Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

A happy and hearty Halloween to all you creeps! I've been pondering what to post on Halloween day for the better part of the month. This video is without a doubt the most appropriate for the big day...

Nothing I've seen this year sums up the spirit of Halloween better than this video by Jason Willis. It's been getting a lot of notice around different forums and blogs for several weeks now, but I just can't let Halloween pass without posting it here too...

At about the 1 minute 30 second mark, some great vintage and retro style masks make a very brief appearance.  Fortunately, Mr. Willis has posted a still shot of these on his site and this Flickr set.  Even more fortunately,  for you headhunters out there, Jason posted a list of the masks used in the video on the HMA here.
VXX EC Zombie 2, VXX Shock! Monster, and Bayshore Zombie
can all be seen in the still above
Here are a few more stills for this amazing project...
Images Source: Jason Willis

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Gearing Up for the Big Night...

Hope you're as ready for the Halloween Weekend as these fine chaps... I wish I could say I was. I've got a to-do-list as long as my arm and guest start arriving at 7 o'clock.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Almost Time!

All those lucky kids with Silver Shamrock masks, hurry home for the big giveaway. The clock is ticking. It's almost time!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Imagineering "The FACE" Make-Up Kits

Was it a mask, or was it a make-up kit? The box claimed make-up kit, but I always thought of it more like a mask when I was younger. While I don't know the answer to the question,  I do know that I loved my Skull FACE kit like crazy as a kid.
Although it was released in 1979, I personally didn't get one until the Halloween of 1984 for my grim-reaper costume. I remember having great difficulty getting the paint to stick to the FACE. Looking back, the issue makes perfect sense to me now. The "paint" was actually grease paint, and the appliance was a non-porous foam. Why on earth these kits were packaged with make-up that would never stick to the FACE,  I have no idea. But, back then, I didn't care. The paint didn't work, and I had to load on half a bottle of spirit gum to actually stick the sucker to my own face. But I loved the thing. It was great! As a kid, it gave you the feeling that you were a hardcore make-up guy.

So regardless of whether you'd consider this a mask or not, here's the scoop... The FACE make-kit series was designed by Hollywood make-up artist Barry R. Koper, and was released in 1979 by Imagineering. I suppose it was quite ground breaking at the time for an affordable full-face appliance to be released mass-market (I got mine at Toys 'R Us). The appliance was coined and trademarked as FLEX-O-SKIN, and each kit contained one, along with a clear plastic vacuform shell to help it retain it's shape. The kit also contained a small plastic palette of grease paint containing various colors, a small brush, and "sticky goop" to attach the FACE to your face. 6 different characters formed the series, with an additional 2 characters being added later.

Image Source:
Image Source:
Imagineering FACE Make-Up Kit Ad

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Masks of Famous Monsters - Issues # 6-8

Welcome to the sixth installment in The Masks of Famous Monsters Series. Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine was an absolute treasure trove of early mask history. By combing through the 191 issues published between 1958-1983, it's possible to gain a good understanding of the decades of evolution and history of Don Post Studios and Topstone monster masks. The eventual goal of this series is to catalog and archive each monster mask appearance in the pages Famous Monsters.
Compared to the previous five issues, #6 and 7 offered little in the way of definitive monster mask history.  Of course, the classic early Topstone monster mask ads that were introduced in previous issues could be found in these issues, but otherwise, no new examples of monster mask fun could to be found lurking within the pages...

We're treated to a brief Shock Monster appearance  on page 38 of issue #7. This Shock meant business too, and came equipped with what looks like Skeleton Rubber Hands (offered in issue #6).
Skeleton Rubber Hands Ad from Famous Monsters #6

What little issues 6 and 7 offered in the way of monster masks was easily made up for with issue #8. Issue 8, released in September of 1960,  picked up were previous issues left off in terms of marking definitive points when Topstone masks debuted in the pages of FM.

The issue starts out strong, as page 7 gives us a glimpse of a young Vampire Girl enjoying a good read...
Issue #8 would be the first Famous Monsters to feature three pages of monster mask ads! It was on page 51 that Monster Kids were introduced to some new Topstone selections...

Issue # 8 is were the Lagoon Creature ad would make it's FM debut. In addition, ads for the Mohawk Indian, Savage Cannibal, and Jeckyl and Hyde would appear for the first time...
The first Topstone Lagoon Monster Ad to appear in Famous Monsters
Topstone - Mohawk Indian Mask Ad
Topstone - Savage Cannibal Mask Ad
Topstone - Jekyl and Hyde Mask Ad
As if these masks weren't enough for young monster kids to sink their teeth into, three new hands were offered up too: Gigantic Lagoon Monster Hands, the strange Two Thumb Hand, and perhaps the strangest monster hand ever offered, the Octopus Hand...
Topstone Gigantic Lagoon Hands Ad
Topstone Two Thumb Hand Ad
Topstone Octopus Hand Ad
Finally, as the icing on the cake, Issue #8 is topped of nicely with a half-page ad featuring a Zacherly mask and a "Me, Worry?" Alfred E. Newman "super" mask. The Alfred E. Newman mask was sculpted by John Chambers for a Fred Astarie TV special. Later, John would go on to let Don Post use the old to create this classic mask...
Zacherley and Alfred E. Newman Mask
 That puts the wraps on the masks of issues 6-8 of Famous Monsters. As always, check back next month for another look at the The Masks of Famous Monsters!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Death Studios - 1998 Playboy Potpourri

Near the back of each issue of Playboy Magazine resides a section titled "Potpourri", which features high-end trinkets, toys, and other random-but-expensive-must-have-items for men. 

For the better part of a decade, Death Studios masks would make an annual appearance in every October issue within the Potpourri  section. Here is a scan of DS write-up from the October 1998 issue, which also featured Cindy Crawford on the cover.
Death Studios Mad Jack Pumpkin, Slappy, Werewolf & Jester Masks

Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Nick & Frankie

Keep your chins up this Monday creeps. Just remember... one week to go to Halloween!
Image Source: Snapatorium   

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Old School Halloween Records

Yesterday I spent the day setting up part of the yard display, and last night was the first night of the season that we had lights and audio piping out. I'm a sucker for old school Halloween audio and soundtracks. This time last year I had taken a brief departure from posting about masks to share some good old fashion Halloween soundtracks. I'll be doing the same this year as I dig through my collection of sounds and finalize the sounds for my yard.

It should be noted that I can't take credit for these excellent vinyl rips. Most of what I have in my collection comes from the now legendary Scarstuff blog. Scarstuff was the first horror related blog I found, and my main inspiration for starting a blog with the spirit of sharing.

Halloween Horrors (1977)

Click to Download Here

Johnson Smith Novelty Co. Horror Record

Click to Download Here

Terror! (1960)

Click to Download Here

Note: These albums have been out of circulation for quite some time (several decades). Posting them here does not interfere with album sales in any way, as these are no longer available for purchase from the original record labels. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

An October Visit to Fantasy Costume Headquarters

Fantasy Costume Headquarters is by far Chicago's largest and longest running costume and mask shop. The building itself occupies almost a full city block and is massive. Within FCHQ, there is a large room dedicated just to masks. The masks are lined six high, from ceiling to knee level, and wrap the entire room. My conservative estimate is that 600 masks are on display. It's truly monster mask heaven!

I tend to take two or three trips a year to Fantasy Costume Headquarters, and at least one of those trips takes place during October. My first fall trip of 2011 took place this past Thursday...
A few of the many painted windows at Fantasy Costume HDQ

This year there was an abundance of Trick or Treat Studios masks on display which was great to see!  As always, FCHQ, had a huge selection of Zagone monster masks. Zagone, and even some old Be Something Studios masks, are always well represented here. It's especially cool with Zagone being home-grown in Chicago, as well as being the last mass produced mask made in the States. My favorite part about any trip down to FCHQ is the odd assortment of old masks which occasionally make their way out of the warehouse, and out to the display for sale.

While perusing the selection, I found a Distortions Unlimited "Ancient Evil" mask buried on the bottom row in a back corner well out of sight. The mask must have been smashed for sometime, as it was warped, so I got him at a really nice discount on him. After getting it home, I spent some time working it over with a heat gun I managed to get the shape back. Here's what he looks like now...
Distortions Unlimited - Ancient Evil Mask
I also snagged up a Zagone Studios Dorian mask. I've wanted one of these since it was released back in 2007...
Zagone - Dorian Mask
In addition to these scores, Mrs. Phantom was kind enough to snap a few photos of the mask room to share...
This is about one quarter of the mask room
A sample of of the Zagone selection

Friday, October 21, 2011

Witch's Dungeon Article

It's that time of the year (the best time of the year in my opinion) when yard displays and home haunts are in full effect. This article from December of '83 showcases the longest running home haunt of them all, Cortlund Hull's Witch's Dungeon. The Witch's Dungeon is celebrating it's 45th year this October of 2011!
Mr. Hull posing with some classic Don Post Monster Masks.