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 www.tru.com.
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
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!