By JAMES BURRELL
The sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, Halloween, the Rick Rosenthal-directed HALLOWEEN II reunited Carpenter and Debra Hill as screenwriters and stars Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Stephens, and in a cameo, Nancy Loomis. Although not as well-received as its predecessor, the film was a box office hit upon its release in October of 1981 and has since gone on to be regarded as one of the best Halloween sequels and a classic in its own right.
Except for a tie-in novelization, soundtrack album, and various releases on home video, there was no official merchandise for the film for many years, until mask manufacturer Trick or Treat Studios began releasing rubber masks of Michael Myers (portrayed in the film by stuntman Dick Warlock) in 2012. More recently, companies like Funko and NECA have marketed various HALLOWEEN II-themed products including vinyl toys, T-shirts, and sculpted action figures. Understandably, most of these items depict the indestructible Michael Myers, but now NECA has made fans very happy by giving them retro-styled figures of gun-toting psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Pleasence) and iconic final girl Laurie Strode (Curtis) in a fantastic new retro clothed two-figure set.
The release marks the first time a licensed figure of Laurie from the 1978-81 era has ever been produced. This is also the first-ever Loomis figure to sport a cloth outfit. Like all of NECA’s previous “retro clothed” figures that take inspiration from the vintage toys released by Mego Corporation in the 1970s and early ‘80s, these releases stand approximately 8-inches tall (though Laurie is a bit shorter, at around 7.5 inches) and feature fabric clothing, but improve upon that concept by showcasing highly detailed head sculpts, incredible articulation, and numerous accessories. The likeness of the head sculpts are extremely well done. The Loomis portrait is flawless, and perfectly captures the look of British thespian Pleasence. It is a marked improvement over the original, sculpted figure that the company released. The Laurie head sculpt (with sculpted hair) is also very good; the eyes, however, are very slightly different than depicted in previously released publicity photos. Curiously, the Laurie figures sport a hairstyle that more resembles the one Curtis had in the original Halloween, rather than the follow-up. The actress had shorter hair at the time of filming for HALLOWEEN II and had to wear a conspicuous wig while shooting the movie. The figure comes with a miniature pumpkin with a skull face that is based on an image from the movie poster and other marketing material.
The Loomis figure sports a dark brown suit, white shirt with a brown tie, his trademark trench coat, and sculpted plastic brown shoes. The suit jacket and shirt have the arms cut off at the shoulders, with the reasoning being that this would prevent the arms of the trench coat from becoming too bulky. The tailoring of the suit and trench coat is exceptionally well done. The figure comes with a pistol accessory and an alternate right hand with lighter – which can be used to recreate the climax of the film (warning: spoilers!) when Loomis blows up the hospital operating room that he and Laurie have taken refuge in. In comparison to Loomis, the outfit for the Laurie figure – a white and blue hospital gown – is quite simple. The sculpted bandages on the figure’s arm, ankle, and hand, as well as the miniature patient bracelet, are nicely crafted. The figure also comes with its own pistol accessory to reflect the film’s events, when Loomis gives Laurie the pistol seemingly belonging to a murdered U.S. Marshal.
Instead of the clear plastic clamshell employed for the previously released 8-inch Halloween II retro clothed Michael Myers, these figures are housed in window box packaging that employs artwork that recreates the exterior of the Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, with photos of the figures on the sides and back. An interior paper insert depicting the interior of the hospital’s operating room is also included and looks fantastic when displayed with the figures. Kudos must be given to NECA for releasing figures of characters that have for whatever reason, been neglected for far too long. Fans of Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis will want to pick up this set before it sells out or increases in price on the secondary collector’s market.
The HALLOWEEN II Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis Clothed Figures 2-Pack set has a SRP of $64.99 USD. Look for it in comic shops and online retailers, or for more info, check out NECA’s website.