Remember last year’s SDCC exclusive Jason Voorhees figure? You know, the “8-bit” one? Of course you do.
…but unless you’re a serious Friday the 13th fan, here’s something you probably don’t know: That figure started a minor revolution. I touched on this in my last Monster-Mania report, but my friend John has the story in much greater detail. “8-bit Jason” has taken the horror world by storm, and as if from nowhere, seeing Jason Voorhees with a blue mask and purple skin has become nearly as common as seeing him the “right” way.
For years, Jason’s screwy look in the old Nintendo game was something people made fun of. How couldn’t they? Why did they make Jason blue and purple, anyway?
But these days? Forget it. As strange as it sounds, that look has become a beloved part of his lore.
So of course I was going to be all over this new figure, again from NECA. Everyone went berserk when the news broke a short while back. With nary a peep, NECA and Toys “R” Us teamed for another 8-Bit Jason figure, this time in a larger “Mego” style. (If you’re unfamiliar with Mego’s ancient exploits, the toys they made were essentially blends of “dolls” and “action figures.”)
This new Jason is a TRU exclusive, and after checking multiple stores multiple times on multiple days, I found zip. I’m not sure exactly how many of the figures were produced, but early on, they were obviously being gobbled up by dealers. Who could blame them? For the first week or so, the toys were selling for triple their retail price on eBay.
Eventually, TRU put the figures online. Never before had my fingers typed a credit card number so fast. (It’s sold out as of this writing, but since New Purple Jason doesn’t seem to be as rare as was initially feared, I’d advise against paying eBay rates. Just keep looking!)
Honestly, it’s even better than the first one! I’m a little too young to remember Mego figures in any great detail, but I certainly remember the advertisements from old comic books. I’ve long been smitten with that style, which trades an overabundance of details for a certain crude charm.
The figure stands at around eight inches tall, towering over the original one. It’s an improvement on nearly every front. This new Jason is bigger, more articulated, and he wears actual clothes. The only thing the original did better was the packaging. (And I’m not knocking the first one. The first one was terrific, and inspired more toy trends than it’ll ever be given credit for. I’m just saying, this new figure is BOSS.)
The mask is removable, revealing a lumpy monster head that’s probably based on Jason’s look from Friday the 13th Part III. (The original 8-bit Jason shared that trait, and I’m not entirely sure why. It looks like the Nintendo game came out in 1989. We were already up to Part VII by then.)
Without doing any research, I’d bet that this figure merely “redresses” one of NECA’s existing Jason figures, as I believe the first one did. I have no issues with that, because there really wasn’t any way to do a custom mold for this guy. Besides, you’re paying for the colors and the presentation, and all of that is top freakin’ notch.
Since the clothes are removable, we can finally see what Jason looks like under those tattered rags! Mofo is buff! Seems that Jason’s physical deformities started and ended with his head. Purple skin or not, I’d gladly trade my body for his. I’ve always wanted abs that look like the the bottom of a turtle.
Jason’s accessories include an axe, a machete and a harpoon gun. That last one is especially important, as it’s more proof of this being a “Part III” Jason. (If you’ll recall, one of the best kills in Part III had Jason shooting a harpoon straight into someone’s eye, all in one gloriously protracted 3D moment.)
Mego-style 8-bit Jason retails for $29.99 — a lot if you’re comparing him to “normal” action figures, but perfectly reasonable if you’re comparing him to similar “adult collectibles.”
Gotta give it up to NECA. They make great toys, but they’re especially good at marketing them. The original 8-bit Jason arrived with tons of fanfare. Since there was no way to top that, they turned this one into a surprise release. Smart.
Thumbs up from this side. It’s not often that I buy a $30 action figure without feeling like an asshole.
Oh, and if I’m right about this being a Part III-styled Jason, let me seize this opportunity to recommend THE HELL out of that movie. I’m pretty much a “dabbler” when it comes to horror, but as Friday the 13th is one of my few areas of expertise, I’m often asked about which films are the best in the series, and which ones non-fans should begin with.
Part 2 is my favorite, but when I’m pitching the series to non-fans, I always tell them to go with the third, fourth or sixth installments. The fourth might be the best gateway drug, but Part III is right up there. After all, that’s the movie where Jason Voorhees truly became Jason Voorhees.
This is the season where everyone should be gobbling up as much new-to-them spooky media as possible. If you’re just beginning to test the waters with horror, add Friday the 13th Part III to your playlist.
You’ll love the part with the eye.