It has many names…. All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day, and the Feast of Samhain…. but to us “monster kids” it is known simply as “Halloween”….
Welcome back horror hounds to a special “holiday” edition of “The Parlor”. October is a festive time here in the mausoleum and nothing says “Halloween” to me more than monster models and horror movies so this time around we will take a tour thru the crypts and dig up some classic monster kits, unearth a few timeless “fright” films, and share some “monster memories” along the way.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 51 years since Aurora Plastic Corporation released its immortal model kit of “Frankenstein’s Monster” and started a modeling madness that continues to captivate the hearts and imaginations of legions of modelers around the globe. In addition to the original 13 monster kits, Aurora also produced 2 other monster kit lines, the Monsters of the Movies series and the ill-fated Monster Scenes line of kits that sadly, due to public outcry at the time from “concerned” Parent and Women organizations, cemented Aurora’s demise as a kit producer. (For an in-depth look into the history of Aurora, I recommend you pick up a copy of Thomas Graham’s book “Greenberg’s Guide to Aurora Model Kits” and I definitely recommend the dvd titled “The Aurora Monsters: The Model Craze The Gripped The World” by The Witch’s Dungeon).
After Aurora’s demise, the only way for a crypt ghoul to get their monster fix was with the periodic re-releases of the monster kits put out by Monogram. It was on these Monogram re-releases that yours truly cut his modeling teeth. Now thanks to kit producers like Moebius Models, Monarch Models, and Polar Light/R2, who have stepped up to the plate to fill the void left by Aurora, we not only have an opportunity to build the classic “Aurora” kits like the “Wolf Man” we started building last issue but have all-new sculpts of our favorite monsters to add to our model collections.
The excitement I have when opening a box of figure “parts” is just as strong today as it was when I was 9 and my dad gave me my very first monster kit, Monogram’s re-release of the Aurora Dracula. Over the years since then I’ve built my share of monster models both in styrene, vinyl and resin, some of them several times each. I would like to share with you my own personal favorites that have been produced from 1962 – 2013 in the differing mediums:
Styrene: The Forgotten Prisoner by Aurora
The Wolf Man by Polar Lights
The Mummy by Moebius Models
Nosferatu by Monarch Models
Vinyl: Son of Frankenstein by Geometric Designs
The Thing From Another World by Billiken
Michael Myers by Screamin
King Kong by Geometric Designs
Resin: The Pit & The Pendulum by Monstrology Models
The Parts Pit by Jim & Judy’s Horror Models
The Mummy by Dark Horse
Fluffy by Resin Realities
If you are just starting out in figure modeling or haven’t built a monster in quite some time, give one of these a try. All of styrene kits are readily available and the vinyl/resin ones can be found with some diligent searching online and at model shows.
Some of my fondest memories I have of growing up are reading all the issues of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” and “Fangoria” magazines that my dad collected and staying up late on the weekends with him and watching all the monstrous films that were shown on either “Creature Feature” or “Elvira: Mistress of the Dark”. These two programs aired on local station (remember the days of free antenna t.v.) in Memphis and both spawned inside me my love of all things monster at a very young age. Just like the monster models above, over the years I think it safe to say that I’ve watched literally every monster/horror movie ever produced on film and have a horror movie collection at home that number in the 1000’s on VHS and DVD. Even 30 plus years later, I still stay up late and watch a monster/horror movie of some sort every Friday night. The unspoken rule of Halloween is that we are all entitled to one good scare. So this October 31st, turn off the lights, lock all the doors, grab some popcorn and treat yourself to one (or perhaps even more) of these must see horror movies….
1. Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man
2. The Thing From Another World
3. Dracula Has Risen From The Grave
4. The Pit and The Pendulum
5. The Curse of The Werewolf
6. Night of the Living Dead
7. Witchfinder General
8. Halloween – John Carpenter’s Original
10. Dark Night of the Scarecrow
11. An American Werewolf In London
Are you scared yet? If one of the above doesn’t scare you, then you must already be dead….
Well that about wraps it up for this issue. Before I lock up the parlor for the night, do you have a favorite monster kit or movie? Or maybe have some fond monster memories still haunting you from your youth? I invite to you post your comments and share your stories here. Got Monsters???
Until next time, I bid you “Happy Halloween!”