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In the mid-2000s, the Bradford Exchange acquired the license to the Universal Studios Monsters and began to produce highly detailed collectibles based upon these timeless characters and their respective films. The company created a train set (featuring images of the Monsters), as well as miniature figurines, and, of course, a haunted holiday village comprised of several famous buildings and structures from the Universal Monster movies.
The collection, part of the Hawthorne Village, could be obtained by purchasing a subscription, where a new 7″ building and scale figurine would be shipped every month. With the help of our Internet friends who own the collection, The Big Scare has compiled the following collector’s guide. Special thanks to Ms. Mapes for sharing photos of her collection with The Big Scare, and for allowing us to snap some of her very spooky scenes during our visit.
The following list is the sum total of the buildings issued in the Universal Monster Collection. They are listed in order of their release:Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab with Frankenstein Monster figure Dracula’s Castle with Count Dracula figure The Mummy’s Tomb with Kharis figure The Creature’s Black Lagoon with Gill Man figure The Wolf Man’s Lair with Wolf Man figure Frankenstein’s Burning Windmill with Monster and Henry Frankenstein figure The Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle with Bride of Frankenstein figure The Phantom’s Paris Opera House with Phantom figure The Invisible Man’s Inn with Invisible Man figure Transylvania Train Station with Train Conductor figure The Mummy’s Museum with Imhotep figure Frankenstein’s Cottage with Frankenstein and Maria figure Burial Site (Frankenstein) with Fritz figure Gothic Cathedral with Lurking Dracula figure Fortune Tellar Campsite with Bela the Gypsy figure The Creature’s Haunted Rita with Dr. Reed figure House Of Dracula with Dr. Edelman figure Castle Frankenstein with Monster on rock figure Ritual Chamber with Boiling Pot figure The Invisible Man’s Demise with Policeman figure The Creature’s Excavation Site with Excavation figure The Wolf Man’s Mansion with mustached Talbot figure
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
The first house in the collection is Frankenstein’s Laboratory. Like all the buildings, it measures about 7″ in height. The design is partially inspired by the lab as seen in the 1931 classic, but it takes influences from other famous movie structures as well. Bats and torches adorn the walls. And Fritz, Frankenstein’s mad assistant, can be seen peeking out from the window.
The second piece in the series is Dracula’s Castle. This one is almost completely inspired by the castle seen in the 1931 movie. It is very detailed. There are evil trees surrounding the property, vines climbing the walls, and dozens of bats – including some encircling the topmost tower.
The next building in the collection is The Mummy’s Tomb. This one is very neat, because it has a whole area where you can display figures on the actual piece. You can position characters just outside the entrance to the tomb and all along the walkway. Of course, that makes for great scenes, especially when Kharis is involved! This one even has torches that light up!
As you can tell by the photos, the Hawthorne Village pieces are very detailed, most of that detail comes from the delicate sculpting. Every shingle has texture. Every stone in the wall has depth. This is what sets these pieces apart from similar villages from the likes of Department 56 and Lemax. The paint schemes, however, fall somewhere between those of the detail-oriented Department 56 villages and the mass-produced application of Lemax. But they aren’t really anything to complain about, considering that these buildings are actually smaller than your average Lemax or Department 56 piece. Taking that into consideration, they are actually fairly good. The pieces don’t give off too much light, but that is where exterior ambiance lighting comes into play. And the Universal Monsters buildings lend themselves wonderfully to that!
The Wolf Man’s Lair is the fifth structure in the collection. This one takes a lot of liberties, but it is one of the most desired of the collection nonetheless. It comes complete with its own full moon and an interior courtyard that is perfect for making little scenes with the monster accessories.
The seventh piece in the series is the Bride of Frankenstein’s Castle. This one lends itself well to the Gothic theme of the village. With its series of chimneys and vine-covered walls, it manages to combine the classy with the creepy, just like the Bride herself! This piece comes along with its own Bride of Frankenstein figure, striking a very familiar pose.
The eighth structure in the collection is the very forbidding Phantom’s Paris Opera House. This building has the most unique design of all and is very detailed. It has a ton of windows, but the “stone” figures which adorn the roof are probably the most eye-catching decorations on this one!
Issue number nine is The Invisible Man’s Inn. It is probably one of the most-detailed in the collection. The accessory that comes along with it, the Invisible Man himself, is also one of the best accessories in this village collection. He’s not all there – you can see through his hand!
The final piece we will be showcasing comes from later on in the collection. It is called the “Haunted Rita,” based on the boat of the same name in Creature from the Black Lagoon. Coming in at issue number sixteen, it is probably one of the most popular pieces – if only because it is one of the most iconic images from any Universal Monster film. Can you spot the Gill Man’s claw coming from out of the water?
VILLAGE ACCESSORY SETS
While the buildings themselves each came with a “free” accessory, the Bradford Exchange offered a separate line filled with additional figures and scene-setters. There were thirteen sets of figures released in total. Each set included two to four figures. The following list details the contents of each set.
1. It’s Alive! – Dr. Frankenstein, Fritz, and the Monster rising from his slab
2. Dracula Rises – Dracula and victim, Dracula rising from his coffin, Dracula hiding in the garden
3. Mummy’s Curse – Imhotep, Mummy in Sarcophagus, Ankh-es-en-amon and Imhotep
4. Black Lagoon – Captain Lucas, Dr. Reed, Creature in the water, and Kay on the rocks
5. Beware the Full Moon – Maleva in the wagon and the Wolf Man trapped in the forest
6. Frankenstein’s Town Mob – Man with dogs, Villagers with torches, and the Monster
7. Bride of Frankenstein – Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Pretorius, and the Bride in bandages
8. Phantom of the Opera – Phantom Fleeing, Phantom and Christine in boat, and Christine at tomb
9. Invisible Man – Invisible Man in lab, Invisible Man outside, Villagers
10. Uncovering Artifacts – Various Archaeologists, “tools,” and “maps”
11. Dracula’s Vampires – Count Dracula in the catacombs and his three brides
12. Grave Robbers – Fritz with cart, Elizabeth, Dr. Waldman, and Priest
13. Searching for the Creature – Archaeologists and “Creature Claw Rock”
The figures are only a few inches tall, but they are jam-packed with detail. Take a look for yourself.
Thank you, Ms. Mapes for sharing your collection with all of us!
If you enjoyed this page, check out the other sections of the site for more articles about haunted villages, decorations, and, of course, the world famous Universal Studios Monsters!