Recommended Reading: Too Much Horror Business by Kirk Hammett
This book is a showcase of many items in the personal collection of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett.  It secondarily serves as a summary of the history of the "monster generation" in that it covers everything from the original posters from the Universal monsters era through the end of the monster revival toward the end of the '70s.




That's the book.  It's hardcover, about 200 pages, all glossy color.

There isn't a tremendous amount of text throughout the book; it's mostly a photo gallery.  What little writing there is (other than three interviews with Kirk about collecting in general) are simply Kirk's snap assessment of the appear of various pieces: for example, what he likes about a particular poster or a vintage toy, maybe some personal history with a given item such as when he saw the movie originally or what drew him to that piece specifically.

What's covered?

The book is divided into several sections:

  • Movie posters - This appears to be Kirk's primary love, and about half the book surveys a good selection of his collection of original posters from horror and sci-fi films.  However, I feel that this is something of a waste since reprints of the majority of these posters can be found any number of other places (including my house in some cases!).
  • Toys - These are great examples from the monster kid era, including the classic Aurora models right through to Kirk's own childhood in the '70s.  Not just figures either: boardgames and other rare items are included as well.  This was the highlight of the book for me and what prompted me to buy it initially.
  • Masks - Most of these are reproductions of the famous masks advertised in the back pages of FMoF magazine, but many are rare today because of the tendency of latex to break down relatively quickly compared to most other materials.
  • Artwork - Mainly spotlighting works by Basil Gogos (particularly the paintings that were used as FMoF covers) and a few Aurora model boxes (particularly the monster hot rods).

Additionally, there are several lengthy interviews with Kirk about the process of collecting (which at times is as interesting as the "why" or "what" of the collection).


What's missing?
  • Modern posters - The poster collection only covers sci-fi/horror films up to the '70s.  Nothing from the '80s to present, which is unfortunate since there were many good examples from that period.
  • Modern toys - As with the posters, the collection stops with the '70s.  While that was the tail end of the monster generation, there are plenty examples of other horror/monster toys in subsequent decades, although I don't know if Kirk has those in his collection.
  • Props - Very few props are featured in the book, although it is suggested that the few included examples are just a small portion of what he actually has.  The emphasis of the book is more on horror in pop culture, whereas props are one-of-a-kind artifacts from the movie business, so I understand their exclusion.

The bottom line?
Aside from simply wanting "more" in the volume (or perhaps the sequel he hints at), my only other criticisms are things like perhaps a little more depth about the artifacts contained within and maybe some better editorial oversight such as including the year of production wherever possible.  For example, even the film titles lack mention of their year of release (a standard practice in almost every medium), thus there's no context relating artifacts to their history (e.g., toys made the year a film was released vs. "retro" toys that exploded in popularity during the monster generation).  That said, it's a very enjoyable book for those interested in Halloween, horror, old movies, nostalgia, and/or any more of these overlapping domains.  You simply won't see many of these pieces anywhere else.

The following are screen captures of a promotional video Kirk released about the "making-of" the book.  You can watch it here.


Scattered throughout are a handful of professional portraits of Kirk playing "dress-up" as monsters or posing with his prized possessions.


Like this one.


Part of Kirk's mask/costume collection.  Many of these are the Don Post masks, including the famous series of "calendar masks."


Some props.  Actually, I think only the Saucerman and the Creature are covered in the book.  Pumpkinhead is neglected because his movie didn't come out until the late '80s.  As I mentioned above, the book excludes everything past the '70s.


A tribute to Re-Animator with the prop head from the film.


Surprisingly, these mannequins (nor their costumes) aren't covered in the book either!


Several of the Basil Gogos portraits that originally appeared on the covers of FMoF.


Some collectibles.


Kirk faces off against the Creature.


The same paintings re-staged for the portrait.  I appreciate the Zacherley reference.


More art.  The one at the top is a fully-painted Uncle Creepy from Creepy magazine.


More collectibles, including some of the Aurora models.


A small sample from the mask collection.


Sculpted likeness of Bela Lugosi in the (original!) costume he wore in White Zombie.


Bela and Kirk with Boris Karloff in the costume (again, the original!) he wore in The Black Cat.


Close-up of the mannequins shown above.


Kirk with more art, this time by Frank Frazetta.


The finished Re-Animator portrait.


With Mummy guitar and the centerpiece of his poster collection.  There is a lengthy story in the book detailing how he aquired the latter.


The ESP signature models with monster deco.  Personally, I don't think most of these were as good as they might have been, but that's a critique for another time.

Note that this Mummy guitar is different than the one above (see the inlay).


Kirk and sons with more toys.

Copyright 2014 the Ale[x]orcist.
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