Tag Archives: 80s Ads

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 20: Tons of Distortions!

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 19: Screaming in a spiral…

Well, with Day 19 we’re exiting the 80s and entering a whole new decade of monster mask shenanigans on the countdown.  Today’s vintage advertisement came out of a 1990 issue of Fangoria (I’m not sure which issue right at the moment), and featured Tony Gardner’s Alterian Studios…

What really struck me about this ad is the energy and creativity in the mask molds.  There’s been some distinct phases during the 60 odd years since monster masks have been widely available, from the cheap-o Topstone bait-and-switch masks of the 50s to the heavily licensed Don Post reproductions of the 70s and 80s.  If there was one word I’d use to describe the sculpts of the late 80s and early 90s it would be gory, which these masks are decidedly not.  Instead, Gardner has taken these in a much more artistic and illustrative direction.  These masks are more about concepts and clean lines, and it’s kind of nice to see a break in the gore to make room for something interesting like the Scream LongJaw or the very interesting take on the human-skin mask with Stitches.

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 18: Distortions comes into their own!

It’s day 18 of the countdown, and once again this month feels like it’s just whizzing by!  For today’s vintage mask ephemera I’ve selected this 1989 Distortions advertistment titled Nightmares.  It hails from issue #86 of Fangoria and is really where Distortions starts to get fun for me…

I’m not sure if it’s the realistic (un completely un-affordable) human torso, the icky white goo and unfortunate facial hair of the Death mask, or the uber-extreme gore of the Blasted offering, but this was the stuff that I obsessed over as a twelve year-old who was smack dab in the middle of one of the largest horror-movie-watching phases of my life.  At some point between the end of 1988 and when this ad came out I had convinced my mom to let me start renting horror flicks from our local video store.  I started at A, and rented my way through Z over the next two years doing my best to hit all of the stuff that seemed super gory and scary.  This was also around the beginning of my heavy Fangoria purchasing days, and I can remember ogling this ad for hours when I first picked up this issue of the magazine.  I used to daydream about ways to come up with the 700 bucks I’d need to secure my own Victim torso so that I could creep the living hell out of my parents and sister, but I never did manage to raise enough dough.  I wonder what one of these would go for these days…

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 17: Before Leatherface there was Ed Gein…

It’s well into week three of the Halloween season and the Monster Mask Madness continues today with another vintage ad from Death Studios.  This one comes out of issue #84 of Fangoria, and was published back in 1989…

I was really surprised that this ad was in black and white, since more or less at this point in the game these advertisements were typically always in color to really sell the masks.  Even so, there are a bunch of great sculpts featured here that were light years better than what Death Studios was hawking just a few years prior.  In particular I love the Ed Roth inspired Junk Yard Kid, as well as the Hellspawn mask which I’m sure did wonders for anyone trying to perfect their escaped from Hell (Hellraiser) costume.  Just add that one to an old suit and a white button-up shirt that you didn’t mind getting some fake blood on and you were golden.  One of the most surprising offerings on this ad is the way-too-realistic-for-comfort (conceptually) Ed Gein human skin mask.  I suppose in an industry with a ton of Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface masks, this was the way to set yourself apart a bit.

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 16: Elephant Man Redux…

After being personally wow-ed by some of the recent Distortions and Don Post mask ads, today’s Great CoverUp ad from issue #66 of Fangoria (published in 1987), just seems like one big step backwards…

It advertises supurb workmanship, but some of these masks just look a bit cheap and a little lazy.  I mean was it ever fun to dress up at Hitler?  And if so, did you really need a mask to do it?  I think it’s interesting how this ad features a variation on the Chiodo “Elephant Man” mask, though this time it’s all bloodied up on the side.  I guess the original didn’t push the envelope far enough, or maybe this was around the time when gore was really taking center stage in the minds of horror fans…

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 15: I wonder if zombie Sandpeople ride zombie Banthas?

Well, we’re just about at the halfway point on this year’s Countdown.  So far there have been roughly 177 different masks from the 23 vintage monster mask ads featured and there’s a whole lot more where they came from.  Today’s post features another Distortions ad that’s listed under the Nightmares heading, and it comes from issue #68 of Fangoria published in 1987…

If there’s one thing that stands out about these Distortions ads it’s that they don’t feel like order forms or catalog pages as much as a showcase for the awesome masks and the level of gore the company managed to achieve.  There’s more personality to them, which is because of both the graphic design and the simple fact that the Distortions masks look like they’re alive!  What’s even more insane are the amazingly low prices.  Some of these extraordinarily detailed masks are only $28, which even back in 1987 was unheard of.

As a quick aside, am I just crazy or does that top row of masks (the Xeroid, Mummy and Demon) sort of look like the re-cursor to zombie Star Wars?  The Xeroid sort of looks like the Bith cantina band design, while there are aspects between both the mummy and demon which give the vibe of one of the Sandpeople.  Maybe it’s just me…

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 14: Talk about Hack and Slash (I mean Bash…)

It’s day 14 and I think it’s time we get back on track with something a little more monsterific!  Today’s ad is from issue #57 of Fangoria which was published back in 1986 and features out first look at Massacre Masks…

I’m not sure exactly what company this is, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this is another early ad for Distortions Unlimited, who we’ll be seeing a lot of in the coming days.  There’s something about the zaniness and extreme gore of some of these that really speaks to the company’s oeuvre.  With this ad I really dig the Decay mask, but I’m also really partial to the extremely gross Bashed, Hack, and Grizzle masks.  Those would have received the most scrutiny had I run across this as a kid.  I also like that this ad offers a lot of additional non-mask items on the order form like props and latex wound sets.

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 13: It’s a Tuxedo Trap!

We’re up to Day 13 of the countdown and today I’ve decided to share the ritziest of the vintage monster mask ads I’ve been able to cobble together.  Yet another Don Post as, this one hails from an issue of Fantastic magazine published in 1984…

I sort of saved this one for the 13th post because of all the models wearing tuxes in the ad.  It’s a celebration of the second spookiest day in October.  Anyway, this ad is also cool because it features a couple variations on some Gremlins masks, as well as some classic monsters, Star Wars, and the E.T. mask I shared last week.  Whereas I got a little cheeky about the inclusion of the Bith cantina band mask in an earlier Don Post Studios ad, I do have to say that I would go out trick-or-treating as Admiral Ackbar in a heartbeat…

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 12: The Last American Werewolf Starfighter!

Howdy folks!  We’re nearing the halfway point of this year’s Countdown to Halloween and I’ve been having a blast!  Today’s vintage monster mask ad comes from issue #39 of Fangoria (published in 1984) and features a couple different sets of Don Post Studios masks…

Up top there are three masks designed in tandem by DPS and Rick Baker.  They’re replicas from the Nazi werewolf dream sequence David Naughton’s character has in An American Werewolf in London.  This sequence is probably one of the most over-the-top and violent in the film, not to mention one of the more scatological bits (though there are some ties between wolf iconography and the Nazis I guess.)  I think it’s interesting that these were even produced as they’re a very small part of the flick and though memorable not the first thing one would think of when recalling it.  I guess they’re the most straightforward in terms of translatable, affordable masks though.  I’m sure a full-fledged AAWL werewolf mask that looked like Rick Baker’s work would have been too cost prohibitive.

Down below int he ad is a series of concept drawings of masks from the movie The Last Starfighter.  These were probably the biggest part of the film’s merchandising outside of the novelization, comic books, and lunchbox.  It’s kind of weird that there were so many cancelled products for the film including an action figure line and the most obvious tie-in, an arcade game.  Interestingly enough, there are some people working to get that arcade game into the public though…

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 11: I am not an animal, I am a human being…

Today’s monster mask advertisement features the work of Mario Chiodo Studios and comes from issue #37 of Fangoria originally published in 1984…

I really dig these masks, but in particular the one up top because of its references to the Joseph Merrick the Elephant Man.  While I love classic monster imagery, and the story of Frankenstein and his creation (particular the 1931 James Whale film) really touches me, the true life trials and tribulations of Joseph Merrick truly broke my heart.  Granted, a monster mask influenced by Merrick could be in poor taste considering the life he led, I can’t help but be yet another person consumed with curiosity about his visage, and therefore can understand why Chiodo would use it as inspiration.  I’ve spent plenty of time studying pictures of his bones, trying to recreate the texture and intricacy of his unfortunate disfigurement (see below), just trying to understand what it must have been like.  If you were ever curious about the life of Merrick, one of the best books on the subject is The True History of the Elephant Man: The Definitive Account of the Tragic and Extraordinary Life of Joseph Carey Merrick

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!