The family of a former 1940s classic horror star is seeking $1 million from Universal Studios in an effort to scare up some cash for allegedly exploiting the deceased star’s likeness.
Chaney Entertainment, a company managed by the heirs of Lon Chaney Jr., is claiming the studio has illegally used Chaney’s likeness in modern-day horror films and merchandise. Back in the day, the actor portrayed iconic baddies such as Frankenstein's monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Son of Dracula throughout his career. Not a bad resume, to say the least.
According to the suit, Chaney’s heirs say the studio is exploiting everything from his silhouette to his voice and name in the wake of a licensing deal that allegedly ended in 2008. The suit goes on to accuse the studio of a "bait-and-switch marketing ploy" meant to "entice prospective merchandising licensees by using Lon Chaney Jr.'s name, voice, signature, and likeness, only to induce the licensees to make merchandising deals for other rights not belonging to Chaney Entertainment Inc."
The suit is apparently quite broad, and could cover everything from film footage to the never-ending line of “Universal Monsters” toys the studio continues to license.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)