Packaging - **1/2
This package is a bit of a departure for Sideshow. In fact,
compared to their work on Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, it's like
night and day. It's a
large window box, something you'd be more likely to see from Mezco or
NECA. It's an attractive package to be sure, and it shows off
the figure fairly well, but even packed inside TWO...count them
TWO...heavy cardboard boxes, mine still arrived severely dented.
This kind of package just isn't as sturdy and not as likely
to survive the kind of handling it will get in the mail.
My other major issue is the
number of twisties. That's not uncommon for this type of
package, but there were enough that I lost count. Collector
friendly? Not this time around.
There is some good text on the
back though, giving you about as much info as you'll get on the
Sculpting - ***1/2
It turns out that under that creepy Halloween mask isn't a sweet little
tyke, but rather one nasty looking creature.
Now, some of us have large
heads. Hey, I was born that way, cut it out! But
Sam could be our poster child. You've heard the term
'melon head', but I bet this is the first time you've actually seen one.
Yes, his large noggin' is
designed like a pumpkin, or more specifically, a jack-o-lantern.
But unlike a character such as the Headless Horsemen who had
an actual jack-o-lantern, Sam has a fleshy, raw, realistic quality to
his pumpkin head, making it look more like an actual head that is
simply so deformed as to appear to be a member of the squash family.
It's a truly gruesome and unique
design, and I can only assume that the Sideshow sculptors captured the
look accurately. There's a ton of fine detail, and the fleshy folds
around the eyes and nose cavity give it that extra bite of reality.
There's also a cool combination of skin-like wrinkles and
melon-like wrinkles, very different in design and execution.
The skin-like wrinkles tend to run across the face, and are
very fine. They also flow with the features, much like the
ones I see in the mirror everyday. The more pumpkin-like
wrinkles come down from the dome, and are much broader and wider. This
combination creates a visually unique and arresting character.
If I were grading this only on
the head, it would have been four stars. Of course, part of
that might be because I have no real reference material to compare it
to - this is what Sam looks like for me - but I really do love the work
they've done. However, the score gets pulled down a bit by the hands.
The left hand is sculpted in an
open gesture pose, while the right is sculpted in a very distinct way
to hold the sucker. There's a hole in the palm of the hand, and the
hard plastic handle of the sucker should run through the fingers and
into the hole, giving it a very sturdy home. Unfortunately, it does
not. It fits in the hole alright, but does not thread through
the fingers properly. Because the hands are made from a very
hard vinyl, there's no give to be gotten, and if you try to force it
you'll just bend the lollipop handle.
This is annoying for a couple
reasons. First, it obviously looks less attractive sticking out of his
hand at an odd angle. And second, the sucker is quite heavy, and not
having it in the correct position makes it harder for Sam to pose with
it. When I went back and looked at my photo of Sam at SDCC,
I realized they had this same issue.
There's a second disappointment
with the hands. In the early prototype photos (and in the
photos of the figure on the box), the hands were originally wrapped in
actual burlap. In the production figure, they went with
sculpted burlap on the hands. While it looks decent, it
certainly doesn't look as good as the real deal.
BTW, Sam is a vinyl figure.
The body parts are all hollow and lightweight, and have that
distinctive vinyl look. He stands about 15 inches tall.
Paint - ***1/2
Another almost four star category is the paint work. For a
great sculpt to come there, there has to be great paint, and Sideshow
pulled this one off nicely.
There's a shine to the face
that's usually not appropriate, but in this case works perfectly.
The slight shine gives the head more of a pumpkin skin look
than a human skin look, adding to the contrast of vegetable and animal.
The paint work on this
production figure is actually BETTER than what I saw at SDCC in the
glass case. This looks much more pumpkin orange, with just
the right hint of shadow and detail.
I also love the eyes, which are
almost alien in appearance with the bright patterned iris' against the
The hands hold him back from a
perfect score again, however. I'm not particularly impressed
with the painted burlap, and the skin tone of the fingers looks more
too much like vinyl and not enough like real skin.
Articulation - ***
Most vinyl figures are not highly articulated, so it was surprising to
see the number of joints that Sam has.
He has a ball jointed neck that
works pretty good, but not outstanding. He can tilt side to
side a bit, and the movement can add some evil personality to standard
He has ball shoulders, cut
elbows, cut wrists, cut hips, cut waist, and cut ankles.
He can stand great, and can also sit if you don't mind the
pose with his legs spread wide to either side.
Accessories - **1/2
If there's one category where he falls a bit short, it's in this
He comes with a very nice, and
apparently very deadly, Halloween lollipop. But while it looks good on
its own, there's the whole issue with not fitting in his hand properly
that I mentioned in the sculpt section.
His other main accessory is a
rather small bag for candy. It looks fine, but without any
sort of handle or loop, he can't hold it particularly well.
You can tie it on with the bag closure, but it's not ideal.
It's filled with material to simulate candy inside.
He also has a display stand,
although you really don't need it. It's a very well built
stand, nothing like the usual plastic Sideshow variety. The
base is quite wide (7 inches in diameter), and made of metal!
It has a rubber label on top with the logo and character
name. The arm has a screw which attachs it to the base from
below, making it a very sturdy design. However, the loop
doesn't fit particularly well around this short character, and dear
Sam actually stands quite well all on his own.
Outfit - ***1/2
The outfit is made up of two main pieces - the burlap mask, and the
The PJ's are outstanding.
The soft material has just the right dirty, worn look, and
even the little footies are padded with the no slip rubber soles that
never quite match up with the bottom of a kid's foot. There's
even a butt pocket in back, although you can't open it to actually see
his butt. Probably a good thing, considering how ugly his
face is. The PJ's fit great, but can't be removed easily.
The burlap mask isn't quite as
good of a fit. The problem isn't so much the bag as the odd
pumpkin shape of the head. In all the promo shots I've seen from the
film, Sam has an almost perfectly round head when the bag is on.
They weren't going to be able to match that look with the
properly sculpted head underneath and an actual burlap bag on top.
The bag is also a bit less
weathered and dirty than I was expecting. It's much cleaner
in appearance than the PJ's, although in the right lighting it can
still look quite creepy.
You'll need to adjust it quite a
bit out of the box to get the look you want. The sewn on
smile should be up on the face higher that it is in the box, but you
can get it to look about right with some futzing.
Fun Factor - ***
When I was 10, 11, 12 years old, I loved creepy, gruesome monsters.
For kids like that, this is actually a terrific figure.
The quality is top notch, and the price not too insane.
They can display it on their shelf, and occasionally it might
just come down to eat Barbie's brains.
If you compare him to other similar 14 - 15" vinyl figures, you'll see
a similar price point at $50 - $60. I find it amusing that
Medicom charges more than this for itty bitty vinyl figures that could
almost fit in Sam's butt pocket, and people think it's a great deal.
Things To Watch Out For
If you're having the same issues getting the lollipop in his hand (and
you will), don't force it! While the stick will bend a bit,
this will cause stress fractures in the plastic and it will break.
Overall - ***1/2
Sideshow doesn't do much work in the 'hot new property' sort of
licensing. They tend to stick with well established license,
properties that have been around for a respectable amount of time.
Therefore, it must be all the more painful that when they do
dip their toes in that particular pool, a shark happens to be right
there to bite off their foot. Such is the situation with Sam.
They tried to capitalize on what
looked like a new film with a bright future, got the product signed up
early, and bam - now are stuck holding a bunch of vinyl figures of a
character nobody knows.