Written by Jonathan Wojcik
Halloween Mask Madness!
As fundamental as they are, Halloween masks aren't something I've ever really had the opportunity to collect. I have, at last count, about eight of them, few of which are really all that particularly amazing. Nonetheless, there are plenty of interesting specimens available around the web, and on this, the single spookiest Halloween season of the century, it's about time I do a series of monstrous mask reviews! If you want to know where you can buy any of these, just remember that reverse image search is a thing.
"Nightmare on Belmont"
This mask is sold under a fairly interesting name that does nothing to describe what sort of monster it's supposed to be, but a twisted demonic skull with fingers for teeth can basically be whatever the hell it wants; a vampire, an alien, a fairy princess, spongebob, just humor the damn thing and fork over the Snickers. A black robe seems a given to match the hood it comes with, but if you can find fake spinal cords, I'd suggest carrying them around like tentacles.
Good lord. Did Junji Ito design this one? I'd certainly trust him of all people to know exactly what "willies" literally look like. A face made entirely of more faces is bad enough, but there's something especially nauseating about these particular faces, with their pudgy little smiles, pupil-less eyes, and worst of all those gnarled, root-like tongues. I think anyone who buys this mask should consider buying a second one, cutting up, and having the pieces show through tears in their clothes. You could make it look like you're entirely Willies!
This is one of those few interesting masks that I actually own, though its eyeballs have unfortunately shriveled up a little over the years, and I haven't found many places still selling it for any reasonable amount of money. Disembodied brain masks are surprisingly rare, and "Brain Drain" settles on a fairly reasonable solution to where the human head can fit in, the brain supported on a pillar of dripping gore. I actually did use this for a last-minute costume, once; bloody medical scrubs with a can opener and an ice cream scoop as "surgical" tools. Haha, like, "Brain Surgeon!" lol!!
I won a $100 gift card for a restaurant.
There really seems to be a little more going on here than an "Executioner Hood." It seems more like that's a physical part of this monster's body. It really looks more like just a pitch-black ghost, or maybe a skeleton that got defecated upon by a tar monster. As far as costumes go, I feel like it'd honestly go better with some kind of gimp suit than anything else.
This mask was sculpted by Chris Russel for Trick or Treat Studios, and it's my favorite kind of cyclops - one where the single eyeball is far from its only deformity. Everything about this guy is adorably hideous, and the decision to have it wear a tiny fez is inexplicably perfect.
I love that this mask is sold under the name "Harold," like the folk horror tale of the same name, wherein an abused scarecrow springs to life and exacts hideous vengeance. What kind of asshole could be mean to this face, anyway? He looks nothing but sweet and lovable, albeit in a strangely disturbing way that would only amplify the terror of getting on his bad side. I look at that face and I hear Winnie the Pooh's voice. Winnie the Pooh's voice describing how soft the inside of someone's skin feels.
I've seen a lot of creepy, broken dolls dotting the Halloween landscape over the years, and it's a difficult thing to screw up; even the most "normal" doll face is already scary as hell in anywhere from 99-100% of possible contexts, so it's not like you even have to try to make an adult Halloween doll baby mask actively monstrous. That said, this is the correct way to do just that. It's broken and mangled in all the right patterns to be as uncanny as possible.
What is it about pigs that can make them so much more nightmarish than almost any other mammal? Maybe it's just that they look so much like a fat, pink goblin-man with a chopped-off socket nose. I guess it doesn't help that this also features my personal biggest fear: dripping, infectious snot.
I wouldn't usually feature a licensed character mask, since there's not much I could say about one that fans wouldn't already know, but I appreciate that this mask isn't really trying to make you into Slimer. Slimer with a human-proportioned body would just be wrong. Instead, they did the sensible thing and made the mask itself a single, entire Slimer apparently engulfing your head from behind. I really love when a Halloween mask works just as well as a decoration. Think about this sitting right next to your computer, throat stuffed with a big bag of fun-size candy bars. Do it.
When I look at this "alien," I really want to say that it's a generic take on some other film monster, but then I can't really think of any it resembles. There's just a little bit of Brundlefly in there, or maybe a little bit of the prawns from District 9. Its fly-like sponging proboscis is more accurate than most of those featured on actual fly masks, as we reviewed earlier, and the feelers hanging down in a more squidly fashion are something I don't see too often.
If you want this vulture mask, tough luck; I only saw one of them on Ebay. You might really have to dig to find any more. I've seen a couple other vulture masks around, but this was a new one, and I just like how old and crotchety it looks. It looks like it's begging for a top hat, a monocle, and a wine glass for said monocle to tumble into when it disapproves of something.
There's really nothing else you can call this. It isn't any particular insect, but it's such a well-balanced middle ground that with the right costume, you could pass it off as anything from a spider to a beetle. Add some long antennae and it could even qualify for a mutant, alien cockroach or silverfish! With only a couple bicycle wheels you could pass for a giraffe!
Finally, a mask that accurately captures the horrors of childbirth.