UNIVERSAL MONSTERS (SIDESHOW)
Frankenstein is an important story. The original book is generally considered to be the very first Science Fiction story, and the 1931 film adaptation of the book helped kick off the Universal Monsters series, and made a star out of Boris Karloff. The first film is great, but it is surpassed by its sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, in the eyes of many. Bride featured better writing, better character work, better special effects, and a killer soundtrack to boot!
In the early 2000s, Sideshow Toys was just getting into the 12 inch scene. One of their earliest licenses they launched in that scale was Universal monsters, with Frankenstein among them. They did pretty much every version of the monster from the movies. Today, I’ll be looking at their version of the Monster as he’s seen in Bride of Frankenstein.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Monster was released in 2002 as a part of the Universal Monsters line by Sideshow Toys. He was the second version of the Karloff Monster, but he was actually the fifth version of the Monster in the line, after the versions from the original film, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, and House of Frankenstein. The figure stands about 12 ½ inches tall and features 29 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is meant to represent the Monster from The Bride of Frankenstein. In Bride, the Monster has been left a little worse for wear by the events at the end of the first film, so the figure reflects that. Like most Sideshow figures of the time, the Monster is built on the Sideshow Buck, which was their original 12 inch body. It’s slightly dated and stiff now, but it was the standard in the day, and what’s more, the stiffness is actually perfect for a character like the Monster. In addition to the Buck, the Monster features unique pieces for his head, hands/forearms, and his feet. The hands and feet replace the usual Buck pieces, and elongate the figure’s body a bit to give him his more gargantuan size. The head represents the Monster’s more scarred look from the movie, and it does it very well. The likeness to Boris Karloff is astounding, which is really great. The rest of the figure’s appearance is handled via cloth pieces. They aren’t as impressively tailored as something like Hot Toys, but they aren’t bad. The green of the jacket seems a touch too bright, but otherwise the coloring seems pretty good. The clothes also feature some padding built in to help aid the figure in looking a bit larger. It works pretty well, so that’s good. The paint on the Monster is very well done. While it lacks some of the more lifelike touches that future Sideshow figures have, it’s very clean and features some really great detail work. The monster includes a cobblestone textured display stand, a skull, and a stack of bones. All of these are pretty great, especially the skull!
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
When I was growing up, the Frankenstein movies were some of my favorite horror movies. I had a small selection of Sideshow figures, and among them was Fritz, the Doctor’s ill-fated assistant from the first movie. I always wanted a Monster to go along with him, but I never got one. A few weeks ago, my parents and my brother took a trip to visit a friend, and on the way back they visited a comicbook store with a decent selection of Sideshow’s Universal Monsters. My family, being the horrible, supportive influences they are, called me to ask if there were any I was looking for. I inquired about the Monster and was told I could choose between the one from Son of and Bride of. I went for the more conventional Bride design. I’ve actually always preferred the look from Bride, so I’m really happy with this figure. All in all, he’s a great version of Karloff’s interpretation of the character, and I’m really glad to finally have Frankenstein’s Monster to go with Fritz.