It’s Halloween season. Not Wabbit or Duck season. Halloween season! So, what do you do? You slap a bunch of colorful goop on your face and stomp round the graveyard or neighborhood on October 31st! I’m talking about monster makeup and the interesting kits they came in and still do to this day…
When I was a little monster in the 1970’s, there were little monster makeup kits in the stores. I don’t recall ever getting or wanting one at that time. I preferred the vinyl mask and polyester outfits that came in boxes with cellophane windows. However, that’s not to say I didn’t appreciate the makeup kits. One kit must’ve made an impression on my peanut brain, because when I spotted it online a while back, I immediately felt a lightning strike in my head and bought it! It’s funny because I haven’t thought of that kit in decades! The kit was made by the Topstone Company which is more notable for its line of monster masks. I can’t recall what store I saw it in, but I can remember staring at it. Something about it grabbed my attention.
Looking at the blister card and its colorful, yet simplistic graphics, just transports me to a time when I wore striped shirts with plaid pants and that was high fashion! I love the colored makeup mirror lights in the rectangle on top of the card, with the green skinned monster smack dab in the middle. The other cartoon style characters are very pleasant looking and it really marks this as something from a different age. The kit contains four makeup sticks, wax and putty. For the handsome price of seventy nine cents. That’s value.
When I was a bit older and thumbing through the pages of “Famous Monsters of Filmland,” I noticed among the many enticing ads in the back of the magazine, including “Movie/T.V. Horror FX Makeup Kit,” “Movie/T.V. Monster Makeup Kit” and “King of the Gorillas Makeup Kit” with FLEX FLESH, created by Dick Smith.The images of the dark haired boy applying monster makeup on the box tops reminded me of the floating, vampire versions of Glick Brothers in the TV movie “Salem’s Lot.” These kits designed by Smith (an Oscar winner, artist and educator of special effects makeup enabled you to create various monster looks with a pretty serious kit. These kits were pretty enticing and are still highly sought after. You might need to get a paper route to cover the cost of the kits today.
Smith also had a line of “do it yourself “ mask kits from the Pressman Company, in which you assembled the masks from various pieces. These mask kits were more sci-fi in nature, but still pretty darned cool! While these are not makeup kits, they do employ some basic principles of makeup techniques, using the vacuformed pieces and applying the facial features on the characters heads, etc.
Remco was a monster lovers friend, with their great 8 inch figures, 3 3/4 figures and accessories based on the Universal Monsters. Wait, is this a figures column? No. Here it comes… Remco produced a few monster makeup kits, too! A Creature From the Black Lagoon and Phantom of the Opera combo kit was one of their properties. Dracula and Frankenstein’s Monster is the other combo of note. The box art for Creech and Phantom is direct from their 8 inch figures packaging. However, the Frankie and Drac is way different on the front – they use Boris Karloff, but not the image from the figure. That’s on the back. Dracula is Udo Kier from Andy Warhol’s “Blood For Dracula” and on the back of the box, the Vampire is “Count Yorga” played by Robert Quarry. This is from the Dracula figure. A great selection of monsters to transform into! These monster makeup kits are a collector’s dream to be sure!
Remco didn’t stop there, “they wanted the best and they got the best!” Yep. KISS Your Face makeup kits, featuring the members of that rock group KISS. Were you the Cat, Demon, Starchild or Spaceman? The band’s makeup and costumes are still incredibly popular to this day. Remco helped the KISS Army grow especially at Halloween!
One of the weirdest masquerade products I can think of are a “little of this and that.” There’s some masks, costumes , makeup and fun! I’m talking about Kooky Spooks! A nice combo of inflatable mask to rest on your noggin, face makeup and a colorful poncho with graphics. There were (nine designs) produced by Spearhead Industries. I do recall seeing other kids out on Halloween wearing these and kind of rolling my eyes, but I gotta say it’s a pretty slick idea! I’d wear a Kooky Spook if it was adult sized. Just the look on my kids faces would be the reward!
You can go to a costume shop or virtually any retailer today and find elaborate monster makeup kits.Dollar stores have a pretty good selection, too! For $5 you can get a kit with two dozen colored makeup sticks, sponges etc. Whatever you choose to utilize for your haunting night, you can’t go wrong. If I had my dithers, I’d go old school and use the Dick Smith makeup kit!
Now then, you know a bit about retro monster makeup…why not check out this 1978 KISS your face TV commercial?
[Via] KISS Archives