Toy Review: Universal Monsters Glow-in-the-Dark Mummy by NECA

For collectors of a certain age — mid-forties, perhaps — there’s a nostalgic thrill to seeing larger-scale figures packaged to resemble their smaller inspirations of yore (the ’80s). NECA knows that’s their demo — a major one, anyway — and for Halloween, released retro-carded, glow-in-the-dark versions of their 7-inch Universal Monsters figures so far: Frankenstein, Wolf Man, and the Mummy. So why review now, in the Christmas season? The simple answer is that NECA sent review samples after Halloween. The bigger picture is that at many retailers, like our partners at Entertainment Earth, they’re preorders set to ship in January. You might find them at retail stores like Walmart right now.

NECA sent us the glow-in-the-dark Mummy, who looks the best of the three for his more intricate, bandage-heavy sculpt. Like the rest, he comes on a blister card, making him refreshingly easy to open. No taped flaps, no twisty ties or shirt tags. Just tear open the blister like you used to.

The absolute best thing about these figures is the price. Most NECA figures come as “Ultimates” in window boxes, with multiple heads and hands, costing between $30 and $40. At Entertainment Earth, you can buy all three glow-in-the-dark monsters for $59.99, which is twenty bucks apiece. That’s a great deal, since so many collectors just toss the accessories into a drawer somewhere anyway. NECA should absolutely do this more often.

And of course, there’s the action feature — these figures glow. NECA tends to only do this for figures when they original had glowing variants under other companies, but who wouldn’t go for more glowing characters? Starlight from The Boys, for example?

The downside of the glowing feature, perhaps, is that this Mummy boasts a real sandpapery texture. He isn’t pleasant to touch. This wasn’t an issue with previous glowing figures like Robocop and the Terminator, but the glow here appears to come from paint rather than plastic, so it’s different (and brighter). Most folks who buy NECA figures probably do so for display anyway. But anyone hoping to play with him might not enjoy handling him very long.

The luminous paint seems more lightly applied to his face, so that takes longer to charge under the light. And it won’t ever glow as much as the rest of the body. Which, incidentally, is so good at glowing that it even does so a bit in the light, when fully charged.

The likeness, as usual, is excellent. Anyone who had no idea who any of the actors are might well suss just from the figures that Frankenstein and the Mummy were played by the same guy. That’s Boris Karloff, all right.

Luminous deco aside, there’s little paint on the Mummy besides his eyes and mouth. The head’s a touch shinier, but the rest of him is the same dirty gray all over. Is he the color version, or black and white? Who knows? Doesn’t matter. He’d look like this either way.

The articulation, pretty visible but looking enough like bandage cuts that it doesn’t matter: double ball neck. Swivel biceps. Very limited double ball torso. Double ball and hinge elbows. Ball-and-swivel hips. Disc-and-pin ball shoulders, wrists, knees. Hinge and rocker ankles. The Mummy onscreen isn’t a limber fellow, but this one can do lunges if required.

Here’s another thing: for a monster toy, he can look genuinely terrifying in the dark…

The value here is tremendous. $20 won’t even buy a Star Wars Black Series or Marvel Legends figure any more, but it will get an unaccessorized, glowing Mummy, with all the quality fans expect from pricier NECA figures. Let’s see more of this. Here’s that Entertainment Earth link again.

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Recommended Reading: Universal Horrors: The Studio’s Classic Films, 1931-1946, 2d ed.

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