MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Shrunken Head by Be Something Studios

1985 was a big year for me. I graduated high school, I had my first full-time job and I was introduced to the hobby of collecting Halloween masks. Prior to graduating I started receiving catalogs in the mail from companies such as Don Post Studios, Distortions Unlimited, House of Horror Studios and Be Something Studios (now known as Zagone Studios). I was mesmerized by these catalogs as to prior to this, I had only been aware of the latex masks you could buy in your local department or drug stores every October. I had never seen anything of the quality being offered by these companies.

Original catalog photo of Shrunken Head.
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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.

Saucer-Men mask collection from Sal Scarpulla, used with permission.
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MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Survivor by Zagone Studios

When I started collecting masks and doing a yard haunt, there were three main mask companies to choose from. There was Don Post Studios, Distortions Unlimited and Be Something Studios. Though all three companies did amazing work, I found that the masks from Be Something Studios were the easiest to wear for my actors. Not only were they comfortable but provided vision that was not impaired and breathing with them on was very easy.

Website photo of Survivor.
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Brain Creatures From Outer Space

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Throughout science fiction cinematic history, alien invaders have always been portrayed as vastly superior in intellect and development. Though we almost always thwart them in their attempts to take over the world, their initial attacks are usually spectacular and well thought out. Oftentimes the aliens were portrayed as having larger than usual craniums to represent having a larger brain. But what about the aliens whose heads were actually brain-like in appearance, or were actually a brain?

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MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Da Crawh by House of Horror Studios

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Original catalog page showing the subject of this blog, Da Crawh.

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!

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MONSTROUS MASK REVIEWS: Black Moon by Ghoulish Productions

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Catalog photo of Black Moon.

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.

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THE BASEMENT BOOKSHELF: “Remember The Future: The Distortions Unlimited Story” by Lee Lambert

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In 2015, Lee Lambert released a labor-of-love book on one of the greatest Halloween mask studios of all time, Don Post Studios. The book was huge, was very well received and personally, it’s one of my all time favorite books. I started collecting masks in the mid-1980’s and though I only collected Don Post masks on occasion, I certainly collected a lot of masks by Distortions Unlimited. Lee’s follow-up book is on this very company.

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