Let me make something perfectly clear on two things before I continue – one is that my adoration for the Universal Monsters borders on the pathological. I feel it has something to do with growing up as a Monster Kid and not being able to get enough of the monsters that helped build up and save Universal Pictures. On the Saturday Frights podcast I have often shared how my Father awoke after midnight to find I was completely captivated by 1931’s Frankestein – as you might imagine he implored me to go to bed… to which I plainly said I would not until I had finished the movie. There is so very, very much to love about the Universal Pictures adaptations of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Invisible Man as well as The Phantom of the Opera. But one certainly cannot overlook their own cinematic monsters like The Wolf Man, The Mummy, The Bride of Frankenstein, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. For 94 years the Universal Monsters have become more than iconic – they are legends of horror, with their stories being retold throughout the years. And while quite a bit of that praise can be heaped on the shoulders of make-up effects artist Jack Pierce and his team… there is something else that makes the characters stand out. That is pathos, besides a handful of the Universal Monsters there is an amazing amount of tragedy to the monsters – you just can’t help but side with these misfits.
The second thing I want you to understand is that Funko… is going to end up ruling the World. From their Funko Pop! collectibles to various licensed properties for their Funko Mystery Mini lines featuring Stranger Things, X-Men, Harry Potter, and Star Wars to name just a very few. The company has managed to produce about everything that anyone who enjoys pop culture will want to collect in one form or another. They have created sets for science-fiction characters from Robocop to TRON and horror characters like Beetlejuice to the all mighty Cthulhu. There were even Universal Monsters in the Horror Classics Mystery Mini sets… but now… the children of the celluloid night have been given their very own series with Funko’s Universal Monsters Mystery Minis!
“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” – Dracula (1931)
I was visiting my local Barnes and Noble a couple of days ago and noticed they had set up a table for Halloween. What you might expect, books and even board games that fit the spirit of the season… and that is when I spied a box of Funko’s Universal Monster Mystery Minis. My eyes grew wide and my very breath caught in my throat as I lunged forward and grabbed the box of minis off the table. Catching my understanding Wife’s eye as I did so… and she just sadly nodded her head in acceptance. Having long ago realized that when it comes to the Universal Monsters I cannot walk away from collectibles – even when in this case it was going to get a little expensive to buy nearly the entire box. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel a twinge of guilt about depriving another Universal Monster fanatic the chance to pick up a few minis of their own… but I told myself that Barnes and Noble would eventually order more. So clutching the box tighter than Gollum grasped the One Ring I made my way to the register… mentally hissing at anyone who dared come too close to my prize. Then with barely contained excitement we made our way to the cafe where I could rip open the boxes and find out which of the plastic versions of the icons were coming home with me!
Honestly I had a pretty good haul with Dracula, the Invisible Man, and even a Mole Man from 1956’s The Mole People.
I also was able to obtain Frankenstein’s Monster and his Bride, the Mummy (probably Kharis) as well as the Wolf Man.
Right there in front of a horrified cafe of patrons battle lines were immediately drawn between the Funko Universal Monsters Mystery Minis. The Wolf Man sided with both the Monster and his Bride – with the Prince of the Undead using his will to call Kharis and the Mole Man to his side. Abstaining with a hearty chuckle was Dr. Jack Griffin who stood on the sidelines waiting to see which of the armies would appear to be the victor before choosing to enter the fray!
I thank you for that bit of silliness I just indulged in – there were two character missing from the blind boxes I purchased, the Creature as well as the Phantom. To be fair I’m sure before the season is over I’ll be able to pick up the inhabitant of the Black Lagoon – the odds for Erique Claudin (the mini appears to be based on 1943’s The Phantom of the Opera) are less favorable. Will I buy another box of them… no, I don’t think I will… but being able to look over to my shelf and see my Universal Monsters friends – it was totally worth it the first time.
I however would love to hear which side you think would win the battle – leave your thoughts in the comment section?