Monday, October 15, 2012

Monster Playsets Series 1 and 2 (McFarlane Toys)



Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy - These are all characters who shaped the world of fictional horror as we know it. They've been the source of scares since the dawn of the first horror title, and to this day are fan favorites in all their classic and current iterations.

There are those who view scary movies, specifically gory ones as a representation of societies decay. This theory bears scrutiny as even the earliest societies have been documented for their stories on "monsters". Horror films have also been scientifically proven to stimulate the brain, producing endorphins based on the excitement that terror brings, which in turn reduces stress.


McFarlane Toys gave an iconic node to the greatest of the greatest classic monsters starting in 1997 with their Monster Playsets line.

Unlike the majority of figures coming down the production line of McFarlane Toys, the Monster Playsets were simplistic in nature. While they represented the iconic characters well, they didn't necessarily contain the attention to detail that fans had come to expect from the company - At least not in the figures. However, the background pieces and accessories were incredibly detailed - Right down to severed legs.

This is all made acceptable in that the figures were never designed to look like any specific portrayal of the characters as seen in the past. Rather, they were homage’s to the characters as seen from a fans perspective who just so happened to have the licensing and ability to mass produce said nod.

The yellow cardboard backer of the first series left little to desire in the first series of figures, so it was a welcome change for the revamped brown back for the 1998 second series.

The update to the bubble section itself was also a much needed, much appreciated change. In the first series, pieces seemed crammed inside with the majority of them overlapping each other. The new packaging design allowed for all the pieces to be spread out so that people could see everything inside.

In total the series one and two had eight playsets produced. They are as follows;

SERIES 1

Dracula Playset
Frankenstein Playset
Hunchback Playset
Werewolf Playset

SERIES 2

Dr. Frankenstein Playset
The Mummy Playset
The Phantom of the Opera Playset
The Sea Creature Playset

For fans of classic horror, these are an excellent conversation piece in their collections. It's not often that we see figures based loosely on a concept, as opposed to specifically related subject matters. This was a great idea, and a fresh take on the action figure market. It's a shame that so few companies take risks like this today by producing sets such as these. Though in the here today, gone tomorrow market we see these days, it's no surprise that the majority don't.

We'll take a look at the remaining series in the Monsters line at some point, so stay tuned for a continuation of this post coming down the pike at some point.

Join us next time when we take a look at Vampirella!

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