In my earlier review of this year's "Spirit Halloween" selection, I mentioned that a couple items would warrant reviews of their own, and the first of them is oddly enough among the cheapest things in the store; a bag of small, unpainted plastic zombies you can buy for somewhere close-ish to five dollars.
The figures are similar in many respects to the more widely marketed S.L.U.G. Zombiesand October Toy's Z.O.M.B.I.E.line, but include no information on who sculpted them or exactly what company produces them, unless it's Spiritthemselves. They are also incredibly stubborn about being photographed well by either of my cameras, unless they're standing on the toilet, so standing on the toilet they shall remain for this review.
I've complained in the past about how boring and repetitive zombies are getting, but I still appreciate the inherent fun of a walking, decomposing body, and many of these guys have the sort of far-gone, ghoulish look I consider at least the minimumfor a "good" zombie. I especially like that this one's face is nearly skeletal, and he doesn't have any arms. Though this should make him less threatening than a normal zombie, it somehow feels slightly scarier.
This is one of the most "normal" zombies in the set, but it's in a feral sort of feeding position as it devours the flesh of a severed arm. Its head is a little misshapen, and that's a good thing. It should be.
I'm glad that a set of little zombie toys includes dead children- two, in fact - which is something other zombie materials have been known to weenie out on. Weenies. Who doesn'tappreciate a good, dead child? I'm afraid enough of the pestilence and contagion wafting from the livingones without having to worry about them craving my flesh.
The other child is a little girl with all the stereotypical little girl trappings, in a pose that's either a mischievous snicker at someone else's suffering, or she's just shoveling gore into her mouth. There really isn'tmuch difference between a child and a zombie child, is there?
This guy might be the most intriguing of the bunch; he's in a smock of some sort, he's carrying a severed head, and his face has some sort of seam around it, like he's wearing some sort of mask. What's the story?Maybe he goes around switching faces with other corpses, having lost his own early in his transformation, or maybe that ishis face he's carrying around, and we're supposed to interpret his head as partially skinless?
Probably the most interesting overall sculpt, this guy is not only flashing us his bones and viscera, but he's either cat-calling lewdly or snarling in some sort of threat display. Is this how rival zombies try to appear bigger to one another? Whatever's going through his mushy mind, it's gorgeously sculpted for such a small scale.
I'm glad they included an undead animal, and the zombie dog is basically everything you expect from a zombie dog; it's just a big, mean, nasty, rotten guard dog, complete with spiky color and a missing foot. I wonder why zombie dogs are so often just the big, powerful ones? It's not as if a zombie's bite has to be extra-strong to infect you. I'm pretty sure a pack of zombie chihuahuas or toy pomeranians would be even worsethan one big pit bull or rottweiler.
Regrettably, I do have one major criticismof these small, plastic dead people, and that's that they offer only two overtly female zombies. One is a child, and one is simply the most unremarkable corpse in the whole range. Why can't a womanhave no arms? Why can only menshamble around with ripped-off faces? All she has going for her is that she's carrying an arm around, but at most angles, it bears an unfortunate resemlance to a rolling pin. To compensate for her shoddy treatment, I've at least put her high up on the list.
My favorite, of course, is this guy. I don't know if I'd have even bought or reviewed this set without his inclusion. He's the most rotten of the bunch, emerging from a barrel of toxic waste in what's probably a homage to the Tar Manfrom Return of the Living Dead.He's got a really slimy, gangrenous-looking skin texture all over, and his sockets seem to be utterly devoid of eyeballs, which is exceptionally haunting here.
Overall, the Zombiepocalypse playset isn't the coolestselection of zombies I've ever seen, but it's definitely better than 90% of other zombie fare, they look cool on a bookshelf and they would make great little playing pieces for all sorts of table-top games! I'd be pretty pleased if they proved popular enough to warrant a second or expanded series in the future, or if Spirit started carrying some otherbags of plastic monster figures.