Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective Silent Screamers: Nosferatu ReviewJose Lopez
In The Beginning
It’s probably not a huge stretch to argue that the fandoms of silent films and action figures don’t often cross paths. I’m sure there are those that are connoisseurs of both, but they’re likely the minority. So when Mezco Toyz announced that the latest exclusive entry in their One:12 Collective line was going to be based on the classic horror film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, I was a bit surprised, to say the least. Mezco Toyz is no stranger to horror, however, and this Nosferatu figure is a reminder to collectors that they can be experts at it.
The character of Count Orlok, the titular vampire of Nosferatu, is an unauthorized interpretation of Count Dracula. If you’ve read the original novel or seen any of the later adaptations, then you’re going to be very familiar with this story. Orlok is a secretive vampire that lives alone in Transylvania and ends up at odds with a husband and wife. When the F.W. Murnau 1922 film was released, Dracula creator Bram Stoker’s heirs sued the filmmakers. The courts ruled that all copies of the film be destroyed. Yet a few prints survived and, just like the vampires of legend, the film rose from the dead to be regarded as a cinematic masterpiece.
The One: 12 Collective iteration of Orlok isn’t Mezco Toyz first stab at the character. Back when they were known as Aztech Toys, the company’s line of Silent Screamers included a release based on Nosferatu, containing many elements we’ll find familiar as we go through the review.
Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t get why the packaging doubles as a lunch box. This isn’t Mezco’s first lunch box tin, I know, but the earlier ones such as their Stealth Ops Gomez release seemed to match the fun and silly tone of that character. Nosferatu, however, just seems like an odd choice for this direction. Why wasn’t this coffin-shaped or something that was more obviously themed? I’m left with the feeling that this lunch box tin was Plan B for the packaging and something derailed Plan A late in the game. I don’t hate it; it’s just odd. All of that said, the tin is cool and looks great. The artwork of an animated Count Orlok does jibe with the lunch box aesthetic, giving me visions of an alternate universe where Nosferatu is a hit Saturday-morning cartoon that kids love. (I want to live there.)
On the front, there is the standard One: 12 branding, a 20 Years of Mezco Toyz logo, and the Nosferatu 1922 logo. In case you were wondering, the “1922” added to the Nosferatu title is to differentiate this from the 1979 remake. On the sides, there’s some artwork of Orlok himself, looking very creepy.
Inside, Mezco has packaged everything in their usual sturdy and collector-friendly way. I’m always amazed how they make so much fit into such a small amount of space.
Mezco’s sculptors have truly outdone themselves with this release. The three interchangeable portraits of Orlok are things of beauty. A fair amount of creative license has been applied to these sculpts, though in a manner that takes what Murnau’s original achieved and applies a more grotesque sensibility. While they don’t look exactly like actor Max Schreck did in the film, they are what he could have looked like had they the modern effects and make-up we do now.
The portraits capture Orlok calm, snarling, and with a sort-of calculating, hungry look. Of the three, the snarling head is by far the most visually arresting, but they’re all excellently done. The big, bulbous eyes combined with the pointy ears, the prominent nose, and the large, veiny forehead give the desired frightening effect.
The sickly, monstrous claws that come included are just as excellently sculpted as the portraits. While most of the figure is covered in fabric, its these claws and the heads that do the heavy lifting of selling the horror that is Count Orlok and boy, do they succeed. Just how the parts equal the whole and how important they are is on full display with this figure’s sculpting.
It should be no surprise that, just as with the sculpting, the paintwork is impeccable. While the design of Orlok is plenty successful at conveying the terrible nature of the character, it’s the paint that seals the deal. Orlok’s sickly pale skin, his glossy black eyes, and the subtle detailing on the texture of everything are all one well-done piece. Even his purplish veins pop in a way that both delights and sickens.
There’s not much to the Count’s outfit, but what is there is quite nice. The main event, so to speak, is the coat. The thigh-length brown coat hangs a little loose on the figure, giving the vampire a creepy silhouette.
The gold fasteners (buttons?) at the front look great. The bottom of the coat is made to appear faded and tattered. It’s a great piece and adds a lot to the figure.
There is a purple scarf wrapped around the figure’s neck and tucked into the coat. Finally, Orlok is wearing what appears to be dark, dirty tights. It’s an odd choice of pants for a vampire Count to wear, but the ensemble does make for a memorable look.
The Nosferatu figure doesn’t disappoint in the articulation category. Built on what appears to be a new body, he has a nice range of movement and feels solid when putting him through the motions. There are single-jointed elbows but the elongated length of his arms make up for them, allowing you to get him in every creepy stance you desire. Otherwise, there is the standard set of joints and cuts, from bicep to thigh to mid-torso. The outfit, especially the pants, gives no restriction, making for an extremely fun figure to pose and play with.
Just when I thought this release couldn’t get more impressive, it proves me wrong.
The Count’s coffin is a gorgeously executed piece and a true highlight of this release. Everything from the paint to the sculpt tells you everything you need to know about what sort of creature this coffin is housing. The exterior of the coffin does a good job of imitating old, rotting wood. The interior has plenty of faux packed dirt and also hides some non-removable rats that are obviously keeping Orlok company while he takes his naps. Orlok fits inside well, allowing for a small amount of wiggle room if you want to pose him in some limited positions. That said, this is designed with Orlok sleeping in mind, so don’t expect too much room.
If there was anything I would nitpick about the coffin, its that the lid doesn’t snap onto the larger body. Odds are that most collectors are going to display the coffin lying flat on a surface, so it will still stay in place like that. But I would have enjoyed the option to snap it snugly onto the coffin. No big deal, however.
In addition to the coffin and the aforementioned interchangeable portraits and claws, Orlok comes with an old, ornate lantern, a ring of antique keys, a hat, and six uniquely sculpted rats to litter around the Count. Everything is sculpted wonderfully and adds to the fun factor of this incredible figure.
In The End
I’m going to go on record here and say this is definitely getting on the Best of 2020 list for not only Mezco Toyz, but 1/12 scale action figures in general. The paintwork, the sculpting, the tailoring, and design; everything is running on all cylinders and I am extremely impressed with what Mezco has given us here. Not only do we get a change of pace with a silent horror film character, but we get an amazingly rendered change of pace. Get him if you can, you won’t be sorry.