Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Halloween Day 14: Spooky Vintage Toy Review – Bela Lugosi as Dracula By Flatt World Toys

There was a time when this was the holy grail of toy collecting. Right around the big collecting boom of the late 90’s, the height of ToyFare magazine’s power; this guy was released at a price that was unheard of for a small, domestic action figure. Dracula was well received, but not well enough to spawn a full line from fledgling Flatt World Toys.

I lucked out and got two(!) on clearance when I worked at Hot Topic. I still harbor the belief that the buyer ordered this item just to get one for himself. I can’t believe that anybody would think the teens that populated the then cutting-edge retailer would fork over more than a hundred dollars for a doll of a character from a sixty year old black and white film.
We got two of them at my store and they just sat there and collected dust until they finally got marked down. I don’t remember exactly what I paid for them, but I did get them on one of the special “Buy One Get One Half-Off” weekends. I know I didn’t pay more than fifty bucks for the both of them. I gave one to a friend and kept the other for myself. Let’s take a look.
First Glance: Even in the package this is an impressive action figure to look at. You know you’re getting something special here.
Sculpt: The head is fantastic. To think this was sculpted wholly by hand is just mind-boggling. While the likeness is not as spot-ion as my 1/6th scale Sideshow Bela, I actually like this one more because it isn’t quite so rounded and the expression isn’t as grotesque. The hands also look wonderful. They are ever-so-slightly taloned and his right hand sports the signet ring. The fingers are individual rather than molded together and look excellent. This also means that he can hold his cape up in that peek-a-boo pose.
The body is an advanced version of the Mego style. I’ve never removed Dracula’s clothes to get a closer look, but it seems to have all of the same points of articulation plus either deeper shoulder joints or swivels that allow his arms to be turned and moved with a much greater range. The elbow and knee joints seem to have a wider range of motion as well.
Dracula has the typical flimsy waist of this scale and style, but is firmly jointed enough elsewhere to be posed in many ways.
Design: The head and hands of the figure are hand painted. This gives Dracula a much more doll-like look than your average action figure and definitely classes him up. Mine is incredibly accurate, if a bit wall-eyed. Highlights to the skin and hair look very good as well. The paint is a bit glossier than I might like, but he still looks great.
Dracula’s clothing is truly amazing. Each piece is hand-stitched and assembled. The fabrics are such quality as you’ll never see in an action figure this size again. Honestly, not even Hot Toys puts so much personal attention into their figures.
The cape is a black velvet with a grey satin lining. While a red lining on this cape always looks nice, the grey is very subdued and regal – I like it. The jacket is cut beautifully with tails and tiny little buttons sewn in. The tails have a black satin lining. The pants are tiny little tuxedo pants and the shirt and vest are excellent substitutions for their respective materials at this scale. Dracula’s medallion looks excellent and has an incredible amount of detail for such a tiny little piece.
Accessories: Dracula comes with a candelabra, a bat, and a coffin. The bat looks neat but is just sort of there. The candelabra is very well done. Dracula can hold it in either hand.
The coffin looks awesome, right down to the dirt and bugs in the interior. It has a crest that is a separate piece. You have to attach this with a little piece of double-sided tape that is included. BUT – be very careful with this coffin. 
The plastic is very rigid and not overly sturdy. It’s not flimsy by any means, but it is easy to break. This is mainly due to the odd design of the hinges. One of my broke off with very little provocation. The benefit of this is that my coffin closes much more easily now.
Packaging: I wish I had a picture of the package for you, but I lost it in the flood. It was a nifty little window box with an extended panel on the side. There was some very nice artwork as well. I would hunt down a pic now, but I have a very busy schedule all of a sudden. More on that later.
Overall: I absolutely love this figure and it is a cornerstone of my collection, but it isn’t perfect. The coffin is a bit too flimsy (or designed too oddly) and that glossy paint is a bit distracting.
4 out of 5
You might be able to find this Dracula on eBay, but I bet he’s gonna cost you a pretty penny. He’s hardly essential, but he’ll be a welcome and valuable addition to any collection.
Dracula - "Vhat are you doing here, Retro Dracula?"
Retro Dracula - "Vhat do you mean? I got a message to meet here..."
Scareglow - "Surprise, you guys!"
Scareglow - "I just wanted to get the two of you together for a photo op! That's cool, right?"
Draculas - "No."
Scareglow - "Say 'blood'!"

31 Days of Halloween vs. 31 Days of Halloween!
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM – Never Cry Werewolf – This was on the other night, too. It’s not bad – give it a try if you’re home.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 3
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Toolbox Murders – I’m almost positive I’ve seen this and I’m equally sure it’s not bad and totally fucked up. Do yourself a favor and find an unedited version.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 4
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Timber Falls – Seriously pressed for time, folks. Didn’t have time to look this one up but I’m guessing it’s about malicious trees falling on people and killing them. Like that M. Night Shyamalan movie.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 1
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM – Chain Letter – Not this shit again.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 1
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Hostel: Part II – I dig pretty much everything Eli Roth does.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 4
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Resident Evil – This is one of my favorite series of movies aside from the shitty second one. I’m hoping to get a review of the new Hot Toys Alice that just came out up before the month is over, but we’ll see.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 4
11:00 PM – 1:00 AM – The Midnight Meat Train – This is an excellent movie. Just trust me and watch it; I don’t want to tell you anything.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 5
1:00 AM – 3:00 AM – The Prophecy – I can’t believe SyFy is showing this one. Not that it’s a classic, necessarily; I’m just surprised that it isn’t one of the crappy direct-to-video sequels.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 4
3:00 AM – 5:00 AM – Prophecy: The Uprising – Oh. Well, there you go.
Halloween score – 4
Quality score – 2
5:00 AM – 6:00 AM – Masters of Horror: Haeckel’s Tale – This is also referred to as “Clive Barker’s Haeckel’s Tale”, but I have no clue what he had to do with it. Nevertheless it’s a good one.
Halloween score – 5
Quality score – 4
6:00 AM – 8:00 AM – Paid Programming
Halloween score – 0
Quality score – 0
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM – Basilisk: The Serpent King – Jeremy London is fighting basilisks.
Halloween score – 2
Quality score – 1
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Kaw – Well, I’m pretty sure this is about killer crows and I’m equally sure it’s terrible.
Halloween score – 3
Quality score – 1

Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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