Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ideal for Discos

Check out this awesome old ad for Don Post masks, from the back of the first sci-fi movie magazine I ever purchased, the July 1980 issue of Fantastic Films. I probably spent more time leering over these amazing mask images than reading the magazine itself, even though it was loaded with interesting articles on The Empire Strikes Back and John Carpenter.

After all, 1980 was The Year Of The Masquerade. (That's what the ad copy says, anyway. Who am I to argue?) Ideal for parties, discos, masquerading and collecting. Be a somebody!

A couple things about this ad stood out for me. First, these masks were of much higher quality than the usual Halloween stuff I was used to browsing through at the TG&Y Store.

Second, based on the prices (some as high as $64.95, in 1980 dollars!), these masks weren't aimed at the kiddies, but at grown adults. I imagined what kind of world I was missing out on, where adults donned expensive, high-quality monster masks for a night at the disco?

I hadn't yet heard of Plan 9 From Outer Space, so I had no idea who this Tor Johnson guy was... but the unusual name stuck with me, and almost exactly two years later I would name a monster after him in my crappy home-made comic.

It also never occurred to me prior to seeing this ad that a mask might be considered a work of art worthy of being displayed. And these mounts and cases were clearly aimed at the adult collector. I mean, what kid is going to buy and install a thirty dollar wall mount to display his mask (or a $125 case to protect it)?

Which led me to ponder... what kind of adult was awesome enough to hang masks on the wall of his home for all to see? Relatives from back East coming by for a visit? There's Mr. Kool staring them down through dinner. Neighbor drops in to borrow some flour? Dracula's giving him the evil eye from within his glass cube.

Here's a pair of premium-priced repros, Nosferatu and the Face-Hugger from Alien.


Kirk D. said...

I recognize that "Alterian" mask from the Johson Smith comic book ads. They just called it an "alien." That's the best pic I've seen of it.
Awesome post!

Nathan Lombardi said...

I did the exact same thing with my Monsterland Magazine. It was my first Horror/Sci-fi movie magazine that I ever owned and I was fascinated by the Don Post masks, easily looking at those ads more than anything else. Sadly, the image quality of most of those ads in that magazine were like a second generation photocopy but it didn't detract from the fantasy of owning one. They did have a color ad on the back cover with Don Post Studios using "Rick Baker original headpieces" as reference from "An American Werewolf in London" so those were fun to obsess over.
I remember a friend at the time having the Don Post Darth Vader mask so I knew they were quality and better than anything you could ever hope to get from the local store during Halloween.

Ron Rochondo said...

Hilarious. Good read man