Silver Screen Edition Universal Monsters

This series of Universal Monsters - actually the second series of The Creature, Elsa Lancaster and Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera - is a terrific concept.  The characters have been redone in glorious black and white, just as they were seen on the movie screen originally.  Titled the 'Silver Screen' edition, I've been looking forward to these for quite some time.

They are a Toys R Us exclusive, so for now that's the only place you'll find them.  Although they are even packed in each case, the Creature goes quick, and I finally gave up trying to find him at my local stores last week.  He (and the other two) are available from the Toys R Us website at



Articulation - **1/2
Yes, I know that some people rave about the articulation in these figures.  While I agree that it is hidden well, I think that it has two major flaws.  First, most of the points of articulation are close to useless, due to the limited mobility.  This is particularly true of the v-joints at the hips.  Second, the type of joints tend to be very cheap, particularly the elbow and wrist joints.  The elbows have a single pin that is part of the upper arm cast, and runs into the lower arm.  This type of joint is extremely fragile, and I know alot of folks have had trouble with breakage.

Accessories - ***
A fine example of sensible accessories for each figure.  I'm still a little confused by the look of the extra head with the Phantom - looks like someone taped his mouth shut - but I'm told it's supposed to look that way.  The use of the second heads for both Elsa and Lon Chaney is an excellent idea, and the heads go on and off relatively easy.  If I had one complaint it would be that the capture net for the creature is too small.

Sculpting - ****
This is a terrific series, and the sculpting work on Lon Chaney and the Creature is just beautiful.  They look fantastic in and out of the package, and Sideshow Toys can certainly be proud.

Packaging - **1/2
Yea!  They got to do something a *little* different at least with these packages, and it's certainly an improvement over the color versions.  But I'd still love to see some stills from the movies.

Paint - ****
Great stuff - the idea of the black and white paint work is great in itself, but they also pulled it off flawlessly.  In particular, the Phantom's face looks much, much better - some even claim that it's a new head sculpt, but I don't think so.  I just think that its because the black and white scheme highlights the lines in his face so much better.  Look at the bottom of the page for a comparison and you be the judge...


Overall - ***1/2
This is one of my favorite lines right now, and I have nothing but high hopes for the other figures due out later this year.  If you love the Universal Monsters, you're going to love these figures.  Do yourself a favor and pick them up now, because if you wait a couple months I guarantee you're going to regret it.

Picture below on the left is the original head sculpt for the Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera.  Pictured on the right is the new Silver Screen version.  Is it a new head sculpt?  I don't think so - I think that the black and white paint merely bring out the lines and wrinkles, highlighting the sculpt much better.  But you be the judge!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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