it's called the Monster Mersh

More Halloweeny stuff, this time in the form of the ads scanned in from Famous Monsters of Filmland. Famous Monsters was always cool (not only informative, but just plain formative - a subset whole generation was influenced by this mag, which someone should reprint Marvel Essentials/Showcase Presents style, or at least on a DVD-Rom), and it's amazing how grossed-out we got from "gory" black and white pictures from tame films like Food of the Gods, but the most popular part for my friends and I always seemed to be the last dozen or so pages, where they had all the coolstuff for sale. I actually ordered from 'em once, right before the magazine folded (it took me years to convince my mom that they weren't going to rip me off - comics and monster magazines had a bad rep with parents back then, probably undeserved for the most part unless you tried to buy one of those personal submarines (I found an actual photo), so I got a few EC reprints and books, but I missed out on all the masks and such.

And man, did they have some badass masks (if you click on these they'll get bigger so you'll have a chance at reading the captions and stuff)...

I was always freaked out by the "Erik" one, because I was thinking "Who the hell is Erik?" It took me a while to realize they meant the Phantom of the Opera, because that doesn't look like Lon Chaney's classic design. I still don't know what "B. Garrett Theta" is supposed to mean, but that's one bad-ass zombie mask. And the hands and feet that you can get for them are also great. All this stuff was damn pricey, though - over $30 in 1978 dollars? Jeez. Okay, a paperback book back then would cost you around a buck fifty, maybe, and paperbacks are $7-8 now, so you do the merch-math and.... yikes.

How come Sargoth The Cobra didn't come with hands? Oh, yeah... I guess you shouldn't even have arms if you wear that. I love the Hydroloid. That's pretty much how I picture the children of Dagon from Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth."

I used to love the Mutant, although at the time I didn't know it was from This Island Earth, I just thought it was cool pincher-handed thing. And it's amazing that relatively-obscure monsters like the Mole People actually got masks. That's one creepy looking picture, mostly due to the fact that you can't really see much of the mask... which might make it not that great as an ad, but pretty good just for creepiness.

Then, there were the 8mm films...

This was in the days before videocassettes, much less DVDs or that streaming shit we're supposed to buy into now, so if you wanted to experience a movie on your own time you were limited to "wasn't it cool when" discussions with friends who'd also seen it, reading a movie-tie-in paperback (which were prolific as hell back in those days), or projecting silent five minute condensed versions on a bedsheet in your garage, the hallway of your house, or anyplace else you could make it dark enough. That was pretty much it. Otherwise yo' ass was stuck circling the TV Guide and staying up 'til 3 a.m. to catch a re-run of White Zombie or something. But, hey, that made you appreciate what you did get more, so that wasn't all bad. Looks like FM got a little mixed up on Psycho, there... the ad copy's talking about a book.

Then, the model kits.

I had one of the Dr. Jekyll kits, given to me by a friend at a birthday party. It was cool as hell, glow in the dark and everything. Pieces of it still show up in the clutter when I'm looking for things sometimes... wish I'd kept it in better shape, but, eh, 12 year olds can't be expected to be too responsible, I guess. I always thought the Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemares was badass. You can still find re-creations of these kits for sale around the 'net.

Some more film loops (with a record to play with 'em) and some more model kits. A lot of people who are big fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies don't realize it was first popularized by some ultra-cool model kits, featuring pirate skeletons that would do things through "zap action." I saw some of those in a toy store in Florida once but didn't have the funds to buy any of 'em. Next to it you can see other Disney horror franchise model kits, also featuring zap action. I did get one of those, but it's not pictured in the ad... it was a mummy leaping out of a pipe organ. What a mummy was doing in a pipe organ, I don't know, but, that's what it was. I was too young to build it myself so I had to get my dad to glue it together for me, and after dealing with the glue and complicated "zap" mechanism for an hour or so he told me I wasn't buying any more of those until I could build 'em myself. He was a little old to be a monster kid...

Then, there were record albums:

Actual LP's, the big black plastic things that a lot of the IPOD kids - some of whom may not have even seen a CD - probably aren't terribly familiar with unless they're real audiophiles or DJs or something. That Nightwatch album has maybe the best album cover ever created.

Anyway, more stuff later as I get around to it...


  1. Fuckin' A!!! I remember really wanting having some of those monster masks + the matching claws... I've got the Godzilla monster kit that came with glow-in-the-dark parts; my dad + I built it in '75 or so when it was new + I was little. We used all of the GITD stuff + so my model looks kinda goofy unpainted, but still glows eerily when the lights go out...

  2. Fuckin' A is right! That white timberwolf mask still scares me. Please keep shit like this coming!