Universal Monsters are the kind of thing that have an appeal that’s… well, universal. Whether you’re only really aware of monsters at the end of October, or if they’re the kind of thing that follows you around all year, Dracula and Frankenstein are the kind of characters which are known by just about everyone. These powerful and enduring weirdos have huge cult followings, and have spawned a huge array of collectibles. And if you’re talking Universal Monsters collectibles, you’re also talking about some very, very strict standards.
One of the companies that produces high-end, Universal Monsters-themed objects is Factory Entertainment. When it comes to Dracula, they’ve done everything possible to replicate the authentic experience with prop replicas from the original films. This particular ring replica first appeared in The House of Frankenstein (1944), starring Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine as Dracula, and would alter appear in subsequent films. If you’ve wanted to don a ring or amulet exactly like those of Dracula, Factory Entertainment has fulfilled your wishes (and at a variety of price points, too).
Let’s take a look at the Ring of Dracula: Collectors Edition Prop Replica, as well as their Elite Edition, side by side.
The Collectors Edition Prop Replica of Dracula’s ring runs about $35, and has been cast from the authentic rings worn by a variety of actors who portrayed Dracula, one of which was later owned by famous collector and author Forrest J. Ackerman (who was cool enough to have “Sci-Fi Was My High” inscribed on his gravestone). The ring is one aspect of Dracula’s iconic character, bearing his seal in antiqued metal on top of a reproduction “stone”, cast in a reddish material, all packaged in a clear plastic box. It’s a substantial, accurate, and respectable item, but the Elite Edition is even more awesome.
The Elite Edition is $250, but for good reason. This edition is cast in sterling silver and includes a genuine carnelian stone, which has a far richer color than the less expensive edition. It bears a certain weight and magic as an object of the pseudo-occult. This edition also comes with a certificate of authenticity and a large presentation box. There’s not an obvious difference between the rings, as the metal of both is well-crafted, but the stone is the true point of difference. Check ‘em out together in this image.
This image should help you determine which ring is really for you, because it’s almost impossible to understand the depth of the difference in these “stones” without seeing them side by side.
Of course, you’re not really done reproducing your Dracula costume without the medallion, and Factory Entertainment has made an incredible one.
This prop replica wasn’t nearly as easy to reproduce, as the original medallion was either lost or destroyed—possibly even during the course of filming. No one really knows what happened to it, as is the case with many film props from the black and white era, and sometimes copies of the films themselves went missing or were destroyed (like the fabled London After Midnight). This prop replica has been assembled with any images that could be found on the original Dracula (1931), starring Lugosi, and based off of extensive research surrounding the genesis of the film itself. The medallion itself is not a thing of exquisite beauty, but something that looks like the work of a peasant, imperfect and full of symbols of nature, probably accurate to both the film and the artwork of Transylvania. Short of digging up Lugosi to check out the one he was purportedly buried with, this is the closest that art and science can get to the real thing.
Even though the amulet barely appeared on film, and was barely visible when it was, it became a very important part of the Dracula image; one of these talismanic things which may or may not have had some kind of magical power.
This replica is cast in a heavy metal, and comes with a thick, red ribbon if you’re inclined to wear it around town. If your sense of fashion is a bit more reserved, the medallion also comes in a wooden display box, ideal for showing off this dubious award. This isn’t simply a visual representation of something, but goes as far as attempting to feel just like the original would have, based on the circumstances of its construction. This medallion costs round $250 for the hardcore Dracula enthusiast.
With these props, a widow’s peak and a giant cape, you’re set to stalk the night. Factory Entertainment demonstrates their attention to authenticity throughout their Universal Monsters line, as well as their other prop replica lines.