I started collecting masks in 1984, after receiving various mask catalogs in the mail. One of the companies that always stood out to me was Be Something Studios. I loved their designs and every mask I bought looked as good as they did in the catalog photos. The detailing was second to none and many featured a high quality plush hood to accentuate the design. Many of their masks were sculpted by Bill Ystrom and he would always sculpt the letters BYBY into the backs of his creations.
Death Studios has always been one of my favorite mask companies. Before I started doing mail order purchasing I would buy masks in stores at Halloween time. In the 80s when I started, there were not Halloween stores per se but there were stores that would carry masks by Don Post Studios, Be Something Studios and Distortions Unlimited but these were few and far between.
Welcome to another edition of Monstrous Mask Reviews. This time I am reviewing a mask from Death Studios, a company that has been in business for as long as I can remember. Death Studios has always been known for their quality, both in super-thick latex and paint jobs that look so good, you believe they sent you the mask used in the catalog photo.
I have been a fan of Death Studios since the 1980s, when I first ordered from them, and I have never been disappointed by anything that I received. Jeff Death, the owner, makes every mask by himself from casting to airbrushing. He is fantastic at making sure his customers are satisfied.
Welcome to my latest Monstrous Mask Review. Once again Trick Or Treat Studios is represented with another of their fine creations. The only downside of this review is that this mask is no longer available directly from Trick Or Treat Studios, though it can be found from other mask distributors who have unsold inventory and it shows up from time to time on eBay and on Amazon.
If you are a regular reader of the Basement of the Bizarre, then you know how much I loved growing up in the 1970s. There were just so many things to love as a kid, especially a kid with interests that most kids didn’t share. I loved monsters, comic books and collecting insects. Comic books were a huge part of growing up and one thing that I loved as much as the stories were the ads from companies such as the Johnson Smith, Co., Honor House and of course, the Gayle House. Gayle House was best known for their ad to invite your friends over for a haunting, thanks to a record with scary sound effects.
In 2007, film maker Michael Dougherty released a film that would become an instant cult classic and is now a must-see film every October. The film, Trick ‘R Treat, introduced the world to Sam, a sort of defender of all of the rules and traditions of Halloween. The creation is one of the coolest creatures to come around in many years and one that fully represents the Halloween season.
Trick or Treat Studios, one of today’s best mask companies, has available the only licensed version of this mask and it looks amazing. This amazing replica was sculpted by Russ Lukich with help from Trick ‘R Treat writer and director Michael Dougherty. Michael was kind enough to provide them with the actual screen used mask for reference and personally oversaw the sculpture and paint master. This is, without a doubt, the most accurate Sam mask ever produced and the closest you will ever get to having the screen-used mask.
I don’t remember the exact time when collecting Halloween masks came into my life. If I had to guess it was around 1982 or 1983, after receiving a full color catalog from Distortions Unlimited in the mail, after seeing an ad in Fangoria magazine. I would go through this catalog front to back, over and over again, admiring the awesome creations by Ed Edmunds. There were so many monsters in this collection that I wanted, but since I had yet to start working, buying these masks was not in the cards.
It was at this time that I also became aware of other mask companies. I had already known about Don Post Studios, thanks to Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine but one company, also thanks to an ad in Fangoria, really struck a cord with me. The company was Joe Reader’s House of Horror Studios. I ordered their catalog as well and was blown away at his creations, so much so in fact that my first mail-order mask was from him in 1985!
Growing up, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. There was just something about that fall night that excited me, even more so than with Christmas. I love the history of the holiday and everything that it represents. I have so many fond memories trick-or-treating and actually “feeling” that the barrier between the living and the dead was thinner. There was something about the air every Halloween night…it was just different.