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High Stakes: Van Helsing Joins Diamond Select Monster Series

Diamond Select Toys' Van Helsing action figure prototype as seen at Toy Fair 2014.

Diamond Select Toys’ Van Helsing action figure prototype as seen at Toy Fair 2014.

Van the Man…
Diamond Select Toys is taking the opportunity to expand the monster line with a unique design of their own. DST’s Van Helsing, is an armed-to-the-teeth vision of the vampire hunter with a wizened and battle scarred countenance. With his axe, rifle, pistol and bandolero of wooden spikes he’s clearly a determined and formidable foe for the feral creatures of the night.

With many of us still cringing from the loopy Hugh Jackman misstep of 2004 Van Helsing was a risky choice. Fortunately DST presents him as an effective cross between the grandfatherly character portrayed by Edward Van Sloan in 1931 and Anthony Hopkins’ frenzied doctor of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992.)

The Van Helsing “Select” version is the most ornate of the three new Wave 5 boxed packages. The base provides a cemetery scene with dual tombstones and vicious vampire bride Mina Harker pouching from her grave.

More Monsters…
I’ve been stalking Diamond Select Toy’s fifth wave of Universal Monsters figures since they first appeared as early prototypes in DST’s Toy Fair Booth back in 2013.

These two newest 7 inch scale action figures present Boris Karloff as The Monster from Son of Frankenstein, and a new version of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. The Jean St. Jean sculpts are created with “super articulation,” giving the models many more poseable points of movement than their previous incarnations.

DST has announced these items in blister-carded Toys “R” Us Exclusive configurations (already on the shelves) as well as “Select” boxes, available shortly in comic book shops, or for pre-order. The “Select” versions add extraordinarily detailed bases and props.

Inspector Krogh "lends a hand (and arm) to Karloff's "Son of Frankenstein" TRU Exclusive. Image Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys.

Inspector Krogh “lends a hand (and arm) to Karloff’s “Son of Frankenstein” TRU Exclusive. Image Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys.


The Monster is portrayed with a slightly more gaunt look than Karloff lensed in the original 1939 film. He is clothed in his signature “Son of” wooly vest, a look that will forever remind me of Sonny Bono’s preferred garb in the 1960’s. In addition to more articulation The Creature update trumps its Wave 1 predecessor with, to my eye, a sculpt more accurate to its film appearance and a glossier aquatic paint finish.

“Armed” and Dangerous…
The “Select” Son of Frankenstein comes with an awesome Kenneth Strickfaden inspired piece of electrical laboratory gear that will remind old school collector’s like myself of the similar rig that was part of Aurora’s classic Bride of Frankenstein tableau. No Son of Frankenstein collectible would be complete without the wooden arm of Lionel Atwill’s Inspector Krogh for the monster to swing around. For me it’s a must have, and I’m glad to report it comes in both packaging configurations, so you won’t be torn (hee, hee.)

SkeletonPete Says…
While I’m happy to learn that Diamond Select will continue to offer Universal Monster figures in another wave next year, I also applaud the initiative to bring some of their own creative juice to the monster mix.

The Aurora Plastic Model Company did this quite effectively in late 1960’s. Their Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare, The Witch, and The Guillotine models were equally cherished by collectors. In fact they are the only intact original Aurora models I still have. The others succumbed to an ill advised tangle with a barrage of firecrackers one fateful Independence day.

Super Funky: 70’s Style ReAction Figures @ NY Toy Fair 2014

The Crow, The Creature, Rocketeer and Snake Pliskin are 4 of my favorite ReAction Figures.

The Crow, The Creature, Rocketeer and Snake Pliskin are 4 of my favorite ReAction Figures.

Go Figure…
When Super7 and Funko announced their partnership in producing a 3.75 inch Alien figure set last August, they promised the collaboration would yield a lot more surprises. That was probably one of the biggest understatements of all time. At Funko’s 2014 Toy Fair booth the companies revealed an over 60 figure roll out for the ReAction line. The retro feel of the characters harks back to Kenner’s Star Wars figures of the 1970’s.

Super 7 & Funko's ReAction Alien set will be followed by over 60 3.75" figures.

Super 7 & Funko’s ReAction Alien set will be followed by over 60 3.75″ figures.

Many under served franchises like Goonies, Pulp Fiction, Escape From New York, Firefly, and the original Buffy, the Vampire Slayer film are fully represented, although sadly the Rocketeer is missing a companion Betty.

Modern monster fans will get a chance to add to their Nightmare on Elmstreet, Halloween, Friday the Thirteenth collections and also enjoy miniature spins on Sam from Trick ‘r Treat, Hellraiser‘s Pinhead Cenobite and my favorite, a pretty awesome rendition of The Crow. The Terminator and Predator franchises are represented too, with a cool, clear, “active camo” version of a Yautja hunter.

A bit less off the beaten path, classic Universal Horror fans will have there choice of 8 figures, including a rather dapper Invisible Man in smoking jacket, though the Frankenstein Monster is looking a little strange in a grey suit. There’s also a selection of Nightmare Before Christmas characters.

The individually blister-carded miniature series will roll out through the end of 2014 and retail for $9.99 each.

SkeletonPete Says…
This is a pretty amazing assortment of licensed items released in a short period of time. While I don’t see most collectors buying ‘em all, there’s enough diversity to make lots of people covet at least 50% of the offerings. If there’s a Wave 2 down the road, I’d love to see Dusk ‘Til Dawn, Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill, and Sucker Punch represented.

Click Any Image To Launch Gallery

New World Ardor… Living Dead Dolls Celebrate A Record Breaking Sweet Sixteen

Mezco Toyz, Living Dead Dolls Series 27. (L to R) Mephistopheles, The Banshee, Milu, Spring-Heeled Jack and The Hopping Vampire

Mezco Toyz, Living Dead Dolls Series 27. (L to R) Mephistopheles, The Banshee, Milu, Spring-Heeled Jack and The Hopping Vampire


Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed, Any Wonder?…
2014 marks the sixteenth anniversary of Mezco Toyz’ Living Dead Dolls line. This milestone makes these creepy creations the longest continually produced series of horror themed dolls on the planet. Mezco’s Mike Drake informed me that the company will be honored for this world record at the Toy Industry Association’s 111th Annual American International Toy Fair which begins in New York City in just a couple of days.

The outre, coffin encased, dollies are the brainchild of Ed Long, Damien Glonek, and “Mez” Markowitz, whose artistic imagination must be commended on this long run of sardonic but fun characters. Damien notes, “I couldn’t be happier with the support and dedication our fans have given us throughout the years. The dolls have taken on a life of their own…” As for their inception, “There was never a thought out plan when we first started. Living Dead Dolls was built upon a do what we like attitude and it grew into something beyond our wildest expectations.”

Living Dead Dolls Series 27…
A world record calls for a world vision and so for Series 27 the creators have set their nets wide and come up with a cosmopolitan collection of characters of myth and legend. 

Spring Heeled Jack – The Victorian urban legend of penny dreadful fame that terrorized London. A creeper and a leaper.

The Banshee – The Irish fairy who heralds death with her mournful wail. If she sits with you for a pint of Guinness be sure your life insurance policy is paid up.

Milu – The Polynesian goddess and guardian of the land of the dead. Mess with this Tiki temptress and you won’t be drinking piña coladas at Trader Vic’s for long. She’ll fill you full of flys and feed you to her pet lizards.

The Hopping Vampire – The life force absorbing Jiangshi of pan-asian folklore and popular film series.

Mephistopheles – The devilish trickster and adversary of Goethe’s Faust. Sign on the dotted line at your own risk.

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In addition, Colonial America will get it’s due with a Headless Horseman LDD, complete with malevolent looking pumpkin noggin, and Series 1 character Posey, comes back from the undead in a ghostly white special edition.

Mezco's LDD Creature is still in the working stages, but promises to be a real collector's treat.

Mezco’s LDD Creature is still in the working stages, but promises to be a real collector’s treat.

SkeletonPete Says…
Also announced, though not on display at Mezco’s early reveal, is an LDD version of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It will join the already available Frankenstein, Bride of, and Dracula dolls. It’s going to be a must own for creach fans like myself. The still to be approved prototype is pictured in Mezco’s 2014 Toy Fair catalog and it is already too cool to pass up.

Mama Weer All Crazee Now: Mezco Completes Pyscho Trio

Mezco Toyz' Adds Norman's Mother to Their Psycho Selection

Mezco Toyz’ Adds Norman’s Mother to Their Psycho Selection


Get Your Motor Running…
The good folks at Mezco Toyz revved up their engines for this month’s American International Toy Fair with a special press peek at their upcoming offerings. The company is not only celebrating the sweet sixteenth birthday of their Living Dead Doll Series but has announced a Sons of Anarchy figure and collectible line for release in summer of 2014. The advance viewing was a perfect opportunity to get some unfettered photos of this newest Mezco merch especially an unexpected Psycho treat.

Norman’s Mom Has Got It Goin’ On…

"Mad Moma" Norman Bates Gets the Mezco LLD Spin

“Mad Moma” Norman Bates Gets the Mezco LLD Spin


After focusing on the Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad characters, I peered across the room in Mezco’s sanctum sanctorum for an unexpected surprise. Perched on a display shelf, comfy in her rocking chair and shawl, sat Mother, the desiccated grande dame of the Bates family. The wonderfully creepy creation is rendered as a “roto-plush,” with molded cast hands, feet and head and a plush body, like dolls of old. She perfectly compliments the Norman and Victim dolls released last year. She’ll be ready for release this coming summer. Keep your Raggedy Ann away from the shower stall.

Mommy To Mummy…
Karloff's 1932 Mummy is the Next Universal Monster Emerging from Mezco in June 2014.

Karloff’s 1932 Mummy is the Next Universal Monster Emerging from Mezco in June 2014.


Not far from Mother stood her Universal Pictures kin, the equally shriveled Karloffian Mummy. The Mummy is the third in Mezco’s effective angular stylization of the classics. Frankenstein’s Monster and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are currently available with The Mummy slated for June of this year. Still in the works and pending design approval is Mezco’s Creature from the Black Lagoon Living Dead Doll.

SkeletonPete Says…
I expect to post a full gallery of images from Mezco’s Toy Fair preview on Thursday, including Living Dead Dolls Series 27 featuring “Myths and Legends from Around the World,” Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Axe Cop, 1966 Batman villains Mez-itz, and more.

I’ve also been meaning to share some fun “beauty shots” of the all white “test shot” Creature from the Black Lagoon I scored at the Mezco sale last summer.

Featured Creatures: Diamond Select Universal Monster Previews @ Toy Fair 2013

DST Universal Monsters Series 5 will arrive in 2014

DST Universal Monsters Series 5 will arrive in 2014

It was a great treat to visit with the folks at Diamond Select Toys during the 2013 American International Toy Fair. They have an upcoming array of items sure to please collectors of franchises that include Marvel Superheroes, The Walking Dead, Star Wars, and Tomb Raider. Star Trek fans are sure to be pleased with the goodies coming their way from DST. I’ll be posting information and photos on those in the coming weeks but I’m going to begin DST NYTF13 coverage with my favorites, the Universal Monster Series.

Fall 2013 Series 4…
As announced in previous posts Diamond Select will be releasing Wave 4 of the series in fall 2013. That includes Lon Chaney Sr. as Quasimodo, from the silent 1923 classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mr. Hyde as portrayed by Boris Karloff in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. The Quasimodo specialty (large base) package will pair him with a cathedral gargoyle to perch on and include the “King of Fools” accessories. Mr. Hyde will sport a roof top base and include Dr. Jekyll parts to facilitate his transformation.

The Series 4 Toys “R” Us packages will be blister packed with simple bases. Dr. Jekyl will include an interchangeable Mr. Hyde head. Exclusive to Toys “R” Us will be a Moleperson figure from the The Mole People (1956).

Series 3 Legacy Box…
The Universal Monster Series 3 figures including This Island Earth’s Metaluna Mutant, Erik The Phantom of the Opera and The Invisible Man) will be boxed together in a special legacy edition.


New Bust Banks and Retro Cloths…
Also announced for fall, but not on display at the DST booth, are Bust Banks Series 2 depicting the Bride of Frankenstein and the Wolfman. They’ll join their cohorts the Black Lagoon creature and Karloff Frankenstein monster which are currently available in full color and black and white versions. Retro cloth fans will be able to add the Metaluna Mutant and Phantom of the Opera to their collections.

Bust Banks

Diamond Select Toys’ Bust Banks

Super-Articulated Series 5 Announced…
Looking ahead to 2014, the Universal Monsters series will expand with “super-articulated” figures. Series 5 will offer The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Karloff’s monster from Son of Frankenstein.
DST Son of FrankensteinDiamond Select Creature from the Black Lagoon

The Series 5 prototypes as pictured are yet to be approved by the licensor and represent the “large base” specialty versions. There’s some really nice Kenneth Strickfaden inspired lab apparatus with SoF. It brings back fond memories of the gear that came with Aurora’s Bride of Frankenstein model kit. I’m hoping that Inspector Krogh’s wooden arm, nestled at the prototype figure’s feet, will be a separate accessory. I can imagine how awesome the highly posable figure would look brandishing the appendage above its head.

An as yet unannounced third figure will be exclusive to Toys “R” Us. Which Universal Mon-Star are you hoping it will be?