Horror movie collectible figurines were among the first types of action models sold. Before superheroes like Batman, Superman, or others were available as replica figurines, Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman models and figurines were sold.
Horror movie collectibles exploded on the toy scene in the 1960s. The popularity of TV horror movie hosts like Vampirella, later Elvira and other local celebrities helped fuel the craze.
Later, new movie classics like Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street added to the list of creatures and ghoulish figurines available.
The popularity of horror films since the advent of motion pictures has made collectors out of many celebrities too. For example, the rocker Kirk Hammett wrote a book about horror and his extensive collection
Aurora horror models were extremely popular items in the 1960s. Aurora produced model kits, such as the classic model airplane, since 1955. However, Aurora concentrated on figure models such as historical characters, soldiers, knights and other figures.
In 1961, Aurora decided to capitalize on the horror movie craze and produce monster models. It was a big step as they were afraid that the public might react negatively. They even consulted child psychologists. They produced their first horror model, Frankenstein, and it became an instant success. They could not keep up with the demand, and their plants ran 24 hours a day.
During the next five years, Aurora produced several other monster model kits: Dracula, Wolf Man, Mummy, Creature and eight others. Later, the company issued models with glow-in-the-dark parts. Other companies up until the 1990s bought the rights to Aurora and reissued the kits.
Around 1964 Multiple Products started selling plastic monster figurines. They sold 5-inch tall “Pop-Top Unbreakable Horrors” that had detachable heads that you could interchange with the other figures.
Palmer started selling monster figures in 1964 also. Palmer had a very eclectic mix of choices, including the classic Dracula and King Kong to the Cyclops from Ray Harryhausen’s 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Many other toy makers started producing horror movie collectable figurines. One of the more interesting and highly prized today is the large, rubber vampire bat manufactured by Mattel in 1979. There was a pump on its back, and the chest was transparent. You worked the pump and realistic blood flowed through the chest cavity.
Hammer Films produced horror movies from the 1950s until the 1970s. Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and many other became household names through their acting in Hammer movies.
Starting in the 1960s, models and later fully-articulated plastic figures became popular items to purchase.
Even today, companies produce Hammer collectible figures. In 2015, a small independent company called Distinctive Dummies has a custom-made, limited edition only 50 each) of 8-inch tall figures. These figures are similar to the Hammer figurines produced in the 1970s and 1980s by Mego. The company manufactured four models: Christopher Lee as Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein from Curse of Frankenstein, and Oliver Reed as the Werewolf.
Today’s collectibles in the horror genre include figurines from the current cult hit The Walking Dead. Other modern horror classics and model lines are also available. High-end figurines from the comic book series Court of the Dead are available, for example, on alteregocomics too.
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