To me, Halloween mask collecting has always been a lot of fun. Before the internet days, nothing beat the excitement of receiving mask company catalogs in the mail. I would spend hours going through them, admiring the artwork, and wondering which one I would order next. Then there was the anticipation of receiving the mask. I would check every day to see if a package arrived. When it finally did, my heart would race. I would slowly open the box and you would immediately smell the scent of fresh latex. Even today, when opening up a mask delivery, that smell will bring me back to my teenage years. Though mask collecting is still enjoyable, it does seem to be missing some of that anticipatory fun that I had so many years ago. Just recently though, Rock Bottom Novelties has started selling masks and adding a new twist.
Rock Bottom Novelties is the love child of Mr. Aaron Lewis and Peter Infelise, who have a combined 40+ years of mask making experience. All masks are hand crafted in the USA by the legendary Zagone Studios. If you follow my blog you will know how much I love Zagone Studios. The combination of both companies is a perfect collaboration, one that I hope lasts for a very long time.
When I received the first two editions, I was more excited than usual to open the box. I knew I loved the designs based on the website pictures. I was also confident that the finished masks would look as good as the website pictures as Zagone was producing them. When the tape seal was broken, there was that latex smell. I immediately grabbed both masks and took them out of the box.
The first one was Super Space Slime Monster. This mask, inspired by the alien creatures from the 1968 film THE GREEN SLIME, was stunning to me! Let me first talk about the packaging. The retro style really makes you feel that you have something not only special, but from a time long past. The header card is hilarious to read with a warning “Do not wear mask while on fire.” The Japanese lettering also makes you feel that you got something that was imported, making it appear even rarer. As for rarity, these masks are limited to 100 editions apiece and the number you receive is noted on the back of the header card.
The mask itself is beautifully sculpted by Aaron Lewis. I have always loved the aliens from THE GREEN SLIME and to my knowledge, this is the only mask produced based on this character. Zagone Studios has done their amazing job both with the painting and faux fur backing. Though I have no intention of wearing this mask, you can tell right away that it would be very comfortable to wear.
The second edition is the Super Zombie. I love the retro style of this mask. The paint job looks like something you would see by EC Comics or appearing on a painted horror movie poster. This sculpt, by Peter Infelise, from a design by Skinner, is very EC Comics-based. Like the other mask, this features a latex front and faux fur back, making it a very comfortable mask to wear. The vision and breathing holes are ample as well.
These masks can be displayed two ways as well, making them very versatile. You can display them on a wig form like in the pictures or if you have limited shelf space, hang the whole package on the wall. Either way you will have an attractive display that is sure to draw attention.
Rock Bottom Novelties has also gone a little further in the fun department. Inside the box were also some cool stickers as well as a card with a secret code and web address, giving you access to a cool prop. These little details really add so much to the mask collecting experience, making you feel like you are a part of something really special.
Future editions are promised and I know that I eagerly await each and every one of them. Look for more coverage of this amazing company in the future.
Make sure to check out my other entries in my MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS series.