Tag Archives: Monsters

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 25: Tony Gardner brings the gore!

Day 25 brings some more masks from Tony Gardner’s Alterian Studios/Ghost Factory.  With a nod that the design was specifically tailored to the desires of gorehounds, these masks upped the blood quotient for Gardner’s masks by 700%…

This ad comes from issue #117 of Fangoria, first published in 1992, and was still beating the drum for a little under appreciated superhero horror hybrid movie called Darkman.  If there was ever a film ripe for mask merchandise it has to be Darkman, what with all of the mask making in the actual film.  It was also an opportunity for an enterprising company like Gardner’s to produce a Bruce Campbell Final Shemp mask, though I doubt they ever did.  If nothing else I really dig how playful Gardner and crew get with the infusion of gore.  I love the Dinosaur and Brainstorm masks…

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 24: Klowning around…

We’re up to day 24, and today I have my second to last Death Studios mask ad that was ripped from issue #105 of Fangoria, published in 1991…

This advertisement marks a bit of a departure for Death Studios in that they have a couple of officially licensed masks in the ranks, specifically the two Killer Klowns From Outer Space offerings up top.  I also really dig the Lon Chaney inspired London After Midnight mask on the second row.  One of these days I hope an intact print of that lost film surfaces.  There’s a version floating around with a bunch of stills from the set, but it’s just not the same.  As for the masks though, some of the other standouts for me were the Tricerotops, Bat Demon & Demon Vampire, as well as the Reptile and Upside-Down Head masks…

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 23: Death Studios, now in glorious color!

Well, we’re at the second to last Sunday of the countdown and today I have another entry from Death Studios!

This advertisement comes from a 1991 issue of Fangoria and features some really awesome masks and appliances.  There are a bunch of repeats on this ad from the black and white one I posted on the 17th, but there are also some new ones that I thought would justify the addition to the Countdown.  Again, we have a couple of Hellraiser inspired masks (including a color image of the Hellspawn and Bite – aka Chatterer the Cenobite), as well as an actual Rat Fink Ed Roth mask.  I really like the Nightmare on Elm Street inspired Demon Chest as well.  Just a nice chest piece that could easily be hidden under normal clothes and would be a great way to freak out co-workers and Halloween party guests…

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 22: Universally interesting masks!

It’s day 22, and we’re starting the last full week of the 2011 Countdown to Halloween here at Branded in the 80s.  So far there have been 266 different masks from all sorts of different companies like Don Post Studios, Death Studios, Distortions Unlimited, Topstone, and Tony Gardner Studios.  Today we can add the cinematic icon of horror, Universal Studios to that list with this 1991 advertisement that I pulled from issue #102 of Fangoria

Though I like some of these classic monster interpretations, in particular the Frankenstein’s Monster and the full body Mutant mask and costume from This Island Earth, I think it’s kind of weird how off-model the molds are on these offerings.  Considering these were officially licensed masks, I’m surprised that they weren’t more accurate to the original designs by Jack Pierce (looking like the Lon Chaney Wolfman or the Boris Karloff monster.)  I know that Universal was starting a brand new push for their stable of monsters in the early 90s (with Pizza Hut Promotions, coloring books, lunch boxes, and appearances in their theme parks), so I wonder if the idea was to try and create a whole new look for the creatures to try and make them more hip for the kids?  Either way, I wish I had, had the $400 bucks for the Metaluna costume…

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 21: Dick Don Tracy Post!

Welcome to the end of the third week of the Countdown to Halloween.  There are only 10 days left until Samhain, and I’m really pumped to be in the home stretch.  Today I have one of the last Don Post mask ads in my collection (if not the last) which hails from issue #94 of Fangoria, first published in 1990…

Still the kings of licensed masks, it came as no surprise to me that Don Post Studios would pick up the rights to make Dick Tracy merchandise in the wake of the Warren Beatty flick.  At the time I wasn’t that big of a fan of the film, and I think a lot of that had to do with the uber cartoon-y style Beatty and company chose for the look in the wake of flicks like the Tim Burton Batman and TMNT.  I understand they were trying to stick ultra close to the original comic strip, and I definitely give them credit for trying, but for a thirteen year-old kid it just fell flat and felt silly.  It’s very rare that this sort of idea works.  Sin City springs to mind, though honestly as time goes by I’m becoming less and less of a fan of the film.  Cartooning invites exaggeration, especially caricature, but in film it just comes off as trying too hard.  What film something in the real world, with real actors, if you’re going to painstakingly try to turn the actors into living cartoons?  Why not just make an animated feature?

I digress.  The main reason I posted this ad is to share the masks for Gremlins 2 to book end the post from the 13th which featured masks from the first film…

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 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!