UNIVERSAL STUDIOS MONSTERS (SIDESHOW)
“Universal Studios created and truly defined the horror film genre beginning in the 1920s. In 1933, Universal released The Invisible Man, starring Claude Rains. It was Rains’ unique speaking voice that won him the part and which was vital to portraying a man who, in a great portion of the film, would be invisible to the audience. The role also assured Rains a place in Universal Studios’ unique and rich history of horror films.
The Invisible Man is the story of a mysterious doctor who, through his relentless experiments, discovers a serum that renders him invisible. Covered by bandages and dark glasses, it is only his clothing that will reveal his form and presence.
Fleeing to a remote English village, the doctor tries to hide the effects of his serum. However, the drug that was his ultimate discovery is slowly driving him to the brink of insanity, as he begins his spree of horror.”
It’s Halloween dear readers! I know, given the general horror abounding in our everyday lives this past year, today is, perhaps, not as hard hitting as prior Halloweens. But let’s try to be somewhat in the spirit, you guys! Every Halloween, I like to review something appropriately spooky for the day. In contrast to 6 of the 7 prior Halloween reviews, I’m not reviewing a Minimates set, though I’m still sticking with the overall Universal Monsters theme I’ve grown so accustomed to. Sideshow Collectibles was kind of synonymous with Universal Monsters for a solid chunk of the ’00s. While their main claim to fame for years has been their impressive output of 1/6 scale figures, their initial offerings were actually a little bit on the shorter side. I’m looking at one of their earliest figures, the Invisible Man, today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Invisible Man was released in 2000 as part of Series 3 of Sideshow’s Universal Studios Monsters line. Packed alongside the Hunchback and the Metaluna Mutant, the Invisible Man was definitely this assortment’s heavy hitter. The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation. The Invisible Man has a couple of looks over the course of the film, and this figure opts for the robed appearance. It’s probably the most distinctive of his looks, and certainly makes for the sharpest looking figure. The sculpt on this figure was unique to him, as was the case for most of the line. He, again like the rest of the line, was designed more or less as a plastic statue that happened to have some joints for minor tweaking to the pose, rather than being a more traditional action figure. The best range is definitely on the neck joint, though the elbow and shoulder joints do have a little bit of flex to them as well. The mid-leg cut joints are pretty much exclusively for tweaking the balance of the figure to keep him standing, which isn’t too dynamic, but does help keep this guy standing. Moving past the mobility of the figure, the actual quality on the sculpt is pretty good, if perhaps a touch un-even. The best work is definitely on the head, which has a ton of texturing and pretty much perfectly recreates the masked appearance as seen in the film. From the neck down, there’s markedly less texturing work. It’s still a good recreation of his garb from the film, in a sharp and clean fashion. It’s fairly striking looking, and honestly works out pretty well, even if the texturing is absent. Given what he’s wearing, it actually looks pretty solid. The figure’s paint work is pretty strong work as well. Again, the head’s the best work, with a believably weathered set of bandages. The rest of the figure is more basic coloring, but there’s some impressive work on the patterns on the robe and the pants. As with the rest of the line, there was a “Silver Screen” edition, which did all of the paint work in a grey scale color scheme, matching the actual film presentation. It’s a little more limited in its application, but it’s still a cool concept. Regardless of version, the Invisible Man was packed with an unmasked head, three books, and a display stand. The head’s a fascinating piece, because honestly it’s something that would be far more accurately recreated with just a removable head, but they went to the trouble of sculpting a really impressive Claude Rains likeness and then totally hiding it by leaving it translucent and unpainted. That’s commitment right there.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This line hit right in tandem with my first real stint with the Universal Monster movies, so I was very actively aware of it. I only ever owned one figure from it, largely due to it being a pretty popular line, and me being an 8 year old without any money or transportation of his own. I recall seeing this particular figure one time in a Toys R Us, while on a shopping trip with my Nana. She was always pretty invested on pushing me into more conventional toys, so I ended up leaving the store with two X-Men: Movie figures instead (though, me being me, I went with Jean Grey and Professor X; yes, the girl and the guy in the wheel chair, which still raised some comment from Nana, who was really pushing for Wolverine and Magneto). That marked the only time I saw this figure in person until earlier this month, when an entire set of this line came into All Time. I snagged this guy for me right away, and I’m honestly really happy to finally have him. He’s perhaps not the most action oriented piece, but he’s a really nice display piece.