As part of our Week of NECA, we’re looking back at one of the lines that truly established them as a force in the horror, sci-fi and action movie licensed toy industry. NECA’s iconic Cult Classics series of figures gets the spotlight today. From 2005 through 2008, it was nearly impossible to walk into a collector friendly store and not see a few of these figures on the shelves. From The Crow to Lost Boys to Die Hard to Friday the 13th to Saw, NECA had cornered the market on these genre icon figures and helped to shape what fans would expect with these types of figures for years to come.
Join us as we look back at this wonderful collection. We’ll go over every major wave, and share photos of many of the figures.
NECA’s Cult Classics collected both iconic and modern genre movie characters into one line. The series features a cohesive aesthetic across all of their figures, making them ideal for display. The series featured NECA’s trademark 7″ scale, and each character included accessories, interchangeable parts and, usually, a display base for the figure. They would come displayed in plastic clamshell packaging, in many ways similar to their current run of Mego style figures. While NECA’s sculpting and articulation have grown leaps and bounds since this line started, Cult Classics was also a massive improvement over what came before.
The Cult Classics line began in 2005 with the release of NECA’s first wave of figures. However, the line actually grew out of something else entirely. In many ways, the Cult Classics was a follow up to and improvement on the Movie Maniacs line from McFarlane Toys. From 1998 through 2001, that was the go to series for horror and sci-fi collectors. While those designs don’t really hold up today, they were some of the most advanced and detailed items for these types of characters.
As many fans know, NECA’s Randy Falk was a member of McFarlane Toys, as were other members of the NECA team. In 2002, Randy left McFarlane Toys to join NECA, and he brought along some of the talented individuals with him. As they found their footing, they began to explore new opportunities with NECA. They able to revisit and improve on ideas they previously worked on at McFarlane. That’s where Cult Classics really comes in, as a toy line that could exist along side the Movie Maniacs and allow fans to add to, or replace and improve upon their collection. Fans who kept things sealed would be happy to see a consistent clamshell style that fit right in with their MM figures.
Now, there were many NECA figures released during this era that shared a packaging style. And while many of them would fit nicely into these displays and styles, I’m only covering the figures which featured the Cult Classics branding on them. So you won’t find many of the box sets, 1/4 scale figures or 12″ scale figures in this list. We will cover the Hall of Fame and Cult Classics Presents lines, as those followed the packaging design of the main line and were branded with the logo.
Cult Classics Series 1
The first wave of figures truly embraced the “Cult” part of the name. This assortment was released in 2005. By mixing in newer characters with the older ones, NECA was showing that they weren’t simply going to rely on only the Freddy’s and the Jason’s to market themselves. Horror fans were delighted to see familiar packaging and style, while also seeing some great new figures. In the years since, the sculpting, articulation and design of the figures has improved for sure. But, at the time, there was very little on the market that could compare. Series 1 set the tone for the later waves, as each series would contain at least 1 modern horror/cult icon as well as the classic characters fans will always crave. While these were meant to play in the same realm as Movie Maniacs, the first series offered fans the first vast improvements over the old McFalrane line in New Blood Jason Voorhees and The Crow’s Eric Draven.
American Psycho – Patrick Bateman
This film was a star-making turn by actor Christan Bale. His performance here led many fans to beg Warner Bros. to get Bale to portray Bruce Wayne in the next series of Batman films. Combiend with his stunning performances elsewhere, WB had no choice but to realize how perfect the pick was. The figure captures Bale’s likeness reasonably well. The figure included a ton of accessories and an interchangeable hand (a first for the series). The display base was minimal here. The figure is infamous for its inclusion of the “Inside Lydia’s Ass” VHS accessory.
The Crow – Eric Draven
The film was a Cult Classic hit before it was even released, mainly due to the tragic death of Brandon Lee during filming. Brandon was poised to be the breakout star of the 90’s. Sadly, he followed his father’s legacy of dying tragically young just as he was set to break out. The figure features Eric Draven in one of his iconic poses, arms stretched out. It includes Eric wearing his trench coast, a Crow and Eric’s grave as a display base.
Friday The 13th: Part VII – Jason Voorhees
One of the most gruesome Jason designs and always a fan favorite. The decomposed Zombie Jason, mangled after the events of Part VI and resurrected by an idiotic teen with telekinetic powers. NECA stunned fans with an amazingly sculpted figure in a great dynamic pose. Jason included a forest themed display base and a few interchangeable weapons
Gremlins 2 – Mohawk
NECA has a long, wonderful history with the Gremlins franchise. The Cult Classics Mohawk marked a major step up from their previous releases. The sculpted details were some of the best of the entire Cult Classics line. Mohawk included a science lab display base.
Cult Classics Series 2
Later in 2005, NECA unleashed Cult Classics Series 2. The second wave would feature three classic icons and one modern. This wave offered almost completely new characters compared to the Movie Maniacs line. While MM had a Texas Chainsaw Leatherface, the one presented here was in his formal attire from the end of the film. Wave 2 also featured the first Cult Classics figures with interchangeable heads, giving fans a whole new way to display their collectibles.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare – Freddy Krueger
The 7th, and ultimately final, film in the original Nightmare On Elm Street franchise, returned Freddy to the pure horror roots of the first film. As opposed to beign Freddy, the film depicts a demon, who uses Freddy’s image to terrorize those that caused Freddy the most trouble. The figure features Freddy in his trench coat, complete with alternate head, a movie script and a basement style base.
Donnie Darko – Frank the Bunny
The first figure to step outside the horror realm in the Cult classics line. Donnie Darko was a surprise hit when it came out in 2001. While Donnie was a fascinating character, the image of Frank the bunny remains one of the most haunting images from the film. The figure includes an alternate unmasked head and a sidewalk display base.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Leatherface
For Leatherface, NECA looked to offer a version that had gotten little love. While the image of Leatherface in hi bloody apron is the best known look, the formal wear attire gave way to one of the scariest scenes in the film. The figure capture Leatherface, as he chases Sally down the road, chainsaw in hand. The figure includes the chainsaw, a dirt road display base and a dead armadillo (fro mearlier in the film).
Phantasm – The Tall Man
Few films from the 70’s haunted moviegoers like Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm. The completely bonkers movie featured The Tall Man, an undertaker bent on destroying humanity. For a long time, the film was greatly under-appreciated, but found life on VHS in the 80’s, turning it into a long running franchise. The Tall Man figure captures the eerie look of actor Angus Scrimm and include one of the metal spheres and an evil minion as well as a basic display base.
Cult Classics Series 3
The third series of Cult Classics debuted in the first half of 2006. By this point, NECA was on a roll. Fans were again treated to a mix of new and old icons. This time, however, they got their first action hero in the line with Die Hard’s John McClane! Series 3 also started adding films that would carry multiple figures over multiple waves as we would see our first releases from Dawn of the Dead and Bubba Ho-Tep. Fans would also get more Movie Maniacs replacement with a vastly improved Terminator T-800.
Dawn of the Dead – Flyboy Zombie
Dawn of the Dead didn’t have much merchandise over the years. There was, surprisingly, a board game in 1978. Fans wouldn’t get their first official figures until 1999, which were heavily stylized figures by Red’s. Stephen (aka Flyboy) was the first figure featuring a realistic take on the film. This may be one of the most sought after Cult classics on the market today. Flyboy included a pistol and a mall display base, complete with the corpse of an attacker.
The Terminator – T-800 Endoskeleton
James Cameron’s Terminator and T2 remain some of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. The T-800 Endoskeleton immediately became a staple design and one of the most popular characters that any toy company can release. It not only fit in with the “Cult” theme, but has now become a timeless design. The T-800 includes a bit of extra articulation, a machine gun and a base of crushed skulls and debris. NECA would eventually update this design with the far superior one we have today. At the time, it was one of the best takes on the Endo.
Bubba Ho-Tep – Bubba Ho-Tep
In 2002, horror fans were treated to the delightfully odd Bubba Ho-Tep. It starred the ageless Bruce Campbell and Ozzie Davis as Elvis and John F. Kennedy. Both hiding out in a nursing home, battling an Egyptian Mummy killing the residents. The first release from the film gave us the Bubba Ho-Tep creature. It included a swamp base that could connect with the soon to be released Sebastian Haff (aka Elvis).
Die Hard – John McClane
Marking the first action hero in the Cult Classics line, Die Hard’s John McClane added a nice bit of variety to the line. It showed NECA was treating the lien very differently than the Movie Maniacs series. Sadly, John McClane remained one of the few figures outside the horror and sci-fi genre. It wound up with one of the weaker likenesses in the line. The figure included a submachine gun and a rooftop base.
Cult Classics Series 4
By the fourth wave of Cult Classics, NECA was turning out some truly fantastic items. This wave saw the release of the much loved Chucky from Child’s Play and Shaun from Shaun of the Dead, which was a massive hit with horror fans internationally. That film also gave way to NECA’s first Cult Classics 2-pack, featuring Ed and Shaun. The wave was released in mid-2006.
Dawn of the Dead – Plaid Shirt Zombie
The second of thee Dawn of the Dead figures in the series. The Plaid Shirt Zombie was only seen briefly in the film. The features zombie, however, was used heavily in overseas marketing. It includes a blood stained diorama base.
Child’s Play 3 – Chucky
The first 7″ scale Chucky figure from NECA was based on the third film. By that time, Chucky was practically a household name, and a new staple in the horror genre. Chucky includes a few weapons, but no display base. Instead, they brilliantly included a “Good Guy Doll” display box, allowing fans to have their own miniature version of the sealed toy.
Bubba Ho-Tep – Sebastian “The King” Haff
The second of two Bubb Ho-Tep figures. Sebastian claimed that he was, in fact, Elvis. He had switched places with an impersonator, who later died before he could switch back. He and “JFK” battle the Ancient Mummy from Series 3. The King includes a walker and a display base that connects to Bubba Ho-Tep. Sadly, we never did get Ozzie Davis’ JFK.
Shaun of the Dead – Shaun
The wildly popular Shaun of the Dead is one of the films that helped reignite the current zombie craze. The film found an astonishingly great balance between comedy and horror, and featured some very memorable characters. Shaun, the main character played by Simon Pegg, is a perfect fit for the Cult Classics and remains a fan favorite release. Shaun includes a cricket bat, the vinyl record box, interchangeable hands and a display base.
Shaun of the Dead – Shaun and Ed Winchester 2-Pack
The “You Got Red On You” 2-pack included the two main characters from the film, and best friends, Shaun and Ed. It included a Winchester Pub themed display base, a shotgun, a PS2 controller, a shovel and more.
Cult Classics Series 5
Near the end of 2006, NECA released an unprecedented 3rd wave of Cult Classics figures in the calendar year! In a lot of ways, 2006 was the high point for the line. Fans were treated to a ton of new and unique figures, expanded their already large collections and saw characters no one ever though would be released. Series 5 saw the second Leatherface figure, this time in his blood soaked apron. Fans received two versions of Jigsaw, and the first Ash Williams from the Evil Dead series.
Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal Lecter in Straight Jacket
One of the lasting images from the Silence of the Lambs film was Hannibal Lecter being rolled in to see Senator Ruth Martin. The figure captured the moment perfectly, with Lecter bound by a straight jacket, strapped to the handcart. The figure also included a removable mask.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Leatherface – Version 2
The second Leatherface figure in the line served as a replacement for the Movie Maniacs version. The figure had a fantastic sculpt and portrayed him in his more recognizable attire. It included a chainsaw, a mallet, a clever, bones, and a meat shop base.
Army of Darkness – Medieval Ash
Ash made his Cult classics debut in his Army of Darkness attire. The film was still fairly fresh in the minds of horror fans and turned the Evil Dead series on its head by becoming a comedy action film. Ash is decked out in his medieval attire and included an alternate head, a boomstick and a Necronomicon themed base.
Saw – Jigsaw Killer – Human Head Version
Saw – Jigsaw Killer – Pig Mask Version
Two versions of the Jigsaw killer were released in Series 5. One had his normal hooded head, modeled after the likeness of actor Tobin Bell. The other featured Jigsaw wearing the pig’s head from the film. Each version also included the Jigsaw puppet on a tricycle in place of a display base.
Cult Classics Hall of Fame Series 1
In 2006 NECA launched the Hall of Fame Series of Cult Classics. They would use this to revisit some characters and molds while maintaining the fan favorite packaging of Cult Classics. HoF Series 1 was the fourth series to hit in 2006. This allowed fans new to NECA to be able to grab some of the older figures without resorting to aftermarket prices.
Friday the 13th Part 2 – Jason Voorhees
This figure was also featured in the Friday the 13th 25th Anniversary Box Set released the year before. The hooded Jason figure included a severed Pamela Voorhees head, a swappable unmasked head, a pick axe, machete, spear and a display base. It remains one of the best takes on the hooded Jason from Part 2.
The Crow – Eric Draven
The figure here was a reissued version of the Eric Draven figure from the Rooftop box set from 2002. It featured The Crow in his goth attire, a weather vane weapon and even a piece of the original rooftop display as his figure base.
Wes Crave’s New Nightmare – Freddy Krueger
This was a reissue of the original figure from Series 2, which was highly sought after. The reissue included a fantastic swappable demon head.
Hellraiser – Pinhead
Hall of Fame Series 1 marked the debut of Pinhead in the line. NECA took their Hellraiser Cenobite Lair 7″ Pinhead figure and packed it with a really fantastic base and alternate head.
Halloween – Evolution of Evil 2-Pack
This was not released as part of Hall of Fame series. The Evolution of Evil set featured the Michael Myers that was previously seen with Halloween: The Night He Came Home box set. It also included a young Michael Myers, a pumpkin, a Judith Myers head stone and weapons. This remains one of the best Halloween releases from NECA and one of the only times you could grab a young Michael Myers.
Cult Classics Series 6
The sixth series of the Cult Classics line debuted in 2007. It marked another series of all-new figures, mixing mostly modern icons with a lone classic release. This wave would mark the end of their Dawn of the Dead figures, and give us the only two figures from The Lost Boys (though David was reissued in a standard Lost Boys cardback).
Army of Darkness – S-Mart Ash
The second Ash Williams figure in the line. This marked the only 7″ release NECA has done of Ash in his S-Mart outfit (that I could find). It’s another excellent take on Bruce Campbell’s defining character. The figure includes a blue-light special cart as a base, a shotgun and a water bottle.
Dawn of the Dead – Hare Krishna Zombie
The last in the short lived line of Dawn of the Dead figures. We know that if Cult Classics lasted past 2007, we may have gotten a Zombie Roger, but it wasn’t meant to be. This was another “featured” zombie from the film, showing that anyone can be one of the undead. It included a tamborine, supply boxes and a supply room style base. Of the three released, this is the easiest on to acquire on the after market.
Lost Boys – David
Lost Boys – Michael
The only time in the main line where two characters from one movie were released in the same wave. Fans were treated to the two main characters from the film. Each figure featured a vampire and a human style head. The included dio pieces allowed fans to act out the final battle between David and Michael.
Cult Classics Presents
The “Presents” line of Cult Classics was another spin-off series. These were newly sculpted figures and featured some great character selection. Unfortunately, these came near the end of the line, as sales were beginning to decline and the stores began to move away from these types of collectibles.
Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal Lecter in Prison Garb
The second Lecter figure to be released, and wildly different than the first. This depicted the scene where he escaped his temporary holding cell from the film. It included a nightstick and a holding cell display base.
Labyrinth – Jareth the Goblin King
The Cult Classics line saw two releases of David Bowie’s fantastic Goblin King. The first was a stand alone release in his black and blue outfit from the film. It included an interchangeable hand and a crystal ball. The second figure was released later and was a 2-pack.
Reservoir Dogs – Mr Blonde, Mr Brown, Mr Orange, Mr Pink, Mr White
Reservoir Dogs – 5-Figure Box Set
NECA wen all out and gave fans the five main characters from Quentin Tarantino’s fantastic Reservoir Dogs. These were available as individual releases or all together in a huge, and expensive, box set. Each figure included sunglasses as well as a gun, except for Mr. Pink who came with the briefcase. Display bases were also included.
Cult Classics Hall of Fame Series 2
The second series of repacked/retooled Hall of Fame figures was also released in 2007. It included a few reissues of Jigsaw and was supposed to include a heavily modified Zombie Ed from Shaun of the Dead.
Saw – Jigsaw Killer – Human Head Unhooded Version
Saw – Jigsaw Killer – Pig Mask Red Version
This is a slight retool and repaint release. The figure was packaged in Saw II packaging, and the human head was unhooded this time. The pig head version featured a red robe, as opposed to the standard black robe. Each version also included the Jigsaw puppet on a tricycle in place of a display base.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning – Leatherface
Leatherface was a rerelease of the figure that was part of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning box set, which was released in 2006. The huge dio display was replaced with a desert display base. It included a chainsaw, interchangeable heads, arms, a mallet, and a clever.
Shaun of the Dead – Zombie Ed – Unreleased figure
We chronicled this figure in our Unreleased NECA Toys article. The figure is, sadly, lost to the sands of time and never saw production. Any version you see out there is a bootleg.
Cult Classics Series 7
The seventh, and ultimately final wave, of Cult Classics figures were released in 2008. The line, sadly, had declined in sales by this time, even though the sculpts were still some of the best available in this size. Shifts in the brick and mortar store collectibles market didn’t help either. Regardless, NECA took this last wave and turned out two truly stellar pieces and their final Grindhouse release as the Planet Terror film had it’s own dedicated line!
Beetlejuice – Beetlejuice
This was NECA’s first 7″ scale Beetlejuice release since 2001! It featured a far superior sculpt compared to their earlier line as well as his most iconic look. The figure would later be reissued. It included two snakes and a Handbook for the Recently Deceased.
Deathproof – Stuntman Mike
The final released figure from their Grindhouse series, Kurt Russell’s Stuntman Mike was the only release from Deathproof. The figure featured a decent sculpt, but only came with swappable heads. No display base or other accessories were included.
The Exorcist – Regan Spider-Walk
The Exorcist – Regan Spider-Walk Bloody Steps Variant
This figure, based on a deleted scene from The Exorcist (whch was re-inserted for the DVD release). It was modeled after the incredibly creepy “Spider-Walk” sequence, in which Regan, bent over backwards, creeps down her stairs on her hands and feet. This release remains one of the gold standards for Cult Classics. The sculpting and display base created a wonderful setup. There were two versions, the standard release and the bloody steps variant.
Labyrinth – Jareth the Goblin King and Hoggle 2-Pack
The second Goblin King release, this time with one of the other main characters from the film…Hoggle! This figure was not technically part of Series 7, but stood as a Box Set release. The set included a scepter, extra hand and crystal ball for Jareth and a piece of fruit for Hoggle.
Cult Classics Hall of Fame Series 3
The 3rd wave of Hall of Fame figures marked the end of the original Cult Classics line up. The Cult classics name was used again later, but the packaging and concept shifted away from full display pieces to an action figure oriented line. Longtime fans were definitely sad to see the line go as there are many characters in this series that will likely never be tackled by NECA again.
House of 1,000 Corpses – Captain Spaulding
For the Cult Classics debut of Spaulding, NECA heavily retooled one of the figures from their 2005 Corpse toy line. This release featured Captain Spaulding in full clown gear. The figure included interchangeable hands, a hat and a House of Fun backdrop.
The Crow – Eric Draven – Shirtless Version
An excellent, and heavily retooled version of Eric Drave was part of this wave. NECA took the figure from their fist wave, removed the shirt and rereleased it as one of the final figures in the line. The Crow included a guitar as well as a flaming crow display base.
Halloween – Michael Myers – Ghost Sheet
A very different type of release from NECA with this fantastic version of Michael Myers. The figure features Michael, draped in a sheet, just before he kills Lynda. The sheet was removable to reveal the repacked Michael Myers figure underneath. It included Bob’s glasses, a pumpkin, and a knife.
Cult Classics Icons
In 2009, NECA revived the Cult Classics with Icons. A series of figures featuring new and retooled or released figures. Instead of coming on the clamshell packaging of before, these would be packaged on card backs and would feature artwork from the film or license, as opposed to a universal style. As they moved away from the original idea of cult Classics, and moved into more base figures without the diorama base displays, they feel like an almost separate line. I won’t be covering these in this installment. Perhaps another time…
I hope you enjoyed the read. I’ve included as many good quality official images as I had access to. Check them out below. Specail thanks to NECA’s Randy Falk for getting me the Cult Classics logo used in the header image.