Tag Archives: Monsters

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!

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 10: Distorting Expectations…

Today’s monster mask ad is a preview of sorts for a much larger post coming later in the month.  For kids my age that grew up during the 80s reading Fangoria, Distortions Unlimited was probably the company most known for their gory and crazy masks.  I could never afford any of the masks or props in the ads, but that didn’t stop me from cutting them out and pinning them up on my wall as a wish-list of sorts.  Below is the earliest Distortions ad I could manage to dig up.  It comes from issue #33 of Fangoria published back in 1984…

I’ve just recently become reacquainted with Distortions through their reality television series that just started airing on the Travel Channel called Making Monsters.  It looks like they’re more in the business of making monster animatronics and props for haunted houses these days, but it’s cool to get a chance to peek behinds the scenes.

As for the ad above, I really dig the Slugger mask as it really reminds me of the aliens from Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste (which had a profound effect on me as a 10 or 11 year-old kid.)  Though these are all really cool, the company would be producing some much more detailed and amazing masks just a few years later.  For those interested though, it looks like you can still get a couple of these masks direct from Distortions

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 9: Silver Shamrock!

Welcome back to another entry in the 2011 Branded Countdown to Halloween!  It’s day ten, and though today’s monster mask ad is a little sparse, it’s one of my favorites.  Originally found in issue #25 of Fangoria from 1983, this is another Don Post advertisement for their line of Halloween III Season of the Witch masks…

For those of you not familiar with the Halloween film sequels, part three was the first and last sequel that didn’t feature the character or story of Michael Myers.  Long story short, when John Carpenter was first thinking about sequels to Halloween he wanted each subsequent flick to feature a new Halloween-themed story instead of trotting out Myers again and again.  Though it didn’t quite work out that way in the first sequel, he and producing/writing partner Debra Hill stood firm with the third installment and thus a departure from the franchise was created.  I have to say that I love the idea of a Halloween season themed film anthology series, and a lot was riding on this third movie to ensure the success of a venture like that.  Alas, because the eventual story was a bit off-the-wall it didn’t really resonate with audiences and the idea was scrapped.

Even though it’s a weird flick and there’s a lot of stuff in the film that’s questionable in terms of ration and logic, I love it and in no small part because of the props.  In the flick, monster mask and novelty company Silver Shamrock is seeking to bring about Armageddon through witchcraft and science.  They’ve discovered a mystical obelisk from Stonehenge that when introduced to the flicking imagery and specific music broadcast through a television set can reduce the human form into a pile of deadly venomous insects and snakes.  The idea is to implant chips from the obelisk into receivers that are attached to their line of popular Halloween masks.  The company then created a give-away promotion airing on Halloween night that would reach into millions of households around the country turning children everywhere into swarms of venomous creatures that would kill their families.

There were three main Halloween masks produced for the film by Post Studios, of which the Jack-o-Lantern was the only new mold specific to the movie.  In conjunction, Post produced a line of replica masks that they hoped would become cult items that kids and teens would want to buy and wear to the movie.  Aside from these three there are a lot of other Post Studios masks peppered throughout the flick, in particular in the Silver Shamrock offices.  As far as Monster Mask movies go, this is probably one of the coolest, if not the weirdest ever made!

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 8: Just wanted hairy, you got hairy!

Well, it’s the beginning of the second week of the Countdown to Halloween and I’ve been having a blast so far.  Not only are there almost 25% more sites participating in the 2011 blogging event, but this is the first year in a while where I haven’t had some other project hanging over my head keeping me from fully embracing the holiday.  This past weekend the wife and I took a stroll though the Oakland Cemetary for their annual Sunday in the Park festival, which was sufficiently creepy and moody (even during the day.)  We’ve also been on top of watching a bunch of horror movies and Halloween specials, which has been extra awesome!

Getting to the meat of the post today though, is this 1982 Special Merchandise International monster mask ad from the pages of Fangoria magazine…

I’ve collected these ads into a rough approximation of a chronological timeline, and this is the one entry that gives me pause and backpedals a bit in terms of mask quality.  Don’t get me wrong, these are plenty fun (and quite hairy), but the overall molds and paint reminds me a lot of the unfortunate quality of the mail-away Topstone masks from the 50s (from the very first ads I shared back at the end of September.)  At least the prospective buyer was seeing what they got in this case, but man is there a lot too be desired here.  I suppose if they had anything going for them they’re relatively cheap for full head masks complete with hair (though it’s totally only available in a teased metal fashion.)  There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind getting my hands on that Prickle Puss mask now that I think about it 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!

A look back with Vincent Price…

As an extra bit of spooky fun this evening, I thought I’d share this Tom Weaver interview/transcript of Vincent Price’s appearance at the May 1990 Weekend of Horrors convention (where he was interviewed on stage by Joe Dante.).  This was first published in issue 100 of Fangoria at the beginning of 1991.

If there’s one thing that stands out in the many interviews I’ve been able to track down with Price, it’s his unending well of graciousness for his fans.  Though horror films were his bread and butter for a number of years, his interests were away from the genre (and filmmaking for that matter), yet he never comes across as feeling like he “had” to appease his fans, or that he was ever bothered by being asked repeatedly about anecdotes from his film career.  He also very rarely had anything negative to say about co-stars, directors, or the genre as a whole, and coming from this jaded age of wall to wall internet complaining, it’s refreshing to hear his positive outlook.

    

At the end of the day this interview reads sort of like the greatest hits of Price’s quips and opinions, and rightly so as it was culled from a sort of life-time achievement sort of affair.  One of this favorite jokes makes an appearance here (what he would have called the sequel/remake to the Fly), as well as some hilarious commentary on Peter Lorre.

    

For the most part the interview doesn’t dwell on any topic for more than a thought or two, but Price does take a moment to pause and reflect on his feelings on the more modern horror of the 80s.  Specifically with David Cronenberg’s remake of the Fly and how he felt that it stepped over a boundary in taste and gore.  Price acquaints this trend with films becoming less logical or believable. Granted, it’s a matter of perspective, but I think films like the remake of The Fly are actually much more believable than their predecessors, specifically for the reasons that Price dislikes them.  Either way it’s an interesting divergence in the interview…

    

Halloween Mask Madness, Day 7: Love the modern lines of Death Studios!

We’ve come to the end of the first full week of the Countdown and there have been roughly 88 different masks on display so far (it’s hard sometimes to tell with the repetition of the Don Post ads…)  Today brings the first ad from a new company to the countdown, Death Studios.  This ad hails from issue #17 of Fangoria, originally published in 1982…

For what these masks appear to lack in intricate detailing they make up for in spades with a very smooth and modern design.  The two stand-outs for me are the Entity (bottom left) and Saurian (second to last on that bottom row), both of which have a nice clean and interesting design.  I also really dig the Carnivore mask as it’s a bit more outlandish and gory than a lot of the masks we’ve seen so far.  In fact, that mask gives a good idea of the direction that mask-making would take throughout the 80s.  I definitely have more coming later in the month from Death Studios…

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!