Hahahahahheheheheheeee! I'll never stop laughing at that name...Monster Balls (not to be confused with Monster Ball)! Ahem. Like I mentioned in the Ghost Ball post, there aren't too many monster faced balls made of licensed characters but these are my favorites.
Made by Illco in the late 80's (from what I can glean off the internet, because the only dates on the package are the copy right renewals) these four gruesome dudes are taken right from Universal's classic monster movies and crafted into ball form. I can't find much info on Illco but they did make a bunch of Muppets and Disney toys.
They're sculpted with super high detail (made of Sadball rubber rather than Madball foam) and in a cool 50's style fitting for these creeps. While Madballs went for gross-out, these seem to go for nostalgia and class. That's right, classy Monster Balls.
The package has a TON of slogans for a four toy line. "Famous Monsters From Your Favorite Horror Movies", "Monstrous Fun For All", "Collect Them All" and of course my favorites, "Throw", "Catch", "Bounce", and "Hit". I know Madball packaging was crammed full of stuff but there were 18 (if you count Super Madballs) of those and various merchandising offshoots. This is just four toys! Not to mention one of the "slogans" is encouraging you to whip Dracula in your friends face. I mean, I would've done that regardless but it's strange to see a printed instruction. Anyway, let's get to it.
First up is Roxy's favorite, good ol' Dracula! He's pretty cool. They did a really good job of getting the essence (Eau De Drac) of the Lugosi Dracula without being tied down to his likeness. I like his scary red eyes and bloody mouth! His smug expression is a bit weird though. He looks like you just walked in on him biting your fiance and he's like "What? I'm Dracula. What are you gonna do about it?" Oops sorry, it's more like this "Vat? I em Drac-u-la. Vat are you going to do a-bout eet?". That's better. The fine detail of the hair is pretty amazing and the added touch of the collar to his cape make me squeel with delight! We're off to a good start Illco!
So Frankenstein's Monster (I will continue to refer to him as Frankenstein's Monster to bother Jeanne), must have been designed by someone else. The hair is flat and the paint job not as good but he's also designed in a way that makes it work. He looks like a toy you would get in the 50's. The pale green color and the garish red and purple add to the vintage feel. He kinda looks like Karloff but not really, which, again, I don't mind. However, he does look like Bugs Bunny just did his makeup. The scars/stitches are cool and all but everything else looks like he's Frankenstein's Prostitute, not Monster. The purple eye shadow, the red lipstick, that one side even has some dark green blush. The red around his eyes even looks like ghoulish mascara! Perhaps Frank's Monster was just looking for someone else to practice makeup on, and that's why he had the doctor create The Bride.
Up next is Karloff again! This time as a resurrected dead guy...wait. Well, this dead guy is desiccated and African, that's different. There's some weird stuff goin on with the Mummy. I'm not really sure what those blue-green lines on his nose are supposed to be or why his one eyelid is longer than the other, but he's still pretty neat. the detail of the wrinkled skin is incredible! The back of his head even has hints of bandages on it. For some reason The Mummy's eyes are closed like Frankenstein's Monster. Maybe Karloff was so busy the only time they could get to see him for reference was when he was asleep (despite the fact that he was already way dead when they made these). This one does look more like Karloff despite being bizarre and droopy.
Last but not least is the Wolfman! This guys got tons of hairy details, and look just like the Jack Pierce makeup (thank god it didn't have to look like Lon Chaney Jr.'s ugly mug). The hair on this dude is top notch. It goes from straight and form highlighting to curly and messy in the back. Wolfman bed-head. He looks more stylized than the Mummy or Dracula but a bit more realistic than Frank's Monster.
In conclusion, awesome!! Illco did a great job using limited paint colors, the vintage look, and getting into minutia. My only complaint is that I wish there was a Creature! He and The Invisible Man (I wish they made him too, all covered in bandages with sunglasses!) are my favorite Universal monsters. If you can find these guys on Ebay pick em up, if not, there's one at The Pop Top Shop or contact me cus' I have two extra!