Welcome to my third entry in FFZ’s generically named Halloween Horror Month! If you can’t tell, I’m running through all four figures in the first wave of Jada’s new Universal Monsters series, and number three on the list is Frankenstein’s Monster! I’m a big fan of the original film. It’s so atmospheric and fun to watch, although I’ll confess I’m an even bigger fan of the Hammer Horror flicks featuring the always amazing Peter Cushing as Baron Frankenstein. I’m actually working my way through all of those again this October and loving every second of it!
Now let me be Frank with you… HA! Does it bother me that they called him Frankenstein on the box? Nah. I’ve got no more strength in me for that fight. The last time I heard myself say “Um… actually…” I wanted to punch myself in the face. Let it go, people. Let it go! I will, however, point out that this guy has some fierce competition on the shelves, as NECA has already got their own version of The Monster out and about and in my clutching mitts. And yes, he’ll probably be the first figure I review after I’m done with Jada’s line this week. Let’s face it, NECA is going to own at least 75% of this month!
First off, I think they did a great job on his overall stature. Frank is a big boi and the heft and size of this figure conveys that very well. He’s not overly big, not too small… He’s just right. And true to the film, some of his height comes from his giant platform kicks. His suave monster suit consists of a black shirt, dark gray jacket, and brown trousers, all of which is textured with a cross-thatch pattern to make it resemble cloth. The trousers have all the usual rumples, and a wash to bring out some of the detail. The jacket is the usual soft plastic vest with sleeves sculpted as the arms, and the illusion works, as there aren’t any major gaps in the arm holes. You get sculpted pockets, lapels, and buttons, and some green slime painted on his right arm. I like that the sleeves are too short, but would have liked a little more gross detail on his exposed forearms.
You get two heads, the first of which is a pretty solid sculpt, even if it isn’t a great likeness for Karloff in the makeup. I’m actually not sure if Jada actually got the license to do Karloff or not, but there’s enough attempts at similarity here that I’m going to assume they did. The indent in the bottom lip, for example, is definitely from Karloff’s Monster, but it’s way too exaggerated here, and the overall facial structure just isn’t quite there. That’s not to say it isn’t a decent looking portrait for a more generic take on The Monster. And to be fair, if you aren’t very familiar with the film, or have a picture to compare, you might not notice the discrepancies. The paint is pretty good, especially the shading. They used halftone printing for the eyes, which as usual looks great in hand, but breaks down as you get in real close. I like the silver paint applied to the bolts and the staples, as well as the red for the forehead gash. Still, I don’t need a crystal ball to tell me that the portrait is going to be a big part of what separates this figure from NECA’s effort.
And then you’ve got this head, and I don’t like this one at all. I know the look they were going for, but I don’t think they got there. Indeed, the drop in quality on this head is so noticeable that it feels like it should go to a different figure. Beyond the expression just not working, the paint here is high gloss, giving him a shiny finish, which makes him look like he’s got a flop sweat going. The eye paint is also terrible, and the white for the teeth is sprayed all over his lower lip. I don’t know what happened here, but if the grave robbers I hired brought me this head, I would have sent it back. It’s just terrible.
The articulation here is right in line with the previous figures, so I won’t run through it all here. Suffice it to say, The Monster has a lot more range of motion than a lumbering brute like himself should really need. With double hinges in both the elbows and knees, and the ability to get those wide stances makes him fun to play with. And even with those platform boots, he has good balance and is easy to stand. Frank also comes with a pair of grasping hands, which are probably what I will display him with the most.
In addition to the extra hands and a terrible second head, The Monster comes with two sets of chains and manacles. These are really well done, as each of the manacles is hinged and can be opened and closed, so you don’t have to pop the hands off to put them on.
Despite a total failure on the alternate head, I think this figure turned out fine. I don’t think he’s as amazing as The Gillman, but I’d put him on par with Dracula for sure. Little attentions to detail and texturing on the body go a long way in making this one feel like a labor of love. Even the pair of manacles are well thought out and well executed accessories. So far, Jada’s Monsters have been hitting home, and I’ve got just one more to look at, so come back Friday for a look at The Bride!!!