Cult Classics 7
Stuntman Mike and Beetlejuice

Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures

There once was a time not that long ago when you could walk into your local Media Play and find the likes of collectibles based on A Christmas Story, the Blues Brothers, Animal House, or any other off beat movie with a cult following. It seems that, like Media Play and many other retailers, those days are well past.

But there's still a few companies producing collectibles based on cult classics, and NECA has released the latest wave in their actual "Cult Classics" action figures, series 7. There are three figures in this line, including Regan from Exorcist, Beetlejuice from Beetlejuice of course, and Stuntman Mike from Death Proof. I'm not a big Exorcist fan, so I skipped Regan (although I do love the choice of her 'spider walk' cut scene as the design), but I grabbed both Beetlejuice and Mike.

These are available at lots of online retailers as well as some brick and mortar stores (you might try Hot Topic or FYE if you have a decent one), and will run you around fifteen bucks or so, depending on the retailer. There's also an 18" version of this Beetlejuice that's hitting retailers as you read this, and I'll be reviewing that in the very near future.
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures

Cult Classics 7 Stuntman Mike action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures
Cult Classics 7 Stuntman Mike action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures
Cult Classics 7 Stuntman Mike action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures
Cult Classics 7 Stuntman Mike action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice and Stuntman Mike action figures
Cult Classics 7 Beetlejuice action figures

Packaging - ***
Like action figures based on cult classics, clamshell packages seem to be getting more scarce. But NECA has stuck with them, and although you have to have a knife to get the figure out, I'm still a big fan. They hold up to wear extremely well, and the printed inserts allow for plenty of personalization, front and back.

Sculpting - Beetljuice ***; Mike **
To the left you'll find three photos of head sculpts. The first is the packaged Stuntman Mike, the second is Beetlejuice and the third is the accessory head for Mike.

Now, keep in mind that these are 7" scale figures, so the close up photos show far more than your nekkid eye can possibly make out. That being said, Mike still has some serious issues.

The regular head has the sunglasses sculpted on, and a cigarette sculpted in the mouth. Both of these choices were smart, allowing them to make the items fairly close to scale. Maybe it's the sunglasses...maybe it's the awful paint job...but I'm not seeing the Kurt Russell Mike in there.

Without the eyes, it's tougher to get to the soul of the sculpt, but the jawline, mouth, and nose all see slightly off. It's almost like the face is a little squished, as though the prototype sculpt (which was quite nice looking) didn't quite make it out of the machinery clean. The lower jaw is wider than the top of the head, the mouth is wider and larger than Russell's (sticking out well past the sides of the nose), and the sculpted scar is barely present. Because of the second included head - a head which is far superior - it's easy to make these comparisons.

Keep in mind that he's largely a Nerd Hummel, so the sculpted pose and body in most photos is pretty much what you end up with on your shelf. They went with a very basic black t-shirt look, and I think adding the jacket that he wore in the bar would have really helped the overall appearance, making him more Mike and less Kurt Russell. I do like the pose and sculpt of the legs, but if you don't, you're stuck.

There's also the small details added like the watch and jewelry, specific to the character. That's a nice touch, but it's not enough to really make him stand out as this particular demented psycho.

Beetlejuice is generally much, much better. I love the sculpted hair, and they used a soft translucent plastic to give it just the right wispy look. It's not a perfect Michael Keaton, and there's a few issues in general, like showing too much gum in the wild smile, but there's no doubt who it is.

Small details have been well sculpted on his face, like the green mold, skin texture, and eyes. I've talked before about how very risky and difficult it is for a sculptor to capture an extreme facial expression, and how often it ends in utter failure. Thankfully, they managed to pull it off here, with the minor gripes of the exposed gum along with the slightly fat jaw line.

The body is very accurate, although he does seem a smidge tall. Stuntman Mike comes in right at 7", but BJ stands slightly over that. WIth his paunce taking up more volume, he ends up the larger of the two figures.

While the sculpt of Beetljuice is clearly designed to work best with one or two key poses, the articulation and sculpt work together much better to allow for greater personalization than with Mike. They've also used the best known and most classic look for Beetlejuice with the striped suit, something that was sorely lacking from NECA's first attempt at the Beetljuice license 7 years ago.

Both figures stand great on their own, but they do have peg holes in the bottom of their feet if you wish to use stands.

Paint - Beetlejuice ***; Mike *1/2
Great paint can make a mediocre sculpt amazing - bad paint can make the finest sculpt mediocre. Take a mediocre sculpt and slap on bad paint, and you get...Stuntman Mike. Or at least his main head.

There's so many paint issues with his main head that it's hard to know where to start. How about those eyebrows? They're applied somewhere so far to his right of center that they look like two caterpillers trying to escape his face. The awful attempt at stubble doesn't help any, but the other huge issue is the face color applied to the hair, particularly around the ears. In fact, it's so bad on his left side, that a huge hunk of hair is actually colored the same as his skin, making ot look like a monster earlobe. Check it out in that close up and you'll see what I mean!

Oddly enough, the extra head has far fewer issues. Gone is the atrocious stubble, the hair line is much more accurate (at least in terms of paint), and the eyebrows are approximately where they are on most humans. Most of the credit for this better work ends up in the Accessories section of my review though, since this second head is his 'accessory'.

The paint work on Beetlejuice is quite a bit better, especially the eyes. Getting both iris' and pupils in the perfect spot to pull off the 'looking sideways' appearance can be extremely tough. Just ask Sideshow and DC Direct, both of whom have had big troubles with this expression on recent sixth scale figures.

Here it works extremely well, with no wandering or lazy eye look. The paint work on the skin, mouth and teeth looks very realistic, considering the character, and the translucent color of the hair gives it a more wispy look, something that is very tough to pull off.

The paint work on the body is a bit more hit or miss, with some of the black stripes dead on and others a bit sloppy. Some of the cut lines are a bit uneven, but overall the quality is solid.

Articulation - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
The articulation on Mike is about what you'd expect, but Beetlejuice was a nice surprise.

Mike has a ball jointed neck, key to making him look badass in a variety of poses. He also has cut shoulders, cut arms at the bottom of the sleeves, and cut wrists. You can get some very minor movement out of the waist and ankles, but it's so minor as to almost not count.

What that all means is Mike will stand in pretty much one pose, and you can use his neck joint to give him some personality.

Beetlejuice also has an excellent ball jointed neck, and with the extreme facial expression, you'll be able to make terrific use of this joint.

He also has ball jointed shoulders, a big plus, as well as ball jointed wrists! I was quite surpised at both of these, and he adds a ball jointed waist which tilts forward and back. Add in cut joints at the top of the boots, and cut joints at approximately both elbows, and you can see why he got the much better score.

Accessories - Mike ***; Beetlejuice **1/2
While the head that comes on Mike is fairly weak in more ways than one, the extra head that is his single accessory is much, much better.

I can see Russell in there, particularly in the nose, mouth and eyes.  The scar is carved much deeper in his face, and while the chin is still a bit to Leno-esque, the overall look is an improvement. Sure, the hairline is at a weird cockeyed angle, but at least the face doesn't look deformed.

The heads pop on and off easy enough, and I might try finding a decent pair of sunglasses from another figure in this scale, and cut the cigarette off the other head to add to his lips here. That would make a much better looking Stuntman Mike, and solve the big issue this head sculpt has - character recognition.

While it looks much better than the original head, it has only the scar to identify it as Mike. With the body being done in such a generic way, almost no one will recognize this head on this body as Stuntman Mike, at least without being told. Score more points for prefering the jacket to this simple t-shirt.

Ironically enough, with the original head sculpt people may recognize him as an badly done Stuntman Mike. With this better head on the body, people will just see Kurt Russell on your shelf.

Beetlejuice comes with two small snakes, both recognizable from the film. They're alright I suppose, but there wasn't much I was going to do with them.

His better accessory is the book titled Handbook for the Recently Deceased. This is a nice movie specific accessory that played a key part in the film. Unlike most books in this scale, it comes complete with the cover title and graphic, as well as the title on the spine!

Considering all the goodies he could have had though, as well as the higher cost of these figures at many retailers, I was a tad disappointed in the choices.

Fun Factor - Beetlejuice **1/2; Mike **
Nah, they aren't for most kids, and they really do fit that Nerd Hummel definition for the most part (particularly Mike). Kids may recognize Beetlejuice though from the million times the film has been on cable, and it has that quirky look that they tend to enjoy.

Value - **1/2
Most figures have now hit the $15 mark. With some mass market figures getting this expensive, you have to admit that these are a pretty average value.

Things To Watch Out For
Not a thing once you have yours out of the package. Before you buy them though you might want to spend some time checking out the paint.

Overall - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
When it comes to little plastic statues like this, the key areas are sculpt and paint. You don't expect a lot out of accessories and articulation, and what you get there is always a bonus.

Stuntman Mike, at least with the more specific character head sculpt, fails in both these regards. The head has a distorted look, with most of the features off slightly. The paint is atrocious, even in person, although this might be something you can avoid by being extremely picky about which figure you buy. Too bad that most of these will get sold online, sight unseen. In the end, comparing this figure to the original prototype figure shows what a huge disappointment it is.

Now, pop the other head on and you'll have a much, much better likeness and paint job. The only problem here is that it ends up looking more like Kurt Russell with a scar than an actual recogizable movie character. I really wish they'd gone with the trademark brightly colored jacket.

The Beetlejuice is solid, but it does look a bit more like a really, really good cosplayer version of the character rather than Michael Keaton as the character. I can live with that though, considering how much better this is than the first attempt at Beetlejuice that NECA did.

BTW, comparing those figures to these shows just how far NECA has come as a company. It's amazing to see the quality of their product today compared to back then, even with the paint issues that are so apparent on Mike.

Even the casual Beetlejuice fan will appreciate this version, but the bad luck that has uglied up all the figures related to the Grindhouse movies so far is still hanging on to the Stuntman Mike. He's an easy skip, unless you're a hardcore fan, or you're looking for a reasonably good Russell head sculpt for a custom.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
Paint - Beetlejuice ***; Mike *1/2
Articulation - Beetlejuice ***; Mike **
Accessories - Mike ***; Beetlejuice **1/2
Fun Factor - Beetlejuice **1/2; Mike **
Value - **1/2
Overall - Beetlejuice ***, Mike **

Where to Buy -
There's a few online options amongst my sponsors:

- Urban Collector doesn't have the small figures, but they have a great price on the 18" Beetljuice at just $37.

- Time And Space Toys has a good price on the small figures at just $14 each.

- CornerStoreComics great prices on all of the figures, with the small ones at $14 each, or the set of three for $39, and the large 18" BJ at $37.

- Alter Ego Comics has them for $15 each, as well as the 18" BJ for $40.50.

- Clark Toys has the small Beetlejuice for $15.

- YouBuyNow has the small figures for $16, the large for $48.

- Entertainment Earth has the small figures for $17 each.

- for the UK fans, you can pick up the small figures at Forbidden Planet for 10 GBP, or the big 18" BJ for 25.

- or you can search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
I've covered most of the NECA Cult Classics:

- series 6 was broken into two parts, one here and one here.

- before that was series 5, including Lector and Jigsaw, series 4, series 3 broken into two reviews of McClane and Bubba Ho-tep, and Flyboy and the Endoskeleton in another. Finally, there's also reviews of series 1 and series 2.

- and check out the guest review of NECA's first crack at Beetlejuice from 7 years ago!

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.  Averaging the two scores together and then converting to a five star system for comparison is: 3.13

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Cult Classics 7 Stuntman Mike action figures

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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