The Mummy – Imhotep
12 Inch Scale
$20 (price varies)
Boris Karloff is very famous for his role in the 1932 horror film, The Mummy. Most people actually associate the character of the Mummy with Karloff, although he only played the role once. In the film, his Mummy, Imhotep, appears only briefly in the iconic bandages outfit. Instead Imhotep ditches his wrappings and has a rather ghastly face and typical Egyptian garb for the rest of the film.
In 1997 Kenner began producing Universal Monster figures in a 12 inch format. By this point, Hasbro had already bought out Kenner and while these were originally produced under the Kenner name, they’re clearly Hasbro figures (they use GI Joe molds). Originally only three figures were released as a set, this figure of the Mummy, a Frankenstein and a Wolf man. What made these figures particularly special was the fact that for the first time ever, they were licensed by Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff.
In 1998 the figures were re-released, this time in single boxes. More figures were added to the lineup and in 1999, even more characters were released, before the license ended. A Bela Lugosi Dracula figure was not made, because Bela’s estate and Universal weren’t getting along at the time, presumably. Lugosi’s always had issues with Universal and Dracula. However, this figure is the first official Karloff Mummy figure in decades.
The packaging here is from the second edition, single boxes. There is no difference in the figures, just that in 1998 more figures were available and they were packed alone. Imhotep has the same packaging as everyone, more or less, with a different bio on the back reflecting his personal story and unique cover art.
The package is actually quite nice and has that neon green and purple that all the Universal monsters stuff had during the era. In a sense it reminds me a Nickelodeon a bit. I do like the Bride’s picture in the background. This was a nice advertisement, because the 1998 assortment included the Bride of Frankenstein for the first time. She appears almost as a ghastly apparition in the background.
This sculpt is actually quite good, especially the face. Given that these were officially licensed to look like Karloff, it’s nice to see some Boris in the sculpt. The head is a bit oversized, as often was the case with Hasbro’s 1:6 scale figures of the era, but it doesn’t look out of place. The likeness to Karloff is a lot better on the Mummy, than their effort at Frankenstein who looks bloated.
The likeness is not perfect, however. Karloff had sunken in cheeks for most of his monster parts (he would often remove his dentures) which always gave them a certain unique look. This face is definitely too fat in that sense. The Sideshow effort just a few years later has a better head sculpt, but I should mention that it’s not THAT much better.
There are definitely some angles that catch Karloff’s likeness better than others. Still for a figure that was only around $15-$20 at it’s release, it’s none too shabby. Nobody will mistake this for anything other than Karloff’s Imhotep. That’s important, because as we’ve mentioned before, there are several Universal Mummies.
The nicest detail is probably the Scarab ring, which was an important part of Imhotep’s character. It’s recreated well here. I am a tad annoyed that some of the fingers are made together, because it doesn’t really prevent them from being warped and it makes him have less hand poses. You can easily cut them away, though, which makes it even more pointless.
“Are you my Mummy?”
Using an old GI Joe body means that this guy is buff, way too buff. It’s probably the single biggest flaw with the figure. The body itself is covered up for the most part with nice tight wrappings. They have a very good un-uniform look to them, but clearly are well patterned. I haven’t unwrapped him, but it certainly looks like you could with some effort. Mine is a bit dirty, which actually adds to his aura. These came with some dirt already on them, but the dirtier he is, the better.
His paint is actually pretty good in the few areas that it’s there. There’s some subtle shading and a few different color washes on him. He looks frightfully undead.
Like all Hasbro “12 inch” GI Joes, he’s not actually 12 inches at all. He’s around 11. This really isn’t a surprise, he’s using the 1990’s GI Joe 1/6th scale body. It’s a shame they didn’t use the old original 1960’s GI Joe body or the Joe body that would come out just a few years later, as the articulation would have been better and it actually would have been a fantastic match for Imhotep’s physique.
As good as all the wrappings are, they pretty much make his articulation non-existent. The underlying figure is an old GI Joe Classic Collection body, which is not all that articulated anyway. Those figures were big, rubbery and not great. When you wrap them up as tightly as Imhotep is, you don’t get much range at all.
The arms can kind of move out, but not up much. You’re seeing about the extent of the arm motion in this picture. It almost feels like if you tried to move it much more, the tight wrappings would actually cause the plastic to break.
The legs are a bit better, but not much. The ankles are a real problem as well, because the feet are very small and unarticulated. If there were joints in the ankles, he’d stand better. As is, he’s very likely to fall over.
Of course he’s a big lumbering Mummy… So you wouldn’t expect him to move around too much. If it counts for anything, Sideshow had a fair amount of issues with posing on their version of Imhotep, as well. Although that one did move better than this guy.
Is the Mummy trying to kill or make out with Max Steel? I’ll never tell!
These weren’t terribly expensive when they came out, but they weren’t super cheap either. They were about the right price. Nowadays, thanks to Sideshow’s better efforts, you can find these guys for $20 and less. If you look around you can probably find the Mummy for under $10. He’s a great pickup for a Halloween display or if you just need a 1/6th scale Mummy to kick around.
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 7
Articulation – 2
Accessories – NOTHING
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10
This is one solid Mummy. He’s a worthy addition to any Halloween collection. Don’t be a dummy, pick up this Mummy!