Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hidden Horrors: Creepy Collectibles

By Brian M. Sammons

We are fans. Fans collect things. Since we are specifically horror fans I have collected something for all of you; a bunch of the best horror-related goodies to be found anywhere. I’ve also tried to cover as many varied things as possible, because only the Dark Gods know what your particular horror fetish is. So without further prattle, let me shine the flashlight on these Hidden Horrors.

Sideshow Collectibles

Ok if we’re talking about collecting things then we’ve got to talk about toys, and if we’re talking about horror toys there’s really only one place to go, Sideshow Collectibles. It is the one stop shop for the serious collector of all things horror, sci-fi, or comic book related. While naturally they have toys they also do busts of famous characters, statues of the same, life sized prop replicas (Hellboy’s oversized gun come quickly to mind), bobble heads, a bronze statue of Gandalf the Grey, Wolverine’s leather jacket and dog tags, Jason mask key chains, life sized Chucky dolls, 12 inch figures of infamous bad guys, models of famous spaceships, Star Wars poker ships, and on and on and on the list goes. Seriously, if its genre related in any way chances are you’ll find something for it at Sideshow Collectibles. Just browsing through their seemingly endless catalog could take hours.
But a vast selection is one thing, quality is another, and luckily Sideshow doesn’t skimp on the goods. The detail they put into every item I’ve ever seen has been amazing. Durability seems very high, provided you don’t toss your toys against the walls. And for the simple question of, “Does it look good,” I can respond with an enthusiastic, “Hell yeah it does!” If you are serious about collecting toys and figurines from your favorite fright flicks then I highly recommend Sideshow Collectibles. You can find their overflowing toy box of terror here:

Haunted Memories

Toys not your thing, you’re more into fear inducing art? If so then look no further than Haunted Memories and their vast selection of changing portraits. What is a changing portrait, you may ask? Well for years now artist Edward Allen has been taking old black and white photographs and using his skill, and a bit of magic, he is able to make these tranquil pictures transform right before your eyes into horrific scenes. Ok, so he really doesn’t use magic, he uses lenticular images. What are lenticular images, you may ask? (Boy, you ask a lot of questions.) Well according to the repository of all knowledge, Wikipedia, they are; “a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles.” Here’s an example, go to a local 7-Elven and get the latest movie tie-in Slurpee cup. Notice the tiny groves on the cup? See how the image on it changes when you move it around while looking at it? That is a lenticular image, and while they’re kind of lame on a Slurpee cup, they do amazing things in Mr. Allen’s hands. No really, the photos below don’t do them justice. Seeing one of these Haunted Memories change right before your eyes will startle you, and if you’re like me, cause you to burst out laughing. And just think, you were expecting that to happen. Imagine hanging one of these pictures on your wall and having unexpected friends and family notice it for the first time. In a word: priceless.
The best news is that Mr. Allen offers many changing portraits to choose from. Not only do their subjects differ, but so do their sizes, style, and price. So no matter who you are, what flavor of spookiness you’re into, and in these tight days, how much jingle there is in your coin purse, you’re sure to find something to suit your nightmare needs at Haunted Memories. To check them out for yourself you can go here:

Does your taste in art run a bit darker? Got a leather fetish and a thing for pain? Are you into chains and weird piercings? Then chances are you’re a fan of the Hellraiser films, and if that’s the case then you’ve probably always wanted your own Hellraiser box, or as us serious collectors know it, the Lament Configuration. If that is the case then there’s one place you’ve got to go; Thomas the artist offers a wide variety of hellish boxes to choose from. All are made of wood and brass and all have the perfect look and feel. There’s the basic cube that doesn’t move but makes a great, museum-quality show piece. There are also a number of boxes that move like they do in the movies just in case you want some extra realism. Thomas also offers the Leviathan Diamond first seen in Hellraiser II and an original creation, a Hellraiser sphere. He has also created some unique and very functional variants of the cube. Want a Lament Configuration that acts as an 8 GB flash drive? Well he’s got that. How about a Hellraiser box that is actually an MP3 player? Amazingly, he has that too. He also sells a good number of Hellraiser box schematics of various sizes and prices that look great and are suitable for framing.
All the boxes come with stands and signed and numbered certificates of authenticity. They are all beautiful pieces for serious collectors but at very reasonable prices. If you are a fan of Pinhead and his pals then this is the place for you. You can get your own box, and condemn your soul to an eternity of pleasure and pain, here:

The Crash Army

While the name above may leave you scratching your head this is the very reason why I started doing Hidden Horrors in the first place. If you Googled “Jason Masks” this might not be the first site to pop up and if so then that is a shame. Crash, as in the name of the artist, makes the best Friday the 13th hockey masks I have ever seen. The photos below are from the one I have and even though the pictures look amazing they simply do not do the mask justice. The mask is thick, study, has real weight to it, and just feels right. These are NOT the cheap plastic masks you find at Halloween stores. All the masks’ come painted, battle damaged, in some cases blood splattered, and look 100% movie authentic. If that wasn’t enough, Crash has contacted various people who actually made the masks for the movies so he even knows the precise thicknesses of the various masks and makes them accordingly. We’re talking about differences between one mask and another measured by .02 of an inch in some cases. You simply can’t get a higher quality Jason mask anywhere.
In addition to quality, let’s talk about detail and how they look. Crash makes hockey masks for each of the Friday the 13th films they were in. As we fans know, the iconic mask often changes slightly from film to film. Take the mask I got for example, it’s modeled after the one in Part 4, my favorite film of the series, and as such it has the metal button studs on its lower half used to attach…I don’t know a neck guard or something to it that a non-homicidal goalie would wear. It also has the blood splattered axe wound (from Part 3) and the half missing red “V” over the eyes. If you watch Friday the 13th part 4 you will see all those tiny details, but in subsequent films these details change or disappear altogether. One look and true Jason Voorhees fanboys will know that this mask is from the Final Chapter and nowhere else. So if one of the many Friday the 13th films holds a special place in your heart you can go to the Crash Army and get a mask and know that it will be exactly like the one worn in that specific movie. Crash also does special requests. Want a mask really messed up like Jason has been in a war? He can do that. Or painted a different way? No problem, he’s got you covered.
Oh, and one last thing, just how good are Crash’s masks and his other Friday the 13th memorabilia? Well he was contacted by Paramount to work on the Deluxe DVD editions of Friday the 13th parts 4 – 8 where he provided graphic art, story boards, and yes, he did up a few Jason masks as well. When the company that owns the rights to the mask that you are recreating contacts you and wants you to make some masks for them, you know you’re doing something right. Yes Crash is that good, but don’t take my word for it, check them out here:

--Brian M. Sammons