Because of the storm, it will be a dark, damp, mild evening here in the Northeast--perfect weather for Halloween. It seems like a good opportunity to show you two of my creepy dolls. I can't do a full review of either of these dolls: Tonner's Zombie Boy can't be moved around very much and my Frozen Charlotte arrived in a badly damaged box. Nevertheless, these two are here to help get you in the mood for a spooky night of ghosts and zombies:
|"Zombie Boy" by Tonner Doll.|
Tonner made the "Zombie Boy" doll for the 2012 SDCC (San Diego Comic Convention) in a limited edition of 500. The dolls, now sold out, retailed for $159.99.
The box is white cardboard and has a black and white image of the real Zombie Boy:
I was almost afraid to open the tissue paper. I have to say, I've never owned a decaying zombie doll before. He comes with a certificate of authenticity that is signed by Rick Genest himself.
The signature reads, "Rico the ZoMbie" and is cleverly placed so that the fly printed on the certificate takes the place of the "o" in zombie and a tiny spider acts as the dot on the "i." Very cool:
Here he is:
Yikes! The doll is both creepier and more realistic than I expected:
There's a little note inside that warns about the delicate nature of the applied tattoos. Apparently, some of the designes are painted on the doll (those on the front of the face) and the rest are a bit like the Create-A-Monster Design Lab tattoos. That makes me very nervous about this doll's long-term durability, but I've heard that you can spray a matte sealer all over him and get the tattoos to last longer. Sounds like a good idea.
He comes with a typical waist grip Tonner stand, but he doesn't seem to need it at all:
I'd be cautious about using a stand anyway, just because of the worry that it would rub away some of the tattoos.
He comes dressed in a pair of black leather jeans and (almost) matching boots.
The jeans are made of a soft fake leather and have a faint distressed pattern in the fabric. The sewn details are very nice and include four working pockets:
The tattoos stop at the waist of the jeans in front, but on the back of the doll, part of the tattoo extends down towards the tail bone area:
Both the sides of the jeans and the sides of the boot have buckled straps as decoration:
The boots seem intended to match the jeans but are made out of a stiff vinyl. They have an almost green tinge to them in comparison to the pants. The soles are made out of dense black foam.
Each boot has a long zipper in the back that makes it very easy to get on and off:
The boot construction seems a bit cheap to me, especially in comparison to the awesome pants. The boots do allow the doll to stand beautifully on his own, though, and that's a huge plus.
The general theme of the tattoos is that they show bones and guts protruding from under rotting flesh. What strikes me is how parts of this macabre display are beautifully and artistically done.
|There's a big biohazard symbol on his chest.|
There's a torso joint on the Tonner 17" male body, so the tattoos have a small break in this area. The seam is well concealed on the front. Here's a closer look at some of the intestine tattoos:
I find myself wanting to piece together actual anatomical details in this jumble of decay. I imagine that I can pick out the distinct texture of the colon, and then maybe some small intestines sagging down in the center.
The back takes more artistic license with the anatomy and has intricate little fleur-de-lis designs representing the vertebrae in some areas:
The tattoo below the torso joint on my doll seems slightly crooked--it leans off to the right:
Both upper arms are decorated with the same design--a human head with a snake head surrounding it. It looks like a snake head hoodie:
The inside of one lower arm has the words, "the saw is family" in a gothic font. That, I believe, is a quote from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
The lower arm has more embellished anatomy details:
Little maggots appear throughout the various tattoos. Playing "find the maggot" with this doll would be pretty fun. I'd hate to meet Rick Genest in person because I'd probably get caught up playing this game with the real tattoos and loose track of the conversation.
|Find the maggot!|
The hands have some exposed bones on them, and then each finger has a letter to spell out a word. The fingers on the left hand spell "dead." If you look closely, the first "d" looks a bit like a lowercase "b." I'm pretty sure it's supposed to spell "dead," though, since "bead" doesn't make a lot of sense in this context.
The right hand spells "evil."
There is some worrisome peeling on one of the hand tattoos:
The hands remind me of the show Lost, where Charlie has tape on his fingers that spells out a word.
The head is the best part of this doll. I find it fascinating. I can't even imagine coming up with this design--it's such a neat mix of creepy and cool. The combination of that skeletal smile, the furrowed brow and the darkened eyes is haunting.
I'll show you the head from all angles. Notice the sinewy neck with exposed vertebrae.
He reminds me of The Gentlemen, from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush. Great episode to watch on Halloween....
There's a huge centipede crawling along the edge of his left ear and a small carrion beetle (?) just underneath the same ear.
|Find the maggots!|
|This is strictly a display doll.|
The top of the head has several more bugs and some exposed brains. The exposed brains on Rick Genest's real head tattoo are a bit more accurate. The back of the doll's head looks a lot like a cracked skull to me:
Depending on how the light catches the doll, it can be pretty obvious where the applied tattoos end and the painted tattoos begin.
Here you can clearly see the edge of the applied tattoos (the ear is painted):
|Find the maggots!|
It's almost too easy to find the maggots on the top of his head.
|Those are more convincing exposed brains.|
The eyes are very dark blue and beautifully painted. I think Tonner was right to put a lot of detail and care into the painted eyes. A doll with tattoos this extreme could easily look like a cartoon or a joke. As it is, the realistic eyes stare out and grab your attention--much like the eyes (and smile) of the real Zombie Boy radiate a personality beyond the darkness of the ink.
|They missed the mark a bit with the eyebrow piercings, but it's very hard to see this in real life.|
This is a cool doll. I'm not sure what possessed me to buy him in the first place, but I have to say that he's a striking and unique addition to my collection. Aside from some concerns about the appearance and longevity of the applied tattoos, I am surprised by how much I appreciate everything about this doll. He is a commanding presence on the shelf.
The front of the box displays her original retail ($24.99) and has the following description: "Fair Charlotte was a frozen corpse, and a word she no more spoke, her flesh had become like fine china, and just as easily broke."
I snapped this quick picture of Charlottes in her pink tissue paper display before throwing the whole sticky, stinky box out and washing my hands eight times. Yucko.
Charlotte's ear muffs are cute, but they have some scary-looking mold growing on them:
There's even a stain on one side that looks like blood. That's a bit too realistic for me, thanks.
The red mold from the ear muffs stained one side of Charlotte's face, and even a Q-tip of bleach couldn't get it off:
Poor pale Charlotte doesn't photograph very well against grey, so here she is against a dark blue (skating pond at night?) backdrop:
|She looks a little crazed with that wild hair.|
She is wearing a pale blue fleece winter coat with matching mittens and a pair of white ice skates. Her outfit matches the impressive blue crack on the front of her head:
I love the design of the coat. It has an old fashioned look to it with a fitted waist, fur accents and two rows of tiny white buttons running down the front.
Charlotte wears her white hair in a simple high ponytail with bangs.
The bangs are a mess, and I was unable to get them to behave with simple brushing. I might have to resort to the hot water bath.
The ponytail is coarse and came out of the box pretty messy. Unlike the bangs, the ponytail can be tidied up with a brush:
The hair is rooted in a single row at the hairline and then swept back to cover the white scalp:
When Charlotte lunged for my head, hoping to suck my life essence, I noticed that she has a small hole in the palm of her hand. Maybe this is so she can hold things? She didn't come with any accessories to hold, though.
Charlotte's ice skaes are adorable. They're made out of soft white vinyl and decorated with white fake fur and tiny little pom-pom laces.
The skates slip off easily thanks to a long slit in the back:
Yuck--more mold inside the skate:
Underneath the skate on her left leg, Charlotte has another painted blue crack:
The design of these painted cracks is pretty simple, but it's very effective in conveying the idea of shattered frozen skin.
The pale blue coat has a long single line of velcro down the front for easy removal. Charlotte isn't wearing anything under the coat (a bit of a disappointment) but has blue painted underpants. From this angle, you can also see that she has another painted crack running down the left side of her neck:
Her body has 5 points of articulation: neck, shoulder and hips. The body has a simple shape and definitely reminds me of a Madame Alexander doll:
In addition to three painted blue cracks, Charlotte has some blue shading around her joints and on her torso:
She can do some nice front-back splits, but considering the ease with which she cracks, I'm not sure this is such a great idea...
Charlotte's blue features and slightly upturned eyes give her a mournful, ghost-like appearance. She's an unnerving mix of cute and tragic.
The quality of this doll is a mixed bag. The dress coat is adorable and well-made and the ice skates are wonderful. The painted cracks are nicely done and the overall design concept of the doll is creative. The hair is a mess and has no restyling potential. The body is stiff and has very simple articulation. I have to keep reminding myself that this was originally a $25 doll and that Mezco never meant for her to be selling for over $100. At the original price, and because of the fan following and collectibility of this series, the quality is fine.
In the end, I can't really give this doll a fair assessment because the condition of her packaging was so gross, but I guess maybe on Halloween, gross packaging is acceptable.
I hope you've enjoyed meeting this spooky duo. Of the two, I prefer Zombie Boy, partly because he represents a real-life enigmatic character and not a dead child, but also because the artistry and detail make him an excellent showpiece. He provides a stark contrast to my sweet and beautiful Cinderella-dominated collection. Charlotte has her own odd appeal. While I'm not apt to purchase any more Living Dead dolls, I can see why people get hooked on these little nightmares. The dolls walk a fine line between suggestively haunting and downright gross, and Charlotte strikes a balance I can handle.
Happy Halloween! :)