Halloween Mask Madness, Day 20: Tons of Distortions!


By Shawn Robare

Well, we’re up to Day 20 of the 2011 Countdown and this one is a super monster-sized edition of Halloween Mask Madness!  Though we dipped out toes a bit into the 90s with the last post, today we’re going to backtrack a little to 1988 with the start of some of my favorite Distortions advertisements.  All of these were ripped from the pages of Fangoria and most of these were issued under the Flesh & Blood sub-header, which I’m guessing was a separate series of masks and props…

The first thing that struck me about this ad was that it features three masks grouped together, the skull, witch and jack-o-lantern, that seem to be a direct response to the Don Post masks from Halloween III.  It might just be a coincidence, and it probably is, but somewhere down deep inside I think the company was saying “look, we can do these better!”  I also dig that they were offering stuff that was simple conceptually (like the Chimpanzee), but was still exquisitely executed from a quality standpoint.

Up next is the first of two ads from 1989…

I love that they revisited their witch mask so quickly, updating it with a much more evil-looking incarnation.  I also remember being equally grossed out and excited by the Diseased mask as a kid…

The second ad from 1989 is one of my all-time favorites from the company and features a mask that I distinctly remember circling and begging my parents for, the Licker…

Photon, Frightmare, and the Gargoyle were also favorites of mine that I lusted after but never managed to get my hands on.  I wonder how hard these are to find on the secondary market?

Next up is a 1990 ad from issue #98 of Fangoria

This one scales the gore back a bit and filled with straight up fun sculpts…

That’s all right though, because also in 1990, and possibly in that same issue, was a full page ad of nothing but gore!

This was another favorite ad, and one that my mom hated that I’d pinned to the wall of my bedroom near my bed.  I wanted all of this stuff and it took close to 15 years before I finally had my very own severed head and arm props.  I’ve made sure to get my money’s worth out of them by torturing my wife with them every Halloween…

Last up is a sort of strange entry in the Distortions advertisement collection that features a couple of branded masks for Predator and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

So far, licensed products seemed to be Don Post’s area of expertise, but I guess every company probably wanted a piece of that branding pie.  I love that they offered a stripped-down version of the Leatherface mask.  It’s much more disturbing and “Ed Gein-y” without the hair…

Anyway, come back tomorrow for more mask tomfoolery, and if you’re looking for a ton of Halloween content all through the month of October, make sure to stop on by the official Countdown to Halloween site and check out the list of participating blogs for 2011.  You’ll be glad you did!

  • http://sideshowcinema.blogspot.com/ FijiMermaid

    Another great set of masks here. The crown jewel of them all is that Predator mask and gloves. I loved that ad and dreamed of owning that mask. I was able to not get too sad at not having one by telling myself that without a full Predator suit the mask and gloves really don’t work. You can’t wear jeans and T-shirt with that baby.