WOLF MAN (2014)
It wasn’t so long ago that I purchased by first “ReAction Figure” produced by Funko, the same company that makes those lovable POP! vinyl figures. The first series was a set of 5 figures from the movie ALIEN. Honestly, I was never a huge “Alien” fan so I didn’t care to get the 4 human characters but I did pick up the alien xenomorph. The neat thing about that series is that it finally delivered on the promise of Alien movie figures; figures Kenner intended to release way back in 1980 but that never got produced. The ReAction figures are modeled after the prototype images of those unproduced Kenner toys which is why they look like they’re straight out of the 70s/80s. The kitschy retro vibe of the Alien series must’ve caught on with fans in a big way as Funko wasted no time in announcing a slew of upcoming ReAction figures.
My second Reaction purchase was the Rocketeer. One of the coolest things about these ReAction figures is the old-school packaging that harkens back to my early childhood. As tempted as I was to open my Rocketeer so I could put his helmet on and fly him around the living room, I resisted the urge because I wanted to display him in the excellent packaging. Both Rocketeer and Alien have been tacked up on the wall of my man-cave for a few months now.
This past week I picked up 4 more ReAction figures. First off, I got the Crow. The figure is actually pretty goofy looking but the Crow is my all-time favorite movie and I couldn’t pass it up. Secondly I got 3 of the Universal Monsters. I LOVE the Universal Monsters; always have. My first exposure to them was probably their appearances on Saturday morning TV shows but I gained a real appreciation for them when I was older and watched all of the original films. There were some really nice box sets released on DVD about 10 years ago that featured an original Universal Monster film, multiple sequels, and a bunch of behind the scenes bonus material. Check ’em out if you haven’t seen them before. The commentaries by film historians make you appreciate the movies that much more.
My favorite monster has always been the Wolf Man. I absolutely loved Lon Chaney Jr.’s portrayal of Larry Talbot and his cursed alter-ego. Very few werewolves since have come close to matching him. Nowadays everything is overly CG’ed and they look way too wolfy. I feel that a proper Wolf Man needs to retain some of his manliness, even when transformed. The original make-up from 1941 was perfect. I’m also a big fan of the werewolf make-up from Monster Squad and also from the 2010 Wolf Man remake.
This figure is awesome in its simplicity. If there had been Wolf Man action figures in the 1940s they probably would’ve looked something like this. Maybe thats assuming to much but in the 60s, 70s and 80s a Wolf Man figure would’ve looked exactly like this. In fact, Remco released a series of Universal Monster toys in 1980 which did look a lot like this. My brother Doug and I had a few of them but I barely remember them ( I was 2 in 1980).
The sculpt on the figure is quite nice and on par with that of other figures from the era this toy pays homage to. Wolf Man would fit seamlessly into my vintage Star Wars collection. I could use him as Chewbacca’s son Lumpawarrump (thats an actual thing). He’s got multiple paints apps including his teeth, eyes, eyebrows, and belt and there are 5 points of articulation (neck, arms, legs). He looks like like he’d be super fun to play with but I can’t vouch for his play value personally as I’ve opted to keep him carded.
Which brings me to the card. It features a classic black and white image from the movie which is contrasted nicely by the bold red text and the yellow rectangle behind the figure. Each of the Universal Monster cards has its own font style and color which I really like. It keeps them from looking to monotone when all tacked up on the wall beside each other. The back of the card shows the rest of the figures in the Monsters series. My only gripe is that the cards are rather thin and most of mine have curled at the sides.
I’m a nostalgic guy and I love nostalgic things. This figure oozes nostalgia. Wolf Man is my second favorite ReAction figure yet, topped only by the awesome Invisible Man from the same series. 9 out of 10.