Son of Dracula (1998)
It’s not often that I get to scratch my monster kid itch on this blog. Halloween is the perfect excuse to throw a little horror into the mix of GI Joe, so yay! I only wish I could do this more often.
Son of Dracula was offered along with other Universal Monsters back in the late 90s. While Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, Mummy, Creature and Bride of Frankenstein were based on their most well-known film incarnations, Dracula was not. Likeness rights from the Bela Lugosi estate are a sticky wicket, and so Hasbro had to go for the Lon Chaney Jr. Son of Dracula to represent the undead count in their lineup. It’s disappointing from the standpoint of a Lugosi fan, but as a Dracula collector, it’s a really cool opportunity to get a version of a character that’s a lot more obscure.
There is some Joe DNA here, as the base of the figure is made up of the 90s Hall of Fame construction. The head of course and hands are new, and the likeness of Chaney is very good. The hands are also extra creepy, and the famous Dracula ring is there. Fit and finish of the clothing is above average for the time, and the lined cape is particularly impressive.
Fast forward to 2018 and there’s a new Lugosi Dracula on toy shelves thanks to the resurrected Mego toys available only at Target. Maybe things have eased up in the intervening years. In a weird twist however, Mego isn’t able to use the Wolf Man title for its upcoming Lon Chaney Jr. werewolf figure, so they went with the cheap pastiche Face of the Screaming Werewolf, a film cobbled together from Mexican films, one starring the famous Wolf man actor. Once again, it’s a disappointment that the Universal monsters lack an official toy member, but once again collectors can pick up a nice obscurity.