All posts by georgemcgowan

Celebrate Alien Day with New Alien Merchandise

Happy Alien Day!

Alien Day 2017

We know it’s a marketing event designed to sell stuff, but it sure beats National Boss Day.

For that last couple years, 20th Century Fox is been declaring April 26 “Alien Day.”  This marketing event is inspired by LV 426, the planet where the crew of the Nostromo first encounter the xenomorph eggs in that little Sci-Fi classic, Alien.   We share this otherwise useless information with you because a bunch of exclusive collectibles will be released on this date.  It is a marketing event after all.

We’ll be sharing the coolest of these collectibles as they are announced and released, but we do have some advance news from toy company Super 7.  The company behind the Kenner-inspired ReAction line of retro action figures, Super 7 has given us a sneak peek at a few of the items they’ll be releasing on Alien Day.

Alien ReAction figure carrying case with figures:

Super 7 Reaction Alien Carrying Case with FiguresTrue to the entire ReAction line, this case is inspired by toy cases from decades past.   In addition to holding up to 24 of the 3.75″ ReAction figures, the case will contain an exclusive glow-in-the-dark  Alien figure.  I love this idea both as a collector and as a father.  If I could have gotten an exclusive Kenner Star Wars figure with my storage case in 1978, you bet I would have been all over it.  This case and figure set is available for pre-order on EntertainmentEarth.com

Nostromo 3-pack with Kane, Lambert and Dallas in space suits:

Super 7 Nostromo Japanese Window Box

The packaging features an exclusive Japanese window box style just for Alien Day, which might mean the figures themselves will be available elsewhere but just not packaged in such a way.

18-Inch Alien Warrior:
Super 7 Alien Warrior 18-inch Figure

Super 7 recently announced a new 18-ince Alien Warrior figure, designed as the ‘successor’ to the classic 1979 Kenner Alien figure.

From Super 7’s website:

The imagined successor to the 1979 Kenner Alien toy. Fully articulated with glow accents, metallic snapping jaws (operated with a trigger on the back of the head like the original 1979 toy), and retro style packaging. The figure stands 18-inches and can also hang from its tail like the original 1979 Alien figure.

Initially released in matte black only and available  for pre-order now at EntertainmentEarth.com

ReAction Alien 3.75 inch Figures:

Super 7 ReAction Alien Blind Box

The Alien 3.75-inch ReAction Figure Blind Box will be available from Super7 website starting @ Noon PST on Wednesday, 4/26. Boxes purchased online will be selected randomly between 3 new color variants. https://super7store.com

Personally, I like the my Alien Warriors in black, but to each their own!

ReAction Nostromo Crew Set:

ReAction Nostromo Crew Action Figures

As we mentioned earlier, Super 7 is the company behind the ReAction toy line.  Their partnership with Funko has expired so they’ve regained full marketing rights of this line designed in the original Kenner figure style.  We love the ReAction Universal Monsters  and the crew of the Nostromo are pretty cool too.

These figures are available on EntertainmentEarth.com

Of course, Alien Day might simply be a good excuse to dust off your DVD of one of these fine films and give it watch.  However you decide to celebrate Alien Day, every day is better with monsters (and aliens) in it!

 

Monstrous Sounds: Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House

The Soundtrack of Monster Kid Childhood

In the early 1960s, Walt Disney Productions had developed an extensive collection of eerie sound effects for various productions.   Disneyland Records put that catalog  together for an album titled “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House,” possibly in anticipation of the new “Haunted House” attraction that was soon to open in Disneyland, soon renamed The Haunted Mansion. The result is an iconic album that would be released again and again over the coming decades and would become the soundtrack of Monster Kid childhoods everywhere.

If you or a childhood friend owned this record,  the opening track is probably indelibly etched upon your brain:

 “You are a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing. High on a hilltop near your home, there stands a dilapidated old mansion. Some say the place is haunted, but you don’t believe in such myths. One night, a light appears in the topmost window in a tower of the old house. You decide to investigate. And you never return…”

Side One of the album had a collection of ten creepy stories narrated by Laura Olsher (uncredited).   The stories made use of many sound effects, and transported listeners into a realm of supernatural, spooky adventures.  Most of the tracks are fairly tame by today’s standards, though the cringe worthy “Chinese Water Torture” is definitely of a different era. Track 1 “The Haunted House” is classic audio heard in Halloween spook houses around the world.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Album Side One

Side Two had a collection of sound effects.   The moans, groans, cats, dogs, creaks, thunder and crashes could be heard in almost every Halloween party and home brewed haunted house display.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Album Side Two

The “Screams and Groans” track was taken from the popular 1936 Disney cartoon “Lonesome Ghosts“, starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy which was an influence on Ken Anderson and his early designs for the Disneyland “Ghost House.” Certainly, Anderson used some of these sounds for his Haunted House pitches and demonstrations.

Listen to the full album here:

Tracklist

The Haunted House
The Very Long Fuse
The Dogs
Timber
Your Pet Cat
Shipwreck
The Unsafe Bridge
Chinese Water Torture
The Birds
The Martian Monsters
Screams And Groans
Thunder, Lightning And Rain
Cat Fight
Dogs
A Collection Of Creaks
Fuses And Explosions
A Collection Of Crashes
Birds
Drips And Splashes
Things In Space

Album Sleeve Variations

The album was first released in 1964 with a white sleeve featuring concept art for the proposed Disneyland Haunted House attraction painted by  artist Paul Wenzel. The album was released several more times during the 70’s.  Despite some minor variations, there are four main versions of this album:

1. White cover DQ-1257 with black and white illustrated back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney Album Front Cover White 1964

DQ-1257; 1964

Disneyland Records Chilling Thrilling Sounds of Haunted House Black & What Back Sleeve

2. White cover numbered DQ-1257 with a color back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney 1964 Back Cover White

3. Orange cover numbered DQ-1257:

With the continued success of this LP and the Haunted Mansion ride,  Disney decided to capitalize on the burgeoning Halloween market by changing the cover to pumpkin orange:

Disneyland Records Chilling Thrilling Sounds of Haunted House Orange Cover

4. Orange cover numbered 1257 with a “Spooky Party Hints” notice printed as part of the album artwork.

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney 1973 Orange Front Cover

The Spooky Party Hints sleeve is dated 1973

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Disney Orange 1973 Back Cover

Later releases of the orange sleeve included  “spooky party hints” that were printed on the paper dust sleeves that held the vinyl record:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Record Sleeve Side Two Party Hints  Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House Record Sleeve Side One Party Hints

The British release from 1974  uses a photo of the Haunted Mansion itself on the cover:

Front:Disney Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House UK version

Back:

Chilling Thrilling Sounds Haunted House UK Back Cover

While the sleeves evolved over time, the recordings are the same. Each cover proclaims “Here lies a most terrific collection of recorded sounds,” and the back covers offer this disclaimer: “This particular Disneyland record, CHILLING, THRILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE, is not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight. It is intended for older children, teenagers and adults.”

[From Liner]
The Sound Effects Department of the Walt Disney Studio has been collecting all kinds of noises since 1927. The first sound film which Walt Disney made and the first sound cartoon made by anyone was Steamboat Willy starring a little mouse named Mickey. This picture, like every other one Walt Disney has made, whether short subject or feature, animated cartoon or live action, contained many sound effects.

Drawing upon this enormous library of sound, Disneyland records has produced this LP.

Side 1 contains ten stories in sound in which the narrator sets up the situation and the sound effects take over and tell the story.

Side 2 is a collection of sound effects grouped by category. These may be used to create your own stories in sound.

We know you will enjoy the adventures in sound as they are recorded on this LP, but you may have even greater enjoyment in creating sound stories of your own using the effects on this LP plus others you may do yourselves.

The Disneyland catalog of children’s records is one of the finest in the world. The primary audience for children’s records is the age group from three to eight years. Most of the records in the Disneyland catalog are made specifically for that group although there are some whose appeal reaches into the early teens. This particular Disneyland record, Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House is not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight. It is intended for older children, teenagers and adults.

Such hyperbole was familiar ground for any readers of Famous Monsters of Filmland (or comic books for that matter), but Disneyland Records honestly had concerns about the potential impact of a “horror” album on their good name. The runaway success and mulitple repressings of this record likely alleviated that fear, however

NOTE:  In 1979, Disneyland Records release a new sound track LP  of the same name. Though identical in title, its content is almost entirely unique.  I’ll cover this album in a separate article soon:

Walt Disney Studios Chilling Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House 1979

DQ-2507; 1979

Monster Kid Memories

I had the this album in the original white variant (can’t recover which back sleeve) and I played it year-round.  I even recorded the record with my cassette player so that we could play it on our front porch on Halloween and, as originally intended by Disneyland Records, I even used this as background effects in my occasional monster-themed garage production.  

I own a lovely copy of the orange sleeve LP now (without party hints) and I still imagine that I am “a bold and courageous person, afraid of nothing”, approaching that ominous, dark house on a hill!

Collector Notes

This LP has been released multiple times through the years and is relatively easy to find.  Prices vary, but a nice copy with normal album wear can be found for $5-$10 .  Some collectors focus more on the condition of the  album sleeve, displaying them as framed art, and are less concerned about the condition of the actual vinyl.  If you’re like me and like to collect higher grade items, then expect to pay around $30-$50 to for a VF/NM vinyl/sleeve combo.

Because of the popularity of the record in the 60s and 70s, it’s relatively common to find the orange sleeve LP at garage sales, flea markets and used record shops.  White sleeve copies in high grade are slightly less common simply because they are a decade older.

Of course, online shoppers can track down copies in the usual places:

Here’s a link to current eBay listings

Multiple copies in a range of prices and both white and orange sleeves are available on Amazon.

Discogs.com is a great social marketplace for record collectors and Ive had numerous successful purchases from this site.  I found multiple copies of this LP listed currently; click here to visit Discogs.

Listening Options

Of course if you simply want to listen to this fun LP again, there are numerous options, including the YouTube video I embedded earlier in this post.

Purchase a digital copy of  the entire album for .99  on Amazon

Its also available for purchase on iTunes

And its even on Spotify

What are you memories of this LP?  Did you have it? Do you still?  Let us hear from you!

2016 Rondo Awards Ballot Recommendations

Cast Your Vote in the 2016 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

For the past 15 years, The Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards has honored those who strive to keep the genre of Classic Horror vibrant via research, creativity and film preservation. Truly the Oscar, the Emmy and the State Fair Blue Ribbon, the ‘Rondos’ is essential  for us Monster Kids! The Rondo Awards ballot is an essential way for fans to support their classic horror fandom.
I’ve voted in the Rondos for years, and find that, every year, the ballot is a source of discovering new films, books, podcasts and websites.  The ballot is a bounty of high caliber monster kid media and I encourage you to visit the Rondo Award website to give it a thorough read and see what new gems you discover!

Friends of Collecting Classic Monsters on this year’s ballot:

Supporting creators that you discover via the Rondo ballot is a worthy endeavor,  but voting in the Rondos is also important.
All of  the artists, writers, film makers and creators who keep the genre alive and vibrant are doing this from a love of the genre. Let’s face it, no one is getting rich in the classic horror genre!
To that end, I’m recommending the following “friends of CCM” for your consideration as you cast your Rondo ballot this year:

Category 8.  Best Independent Film:

 WERESQUITO: NAZI HUNTER by Christopher R Mihm
Christopher R Mihm is a Minnesota-based independent film maker with the noteworthy accomplishment of releasing 11 films in 11 years (with his 12th scheduled to release later in 2017). That is a remarkable achievement in it’s own right, but even more important, his films are all loving homages to 1950s and 60s drive-in genre cinema all set within the shared ‘Mihmiverse.” His 2016 film, Weresquito: Nazi Hunter” is a slightly darker film than many of his predecessors, and feels more late-60s than many of his previous light-hearted Sci-Fi / Horror romps like The Giant Spider (a personal favorite of mine) or his first film, The Monster of Phantom Lake.  I highly recommend all Monster Kids watch his films and vote for his latest as Best Independent Film.

Category 10.  Best Documentary:

 KONG: LONG LIVE THE KING by Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger
Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger are the driving force behind Benevolent Monsters Productions whose previous team-up was  BEAST WISHES, about Bob and Kathy Burns.  This time, the pair give us a loving tribute to the original movie monster, King Kong, through the stories of fellow Monster Kids. The film is currently making the film festival rounds and I was fortunate enough to view it earlier this year.  An easy choice for Best Documentary in this year’s Rondos.

Category 13.  BEST ARTICLE:

Rondao Award 2016 Best Article David Weiner
“The Great American Werewolf Reunion” by David Weiner in
David Weiner was the last editor of the most important monster magazine of them all, Famous Monsters of Filmland, and he did a stellar job.  Until David took over the editorial helm of FM 3.0, I found the writing inconsistent and frequently missing the tone of the magazine I loved so much.  With David’s writing and overall editorial leadership, the magazine regained my interest and again captured my subscription support.  As a true Monster Kid, it was always evident that David was ‘one of us’ and his deft balance of classic and contemporary genre filmdom made the magazine appeal to me as a life-long reader as well as a fan of modern genre films.
His article on the making of American Werewolf in London is an excellent example of his journalistic ability blended with his fandom.  It’s unfortunate that the publisher canceled the magazine just as David had established this balance of  readability, tone and  content. David deserves your vote.

Category 16:  Best Magazine Cover:

Famous Monsters 286 Rick Baker Artist

Famous Monsters of Filmland #284                                                             American Werewolf in London                                                                         Artist: Rick Baker

This painted cover by the one-and-only Rick Baker of his legendary SFX creation is one for the ages and, in my opinion, stands alongside the classic Warren era covers by Gogos and crew. Simply awesome!

Category 18.  Best Multi-Media Site:

Rondo Award Best Podcast Monster Kid Radio
MONSTER KID RADIO podcast by Derek M Koch
​​​​​​​If you read this website, then I assume you listen to this podcast.  I you don’t then I highly encourage you to stop reading this and subscribe immediately.  For over 300 episodes, Derek and an expansive rotation of guests have discussed a classic – and sometimes not-so-classic –  genre films from the silent film era up to the 1970s.  I have listened to every episode and I can honestly say that I anticipate the new episode of Monster Kid Radio as a highlight of my week every week!
Not only should you vote for Derek in this category but you should subscribe and listen to his podcast; I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Category 17.  Best Website:

Collecting Classic Monsters

Website: Collecting Classic Monsters                                                                       Publisher: George McGowan

Yup! We are nominated for Best Website! It’s our first Rondo nomination and it is a HUGE honor! But you know what would be an even bigger honor than being nominated? WINNING!  There are a lot of GREAT blogs and websites nominated in this category, many of which I read weekly and urge you to support).

That said, I believe that the quality of this website stands up against any of them and my passion for these iconic movies, characters and collectibles is always at the forefront of my efforts.  If you agree, then I would appreciate your vote on the Rondo ballot!

Sorry if this is self-serving, but it is my website after all and, if I don’t ask for your vote, then I don’t stand a chance of winning.  This category includes some big media heavyweights so it’s a long shot….but you can help!

Category 29.  The Monster Kid Hall of Fame:

The is a write-in category and you can include up to 6 people on your ballot.  In 2016, we lost Vince Rotolo, founder of the B Movie Cast podcast and a true pioneer in terms of bringing focus on classic genre films to new media.  His podcast continues in his absence and inducting Vince into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame is a great way to honor his innovation and contributions through the years.

How to Vote

The easiest to vote is to copy-and-paste the ballot from Rondoaward.com  into an e-mail, mark your choices and send your picks to David Colton, at taraco@aol.com by Sunday night at midnight, April 16, 2017 (that’s this coming Sunday, folks!)

  • You do not have to vote in every category. Vote for all or a few.
  • One vote per person, please. Every e-mail must include your name to be counted.  All votes are kept strictly confidential.
  • Feel free to spread the word about the Rondo on social media.
  • But please do not mass-produce ballots; suspicious ballots will be rejected at the sole discretion of Rondo organizers. Let’s keep this a fun vote!

Please take 5 minutes this week and vote in this year’s Rondos.  To vote, email taraco@aol.com and let me know what discoveries you make on this year’s ballot!

Related Articles:

Monsters for Free: Anchor Hocking Universal Monsters Drinking Glasses

The Coolest Gas Station Giveaways of the 1960s

Anchor Hawking Universal Monster Glasses Set

Anchor Hocking Universal Monsters Drinking Glasses             Set of 4 – 1963

The mid-1960s was the peak of the Monster Craze in the U.S. and classic monsters were everywhere; on Saturday afternoon television, in toy and hobby stores, on the magazine rack and even at the gas station.  Gas stations in the 60’s would give out a glass with a free tank of gas just as fast food chains did in the 80’s and the subject matter would reflect the popular trends at the time.

Anchor-Hocking, a glassware company, produced a set of four glasses for gas stations featuring the Universal Monsters in 1963. The glasses featured colorful images of Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Creature from the Black Lagoon but surprisingly no Dracula. The release date of the set falls before the lawsuit that virtually removed Dracula from merchandising due to the Bela Lugosi likeness so it unusual to see the Creature included.
The day-glow vibrant colors, great facsimiles of the classic monsters (which wasn’t always a sure thing during this time period) and the popularity of the four characters featured on the glasses are all reasons for the demand and popularity of this collectible set.  Glasses were painted and have a nice textured feel to them.

The following pictures are the glasses set in my collection:

Frankenstein Monster Drinking Glass

Anchor Hawking Frankenstein Glass

I love the Glenn Strange likeness of the Monster on this glass, but it appears they started at the top with this illustration and ran out of room to include the traditionally heavy platform boots.  His too-small feet really throw the overall design off for me despite the great face illustration.

The Wolf Man Drinking Glass

Anchor Hawking Wolf Man Glass

Wonderful art of Lon Chaney Jr’s iconic character.

The Mummy Drinking Glass

Anchor Hawking Mummy Glass

It’s not often that my favorite piece is a set is The Mummy, but it is my favorite in this case. The Lon Chaney Jr likeness is the best of any classic monster collectible (outside of a Famous Monsters cover) and the vibrant colors just really do it for me!

Creature from the Black Lagoon  Drinking Glass

Anchor Hawking Creature Black Lagoon Glass

My favorite of the Universal Monsters, and a really cool glass.

These glasses aren’t hard to find in good condition but they have gotten quite expensive in recent years.  Considering that these pieces are over 50 years old, the relatively good condition of many of these glasses is a testament to how well made they are.  Anchor Hocking is still in operation to this day and it’s no surprise if these glasses are representative of their product quality.

Based on a quick search of eBay, prices for individual glasses are ranging from $75 to $125 regardless of which character.  Finding complete sets is still possible, though this might be one to put on the estate and garage sale wish list at current secondary market prices!

Collecting Dracula: 1931 Movie Posters

The Film that Launched the Universal Monsters

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Film posters were designed to have short life spans.  They were simply intended to promote upcoming and new releases while a film was in the theater.  When the film left the theater, the posters were thrown away.  Since scarcity and desirability are primary drivers of value, film posters of classic movies are now extremely valuable – particularly for a film as iconic as Universal’s Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. 

The iconic nature of Todd Browning’s Dracula and the enduring legacy of Bela Lugosi’s performance make posters for this film some of the most coveted – and expensive – of all classic film posters.  Unfortunately, only a few posters are known to exist today from the wide range of designs that originally existed.

Below, we’ve included artwork from the original 1931 Universal press book to give you a look at the original designs that are not known to exist any longer.

One Sheet Film Posters

Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style A
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style A
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Poster Style F
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Poster Style F

We previously published  in-depth article on the Style F One Sheet in our Classic Movie Posters series.  You can read it here:

Classic Movie Posters – Dracula 1931 One Sheet

The following One Sheet Styles are from the original 1931 Film Press Book but no known examples of these posters exist (if they do…Wow! What a find it will be!)

Dracula-1931-one-sheet-style-b
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style B
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style C
Dracula 1931 One Sheet Style C

Dracula 1931 Three Sheet:

Dracula 1931 Three Sheet Style D
Dracula 1931 Three Sheet Style D
Dracula 1931 Three Sheet Style E
Dracula 1931 Three Sheet Style E

Dracula 1931 Six Sheet:

Dracula 1931 Six Sheet
Dracula 1931 Six Sheet

Dracula 1931 24 Sheet

Dracula 1931 24 Sheet
Dracula 1931 24 Sheet

Dracula 1931 Insert

Dracula 1931 Insert
Dracula 1931 Insert

Dracula 1931 Half Sheets:

Dracula 1931 Half Sheet Style A
Dracula 1931 Half Sheet Style A
Dracula 1931 Half Sheet Style B
Dracula 1931 Half Sheet Style B

Dracula 1931 Window Cards:

Dracula 1931 Window Card Style A
Dracula 1931 Window Card Style A
Dracula 1931 Window Card Style B
Dracula 1931 Window Card Style B

Dracula 1931 Herald:

Dracula 1931 Herald Front
Dracula 1931 Herald Front
Dracula 1931 Herald Back
Dracula 1931 Herald Back
Dracula 1931 Herald Interior
Dracula 1931 Herald Interior

Dracula 1931 Jumbo Lobby Cards:

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Dracula 1931 Lobby Card

Many of these incredible pieces of ephemera are, unfortunately, lost to history.  And all of them are beyond he reach of most collectors.  Regardless, we have the film and, through this digital gallery, we can all relish the awesome pop culture art of these iconic posters.

Related:

Take a Virtual Tour of Guillermo del Toro AT HOME WITH MONSTERS Exhibit

Opening Night of Guillermo del Toro’s                    AT HOME WITH MONSTERS Exhibit

Guillermo del Toro Bleak House

Collecting Classic Monsters HQ is located in the heartland of the U.S. And while that means not having the abundance of film memorabilia events that our friends in say Los Angeles or New York, we seem to make up for that in quality.  This weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending one such quality event, the opening night gala of Guillermo del Toro‘s exhibit At Home With Monsters at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

 “The exhibition reveals the creative process behind del Toro’s singular vision by bringing together elements from his films, objects from his vast personal collections, and drawings from his notebooks, alongside objects del Toro has selected from Mia’s permanent collection.”

While this quote from the MIA press release explains who del Toro is and what this exhibit is about,  Monster Kids need no introduction to the filmmaker or his famed Bleak House, the suburban Los Angeles house that serves as his studio and permanent repository of his collection.

Join me now, as we take a virtual tour of Guillermo del Toro’s At Home with Monster...if you dare….

 

“To find beauty in the profane. To elevate the banal. To be moved by genre. These things are vital for my storytelling. This exhibition presents a small fraction of the things that have moved me, inspired me, and consoled me as I transit through life. It’s a devotional sampling of the enormous love that is required to create, maintain, and love the monsters in our lives.”

Guillermo del Toro

 Upon passing through the impressive exhibit entrance way (featured in the videos above), we entered into this large room and were greeted by the life-size Angel of Death from del Toro’s Hell Boy 2: The Golden Army

Guillermo del Toro AT HOME WITH MONSTERS exhibit

A video introduction by Guillermo explains that his Bleak House holds every book he has every owned.  This includes the first book he ever purchased, a horror anthology edited by Forrest J Ackerman, whom del Toro calls his ‘spiritual mentor’ and whose Acker Mansion was the inspiration for del Toro’s Bleak House.  (I filmed this in the exhibit, it is very hard to hear, but you should be able to read the subtitles across the screen):

Click on the image below to read it:

Guillermo del Toro exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Art

The exhibit is organized into eight thematic sections, and I’ve included images from most of the categories below:

  • Childhood and Innocence, exploring the central role children play in many of del Toro’s films;

Guillermo del Toro 1973 Monster Kid

If you ever needed proof that del Toro is a true member of the fraternity we call “Monster Kid,” this picture should suffice. Note a 10 year-old boy, in self-made monster makeup, terrorizing a willing victim.  Could be anyone (and everyone) who reads this blog.  In this 1973 image, we have Guillermo playing the monster and his sister Susan playing the victim

AT HOME WITH MONSTERS del Toro exhibit

Paintings were prominently featured throughout the exhibit and include original art from his films as well as collected art such as this 1993 Basil Gogos portrait of Boris Karloff as The Monster:

Basil Gogos Frankenstein's Monster 1993

Further evidence of the shared experience of Monster Kids growing up in the 1960s and 70s, Guillermo has collected original and concept art from the films that most inspired him in childhood.  Here. original concept art for the Walt Disney animated classic Legend of Sleepy Hollow:

LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW concept art Disney

Passing into the next themed collection,

  • Victoriana, which loosely references the Romantic, Victorian, and Edwardian ages, as well as latter-day interpretations of the Victorian era;

Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie Portraits

Victorian-styled portraits of Warren Publishing’s iconic horror hosts, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie

  • Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult, exploring the many puzzles, talismans, secret keys, and quests for forbidden knowledge that appear in del Toro’s films;

Concept Art from Disney's FANTASIA

Incredible original art from Disney’s seminal classic FANTASIA.

  • Rain Room, a recreation of a favorite spot in Bleak House, the suburban Los Angeles home that houses del Toro’s personal collection, featuring a false window and special effects to simulate a perpetual thunderstorm—the best atmosphere for del Toro’s creative process;

Lifesize Edgar Allen Poe AT HOME WITH MONSTERS

Throughout the exhibit, we encounter life-size and life-like figures from del Toro’s films and history. Here, in the Rain Room, Edgar Allen Poe sits and reflects on whatever horrors fill his mind.  So incredibly lifelike, I doubt I would sleep well should I ever have the opportunity to spend the night in Bleak House.  He didn’t move at least…while I was watching.

  • Movies, Comics, and Pop Culture, delving into the scope of del Toro’s obsession with comic books and cinema, from B-movies and horror films to works by directors Alfred Hitchcock and Luis Buñuel;
  • Click image below to read it:

Movies Comics Pop Culture Room del Toro exhibit

My pace quickened, and smile broadened, as I entered this phase of the exhibit.  There is little I love more than monster magazines and comic books of my childhood. Since Guillermo and I are of the same generation, our childhood experiences are once again shared.  Two walls lined with vintage copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Where Monsters Dwell and so much more:

Monster Magazines and Comics from del Toro's Collection

Wall of Monster Magazines del Toro

I lingered here for a long time, relishing the nostalgia of these books, many…most?..of which I have in my personal collection still.  My sense of kinship with a fellow collector was strong as I stood among this display and seeing these books treated as works of art was moving.  Of course, we know they are art in the truest sense, but watching other exhibit patrons take them in in all their pop culture glory made me feel a sense of pride — even ownership– in these reflections of my childhood experience.

When I finally urged myself to move forward, I was greeted by even more; including this gorgeous Basil Gogos portrait of the Metaluna Mutant:

Metaluna Mutant Basil Gogos 1993

And this spellbinding painting titled “Ray Harryhausen: Master of Fantasy”  by Daniel Horne:

Ray Harryhausen Master of Fantasy painting del Toro exhibit

  • Frankenstein and Horror, revealing del Toro’s lifelong love affair with the tale of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster;

AT HOME WITH MONSTERS exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Frankenstein Monster was a common thread throughout the exhibited del Toro’s affection for this most misunderstood of monsters is obvious.  From Gogos portraits, to life size figures from Bride of Frankenstein, the Universal Studios version was everywhere:

The Monster, His Bride and The Doctor

But other master works were present, including original art from Bernie Wrightson‘s classic FRANKENSTEIN:

Bernie Wrightson's FRANKENSTEIN original art

Attending the opening night gala and being among the first to see At Home With Monsters at MIA was a real treat. I took my time (and walked the exhibit multiple times), but I still feel like I didn’t see everything because there is a lot to see in this exhibit.

It’s true that parts of the exhibit,  such as the Victoriana room, didn’t connect with me.  But that simply shows how personal this exhibit is to del Toro. Every collector is drawn to things for personal reasons and they don’t have to be justified to be meaningful.  This is a very personal look at one of our most talented artists and yet every Monster Kid who visits will feel a deep sense of the familiar and a kinship with one of our own.  I assure you, this Monster Kid is already planning my repeat visit and I highly recommend you make every effort to see it while you can!

(News) We’re Nominated for Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

Collecting Classic Monsters Nominated for    Best Blog & Website of 2016

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

For the past 15 years, the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards have honored the best in classic horror research, creativity and film preservation.  The awards are the brainchild of David Colton, founder of the Classic Horror Film Board, and the spectacular sculpt of the iconic actor Rondo Hatton is by legendary artist Kerry Gammill.  

I have voted in the Rondos for years and ! was completely shocked to see this little work of passion of mine nominated for the Best Website/Blog category this year — I don’t even know who nominated us, but I am so grateful.  I found out about our nomination as I was reviewing the ballot over the weekend!  It isn’t an exaggeration to say that I shouted in surprise when I saw our website included among the very best of the web! What an honor!

See the full ballot here.

What are the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards?

Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards

Rondo Awards founder, David Colton, explains it best in a recent interview on Dr Gangrene’s Mad Mad Mad Blog:

The Rondo Awards are an effort to honor and recognize those people and projects that keep the classic horror genre alive and vibrant. It is not so much about ‘favorite actor’ or ‘favorite monster’ but about the latest scholarship in books and magazines, the fun and creativity in writing, art, music, special events and horror hosts like yourself, and in the efforts to preserve the classic films.

Every vote is our attempt to thank and recognize all the creative people — fans and pros alike — who work so hard, often without any pay at all — to keep the classic monster genre young and vital.

Classic Horror Film Board 2016 Rondo Award Ballot

Who Can Vote?

Short answer: everyone! To cast your vote in this year’s Rondo Awards, simply copy and paste the ballot into an email and send it to David Colton at taraco@aol.com by 12AM Midnight, April 16, 2017.

You aren’t required to vote in every category to participate so vote for what you know and love!  To view the official ballot of the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards, click here.

It’s truly an honor to be nominated, but it would  fantastic to win too! I’ll stop short of groveling, but I would really appreciate your vote and spreading the word about our nomination.  We are in a very competitive category with a lot of great websites and blogs, so every vote helps.  Regardless of who you vote for, we hope you will take the time to cast your vote and spread the word.

Cast your vote for the 15th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards! 

Related Articles:

Championship Round: Classic Monster Magazine Challenge

We Started With 16 Classic Monster Magazines; Only Two Remain

FMoF-vs-MonsterWorld

We started with 16 classic monster magazines from the heyday of Monster Kid-dom.  Over the course of several months, we’ve pitted two magazines against each other and readers have selected their favorite magazine.  16 became 8 and then 8 was whittled to four.  Now, only two magazines remain and one will claim the title of Champion of the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge.

Screenshot 2017-01-23 14.53.14

Not surprisingly, Warren Publishing is represented in the championship round.  The underdog MONSTER WORLD defeated the iconic CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN to make it the the championship round against Warren’s essential magazine FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.  So we have an all-Warren finale: MONSTER WORLD vs FAMOUS MONSTERS.

We know one Warren title will claim the championship, but which one will it be?  As always, join us on our Facebook page or Twitter to cast your vote!

Justin Ishmael’s Awesome 2-Headed Giant Vinyl Figure

Inspired by Ron Cobb’s Iconic FM 1968 Fearbook Cover

Famous Monsters 1968 YearbookGalligantus-Many-SidesGalligantus Vinyl Figure Multiple Side Views

Former Mondo creative director Justin Ishmael, who licensed Cobb’s artwork from Famous Monsters, is thrilled to announce his 12-inch tall Galligantus soft vinyl figure!

Famous-Monsters-1968-Fearbook

Galligantus is the fist Japanese vinyl piece Ishmael has released. The original sculpt is by Handsome Taro and sofubi cast is by Luke “Grody Shogun” Rook.

Jack-Giant-Slayer-FM-Fearbook-68-Vinyl-ToyGalligantus 2-Headed Giant VinylFamous Monsters 1968 Yearbook

Galligantus is the first of Ishmael’s new “Make-A-Monster” series, which is inspired by the classic model kits we all love.  Your kit arrives unassembled in a vintage-style model kit style box, filled with the nine pieces that make the 2-Headed Giant, and then you simply slot them together — possibly with the help of a hair dryer to warm the vinyl, but no glue needed at all!

Cast in glow-in-the-dark vinyl, this monstrous beast comes with a spiked ball mace on a chain and assembly instructions featuring artwork by Ken Landgraf.

FM-Giant-Pre-Order

Available now  for preorder on Justin’s website , these $200 apiece works will begin shipping in early 2017.

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four

Classic Monster Magazine Final Four BracketWho Will Be Champion of the Monster Magazines?

We took a break from the action with during the holidays but it’s time to pick up where we left off – the Final Four in our Classic Monster Magazine Challenge!

You may recall we kicked off the Classic Monster Magazine Challenge in October with 16 of the coolest (and corniest) monster magazines from the 1960s and 70s. Over the course of several weeks, readers chose their favorite magazine in daily head-to-head battles.  As the field of 16 became 8 and, now, four.

The four magazines still standing are certainly worthy of the honor:

Monster World

Castle of Frankenstein

Famous Monsters of Filmland

The Monster Times

 

All unique, all meaningful and important in their own way to us monster kids.  But only one can claim the brass ring — in the contrived world of championships, the contest must continue until only one remains.  The choice, dear readers, is entirely yours.

Be sure to Like CCM on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  We will post the head-to-head contests each day on those two social networks where you can cast your vote.