Friday, October 29, 2021

Monster Mask Memories

Sometime around Thursday of the week, I'll begin perusing the upcoming sales on If something catches my eye, I'll make note of it.  Typically, there isn't much that will get me to a sale before it opens. I've gotten to the point where waiting in line for an hour isn't worth whatever I'm going for.  I try to hit sales at least an hour after the open when the lines are gone and hope to find something others have missed.

When I saw these two masks on the site for a sale a couple weeks ago, I reconsidered my approach.

My wife and I showed up about 5 minutes before the sale began.  Line tickets were being given out and we got 40 and 41.

When the door opened, they let 20 people in and closed the door.  Now I know people will generally take about 30 to 45 minutes to go through a house and they only let people in for as many leave.  So I knew I was looking at at least that long before I would get in.  Given that, rather than waiting, I decided to go grab some breakfast.

After a quick bite, we returned to the house and recognizing some of the people in line near the front as those that had  been in position around me, I ran up to the front and asked the first person in line what number they had.  "43".  Perfect timing.  The door opened and let my wife and I inside.  Probably a bummer for "43", but that's the way it goes.

Rather than scavenge around the house, I just asked the cashier where the rubber Halloween masks were.  It happened that they were right in the same room and nobody had grabbed them yet.  They were mine.

First up is a 1970's Topstone Devil's mask.  It's in beautiful condition with just one tiny spot where the latex has started to harden.  Otherwise, it's still very pliable and wearable.  The smell of this thing immediately returned me to childhood.

Next up is a bit of a mystery.  This Frankenstein's monster mask has a manufacturer's stamp similar to Topstone, but it doesn't say "Topstone" in the mark. It is marked "Hong Kong" which places this mask also in the 1970's.

We've had a conversation in the past regarding Frankenstein's neck bolts vs temple bolts and its copyright implications.  This mask avoids the issue altogether and has none.  

It does, however, have a couple of wicked scars including the traditional forehead gash.

These masks take me back to Ben Franklin where I would dig through bins of latex masks, dreaming of which one I would buy if I could afford it.  And I couldn't afford it.  There's a mask (actually 3) in this photo of a vintage display that looks a lot like this mask, particularly the one on the second row from top in side profile.

The mask bears a resemblance to, but lacks the quality of, a mask made by Traveler's Novelty Company:

It was suggested in the Vintage Monster Toys Facebook group that it could be a knockoff done by Fun World.  But to me, it doesn't matter because these were the masks I had access to.  The cheap, thin rubber ones that weren't meant to last more than one Halloween.  Which makes these that much more special because they did.

Due to their tendency to eventually decompose, even in the higher-end masks, collectors will often foam-fill their masks, rendering them long-lasting, but sadly, unwearable. Leaving them on Styrofoam wig heads as I have mine isn't recommended due to the reaction between the latex and Styrofoam.



  1. i can smell those masks, and i am not even near them. i always hated them because (with glasses) they steam up my lenses and then they get stinky and slick inside and you can't see OR breathe. they always LOOKED cool, though, so i guess that's the point.

    1. The smell is glorious. It just takes you immediately back. I can see the issue with glasses. Fortunately, I didn't have to contend with them until I was older. But I do recall the sweat and condensation forming on the inside of them.

  2. Is that a legit Gene Simmons/The Demon mask at the top of the pegboard or is it a knockoff?

    1. That is actually a Ben Cooper Hairy and Scary, not licensed, but they knew what they were doing. I've had a couple from that line, but not the Gene Simmons knockoff. It's quite collectible.

  3. They are fabulous finds. Love the devils profile!

  4. Wonderful finds. No matter how long they last, at least you get to enjoy them now. That's what matters.


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