Tim Burton was once my favorite director. He always had a very distinct style. I didn’t appreciate until I was in my teens but I was a fan of his films like Batman, Beetlejuice, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure well before that. My opinion on him has soured over the years but I feel I’ve talked about that before so let’s try and keep things positive today.
In my mind, the film that best sums up Tim Burton is a Nightmare Before Christmas; which he didn’t even direct. It was actually directed by Henry Selick, who I believe was hired based on his stop-motion animation experience, but Burton was clearly the guiding force of the picture. The characters and sets were based on his weird gothic designs which is evident if you’ve ever seen his drawings and various design elements are evocative of his other films. Sally’s stitched together body is reminiscent of Catwoman’s body suit from Burton’s Batman and Jack Skellington’s long creepy fingers bare a passing resemblance to Edward Scissorhands’ tragic digits.
The Town of Halloween was populated by a wide variety of original monsters like the walking hangman tree, the creature living under your bed, and the clown with the tear-away face. But I also really dug Burton’s take on the classic monsters. Wolfman was really top heavy with a very pointy shrew-like face, the Sea Creature was a female which played against type, and the Mummy was a cycloptic runt.
When it came to Dracula, rather than give us one, Burton gave us four. There’s a fat one, a skinny one, a middle one, and a short one. None of them are outright named Dracula, they’re all credited as generic vampires, but based on their attire and their accents it’s obvious that they’re directly inspired by Bela Legosi’s classic take on Dracula.
When Neca first started releasing their NBC figures I had hopes of acquiring all of Halloween Town’s citizens and then perhaps constructing a diorama to display them in. However the line faded out before all the characters were released and my interest faded with it. The toys look great but they’re rather fragile. It doesn’t help that many of the characters are so skinny and oddly shaped. Displaying them isn’t easy as they tend to fall down and knock over all of the random little accessories they come packaged with.
The only Dracula that got released was this middle-sized one. Sadly I never got to complete my vampiric quartet but at least the one I did get was my favorite of the three. The skinny one is too skinny, the fat one is too fat, and the short one is just stupid looking but this one is just right.
This figure perfectly captures the look of the puppet used on screen. Neca did a great job on these figures. He’s got a bat-like face with a pointy chin, fangs, a prominent widow’s peak, and large pupil-less eyes. He’s articulated at the neck which allows him to look from side to side. His body is a relatively simple hollow black cone sculpted to give him a slight hunch. The matte black and texture of the body makes it almost look like he’s made out of construction paper. There’s no articulation on the body but his skinny arms have a wire running through them so they can be posed all sorts of ways. The arms have a very cool batwing design. The hollow body does house a clear plastic base which actually makes this guy pretty solid. He doesn’t tend to fall over like other figures in the line.
For accessories Vampire comes with a stylish umbrella to protect him from the sun as well as a deranged flying bobble-head cat toy. The cat also has a clear base which allows you to display him “flying”.