Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Own a piece of film history with this rotting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles corpse

Screenshot: The3ninjakids (YouTube)

The 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shouldn’t have worked. A hybrid of martial arts action, comedy, and cozy meditations on the importance of sibling love, it somehow managed to capitalize on the era’s Turtlemania while also, if anecdotal evidence of a youth spent melting its VHS tape through countless watches is anything to go by, providing a better-than-necessary film for kids to legitimately enjoy. Its success led to two sequels, which definitely weren’t as good as the first, but still had a massive impact on ‘90s pop culture. Through them, we now have such treasures as Vanilla Ice’s timeless tie-in rap and, for those who want to be literally, not just metaphorically, haunted by their youth, Leonardo’s decaying puppet corpse.

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Found by @brainexploderrr on Twitter, it turns out that the vacated husk that was once the Ninja Turtle’s animate leader is up for auction, delighting fans of movie memorabilia and practitioners of the dark arts alike. Used in 1993's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III—the one where they go to feudal Japan—the costume includes a “body and head [that] show substantial breakdown,” which is basically just a nice way to say that the decades have left Leonardo a nightmarish creature that appears to have just recently emerged from the lowest depths of hell.

One eye stares wide and forever open while the other droops behind a moldering bandana. His green cheeks are cracked, chunks of felt skin flaking off in order to expose the remarkably healthy, oversized teeth (oh, the teeth) that fill Leonardo’s enormous maw. A full-body photo shows the Ninja Turtle standing like a demonic coquette, one three-fingered hand rubbing his shell-pelvis and leading the eyes downward to the forbidden secrets of his horrendously chafed, leprous thighs. All of this can be yours for a starting bid of only £5, 000.

While it’s no prop nunchaku or vial of bathwater collected from the tub of a convalescent Raphael, the costume is a priceless item for any serious Ninja Turtles lover. As fans of the original films age, they may even wish to pass on their own love of the Turtles to their children. What better gift could a youngster receive, after all, than the unblinking eyes and hungry, hungry rictus grin of a beloved hero hanging on their bedroom wall? Cowabunga!

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.