MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS (SPECIAL EDITION): Invasion of the Saucer-Men Masks
The 1957 movie INVASION OF THE SAUCER-MEN is not only one of my favorite movies of the fifties but it is also one of my all-time favorite movies. It’s imaginative and a lot of fun and the aliens, created by special effects artist Paul Blaisdell, are one of my favorite designs ever put on film.
Over the years this alien has been released in mask form from a multitude of companies and artists. Though they may vary in actual accuracy to the original screen-used masks, when you see them you know right away who they are supposed to be. Thanks to a bunch of mask collectors and artists I am able to present these masks here!
One of my favorites, and a holy grail piece for me, is this one, put out by Distortions Unlimited in the mid-1980s. This mask is huge and was cast from one of the original masks that Paul Blaisdell used. Only a handful were created and they stood over two feet tall. I have only seen one appear on eBay and though it was a great copy, I missed out on it.
Next up is a version by artist Matt Deacon from the 1980s. I owned this piece for awhile but overall was not happy with the look of it. I just didn’t feel it was accurate enough of a representation. I do love the paintjob though as it is very close to how the original masks were colored, based on photos of Bob Burns and Paul Blaisdell with the masks.
According to collector Sal Scarpulla, who probably has the most complete collection of Saucer-Men masks, this one may actually be a recast of the one put out by Distortions Unlimited. It’s slightly smaller but many of the details are close.
Now we come to my new favorite Saucer-Men mask. It was taken from a mold that has lineage to the original movie mold. Don Post Studios owned it at the time. A fellow collector made a few for other collectors. The eyes are made from Styrofoam, much like the original masks had in the movie.
The next one, another favorite of mine, is by artist Monte Ward. The collector decided to go with the greenish paint job since this was the color used in the original poster art.
This next one has been in my collection for many years and to be honest, I have no idea who created it. It was a random find on eBay and I have yet to figure out its origins. If anyone has any insight, please let me know! Though not film accurate, it is still a rare and interesting piece!
Artist Chuck Jarman sculpted this alien for Illusive Concepts in 1999. According to the Illusive Concepts catalog of 2000, it is called ’50s DRIVE-IN ALIEN. Chuck added that Mario Chiodo gave him a a picture from an issue of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and said “Hey, make this.” In the end they added extremely large ears and a purple paint job hoping it would look different enough from a real Saucer-Man to avoid legal issues. I would love to see this painted in the original brown colors.
This next piece is from the collection of David Lady. It is also huge and seems very screen accurate. After talking to him he said that it is the one by Juan Andreu. I was initially thrown by this pic as it is looking straight on, giving it a wider appearance. If you look at the next picture, it comes off as narrow to me.
Next up are these two. To me, the one on the left is an amazing recreation of this alien. The one on the right is by Juan Andreu and took nearly three years to complete. Not only did collector Bob Burns provide detailed measurements from a screen-used original Paul Blaisdell mask, the original Distortions Unlimited version was used as well, as the ears and parts of the head were also cast from an original. If anyone can identify the one on the left, or has one for sale, please let me know!
Though not the typical type of mask covered here, I did want to include this as well. In the style of the old time Ben Cooper masks, Ghoulsville has released a series of oversized plastic masks that make great wall hangings (though I personally love the look of the mask in the retro-style box). The name of this mask is actually ALIEN MASTER but there is no doubt where the inspiration came from!
Next up, though not a mask, is a great bust of the Saucer-Men. The first true incarnation of “Little Green Men” is occasionally available on eBay in this 3:4 Scale rendition by Executive Replicas. The prototype was sculpted by Steve West and the paint master was painted by none other than Steve Riojas. Each one is numbered and only 200 were created! In some pictures I have seen, it was also painted brown instead of greens in a rare variant and some pictures also feature the severed hand as well. As a side note, this bust was officially licensed by Susan Hart-Nicholson, who owns the rights to many of the AIP classics of the 50s (which is why so many of them have not been officially released on DVD or Blu-ray).
If any of you have a version of this alien that I didn’t cover, or have more information on the ones I did, please let me know. My goal is to make this blog a work-in-progress. Thanks!
Make sure to check out my other entries in my MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS series.