Friday, 3 July 2015

Funko POP! Universal Monsters: Dracula

Well, I was looking through some of the ol’ collection the other day and I came across Dracula here.  I think my wife picked him up for me a few months ago, but I don’t remember the details – at any rate, I figured he should get a look-in on the page seeing as he’s arguably the most iconic of all the Universal Monsters.

Most of you reading will know at least the broad strokes of the history behind the character; loosely inspired by the 15th-century Transylvanian ruler Vlad Dracula (aka Vlad Tepes or Vlad the Impaler), Bram Stoker published the novel Dracula at the end of the 19th century, bringing peasant legends of the  vampires to a general audience and essentially giving birth to modern-day vampire lore in one fell swoop.

A few decades later, Hollywood came knocking in the form of Nosferatu – an unlicensed retelling of the Dracula story with a handful of details changed to avoid paying royalties (it didn’t work), which was a masterful piece of suspense that stands as an impressive piece of cinema even today. But the cinematic version that really impressed itself into our collective psyche was the Universal version of Dracula. Released in 1931 and staring the then-relatively unknown Bela Lugosi, it was an instant classic (which of course I still haven’t seen) and firmly set the template for the character that most interpretations have since followed.

The image of Lugosi as Dracula has been imitated and parodied so often that it’s lost a lot of its impact over the decades – put a guy in a black cloak, give him a widow’s peak and an Eastern European accent, and people are much more likely to laugh than be terrified. Intentionally or not, this take on him hews a little closer to parody than gothic terror; though the details of the costume (like the pendant) clearly indicate this is meant to be Lugosi’s Dracula, the expression on the face looks much cheerier than it does angry or terrifying. It fits with the overall Funko aesthetic, but I would have liked a slightly angrier expression. 

Though I prefer werewolves to vampires, Dracula’s influence in the world of horror and on wider pop culture is pretty much impossible to overestimate. If you’re a POP fan and a horror fan, that makes this guy a near-essential purchase.

There only seems to be one variant available – a metallic version coming too, part of this 4-pack. It would be nice to get a glow in the dark or bloody one, but we’ll just have to wait and see.                                                                      

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