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Zuni Warrior

If you talk about television and horror in the 60's and 70's, most people think of Rod Serling. His classic Twilight Zone, while more science fiction than horror, led to Night Gallery, one of the best known television horror anthologies. But Serling was more thinking man than goose bumps, using the genre to examine social issues. When it comes to real scares in television horror, there was someone much more skilled working at the time - Dan Curtis.

Curtis started out with Dark Shadows in the 1960's. A vampire soap opera, the show still has a devoted following to this day. But even more popular were his made for television horror movies of the 1970's, including Night Stalker, Night Strangler, Norliss Tapes, and the subject of tonight's review, the Trilogy of Terror.

Curtis tended to hook up with great writers, and worked with the likes of William F. Nolan and Richard Matheson on multiple occasions. Trilogy of Terror, an anthology of three stories, all written by Matheson, was released in 1975. The three stories all starred Karen Black, which was fairly unusual. I can't actually think of another anthology film where every story starred the same person, all in different roles.





Ms. Black has been in a fair number of horror flicks in her career, including the recent House of 1000 Corpses where she played Mother Firefly, but for most of us, the role as a young woman terrorized by a Zuni Fetish Warrior doll was the one we remember best.

Actually, it was the best of the three stories in the movie, and was extremely creepy for 70's television. Lots of youngsters spent a sleepless night after this movie first aired.

Majestic has just released their reproduction of the Zuni doll, done in 1:1 scale. Hey, he was a doll in the movie, so why not? He runs (har har) for around $40.

Packaging - **1/2
I actually picked this guy up last summer at SDCC, where he was a con exclusive. The regular release is different - I believe it's just the glow in the dark eyes and teeth on the exclusive - but it's a very minor difference. The packaging is also very slightly different, with just a sticker to indicate it's exclusivity.

The rest of the box is fairly good, although not outstanding. It's sturdy, and huge - you'll be pretty surprised how big this guy is. The graphics are alright, but I would have liked more movie stills or actual shots of the original doll itself, along with some shots of Karen Black.

Sculpting - ***
First, I might need to explain a little about what this is supposed to be.  A fetish doll or carving is an object that the bearer believes harbors the spirit of someone or something, and provides special protections or assistance.  They were often used for improving hunting or health, and made a connection between our world and the spirit world.  While just about every tribe in the world had some version of fetish dolls, the Zuni versions are perhaps the most famous.

This is a warrior, who's spirit is trapped within.  We learn in the movie that if you are foolish enough to remove the talisman around his waist, he comes back, and he's pissed.

That explanation will help with the style of sculpt a little better.  This isn't supposed to be an accurate looking person, nor is it supposed to have a lot of detail.  It should look like a wooden statue sculpted very roughly by ancient warriors with primitive tools.  And in that regard, Majestic has done an excellent job.

This is a softer, chunkier sculpt than most folks are used to these days, because that's what it's trying to emulate.  They do a fairly good job of capturing the look and feel, but there's still something not quite right.  The likeness is very close though - I just watched the movie again recently - so they aren't losing any points because of my perception.

However, they do lose a bit due to the inability of the figure to stand without the included display stand.  The rounded bottoms of the feet don't allow him to stay up, and that's too bad.

The other negative is in the hand sculpts.  They aren't designed to hold any accessories, or allow you to do anything with the spear.  The spear is permanently attached to the left palm, and while I realize the realism of the doll was important, I would have preferred hands in a position that could hold the spear in various ways.

One thing that does work really well is the rooted hair.  It's kinked and very tight, and looks great.

Paint - ***1/2
The exclusive version has glow in the dark eyes and teeth, but otherwise looks the same as the regular version.

The paint work follows along the same theme as the sculpt - ancient tribe work, not modern machine.  That doesn't mean it's sloppy, just basic.

The body is painted in a black/brown wash that's intended to give the plastic a more wooden appearance.  It works better than I had expected, and is one of the nicest features of the figure.

Articulation - **
He was originally a solid wooden doll, but once Karen Black removed the talisman, he got pretty damn active.  This version has some well hidden articulation, but not a whole lot.

There's a jaw joint, but the range of motion is pretty restricted.  There's also shoulders and hips, which allow for some very basic posing.

Accessories - **
There's really two accessories, at least of the kind that can be removed.  There's the included display stand, which will be pretty important, and the talisman around his waist.  While it is removable, I haven't removed it.  No particular reason, I just haven't had the chance yet.

The spear is NOT an accessory, as it is permanently attached to the left hand.  The spear itself is pretty cool, but I was a bit disappointed that it couldn't be removed.

The skirt is removable, but I don't advise it.  This doll naked is only slightly less scary than this doll alive.

Fun Factor - *
This figure isn't designed for play, but for display.  And I think Karen Black already showed us all what happens when you play with the Zuni Warrior fetish doll.

Value - **
This is the one place that the figures take a hit. They are large rotocast figures, and we've started to get accustomed to pretty good pricing on that type of figure. Sure, the 18" Hellboy was $40, but he was huge, had accessories, and looked absolutely amazing.

I wouldn't expect the Zuni Warrior to be $10 like a Toybiz rotocast figure, but $25 seems a lot more likely. I'm betting the rooted hair was a major expense, and I also suspect that the run size on this doll was pretty low. Still, you'll want to shop around if possible for the best price.

Overall - **1/2
I'm glad I picked this up, and if you're a huge fan of 70's horror, it's something you should check out.  But the high price hurts the overall score.

The sculpt is solid, with good paint ops.  Better hand sculpts and accessories would have helped as well, but if you're looking for a prop style display item, this will work great.  You might find these on ebay at good prices right now, and if you can get him down around $25 or so, you can add another half star.

SCORE RECAP:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - *
Value - **
Overall - **1/2 

Where to Buy - 
As I mentioned earlier, mine was from last summer's SDCC, but these are now hitting retailers. The only place I've noticed them is at Tower Records on-line where they are $40 each.

You might do better on ebay, where I've seen some of the exclusives from last summer's con going more in the $25 - $30 range.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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