I love The Monster Squad. It’s no secret, and if you’ve at all familiar with this site than it’s probably becoming annoying to always hear me blathering on about the movie, the filmmakers and actors, and the all of the various stuff I have in my collection pertaining to the production. Luckily (for me), I never get tired of talking about the flick, and no matter how many times I think that there is noting left out there to acquire for the collection, I consistently find new things to celebrate my adoration for the movie. A very awesome by product of the attention that I lavish on the movie is that folks who know me (either in real life or though this site), or even know me in passing on social media, sometimes keep my obsession in mind and will point to stuff they find on auction sites, or stuff for sale in the various film groups they follow. And every so often someone will approach me with something Monster Squad related they they themselves have created, magnificent works of art that are not only one of a kind, but are also just plain awesome.
A few weeks ago an online bud (NLogan on Twitter) was messaging me about a little art project he was working on related to the film. You see, there’s a very touching scene in the movie when the Squad first meets Frankenstein’s Monster and they have him up in their tree-house headquarters. This is the infamous scene were Franky accidentally snaps a photo of Patrick’s sister undressing in her room and then we learn that Phoebe has started to teach Franky some modern day slang (like “Bogus!”, and “Gimme a Break”.) Well, right after we get to the part where Rudy see a piece of monster memorabilia in Sean’s collection that seems very apropos for the situation…
It’s a Halloween smock costume and mask depicting the Monser himself. Rudy hands it to Franky to see what he thinks. This is one of those moments of beautiful metafiction in the film where Shane Black and Fred Dekker merge the world of monsters and monster fandom, a moment in film that feels decades ahead of it’s time. Tom Noonan’s performance in this scene is also wonderful, where even underneath off of the makeup appliances you can really feel the gravitas of the character.
This is one of those scenes that always makes me well up, and it’s a moment that resonates so much with me personally for a number of reasons. As a kid who adores Halloween and so desperately wanted to be a part of a Squad like this when I was young, it feels so visceral and exactly the kind of thing that I would do in the situation (handing Franky the mask), and then immediately regretting it.
Over the years I’ve tried in vain to identify the mask in the scene. It’s clearly in an early 80s Ben Cooper box, but even searching through all of the old Ben Cooper, Collegeville and other Halloween costume company catalogs, I could never place that exact Frankenstein’s Monster mask. At some point in the last five or six years I started to assume that someone in Stan Winston’s crew probably made it specifically for the film, and then lo and behold (as you can see on Shannon Shea’s blog post about his time working on the Squad), it turns out that it was.
Steve Wang (who along with Matt Rose was responsible for the sculpt and make-up on the Creature in the film) sculpted the mask. There aren’t a lot of clear pictures of the mask floating around, but you can clearly see between the screen captures above and in this behind the scenes photo that Wang too great care to base the look of the Halloween prop mask on the design of the Monster in the film. The electrical bolts are place on the temples, there are distinct scars above Franky’s right eye, left temple and across the left side of is mouth and the paint applications accentuate the sunken eyes and frown of the character. It’s a brilliant distillation into a more cartoony visage for the Halloween mask, and completely in fitting with the Ben Cooper or Collegeville styles in the 60s through to the early 90s.
Getting back to the art project I mentioned above, NLogan took it upon himself to attempt to create a prop replica of the mask. I was taken aback by the level of detail he put into the mask as he shared progress photos and as for some general opinions on color and such.
As it turns out, he was making this mask in the hopes that I would be open to a trade for a piece that he had his eye on in my collection. There was absolutely no way I was going to turn down an offer like that! His work on the prop replica is just gorgeous with painstaking attention to the tiny details. I just received the the Franky mask in the mail and was further blown away by seeing it in person and holding it in my hands…
Not only did he recreate the mask faithfully, but he also went the extra mile and sourced a vintage Ben Cooper box to match the film and even adding some very accurate labeling to the box!
Though the box is in a little rough shape, I think it adds to the charm of the whole presentation, almost as if this is the exact prop that survived Dracula’s explosive dynamite attack on the Monster Squad tree house.
As I mentioned in the piece about the vintage Warduke costume that I traded for this piece of art, I’ve forever been looking for a piece in my collection that represents both my interest in pop culture AND my love of Halloween. I thought that Warduke was that perfect representation, but far and away, this custom, one of a kind Frankenstein’s Monster mask prop replica is the exact thing I need for my collection.
Now, if I can only find a good replica of the Amulet from the film…