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Blood Relations… Mezco Revisits Roots with Nosferatu One:12 Action Figure Bundle

Just another Spooky Sunday

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Mezco Toyz announces Nosferatu One:12 Collective Bundle (images courtesy of Mezco)

Fangs for the Memories…
Mezco Toyz is harking (or is it Harkering?) back two score years to their gnarly roots with a very special One:12 Collective figure of Orlock, the vampire Count of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 silent film Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror.

Before becoming the world renown creators of Living Dead Dolls Mezco Toyz released a small series of action figures called Silent Screamers. Under the business banner of Aztech Toyz the company paid homage to two classic films of the early 20th Century, the aforementioned Nosferatu and the expressionist thriller The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. (1919).

Graf Orlock was the first of the four characters. He was companioned by a highly stylized rendition his insectivore minion Knock Renfield. Caligari was represented in the collection by the corpulent doctor and his gaunt night stalking henchman Cesare.

The original Silent Screamers came with oodles of extras, setting the quality bar high. The unique blister packs offered historical details, film sprocket framed graphics and package art by Alex Ross. Style appropriate dioramas made a perfect display for each of the figures. So, it’s no surprise Mezco has gone whole (wart)hog on this 20<sup>th</th> Anniversary revisit. The One:12 Collective Nosferatu comes in a metal lunchbox loaded with accessories, including a wooden coffin, lantern, crypt keys, his natty turban, and plenty of plague rats. There’s even a screen printed commemorative T-shirt.

Sculptor Chu Ka Wa’s brand new renderings of Nosferatu include three replaceable head portraits in varying moods and of course there’s a group of creepy claw-like hands, all faithful to the still scary visions of original designer/producer Albin Grau.

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Original Silent Screamers from 2000, were released under the Aztech brand name.(photos/collage Peter Parrella)

In a Historical Vein…
As a thinly veiled and wholly unauthorized version of Bram Stoker’s 1895 novel Dracula the film Nosferatu has a history riddled with intrigue. Florence Stoker, the author’s widow and heir to the copyright (licensing of which kept her financially afloat) launched a suit against the producers of the movie and won a verdict that included the order to have all prints destroyed worldwide.

The film’s total obliteration was averted by copies squirreled away in private collections which, legalities aside, ultimately proved to be a gift to cinematic history. By the mid 1960’s film buffs and monster kids like myself could actually purchase a version of the by then public domain movie on 8mm film.

For a work that was nearly lost, Nosferatu has enjoyed a protracted artistic journey and earned an iconic place in popular culture. It was remade by director Werner Herzog in 1979, perfectly casting Klaus Kinski as the rabid count. The same year, actor Max Shreck’s rat-fanged make-up was mimicked for the TV version of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.

The original film has seen latter day scoring added. Most notably by Peter Steele & Type O Negative. Blue Oyster Cult penned a song detailing the germanic vampire tale for their Spectres album, with the chorus “Only a woman can break his spell. Pure in heart, who will offer herself – to Nosferatu”

My personal favorite riff on the original is director E. Elias Merhige’s (Begotten) Shadow of the Vampire (2000) which fictionalizes/reimagines the film’s production. It features John Malklovich as Murnau and Willem Dafoe as its very suspect lead “actor.”

Adding to this long list the Mezco gang has created an animated promotional video for their collectible that is itself a mini-masterpiece. It’s a labor of love tribute that bolsters their motto “for collectors, by collectors” to be true.

SkeletonPete Says…
[Editor’s Note] As of this posting (July 2020) the first limited edition bundles have sold out, but you can join the waitlist for the next round which is scheduled for November-December 2020. I think this figure a must have for any horror film buff and/or toy collector and will be worth the wait.

For those who would like more historical detail about Nosferatu and the theatrical life of Count Dracula I highly recommend David J. Skal’s still definitive Hollywood Gothic: the Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen, as a source book on the subject.

And… yes, I still have 3 of the four original Aztech Silent Screamers in my toy collection. Knock Renfield managed to escape my clutches. Yes, they’re still boxed. I should have bought 2 of each.

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They’re Dead, They’re All Mezzed Up: Mezco @ Toy Fair 2013

Mezco adds Universal Monsters Dracula to Rule Their Living Dead Dolls

Mezco adds Universal Monsters Dracula to Rule Their Living Dead Dolls

Beware the Eyes that Paralyze…
The Mezco Toyz Universal Monsters franchise will welcome Count Dracula to the Living Dead Doll team in October 2013. Mezco’s press release describes the figure thusly, “From his widow’s peak to the hem of his cape, every detail of Dracula has been captured. The Count wears one of the most regal outfits ever produced for a Living Dead Doll; he comes complete with full evening dress, his trademark cape, his famous medallion, his red Carnelian stone ring, and even his watch chain, have been carefully recreated. Special attention has been paid to his hypnotic eyes…”

Banner Day…
Mezco also announced a special limited edition Living Dead Dolls Banner for order only at Mezco Direct. The 18” X 36” 10 oz. vinyl collector’s item is emblazoned with the images of dolls from the soon to be released Series 25. Scheduled for May 2013 the new series adds 5 more terrible tots to the Mezco mix. Cracked Jack, Asa, Sospirare, Gretchen and Luna are the newest denizens of the Mezco netherworld.

LLD Scary Tales Vol 5: Spider Gang Miss Muffet, and the silent lamby Little Bo Creep

LLD Scary Tales Vol 5: Spider Gang Miss Muffet, and the silent lamby Little Bo Creep

Tales, You Win…
The Scary Tales LDD series will expand by two characters with Volume 5; Lil Bo Creep and Little Miss Muffet. The Bo Creep doll sports a dead lamb chapeau and Hannibal Lechter style face mask, while Miss Muffet represents for her gang “The Spiders.”

"Mad Moma" Norman Bates Gets the Mezco LLD Spin

“Mad Moma” Norman Bates Gets the Mezco LLD Spin

Psych-Out…
Also displayed at the NY 2013 Toy Fair was the Psycho inspired knife wielding Norman Bates dressed as dear ol’ Mother and a shocked bath towel wrapped Marion Crane. The prototypes were still pending licensor approval at the time of these photographs.

Living Dead Figurines Series 3 and Variants with Mystery box percentages

Living Dead Figurines Series 3 and Variants with Mystery box percentages


Mystery Boxed Mini’s Series 3…
Series Three of the Living Dead Doll Figurines adds 5 more characters and their variants to the blind boxed collectors’ favorites. These miniatures measure 2 inches tall and are a fun choice for any space strapped collectors.

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?