“Tales of Halloween” filmmaker Mike Mendez’s thoroughly impressive toy collection has recently been seeing the light of day thanks to the new binge-worthy weekly web series Collection Complete, and it’s got us a bit nostalgic for some of the long-lost toys of our youth, particularly those Mad Monsters action figures from the early 70’s – which we’ve found have gotten quite pricey.
In the latest episode of Gemr’s Collection Complete (which is an in-depth look into the lives of filmmakers and artists and the collections that fuel their work, which you can see below), Mendez opines the loss of his Mego toys from his childhood which he wishes were still in his possession, namely the rare 8” 1973 action figures “The Human Wolfman” and “The Dreadful Dracula.
Collection Complete episode
Mego, who put themselves on the map in the early 1970’s with their 8” superhero action figure line (comprised of Batman, Superman and more), and who wanted to capitalize on that early success by expanding into the horror realm, was unwilling however to pay the hefty licensing fees rights holder Universal was at the time asking for their classic intellectual properties (rival toy company AHI didn’t balk at the number, and did enter into business with them), so instead Mego created a line of monster figures based on the literary public domain iterations of the same.
Born from this were Mego’s previously mentioned lycanthrope and vampire 8” action figures, and also versions of The Mummy (dubbed “The Horrible Mummy”) and Frankenstein’s Monster (released under the name “The Monster Frankenstein”), all of which featured glow-in-the-dark hands and eyes, in order to further appeal to their youthful audience.
And appeal they did.
Originally released in solid cardboard boxes with eye-popping art by comic artist Gray Morrow (who did poster art for such films as 1971’s “Dracula vs. Frankenstein”), the Mad Monster series would also later be released with window packaging, and then in Kresge style cards (see photos below). All are now exceedingly hard to find, and command prices of $500.00 and up on the secondary market for individual releases in good condition (certainly an appreciation, as the original MSRP was only $3.19 at their time of release in 1973).
And while several different companies have offered affordable reproductions over the years (making the Mad Monster series available now to almost anyone), we here at Terror Time remember with fondness that initial run… and wish we’d taken better care of them, as well as the Mad Monster Castle play set which after much wear and tear dad tossed in the trash.