Tuesday, November 30, 2010

EC Old Witch Mask

I had one of those awesome "Holy Crap!" moments while browsing the inter-webs today. I ran into a photo of this killer Old Witch mask by Steve Fiorilla.

I had never seen this amazing mask, nor heard of the artist, which is strange as I'm a big fan of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth's Rat Fink, who Fiorilla did several illustrations of. Fiorilla (January 12, 1961 – July 29, 2009) was quite a talented illustrator and sculptor, and is responsible for the animated "Guillotine" MTV logo that many of us remember.

Fiorilla also sculpted masks for Death Studios! The "Bite" mask from the 1986 catalog is a Fiorilla classic as is the Death Studios "Demon Chest".
Demon Chest from the 1991 Death Studios Line-up
Demon Chest pictured on the cover of Bloodsongs #8

Monday, November 29, 2010

Death Studios 2011 Preview

Jeff Death is giving the world a little peek at the 2011 line-up over at Death Studios. It looks like 2011 is going to be an exciting year for DS with several new releases!
Check out this bad-ass scarecrow sculpt from Jeff Death!

Topstone Halloween Mask Ads - Mad Monsters Magazine (1963)

Flipping through a scan of Mad Monsters Magazine #6 yesterday I was thrilled to find several ads for Topstone Halloween masks scattered throughout the issue. I always loved the old Keith Ward illustrations of these masks!  Note: the "Shock Monster" is shown below as the "Horror" Zombie.

Page 56 - Frankenstein Mask

Page 58 - Ad for the Topstone D-line  (De-Luxe) masks

Page 62 - Two-in-One Face Masks!

Page 64 - The classic Shock Monster & Gorilla mask.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Latex Masks Article - CineMagic Magazine #6

A very thorough "How-To" article from Kirk Brady. Brady takes the reader through the steps of creating a latex mask from start to finish. The process described here in this article is essentially the same process that is still used by most mask makers today. 

A snippet from page 2 that shows Kirk Brady along with a few of his creations as well as a nice copy of a  Bill Nelson Millenian.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1988 Distortions Ad

Distortions Unlimited Halloween Mask Ad for the Flesh & Blood line up in 1988. This ad features some of my personal favorite Distortions masks including the "Jack-O-Lantern" mask, the "Hell Hound" and the Uncle Creepy inspired "Letcher". It also featured a new look for the Distortions brand along with the tag line "So real you can almost hear them DRIP!"
The ad also features the very first Halloween mask I would ever buy. The Skull mask was the highlight of my Halloween back in 1988 when I trick or treated as the Grim Reaper! Here's a pic of my Skull mask  which I still have. The bridge of the nose cracked this past year at some point, so my first mask ever will end up being my first mask repair job too!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Don Post Glenn Strange Frankenstein Mask

With literally hundreds of different Frankenstein monster masks having been produced through the years, the character remains one of the most popular to be represented in latex form. While some have more significance than others, the conversation usually starts here, as the Don Post Glenn Strange Frank is arguably the greatest Frankenstein mask of them all. It also happens to be my personal favorite of all the Calendar mask monsters, which is rather odd, as is that I have always preferred the Karloff monster on the screen. But in mask form, the Strange Frank has far more character and history!

Depending on the variation of the mask, and your source of information, production on the mask is said to have begun production between 1963-64, but could have been as late as 1965. The initial sculpture was made from a life cast of Glenn Strange from the movie Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, and has been dubbed the "Smooth" Frank due to it's smooth forehead. This version is incredibly rare as the mask was produced in limited in very limited quantity, as the mask was too small for most heads, and the Strange Frank was re-sculpted by Pat Newman. It is the Newman re-sculpt which appears in the famous Monster Calendar.

Don Post "Smooth" Frankenstein
The mask saw a brief re-issue in 1975-76. And finally, another re-issue (and re-sculpted) 300 copies were released in 1998 with the calendar re-issue series.

There's some great history provided in this clipping from the Halloween Society's All Hallows Eve Companion , the Strange Frank was the featured mask in the Classic Corner from issue #1.
All Hallows Eve Companion Classic Corner from issue #1

The above clipping offers more background on the mask. Some similarities & discrepancies can be found between the two write ups which cloud the history of the Strange Frank.

Here are some photos I've collected of the Strange Frank mask that over the years. It's quite amazing to see the different custom paint schemes between these! Disclaimer: I have no recollection of the source of these photos. If the owner of a photo wishes that they be removed, please let me know and I will gladly remove them from the blog. I post these purely for documentation purposes. Although I have grouped these images for ease of viewing, all images are copyrighted by their respective owners. Enjoy!
I am fairly confident that all three of these are from the same collector. Any info as to the owner and the artist(s) who customized these would be appreciated!

Beautiful vintage-style gray paint scheme

Legendary calendar photo 
My personal copy of the 1998 re-issue

That concludes our look at the Don Post Strange Frank. I'll try to post at least one featured mask like this every month. If you missed the first featured mask post and write up on the Topstone Mummy, you can read about it here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Retro Style Halloween Mask Photos

These fantastic photos from J. Willis' Flickr Photostream are perfect on so many levels. So brilliantly low brow, so bad-ass-ly bad-ass. Shot by Jackie Alpers, I definitely recommend checking out the whole series, they really speak for themselves...

VXX Melting Man Replica Mask
Paper Magic Skull-n-Bones Mask
Topstone G-Line Frankenstein Mask
Topstone Lagoon Monster

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don Post, Sr. Article - Questar Magazine #7

31 years ago today we lost a legend as Don Post Sr. passed away. Don's impact on the mask world can not be understated as the man practically invented the process of making and manufacturing latex rubber masks.

The June 1980 issue of Questar featured a very thorough write up of the life and legacy of by Jeffery Elliot titled "The Many Faces of Don Post, Sr."

 The back cover of the issue featured a great ad for Don Post Studios Star Trek masks and Star Wars masks. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Don Post Studios Article - FM 1975 Convention Book

From the Famous Monsters 1975 Convention Book, here's a great little article on the changing of the guard at Don Post Studios. The article focuses mainly on Don Post Jr. taking the reigns at the studio and assures the dear reader that the studio will continue to produce high quality monster masks for years to come.

There's a few nice photos featured in the article, especially of Forry with the life-size monsters and the old Uncle Eerie masks in the background. I really dig the Gort suit!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

1992 Death Studios Catalog

In our second post on the masks of Death Studios, we'll take a look at the 1992 single page catalog. The 1992 line-up was dominated by Jordu Schell designs. The "Gothic Demon", "Xenophobe", "Boogey Man", "Hybrid", and "La Muerte" all made their Death Studios debut.

As a senior in high school with a job at the local ice cream parlor, I remember thinking that I couldn't possibly work enough hours to get them all, let alone the masks from the '91 catalog I still wanted! The only mask from this catalog I would actually go on to order was the Karloff-ian Mummy "Ancient Death", as most of my paychecks were spent on concert tickets in '92.
Hi-res scan with all the gruesome details still intact!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zombie Mask - Flesh Eater

This zombie mask showed up in the mail a few days ago after I snagged it up on Fee-Bay about a week ago.

This mask holds a very dear place in my heart as I sculpted it back in 1996 for Death Studios. It was the first mask of mine to make it into in a Death Studios line-up appearing in the 1997 catalog.

Here's a photo of the Flesh Eater from the Death Studios Catalog

Here's a brief history of the Flesh Eater. The mask was actually produced three different times. Originally by the Devil's Workshop in 1996 for a short while, where only 4 copies were ever produced under the name of "Decayed". Next, the mask was offered by Death Studios under the name "Flesh Eater" for a couple of years before being added to the Dark Side Studios line-up in 1999-2000. Darkside Paul produced the mask for a few more years in the early 2000's.
I never requested a copy from DS or DSS as I had made one copy for myself. Without much thought I sold my copy always thinking I would grab one while it was still in production. In late 1998 I went back to college for a few years I dropped out of the mask world and so did the Flesh Eater.
Here's a photo of my long gone original copy

The copy I now have is from Darkside Studios and it's beautiful. Paul did a great job on the paint work and I absolutely LOVE the hair. I'm happy as hell to have one in my collection, although my wife is probably getting sick of it hanging out on the dining room table for the last 3-4 days!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Masks of Jason Soles

Today's post features these stunning masks from Jason Soles. Mr. Soles is a sculptor who creates one-of-a-kinds as well as reproducible pieces. These are without a doubt the most original masks I have run into in some time. Check out Mr. Soles Deviant Art page for more of his work.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

1980 Ben Cooper Catalog

Most of the kids that grew up with these plastic vacuform masks with the colorful vinyl smocks and knew of them as a vital part of every Halloween. In addition to the traditional vacuforms, the 1980 Ben Cooper catalog features a new line of rubber masks. Very low quality rubber masks, but they certainly have their own retro charm!

I was cruising the ultra-swank Plaid Stallions site yesterday and came across scans of the 1980 Ben Cooper Cooper catalog.  I stitched together a few images and cleaned up some compression artifacts, here's a few pages to sink your fangs into: