“A sleepy lagoon, a tropical moon, and two on an island” is how the lyrics of the 1940 Number 1 hit song imagines a jungle paradise. That’s certainly not what Julie Adams and Richard Carlson encountered when their archeological team traveled down the Amazon in the now classic 1954 monster movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon. It was way more of a creepy lagoon and prehistoric goon experience.
October 2016 will see the release of the premiere Universal Horror Movie figure in Mezco Toyz’ One:12 Collective product line. It’s only fitting that the first to appear should be the cadaverous creation of Dr. Frankenstein. The 1931 film (Frankenstein) launched the now classic series of monster movies that would grow to include Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, The Mummy and eventually The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
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…”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Monsters of all kinds were certainly in the mix at The Toy Association’s 109th Industry Conference, simply known as Toy Fair. Always of particular interest to collectors are upcoming licensed figures of their favorite horror characters like the Universal Monsters series from Diamond Select I reported on earlier.
This year toy manufacturer Mezco, who are well known for their “Living Dead Dolls”, are adding classic Universal Films Monsters to their line. As one would expect the company will offer the countenances of The Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula, rendered in the dead dolls cherubic style. Those are slated for September 2013.
In addition Mezco has shown prototypes for a quirky, set of figures sculpted in an expressionist or Caligari-esque mode that we haven’t seen before. Frankenstein, The Mummy and The Creature From The Black Lagoon are presented in skewed proportions that bring out a menace previously unseen in action figures. I really like this concept and particularly love the gangly look of The Creature; think I might have to own this one even with the limited display space I have. Mezco also has a “Big Frankie” style monster, they’re calling the Mega Deluxe Frankenstein, set for November 2012. This 2 foot bruiser has a dead pan demeanor I really like. “Black and White” variants were on display for all the figures.
Click Any Image to Launch Mezco Gallery
Also at Toy Fair 2012 were Titan Merchandise’s newest 3/4 busts, of Hammer horror films characters. Represented are Christopher Lee in his most famous role as Count Dracula, Ingrid Pitt as the sanguinely rejuvenated Elizabeth Bathory (Countess Dracula, 1971) and Peter Cushing as the intrepid Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Dracula / aka Horror of Dracula, 1958.) These missed their originally listed Fall 2011 release dates, and are now scheduled to hit the shelves in mid April 2012, right around even scarier Income Tax time. They are limited to editions of 1000.
Click Any Image to Launch Titan Merchandise Gallery
Toy Fair 2012 revelations continue with a look at Diamond Select Toys. In this centennial year of Universal Pictures, Diamond Select is poised to continue their roll-out of licensed Universal Monsters figures with an interesting assortment of creature creations. Product waves 1 & 2 gave us exceptional interpretations of the “top tier” in Universal’s horror hierarchy, featuring Frankenstein, Count Dracula, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Select packaging added great extras like the Mummy’s massive sarcophagus and a jaw-dropping Julie Adams figurine for the Gillman to menace.
Phantoms and Mutants and Moles, oh my…
Waves 3 & 4 – due in September 2012 and 2013 respectively – will offer an intriguing variety as we dive deeper into the monster pantheon. Some of my favorite characters will be represented including silent horror icon Lon Chaney Sr. in the role of The Phantom of the Opera and the mother of all bug-eyed monsters The Metaluna Mutant from 1955’s “This Island Earth”. Select packaging will again include impressive extras (pipe organ, Metalunan Interocitor) and collectors should be aware of some Toys R Us variants. The Invisible Man is listed for a Toys R Us September 2012 release also but wasn’t on display – or was he?
The pictured Wave 4 prototypes (some still awaiting licensor approval) give us a sneak peek at the next range of silent through 50’s options. This time Chaney Sr. portrays Notre Dame’s hunchback, Quasimodo. Boris Karloff’s Dr. Jeckyll is complimented by his monstrous Mr. Hyde in select “roof top” edition. Karloff’s J&H terrorized comedians Abbott & Costello and is a fun, unexpected, choice. I’m extremely jazzed to add The Mole Man (“The Mole People”, 1956) to the collection. I always loved those creepy claws.
More Monstrous Fun…
Other goodies expand the “Retro Cloth” line with Series 3’s “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon” and Munsters fans will love the details on the “racer” garbed Herman, Grandpa, and Lily characters due for September 2012 release. The Munster kids – werewolf Eddie and and misfit Marilyn – will arrive in a two pack this summer and sometime in the future we may even be treated to a Munster’s mansion grand stairway, with house pet “Spot”.
For those strapped for shelf space (like myself) the very popular Mini-Mates figures can quench your collector itch without making you a candidate for an episode of Hoarders. A nice option for memorabilia minded Dads and Uncles, the design ingenuity of these blocky little babies always makes me chuckle. Mummy and silent Hunchback sets are in the pipeline for later this year.
Diamond’s newest Universal related product is a line of vinyl “Bust Banks”. Starting with the Frankenstein monster (prototype pictured) and the Black Lagoon Creature. Imagine the coolness factor of carting these puppies to the local TD Bank change counting machine. Both are slated for September 2012.
Diamond continues to produce quality sculpted figures in packages priced to give buyers the opportunity to own display pieces as well as keep pristine packages for their collections. Considering that Frankenstein’s bride was on the short list for the Universal Monsters line, my personal wish-list would include Ernest Thesiger’s Dr. Pretorius (complete with bottled homunculi), Dwight Frye as Fritz, and of course Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein.
Keep an eye on SkeletonPete for information on Diamond’s first wave of “Mad Monster Party” figures, and hit Ken Pierce’s PiercingMetal Musings for Toy Fair coverage, soon to include Marvel Select, DC Direct and superhero mini-mates.