Jakks' Universal Monsters Series 2 & 3: The coolest toys that were never released!

Almost a decade ago Universal Studios released Van Helsing.  The star-studded film pitted the famed vampire slayer up against various revamped monsters.  Not to anyone's surprise the film was unmercifully slammed by critics and wasn't the massive success that Universal was hoping for.  Some good did come out of the film though, Universal Studios, being the media conglomerate they so righteously are, decided to tie in brand new DVD releases of the old Universal Monster flicks.

Home media wasn't the only thing to benefit however, toy company Jakks Pacific immediately snagged the rights to not just the Van Helsing film, but also the Universal Monsters license.  

Their initial Van Helsing line wasn't that great.  Below average sculpts and a few mundane lines.  They did manage to squeeze a few cool items out of the Van Helsing property in the form of a gigantic castle and a Doctor Dreadful-esque dissection lab.

But the coolest figures came in the form of their Universal Monsters line.  The first series was made up of Dracula, The Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster.  Each figure included a scene specific base and was available in either color or black & white.  

My favorite of the three was the Wolf Man who included parts to change him into the tortured Larry Talbot. The plastic backdrop also had an action feature that would reveal a full moon with the turn of a dial.  While they weren't the highest quality collector pieces they were all around great toys.

Sales weren't exactly great and the line didn't take off...A real pity considering Jakks had big plans for the future series.

Series two was revealed at the 2004 Toy Fair.  It was to be made up of The Creature, The Mummy (Lon Chaney Jr, The Mummy's Curse,) and The Invisible Man.  This line looked to be a lot more interesting than Jakks' Previous attempt.   The inclusion of Chaney's incarnation of the Mummy was an interesting decision.  Choosing Kharis (Chaney Jr.) over Imhotep (Karloff) was definitely a cool idea.  I also love the swamp base featuring Ananka's face!  The rest of the line was great too, especially the Creature.

Series 3 didn't make it past the conceptual stage, but even their mock illustrations were enough to excite Universal fans.  Frankenstein's creation with an exposable brain!?  Of Bela Lugosi's portrayal no less!  I love what Diamond Select has done with the Universal property, but I still wish these would have gotten a release at some point.  I guess these can just be filed away with Mezco's TCM3 Leatherface and Neca's Engineer.  


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