couple indents for the pumpkins.

Speaking of the pumpkins, there are two. Actually, they are jack-o-lanterns, not just pumpkins. One of the rules of Halloween that Sam enforces is 'never blow out a jack o' lantern', and one of these two is shooting fire up out of the top quite convincingly. In one of the photos, it will appear as though the lantern lights up, but it does not. That was merely a well placed light creating the effect of a light up feature, and I thought it looked cool. The flames are translucent. But not having it light up is a bit disappointing, since NECA already gave us a light up jack o' lantern back with the old Halloween boxed set, and another one here would have really been cool AND film specific. This flaming lantern is actually right out of one of the movie stills.

Sam has a candy bag too, but I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. It appears as though it should rest in or over his hand when it sits on the ground, but it doesn't quite reach. Still, the sculpt and paint are good, and you can use it as a background piece.

For his hands, Sam has two weapons. He has a knife buried in an open candy bar for his right hand, and his deadly lollipop in his right. Both fit tightly and look great.

Fun Factor - **1/2
He's a creepy character, and smaller kids aren't the audience, but for slightly older kids who love monsters and beasties and things that go bump in the night, he'd be just right.

Value - **1/2
No great shakes on the price, but you are paying about the normal going rate and getting enough to make it worth it. Two and a half stars here means that the Value is pretty much average, and won't effect my overall in either a positive or negative way.

Things To Watch Out For
Nothing. I'm betting the paint ops are fairly consistent on this one, and there's nothing to fear with breakage or damage.

Overall - ***1/2
Over the last six months, we've seen a lot of specialty market figures that disappointed, usually due to cutbacks on paint, but sometimes from weak sculpting as well. Sam is a nice return to the level of quality you should expect from this price point and style.

I have no idea if this movie is going to be good or not, but without the distribution Hell, AND two figures sitting on my shelf, I can certainly tell you that I'm looking forward to finally seeing it.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint -***1/2
Articulation - **
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
There are a number of great online options:

- Urban Collector is carrying it for $13.50.

- Entertainment Earth has it at $14.

- CornerStoreComics has it at $14.

- or you can search ebay with the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.com.

Related Links -
Yep, I actually have a related review to this odd little guy! I checked out the Sideshow version earlier in 2008. It's amazing that a movie that may never get released already has not one but TWO collectible figures based on the main character.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!


Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 4.13

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Sam action figure from Trick R Treat by NECA



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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